Advanced Manufacturing: Vital to Performance

As businesses continue to adapt to economic challenges and opportunities, investment decision making remains an important factor. For manufacturers, selecting and implementing advanced manufacturing capabilities and technologies is one force that is both a challenge and opportunity. They can transform a business by facilitating the development of new products, opening up new markets and driving increased revenue, but they can also introduce new risk and backfire if poorly implemented or managed.

There are four advanced manufacturing capabilities and technologies – automation and robotics, digitization, simulation, and additive manufacturing – that are getting major attention and deserve further examination to help businesses make informed decisions and generate better results.

Whether a manufacturer needs to reduce time-to-market, ramp and scale complex manufacturing processes, increase efficiency, improve yields, or streamline prototyping, these capabilities and technologies could be a difference maker and Prosit can help businesses realize their manufacturing goals.

Automation and Robotics:
Take advantage of automation and robotics to optimize production, increase quality and improve efficiency.

Automating repetitive tasks is one aspect most businesses understand, but automating tasks hard for humans to perform due to constraints is just as important, but often overlooked. The use of robotics in limited spaces, for example, has become more popular as the miniaturized electronics market expands.

Another overlooked aspect is collaboration between human workers and robots in a facility. Many robots perform independent tasks that help human workers focus on more complicated work. However, other robots can be utilized to complete specific steps of a process in collaboration with human workers that brings strong efficiency gains as well.

Setting up automated artificial intelligence and advanced analytics also provides early warning before machines need maintenance to reduce downtime and increase throughput in operations.

To increase time-to-market, minimize risk, and improve efficiency, data quality and analysis are crucial and that is at the heart of digital manufacturing.

Using sensors, internet-of-things (IoT) platforms and data management software that includes analytics, machine learning and failure analysis, allows businesses to gather, analyze, define and integrate quality data into their decision making process.

Digital manufacturing can also provide enhanced visibility to machine health, identify process improvements and standardize safety to reduce downtime, quickly adjust to change and mitigate the loss of time and effort from switching protocols on the fly.

When developing and designing new products or changing existing products, businesses can use simulation, evaluating the production process and product lifecycle to increase time to market and identify potential issues.

By incorporating advanced simulation and modeling techniques across the operations, companies can achieve the above while also increasing yields, reducing costs and eliminating waste. Examining the product lifecycle – how the product is made, how the product works, and where the product can be improved – is a vital step. Analyzing the results and improving procedures using specific simulation practices is another vital step.

No matter what stage the product is in, the business can simulate the optimal path forward. Simulating how to set up the assembly line whether it is for the first time or adapting an existing line exposes weaknesses, reinforces strengths and saves time and cost.

Additive Manufacturing:
Additive manufacturing, the industrial production name for 3D printing, optimizes designs for better functionality, product customization, and parts and cost management. With the ability to make parts on demand, lead times can be reduced and excess inventory minimized.

Technical and application support is critical for additive manufacturing. For example, feasibility studies to qualify technologies and determine the best choice for the business are worth every penny of investment.

Investment is necessary also into internal additive manufacturing capabilities, such as software, hardware, and materials. The common practice should be to use concept models to visualize products, rapid prototypes to shorten product development cycles and end-use parts to simplify supply chain concerns.

Prosit can help companies realize their advanced manufacturing goals with lean enterprise services, assessments and consulting acumen based on decades of experience and knowledge. Please contact us to get started today.

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