Digital Manufacturing: This technology really can transform your business

Digital Manufacturing is a key point of integration between product life-cycle management (PLM) software and factory automation equipment such as PLCs and transfer lines, and many of the long-term benefits from PLM are simply not achievable without incorporating a comprehensive Digital Manufacturing strategy.

04/22/2008


In today’s turbulent economy, Digital Manufacturing has the potential to transform businesses and significantly improve their competitiveness. The concepts that have driven development of Digital Manufacturing solutions have evolved over the years, and have included initiatives such as design-for-assembly, design-for-manufacturability, concurrent engineering, and others that promoted more collaborative product and process design. From these initiatives, the breadth and depth of Digital Manufacturing has continued to evolve. Today, full manufacturing facility definition (including tooling, assembly lines, workcenters, ergonomics, and resources) is an integral part of manufacturing process planning, simulation is used to efficiently optimize production processes, and real-world information from actual production operations can be shared electronically and leveraged for better utilization of capabilities and resources.

Because the definition of production processes is a critical part of the product life cycle and is directly impacted by product designs, Digital Manufacturing is becoming an important element of Product Life-cycle Management (PLM) strategies. Indeed, Digital Manufacturing is a key point of integration between PLM and factory automation equipment such as PLCs and transfer lines, and many of the long-term benefits from PLM are simply not achievable without incorporating a comprehensive Digital Manufacturing strategy. This migration of PLM onto the shop floor provides an opportunity to better exchange product-related information between the design and manufacturing groups so that processes in both areas can be developed collaboratively instead of in isolation.

A full Digital Manufacturing program implemented as part of corporate-wide PLM strategy holds tremendous potential in achieving major benefits including: shortened product development cycles and earlier visibility of manufacturing issues, faster time to volume production and subsequently shorter time-to-market, reduced manufacturing costs and fewer production ramp-up problems, and improved product quality.

Digital Manufacturing has demonstrated its value at many companies and provided significant payback. One large aerospace firm employs Digital Manufacturing as part of a broad PLM environment within their aircraft engine operations to manage approval, notification, and tracking of documents, establish routings and work instructions, and manage process templates. A head of manufacturing engineering noted that through commonization, reduction in design changes, quality improvements, and productivity gains, the company obtained payback on its investment in less than one year.

This example is not unusual. Research conducted by CIMdata on Digital Manufacturing implementations indicates that companies around the world have achieved very positive results and have validated the potential value for organizations to make Digital Manufacturing a fundamental part of their overall product program. A survey of companies with Digital Manufacturing implementations of various sizes indicates exceptionally impressive return on investments (ROIs). Relatively small $200 investments yielded annual savings of $1 million for a 5:1 ROI, for example, while larger investments in the rang of $5 million to $10 million lead to annual savings of $50 million to $100 million for a 10:1 ROI.From these figures, it is clear that substantial benefits are available for companies making the investment in Digital Manufacturing and having an understanding of the changes that must be made in business operations to best leverage these technology-based solutions.

Organizations taking the initiative to implement Digital Manufacturing as a component of PLM broadly across the enterprise are better able to successfully compete in the global market and will undoubtedly be among their industry’s winners in the coming decades.

Ed Miller is president of CIMdata Inc., an independent worldwide firm providing strategic consulting to maximize an enterprise’s ability to design and deliver innovative products and services through the application of PLM strategies..





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Improving flowmeter calibration; Selecting flowmeters for natural gas; Case study: Streamlining assembly systems using PC-based control; CLPM: Improving process efficiency, throughput
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me