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EXECuTIVE SPOTlIGHT

Think of it this way: If you can work out all the kinks in your plan before you begin production--or even before you start construction--you'll save time, money, and energy, in addition to maximizing human efficiency.

[ Patrick Michel is Vice President, DELMIA Solutions & Marketing, Dassault Systèmes

Digital Manufacturing: How to Take the Guesswork Out of "Green" Product Design

It's good to be green.

Why,youask?Becausebeinggreennot onlydemonstratessocialresponsibility,but italsoreducestheamount--and subsequently,thecost--ofenergy required,avoidswastedresources,and allowscompaniestorunmuchleaner productionoperations. Doingone'sjobwitha"green"mind-setisno longerthenirvanaofidealists.Whetherwe likeitornot,"greening"manufacturing processeshasbecomenothingshortofa mandate.Inourindustry,timeismoney,and weneedtokeepmovingandkeepoperations flowingsmoothly,uninterrupted,andina potentiallyprecariousfinancialsituation. Whilerespectingtheenvironmentis paramount,manycompaniescannotafford totakestereotypicallygreenmeasureslike installingsolarpanelsontheroofsof plantswhensuchachangewouldrequire ahighlyexpensiveandtime-consuming revampininfrastructure.Butforthe manufacturingindustry,beinggreen doesn'thavetoinvolvetiredstereotypes. Whatyoumaynotknowisthatifyou're currentlyusinganysortofdigital manufacturingsolutions,you'realready beinggreen. AccordingtoaCIMdatareport,The BenefitsofDigitalManufacturing, organizationsusingdigitalmanufacturing technologiescanrealizetremendous productionimprovementsandreductions inresourcewaste,including: · 30-percentreductioninleadtimeto market; · 40-percentreductioninmanufacturing processplanning; · 15-percentincreaseinproduction throughput; · 13-percentdecreaseinoverall productioncost;and · 40-percentreductioninequipmentcosts. Wearetrainedtothinkmostlyaboutwhat theseresultsmeanforthebottomline,but thegreenbenefitsalsoarefairlyevident. Digitalmanufacturingisinherentlygreen.It enablesmanufacturerstodigitallyplan, create,monitor,andcontrolproduction andmaintenanceprocessesbefore movingtophysicalimplementation.By leveragingdigitalmanufacturingsolutions, manufacturerssignificantlyreducethe materialstheyuse,theenergythey consume,andtherefusetheygenerate. Thinkofitthisway:Ifyoucanworkoutall thekinksinyourplanbeforeyoubegin production--orevenbeforeyoustart construction--you'llsavetime,money,and energy,inadditiontomaximizinghuman efficiency. Hugeamountsoftimeandmoneyhave beenwastedmockingupplantdesigns, onlytofindflawsafterconstruction.Maybe robotsontheassemblylinedon'thave enoughspacetooperateproperly,theway inwhichcontrolsarepositionedcauses unnecessaryworkerfatigue,orpricey materialswerepointlesslyusedfor negligibleadd-ons.Problemslikethese canrequireexpensiveredesignsthat adverselyaffectthebottomline,while needlesslywastingmaterialsandenergy. Untilrecently,manufacturershadto expectthesetypesofsetbacks,knowing fullwellthatdesignswererarely--if ever--flawlessonthefirstrendering.In addition,takingastepbackfurtherinthe process--whereplantdesignoccurred withinthedisorganized"buckets"of engineeringandmanufacturing--reveals aprocessthatrequiredmuchiteration. Afteraplantorfactorywasdesigned,the plansweretossedovertoengineering.At thisstage,engineeringwouldinform designersthatsomeofthedesign elementswouldbedifficultorimpossible todevelop.Theplanswouldbetossed backtodesigntoaddressthoseissues. Oncebothdesignandengineeringwere appeased,theplanswouldbegivento manufacturing.Afterthisarduous process,therewasstillnoguaranteethat theplanswere100-percentviable. Withdigitalmanufacturingsolutions-- especiallythoseavailableviaa collaborative,Web-basedenvironment-- manufacturerscanmakealterationsto plantdesignsinseconds,andseehow everyminutechangewillaffecttheentire chain.Theycanexperimentwithlayout andpositioning;testplantfeaturesvirtually toseeiftheyfunctionproperly,andensure ergonomiccomfortforworkers.Afterall, it'smucheasiertoseeifaworker'sback willbestrainedviavirtualsimulationsthan usingpaperdesigns. Digitalmanufacturingcompletely eliminatestheneedforphysical prototypesbyallowingdeveloperstogo fromdigitaldesignsdirectlytoactual production.Itallowsfortheearly identificationofproductionissuesto avoidcostlydesignandmanufacturing changes,inadditiontopromotinghigherqualitydesignsthatresultinlesslate engineeringalterations.Inturn,the quantityofelectricity,oil,gas,metals, andpapermaterialsconsumed throughouttheentiremanufacturing cycleissignificantlyreduced. Capitalizingonwhatisfastbecominga globallycollaborativemanufacturing environment,goingdigitalprovidesa concurrentviewofallengineeringdisciplines andintelligencetoallstakeholders throughouttheproductionprocess,which leadstoreducedtime-to-market. Lastbutnotleast,digitalmanufacturing nurturesamoreinnovativeenvironment whereengineerscanfreelyexperiment andactonmoreobtuse,progressiveideas knowingthattheywon'thavetowaste100 man-hoursatthedrawingboardshould theyneedtoadjustanything.

+ FOR MORE iNFORMATiON, EMAiL: [email protected]

SPRING 2010

1^ DELMIA WORLD NEWS #20

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