Saturday, July 22, 2006

Production control software intended for SMEs

Production control software products, intended for SMEs of up to 70-80 employees, brings ease of adoption and use, visibility and traceability of production and a competitive pricing policy.
Trakking has just released the latest addition to its range of production control software products 'Trakking Make to Stock and to Order'. Aimed at the one man band through to manufacturing companies with up to 70-80 employees, the emphasis of the product is on ease of adoption and use, visibility and traceability of production and a competitive pricing policy. Unusually for products of this nature, the price for this complete package is displayed on the company's Website under the 'Sales' tab and includes project managing the installation and training.

Preston, UK based company the Attwater Group is one of the first companies to adopt the new product.

Attwater are a leading name in the manufacture of thermosetting composite materials for use in electrical engineering applications.

Their products can be found in a vast range of applications, from pipelines to aeroplanes.

'For years we have been looking for reasonably priced software that allows us to track and control production simply and logically; with Trakking we have found it,' said Attwater production Manager Andy Goode.

'In the past we have had to put up with over-complex, non user friendly, human resource hungry, expensive software.

With Trakking we can put this behind us and we will have full visibility and traceability of production.

We will also free up resources in many areas, such as raising quotes and order processing and eradicate a lot of unnecessary paperwork.' Quality control Manager Dave Swarbrick said; 'During our evaluation of Trakking one area that we concentrated on was the recording of quality information.

Trakking gives us the ability to record manufacturing parameters, such as dimensions and tolerances, within the system.

This will prove very useful for our British Aerospace and ISO audits.' Steven Eland, IT Manager said: 'From the onset, Trakking's approach to their product was different.

We evaluated many alternative products and were faced with pages of glossy brochures and high pressure sales.

From Trakking we received a simple brochure and a free demo disk and from this we saw that the whole system was logical and easy to understand.' Eland continued: 'From an IT perspective the software doesn't need any specialist/expensive database or backup software to run.

User security is easy to configure, and users can only see screens relevant to them.

This reduces mistakes and the amount of training that the operators need.

The integrated help files are simple and easy to follow and written from the perspective of an end user.

This helps to reduce the time that I spend answering simple questions.' The focus of the Trakking development team, using their background in both the educational and engineering sectors, has been to produce the clearest and most straightforward production control program on the market and to make implementation quick and easy and the software accessible for all users.

Trakking have also devised an innovative way to help customers evaluate the software.

A 30 day free trial can be requested through the website.

The trial CD contains the full product, a demo database and a 'Guided Walkthrough', which helps users to explore the program's full functionality without the need for on-site demonstrations and sales visits.

Alternatively customers can simply read or download from the website the product 'Overview' to understand and appreciate the scope of the product.'

Free production control software trial offered

Offering a challenge to the more established software providers, new production control software that focuses upon ease of use and adoption for SMEs is available on free trial.
New Production Control Software that focuses upon ease of use and adoption for small to medium sized manufacturers has been launched by Trakking. The user friendliness of this package enables Trakking to challenge the more established software providers. Based in Ormskirk, Lancashire, Trakking has developed a series of products suitable for most manufacturers.

This ranges from the time saving Trakking Quotes to the fully traceable Make to Order manufacturing software and the recently released Make to Stock and to Order package.

The software has already proved successful at sheet metal, laser cutting and bending, electronics, plastic laminates and powder coating manufacturers that supply the aerospace, railway and white goods industries.

Traceability in these industries is paramount - hence the successful implementation of a package that caters to the specific needs of such diverse industries.

Trakking's principles were to produce straightforward and logical software that is presented clearly for ease of adoption, learning and use.

A key issue was to guarantee an emphasis on using plain English and not computer jargon for its manuals and 'help' prompts whilst providing complete traceability.

Having listened carefully to customer feedback, Trakking understands that customers want help in assessing their needs, with installation and with transition to a new system.

This is inclusive of all training, support and a clear all inclusive pricing policy.

To assist with the evaluation of Trakking the company has devised an innovative way to help potential customers evaluate the software.

A 60 day free trial CD can be requested through the website.

The CD contains the full product, a demo database and a 'Guided Walkthrough' to help users explore the program's full functionality without the need for on-site demonstrations and sales visits.

Alternatively, an 'Overview' can be viewed on-line or downloaded from the website to give a clear appreciation and understanding of the software.

Production scheduling helps racing team compete

Epicor Software Corporation has been retained as the primary logistic and manufacturing system for Red Bull Racing following its take over of Jaguar Racing.
Epicor Software Corporation has been retained as the primary logistic and manufacturing system for Red Bull Racing following its take over of Jaguar Racing. With the decision by Ford Motor Company in 2004 to move out of Formula One racing, the future of the then Jaguar Racing team was uncertain. The company was saved when energy drink manufacturer Red Bull stepped in to take over in late 2004.

Ian Prior, manufacturing systems manager for Red Bull Racing, said: 'Red Bull brought with it a vitality, commitment and a strong will to succeed.

It understood that this is our passion and that the people here have built up a great deal of expertise, which they allowed to continue, while injecting new spirit into the business.' The Jaguar Racing business had chosen Epicor's Avante manufacturing software in 2003 to replace an aging custom-built, in-house manufacturing and parts system.

The Epicor software is designed specifically for complex manufacturing environments with integrated front and back office applications, tying together virtually every aspect of a manufacturer's business operation, from just-in-time manufacturing procedures, to supply chain management and logistics, said Epicor.

Avante has also been heavily modified by the Red Bull engineering teams and, as Prior emphasises: 'Our Epicor system travels with us to races and tests all over the world and is used trackside on a portable server to manage the parts tracking and logistics operation.' Before each race, the primary Epicor system at the Red Bull Racing headquarters in Milton Keynes is duplicated to a special transportable server that accompanies the race team.

If new parts are required during a race, the primary Epicor system at headquarters manages the process and creates a data entry that updates the remote system, either via a conventional data connection if available, or uses a data storage device that accompanies any air freight or, in most cases, hand baggage to the race site.

At the track, race technicians use the system for parts management.

If a data connection is available, the local Epicor system is then synchronised overnight with the main Epicor systems at headquarters.

If no connection is available, the systems are synchronised when the race crew returns back to base.

Prior added: 'Our Epicor system is unique and allows us to streamline our parts control and manufacturing process, which is essential in the costly world of Formula One.' Red Bull Racing uses other specialist software for design and financial applications - its benefits mean that Prior and his team have successfully implemented connectivity between the applications with minimal downtime, said Epicor.

Prior commented: 'Most IT project managers dread system consolidation but this has been a relatively smooth one and has allowed us to quickly move on to new projects which will benefit the team.' Red Bull Racing is currently working on further modification to Avante and its accounting procedures to allow it improved visibility into future financial commitments based on the racing calendar and long term design goals.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Solving planning problems at a major OEM

Powerful software tools are available to make sure that strategic and operational planning decisions can be made effectively, with the result that many benefits may be achieved.
For large manufacturing corporations and their departments overall planning of resources is a vital, primary business function. If not performed well then major setbacks can occur in the production stage and in subsequent delivery of products to customers. Powerful software tools are available to make sure that strategic and operational planning decisions can be made effectively, with the result that many benefits may be achieved.

Implementing tools at this level requires close cooperation between the software supplier and the customer.

Philips DAP/IMS is the tooling and prototype department of the Philishave business, part of the Domestic Appliances and Personal Care Division of the multinational Philips Corporation.

The department is based at a manufacturing site in Drachten, The Netherlands.

Planning was a major issue for Philips DAP/IMS as the existing software for this purpose could only be run once a week.

As a result, for projects and parts, both lead-times and promises-to-deliver were hard to control, leading to other difficulties further down the line.

Working jointly with supply chain planning specialist SynQuest, Philips DAP/IMS is close to completing the implementation of new planning software.

Earlier, the department had conducted a rigorous evaluation of several major suppliers of supply chain planning products.

The Virtual Production Engine from SynQuest was chosen because it was the solution that could potentially meet most of the customer's demanding requirements.

Philips DAP/IMS wants to optimise production planning, improve delivery reliability and timeliness, and cut production lead-times.

With SynQuest's Virtual Production Engine, it is expected that reduced lead-times will also provide additional benefits to the company such as reducing inventory and improving business processes, including development and product release activities.

Virtual Production Engine is designed to make possible several other functions, such as the ability to simulate planning scenarios and ask 'what if' analysis questions.

It will also provide a clear and informative graphical interface for shopfloor operations leading to better decision-making.

In addition, it is designed to enable effective optimisation of resources to be achieved, thus saving costs and improving profitability.

Besides these capabilities, there is another important benefit arising from the investment.

Already, according to Philips DAP/IMS management, there is a feeling of more confidence at the planning level in the department.

This attitude also positively influences other colleagues, up and downstream in the organisation.

Before, with the previous system, overall planning was hard to achieve and affected production and delivery.

Now, coupled with the expertise of the supplier, the department knows it will be able to do things better in the future.

The advantage of the SynQuest Virtual Production Engine is that, in real time, it can link operational planning and execution and simultaneously synchronise order fulfilment activities and resources.

Its reality-based planning, dynamic synchronisation, real-time execution and continuous feedback functionality is designed to let the Philips DAP/IMS department control every level of manufacturing operations including master planning and load balancing, resource allocation and production scheduling.

Philips DAP/IMS management expect that they will be able to better decide which jobs to run and when, identify capacity bottlenecks and counter the risk of late orders.

SynQuest claims that these activities can be managed without compromising revenue, cost, profitability, throughput or on-time delivery goals.

The software also is designed to shorten feedback response time, which should enable better use to be made of equipment and human resources by improving the reliability of planning, and extending the life of production tools.

The Virtual Production Engine is part of an integrated suite of supply chain management software from SynQuest.

About Royal Philips Electronics - Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands is one of the world's biggest electronics companies and Europe's largest, with sales of EUR 32.3 billion in 2001.

It is a global leader in colour television sets, lighting, electric shavers, medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring, and one-chip TV products.

Its 189,000 employees in more than 60 countries are active in the areas of lighting, consumer electronics, domestic appliances, components, semiconductors, and medical systems.

Philips is quoted on the NYSE (symbol: PHG), London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and other stock exchanges.

News from Philips is located at About SynQuest - SynQuest specialises in providing supply chain planning software that is designed to significantly reduce manufacturing and logistics costs and, at the same time, enable companies to meet customer requirements.

SynQuest software uses financially focused technology to solve specific, high-value supply chain problems for target markets including automotive, consumer durables and industrial manufacturers.

Digital factory to build cars draws closer

The futuristic vision of the digital factory has come a step closer to becoming reality on the assembly lines of a major German car manufacturer.
The futuristic vision of the digital factory has come a step closer to becoming reality. This, in no small measure, is due to work by e-manufacturing solutions provider, Delmia. The extent to which these solutions affect the development of factories, is illustrated by the recent development at Adam Opel AG in Russelsheim.

This plant has now come very close to its ultimate goal of the virtual factory.

Here, highly trained employees build cars at low cost for a dynamic global market in both the real and virtual worlds.

Virtual production involves consistent planning, evaluation and control of production systems and plant using digital models.

For this purpose, simulation techniques are networks utilizing a data management system and are shared by everyone involved by means of virtual reality (VR) technologies.

In the near future, it is envisioned that the tools used will allow the digital factory and all the products manufactured inside it -- together with their complete structures, the logistic procedures and technological processes -- to be reproduced in precise detail.

This will allow products and production to be tested in virtual form and improved until a perfect process can be created for the real factory.

The new factory building in Russelsheim, where the newly developed, mid-range Vectra model went into production on January 7, 2002, is the first new construction project in the automotive industry on a site parallel to existing and ongoing production.

The plant cost around $ 3.0 billion US and will have an annual capacity of around 270,000 cars per year, which will be built on a joint production line in a three shift operation.

In what is probably the most modern automotive production plant in the world, Opel has enthusiastically adopted the 'zero error principle'.

Responsibility for the smooth start of the Vectra production is due in large part to the 'bucket build' concept.

Simply put, this approach relies on a staged, pre-production phase including many optimization cycles.

In the design and planning process for the new plant, Opel harnessed the power of a 3-D animated plant and construction plans combined with innovative simulation tools.

These technologies have been deployed more extensively than ever before.

The 3-D computer animations almost exactly mirror reality, thus producing a level of reliability in the pre-production planning process that is superior to earlier methodology.

'One of the main areas of our work was the 3-D representation of the assembly and material flow processes', said Raimund Menges, Managing Director, Delmia GmbH, Fellbach, Germany.

'Material flow simulations using conventional tools only includes a restricted number of specialists, so 3-D projections on a large scale are inconceivable to non-specialists.' Some of the key Delmia simulation tools used to address process planning at Russelsheim included QUEST, ENVISION/ERGOT and IGRIP.

QUEST creates a 3D digital factory environment with the ability to simulate process flow and analysis, accuracy and profitability.

This allowed for experimentation with parameters such as facility layout, resource allocation, kaizen practices, and alternate scheduling scenarios to prove out the best manufacturing processes.

ENVISION/ERGO was used to simulate all the manual-intensive workstations.

By using this product up front, engineers could virtually eliminate the time and cost of expensive tooling rework due to initial ergonomic design flaws.

And IGRIP, a robotic simulation and off-line programming solution, was used to analyze the 600 robots stationed in the plant performing tasks such as laser welding and material handling of processed panels between workstations.

3-D visualization systems proved to be enormously significant as a means of communication between the project planners and the top management.

At the same time, it was also possible to include joint ventures with supplier businesses at a stage that was previously unheard of, creating binding tasks for each party to consider.

When Delmia GmbH was born in 1999 from the merger of DELTA, DENEB and SAFEWORK, the company was able to build on its successful joint venture with General Motors/Opel.

DENEB was included in the planning for the new Opel plant at a very early stage as a supplier of software and engineering services.

The special working relationship between Delmia and Opel has long been in existence.

This partnership was expressed clearly by Dr.J”rg Uthoff, project manager of the Virtual Factory.

He explained, 'The 3-D layout is a communication platform which brings benefits to everybody'.

MPM software aims at 100% 'right first time'

Rolling stock builder aims at 100% 'right first time' manufacture with the help of manufacturing process management software solutions.
Tecnomatix Technologies, the leading provider of manufacturing process management (MPM) software solutions, today announced that Bombardier Transportation, the world's leading manufacturer of railway vehicles, placed an order in Q1'02 with Tecnomatix for eMPower Quality software valued at over US$140,000. Bombardier Transportation will initially use the Tecnomatix eM-TolMate product at their site in Derby, U K, as part of a pilot project that will establish and refine the design processes to be used on all new vehicles produced in the future. This project will study all the proposed design procedures and systems used, from initial concept through final production, with the aim of streamlining the assembly process before components enter production.

eM-TolMate will be used to simulate component assembly prior to manufacturing, leading to a better understanding of the implications of tolerances on individual components and enabling Bombardier to rule out potential manufacturing problems while still at the design stage.

The construction of railway rolling stock has traditionally been a construction engineering activity in which physical components are brought together and made to fit by manually reworking the part on the shop floor.

This wasted effort can be reduced by improving component design, taking into account the way parts fit together, especially in regard to the allowance for tolerances.

Until now, a manufacturer's ability to achieve required assembly tolerances has been compromised by the complexity of managing the collective effect of bringing parts together within an assembly.

Incorrect tolerance allowances can lead to variations in the build standard.

For example, if one component is on maximum allowable tolerance and the other on minimum, or if tolerances are too tight, physical components have to be reworked manually to make them fit.

Traditional drawing tolerances are often ambiguous, requiring interpretation and extra information for such functions as quality and assembly.

Geometrical dimensioning and tolerancing allows precise and unambiguous communication of tolerance data.

eM-TolMate enables designers to manage tolerances throughout the manufacturing process using a single model set.

In operation, eM-TolMate simulates the capability of assembling components, allowing design tolerances to be tested and validated.

Engineers can also decide on the most effective and efficient assembly sequence prior to manufacture.

Bombardier plans to use eM-TolMate to optimize three aspects of vehicle design: control features, aesthetics and assembly.

Control features ensure that all elements of the vehicle are manufactured within acceptable tolerance levels.

Following this, the aesthetic appearance of a vehicle is significantly enhanced if all parts are designed to fit together as closely as possible.

Finally, optimization of the assembly process ensures that, from the first manufacturing run, all parts actually fit together correctly.

Once this is achieved, the need to make engineering changes after a vehicle or component reaches the shop floor can be greatly reduced.

According to Thomas Edwards, director of advanced engineering for Metros at Bombardier Transportation, 'Bombardier selected Tecnomatix eMPower tools to improve product quality; we also recognize that eM-TolMate is the leading software available for tolerance management and analysis.

We fully expect it to help us reduce the number of tolerance-related design changes.' Edwards continued, 'By earlier validation of our design tolerances using eM-TolMate, we aim to get 100 percent of parts to fit right-first-time every time.

This will result in significant savings in assembly times and therefore costs.' 'Tecnomatix MPM solutions are helping our customers achieve significant savings throughout their design and assembly processes, while ensuring higher standards of quality and dramatically shortened time-to-market for new products,' said Harel Beit-On, chairman and CEO of Tecnomatix Technologies.

'We are confident that Bombardier Transportation's pilot eMPower project will help Bombardier maintain its strong competitive lead in the world's transportation manufacturing industry.

Tecnomatix is proud to be working in concert with Bombardier on this important pilot project, and we look forward to helping them make their design and production processes more efficient, raising their quality threshold and contributing to significant time and cost savings.'

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Collaborative document management and workflow

Versatile, scalable and targeted document management software for engineering divisions represents the latest advances in collaborative document management and workflow.
Cyco Software the leading provider of engineering document management solutions for the departmental and divisional CAD and facilities management market, launches AutoManager Meridian 2002 - versatile, scalable and targeted document management software for engineering divisions. AutoManager Meridian 2002 represents the latest advances in collaborative document management and workflow, and ships with support for SolidWorks, Inventor, Oracle and business templates for rapid deployment. AutoManager Meridian offers rapid and measurable return on investment with rapid deployment, and simple access to complex information.

More than document management, AutoManager Meridian is a powerful tool to fuel the efficiency and productivity of engineering organizations, by increasing the reliability, security and availability of engineering information.

Martijn Janmaat, CEO of Cyco Software says: 'AutoManager Meridian 2002 offers larger engineering organizations a powerful tool to collaborate and manage engineering and office data across business units, departments and divisions.' He continues: 'This major new release features powerful MCAD integration, Oracle support and configuration tools for rapid deployment.

This will enable organizations to support existing business processes and create more efficiency while saving money in the process.' Major New Functionality in AM-Meridian 2002 includes: * Versatile support for leading MCAD applications - AM-Meridian 2002 provides powerful integration with autodesk inventor 5 (including 5.3), and SolidWorks 2001 and 2001 Plus.

This integration features fully customizable bi-directional titleblock updates, 'where-used, 'Show assembly,' and 'Show deratives' functionality.

AutoManager Meridian 2002 also supports Solidworks part configurations.

* Scalability with Support for SQL 2000 and Oracle - AutoManager Meridian is compatible with major enterprise automation infrastructure AM-Meridian 2002 users can select the database backend of choice with support for Microsoft SQL 2000 and Oracle versions Oracle 8.1.6 and 8.1.7 * Targeted Industry Templates For Rapid Deployment Customers can further increase the speed of deployment and boost return on their investment with enhanced business templates for the manufacturing, facility management, construction, utility, telco and process industries.

* Rapid configuration environment with AutoManager AutoPages(tm) AutoPages enables fast configuration of AM-Meridian without the need for programming.

AutoManager Meridian 2002 also features: * Single document workflow.

* Support of automatic naming conventions.

* Role based security.

* Easy migration from AutoManager WorkFlow and AutoManager TeamWork and other document management systems.

* Fast searches on specific drawing details.

* Centralized administration of CAD links.

* Updated Microsoft Office 2002 viewers.

* Support for Windows XP clients.

* Available in English, German and Italian.

AutoManager Meridian 2002 is scalable, enabling it to grow as companies' needs increase, giving the flexibility to meet ever-changing business and engineering needs.

AutoManager Meridian's customizable features and robust, open platform architecture enhance the operational efficiency of businesses without interrupting business progress.

Powerful integration capabilities with ERP systems, purchasing systems, and the ability to integrate with Oracle and Microsoft SQL databases allow sharing of engineering data across the enterprise.

Any production report generated by software

A revolutionary approach to creating reports in Excel from relational databases, in this latest software, generates any production report, including efficiency reports, batch reports, equipment perfor
SyTech the leading provider of automated report generation and data analysis software, today announced a new release of its XLReporter product suite. Version 3.0 includes a revolutionary approach to creating reports in Excel from relational databases. The new functionality uniquely positions XLReporter as the most cost effective tool for generating any production report, including efficiency reports, batch reports, equipment performance monitoring and process reports.

The new release extends XLReporter with an original ODBC interface, able to generate new and valuable report information from any relational database.

The offering includes a novel, user-friendly query builder that steps through a sequence of plain English menus to determine sources, filters and conditions that select the desired data for the report.

As part of this configuration, a SQL statement is automatically constructed.

'This release clearly puts our product far ahead of any other reporting tool on the market' explains Peter Gommers, VP of Engineering of SyTech.

He adds, 'All other solutions offer technology to manually acquire and format data.

None specifically address the unique requirements of industry, where reports need to be produced automatically, on a periodic or event basis.

With our approach, the user builds a single report template, containing 'dynamic' SQL queries, and re-uses the template for subsequent reports.

At each production stage or period, a report can be automatically generated and distributed, without human intervention.' 'We have successfully combined dissimilar data sources to produce reports for all industrial applications' states Peter Kaprielian, President and CTO of SyTech.

'This latest release will significantly reduce the effort in report generation.

This is a win-win situation, creating better solutions for our clients and reducing their installation costs.' About SyTech - SyTech, is a privately held company and the leading provider of automated report generation and data analysis software.

Founded in 1991, SyTech quickly recognized the need for easy to use and reliable report generation products.

Since that time, SyTech has developed several solutions for automated reporting and data analysis, which are currently resold by suppliers of automation software and OEMs.

Product milling company upgrades software

Following in the footsteps of Ivybridge mill, Arjo Wiggins Dartford Mill ordered an upgrade to the latest version of QIS from QISoft to support improved process monitoring and quality.
Following in the footsteps of Ivybridge mill, Arjo Wiggins Dartford Mill has placed an order to upgrade to the latest version of QIS from QISoft Limited to support improved process monitoring and product quality initiatives within the mill. As existing users of QIS, operators, supervisors and managers will benefit from the enhanced functionality to further help identify and deliver further process improvement opportunities. A new Document module has been added to manage all process related documentation including, Specifications, BOMs, Standard Process Settings, ISO 9000 and 14000 procedures.

The new Global Change wizard uses Boolean logic to make light work of even the largest and most complex specification changes.

QISoft will provide full support and training for the upgrade to QIS 5, including full migration of specifications and data.

QISoft, through its comprehensive suite of MES applications, is at the forefront in delivering solutions to many of the world's leading companies, providing up to the second information throughout whole manufacturing cycle.

It has an extensive blue-chip customer base that is supported through a network of offices and distributors that offer product training and 24x7 support.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Integrated software delivers operational benefits

Particularly strong in the areas of shop floor data collection, MRP, scheduling, reporting and financial management, integrated manufacturing software
Jobshop 9, the latest release of Huckerby Royall's integrated suite of manufacturing software, will form the centrepiece of the company's presentation on Stand 5564 at the MACH 2004 International Machine Tool Exhibition, which takes place at the NEC between 19th-23rd April. Jobshop 9 builds on the ability of earlier releases to provide everything needed to closely control manufacturing operations; from initial costing and estimating, to order processing and invoicing. It is particularly strong in the areas of shop floor data collection, MRP, scheduling, reporting and financial management.

New enhancements in Version 9 include the simple attachment of Jobshop documents to emails from within the system, and Bills of Material displayed in treeview format.

The latest release has also been streamlined with the provision of desktop shortcut menus, additional part issue control functionality and the flexibility to print business documents via MS Word - using pre-defined reports or customised Word templates.

Innovative 'event triggers' within Jobshop 9 can be configured to minimise delivery delays; for example, by instantly flagging the receipt of overdue deliveries that are critical to production.

In addition, the introduction of a powerful 'drag and drop' planning board enhances scheduling and forward visibility.

Jobshop 9 also harnesses the benefits of Explorer-type menu options.

By providing users with the familiarity of industry-standard browsing, sorting and location, required folders or documents can be identified faster and more conveniently than ever.

Other software improvements open the way for Web-enabled access to the system.

'This establishes the foundation for a new world of communication between supply chain partners,' says Sally Royall, director of Huckerby Royall Systems.

'In the development of Jobshop 9, we paid particular attention to capabilities that help users to improve their own customer service levels.' 'Research indicates that the market is maturing fast,' she continues.

'Many potential customers take functionality for granted; which is why implementation and support are such big issues.

Software module tracks production inventory items

A purpose-designed work-in-progress tracking module, is for fast and accurate, interactive reporting of manufacturing data via industry-standard Web browsers.
Net TRACKING, a purpose-designed work-in-progress (production inventory) tracking module, is the latest addition to DLoG UK's suite of Web-enabled NeT software for fast and accurate, interactive reporting of manufacturing data via industry-standard Web browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer. Eliminating the need - and associated licensing costs - of special-purpose software on multiple PCs, NeT TRACKING provides simple specification and display of user-defined reports anywhere in the world. It is therefore ideal for multi-site manufacturing operations, corporate intranets, or other locations beyond a traditional manufacturing data network.

NeT TRACKING is all that is required to provide fast access to numerous standard format reports - including Gantt charts, order comparisons and 'actual' versus 'planned' throughput.

Displays are available for viewing data based on personnel, orders or by production machines.

Data is collected using DLoG's proven TipDATA data collection software.

The system features a simple user interface with large buttons activated via a touch-screen, and offers the option of either manual or automated data collection - to ensure accurate data collection in real time.

'The system is already used world-wide in industries as diverse as aerospace, bathroomware and pharmaceuticals.

Introduction of the new NeT REPORT module - which will be launched in the UK at MACH 2004 - gives customers a choice of reporting methods, depending on their particular circumstances,' says DLoG's, John Davis.

'Clearly, the cost savings, convenience and accessibility of information using the Web-based system will make it particularly attractive for extended enterprise, multi-site or international operations.' About DLoG (UK) - based at Oldbury in the West Midlands, DLoG (UK) specialises in providing touch screen shopfloor solutions for users throughout manufacturing and service sectors.

With a UK user base exceeding 300 installed sites, the company has customers throughout the metalworking, manufacturing, assembly, warehousing and logistics sectors.

Leam manufacturing modules developed

eBECS, a leading Microsoft Business Solutions' partner, has developed a complete series of Lean Manufacturing modules designed to complement and enhance the functionality of Microsoft's Axapta.
eBECS, a leading Microsoft Business Solutions' partner, has developed a complete series of lean manufacturing modules designed to complement and enhance the powerful functionality of Microsoft Business Solutions - Axapta With competitive benefits becoming increasingly important in an ever toughening market place, many enterprises are now looking to adopt Lean Manufacturing practices to drive out waste and increase value enabling them to deliver what the customer wants in the fastest possible time at the lowest possible cost. Drawing on a comprehensive training background in lean methodologies, eBECS recognised a specific need among UK manufacturers for software that could assist a lean business strategy. This experience coupled with eBECS_ early adoption of Microsoft Business Solutions _ Axapta enabled eBECS to develop its lean enterprise Solution which includes Lean Manufacturing using pull techniques including kanbans, Lean Supply Replenishment, Flow Scheduling, Lean Ordering and Vendor Managed Inventory.

The eBECS solution is available to customers who have already implemented as well as new customers.

Lean Manufacturing - this is the ability to establish manufacturing cells where downstream triggers pull kanbans through the supply chain.

Cells are loaded with orders from Lean ordering and other sources with extensive usage of visual techniques for execution.

Lean Supply Replenishment - while similar to Lean Manufacturing, this module provides functionality which extends electronic kanbans out to suppliers.

Lean Supply Replenishment supports everything from simple email kanbans to email alerts for secure website schedule and call-off support.

It also handles pulling materials from a central warehouse where the practicality of serving multiple points on a shopfloor makes that appropriate.

Both also enable more sophisticated kanban triggers, like backflushing for materials consumption and monitoring bin weigh scales on production cells.

Flow Scheduling - this module supplies demand for a cell in a 'scheduled manner' and is an aid for manufacturers moving from make-to-stock-or-forecast towards lean make-to-order.

By considering planned orders from a master production schedule while also reading kanban replenishment requests, the Flow Scheduling module provides the cell supervisor with a representation of items and quantities required.

Electronic heijunka card functionality assists with the pragmatic compromise of production smoothing of ordered and forecast product that's essential in the transition from traditional batch manufacturing to a lean strategy.

Lean Ordering - Lean Ordering ensures that production rates anywhere in a plant are dictated by, and subservient to, the potential of the bottleneck cells or resources.

This is achieved by ensuring that sales orders are loaded here first, with other resources following.

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI).- this module caters for vendor managed inventory and consignment stock handling, both increasingly common practices in lean supply chains.

Sales and procurement schedules - many organizations need to balance and level flow as their interaction up and down the supply chain takes place via schedules as opposed to discrete customer orders.

The solution supports the use of such schedules to the level required by the automotive industry.

Andrew Rumney, solutions director at eBECS comments: 'What prevents organizations delivering on the need to rapidly respond to customers, to deliver what customers need on short notice, and to provide increasingly diverse products are challenges that confront all manufacturers today?

In a word, MUDA, the Japanese word for waste, specifically any activity which absorbs resources but creates no value.

To answer this challenge of eliminating waste many companies are turning to a solution that is not new, is proven and for reasons that can't be explained are largely not recognized - Lean Manufacturing.

We have developed the eBECS Lean Enterprise Solution for Microsoft Axapta specifically to assist manufacturers that have recognized the need to migrate to a lean manufacturing strategy.

The modular approach recognizes that this migration route will be different for different manufacturers, and offers maximum flexibility.

Axapta is a perfect product for companies looking to use a Lean approach due to its flexible nature and the ease with which it can be configured and changed as an organization moves forward' Clyde Bennett _ Microsoft Business Solutions' supply chain management expert and product manager for Axapta reflects, 'Lean Business concepts as illuminated by authors Dan Jones, and Jim Womak and practiced by many, represent a stream of compelling tools for any kind of enterprise looking to improve performance and prepare for future improvement.

eBECS are proving that a manufacturing software solution plays a key role in lean thinking.

The goal is to make the right decisions at the right levels in the team.

EBECS have developed a comprehensive solution within Axapta that use lean principles to deliver on this objective.

By using pull and flow techniques and providing front-line supervisors, operators, and suppliers the right information in a timely way.

We integrate the process to make it both more efficient, and more responsive to customer needs.

By integrating these lenses with ERP base data, both the teams making production happen, and the corporate management get better views of what they need.

The Axapta toolset, including some clever applications from eBECS, and the organizational impact of learning problem solving techniques in the lean thinking portfolio can make a real difference to any business, quickest seen in production, but accessible to any business needing to satisfy customers.' About eBECS - eBECS is part of the eBECS Group, dedicated to business improvement by the use of 'Lean Thinking' throughout the extended supply chain.

eBECS have developed expertise in the removal of waste from all aspects of the organization together with the specific solutions on defining value, establishing flow and running an enterprise based on pull techniques.

EBECS' focus has been to enhance the Axapta product, enabling organizations to quickly take advantage of all that 'Lean Thinking' has to offer.

The eBECS Group provides a technology and business partnership approach, which at its heart, removes the complexity and hype surrounding the Lean and e-business world.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Production control system is manufacturing fashion

International fashion icon Burberry has chosen a real time production control system that provides a pay-back on initial investment of a few months as well as quick response and cost reduction.
International fashion icon Burberry has chosen the XeBusiness Real Time production control system (Xe-RTS) for implementation at its Castleford manufacturing site in West Yorkshire. The XeBusiness Production Control System is a shop floor event driven system that manages productivity, closely tracks and optimises work-in-progress, monitors time and attendance and optimises capacity and production scheduling in real time; i.e as events on the shop floor are actually occurring. The system is totally flexible allowing changes to production priorities to be made 'on the fly'.

'We are proud to be able to partner Burberry on this major IT project,' said David Cullis, chief executive of XeBusiness.

'We are confident that the system will generate the business benefits that will provide a very short ROI.

Typically, our system provides a pay-back on initial investment of a few months making it a must-have business management tool for most sizes of manufacturing operation'.

About XeBusiness - XeBusiness supplies computer based supply chain solutions for quick response and cost reduction - simply and economically.

The company is a leading business to business provider of supply chain solutions to the textile and apparel sector that allow client companies to automate their in-house functional processes and to integrate these with systems in use at their customers, suppliers and business partners to improve service levels and reduce operating cost.

About Xe-RTS (Real Time Manufacturing Control System) - Xe-RTS is a world class manufacturing Control, Time and Attendance and Work in Progress (WIP) management system that monitors, records and feeds back information to operatives and managers instantaneously (in real time) about shop floor manufacturing processes as they occur, enabling productivity to be substantially increased (5% - 25%), work in progress to be optimised, production orders to be tracked and operating costs to be reduced.

Andon feature added for visual monitoring

Orbit Technology Corporation has added an andon (pronounced ahn-dohn) feature to Virtual Factory, allowing factory supervisors to more easily monitor factory status.
Orbit Technology Corporation has added an andon (pronounced ahn-dohn) feature to Virtual Factory, allowing factory supervisors to more easily monitor factory status. Virtual Factory, the 'monitoring and control' software solution from Orbit Technology Corporation, has added an andon feature to its long list of product features. Andon became popular in the late 1980's in Japan and elsewhere as a component of the just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing philosophy.

Traditional andon systems consist of a panel of lights, each of which are connected to machines and devices located on the factory floor.

Whenever the state of a machine or device changes (e.g., in operation, not in operation, jammed, etc.), the andon panel gives managers an immediate, visual update regarding the change.

Unlike traditional andon systems using light bulbs hard-wired to machines, Virtual Factory's andon feature works through any computer video monitor.

The display is user-configurable, including the number, size, and color of andon lights, as well as device names to be monitored.

Most important, the user can add new physical devices at any time and determine the circumstances under which the device should alert managers via the andon display.

All of these configurations are carried out within the Virtual Factory environment, so hardwiring alterations are usually not necessary.

About Virtual Factory - Virtual Factory gives users the power to monitor and control any machine or device in their factory from any place with an Internet connection.

It treats each real-world machine, device, and worker in the facility as a virtual object that can be viewed or controlled using an ergonomic user interface.

Data constantly flows between Virtual Factory and machines/devices/ workers in the factory in real time.

The software can poll the current status of machines, PLCs, RTUs, HVAC systems, and workers every few seconds and then keep track of data about their activities in a data log for future reference.

The data can also be used to instantly trigger actions by other devices.

Alerts can be sent to managers via telephone, e-mail, or pager about problem situations.

The software can automatically carry out video monitoring and recording tasks and can accommodate Ethernet or USB-based cameras with built-in buffering capabilities.

Virtual Factory can interface with any number of external software modules, including scheduling and nesting programs.

It can be configured to interface with any digital or analog input/output device.

Sample Applications * Program Virtual Factory to automatically call your cell phone to alert you that a machine scheduled to run until 3:30 a.m.

actually stopped at 1:14 a.m.

* Check in on remotely located workers via video link or digital monitoring device to be sure they are following proper safety procedures.

* Run a report based on log data that lists all start/stop times for a particular machine over a two-week period in order to determine optimal usage patterns.

* Set up Virtual Factory to automatically track and monitor the status of each stage of a laser cutting process for sheet metal - from nesting to scheduling to cutting - to ensure on-schedule operation.

* Have Virtual Factory send an alert to the cell phone of security personnel whenever someone is detected entering your facility without the proper RFID-equipped badge.

* Program Virtual Factory to e-mail the shop floor manager with an MPEG or AVI file containing video footage of the machine immediately before and after an unscheduled stoppage occurred.

Integrated manufacturing solution adds on shipping

An end-to-end integrated manufacturing solution, tailored specifically for small and midsize manufacturers, now offers new functionality to streamline the shipping process.
Epicor Software, a leading provider of integrated enterprise software solutions for midmarket companies, announced today its Vista end-to-end integrated manufacturing solution, tailored specifically for small and midsize manufacturers, now offers new functionality to streamline the shipping process. Vista 6.1 offers two new advanced shipping packages - Advanced Shipping Management and ExpressShip - that integrate with FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service to efficiently manage the logistics of the shipping process for more streamlined inventories and warehouse management.

Companies can link order processing and customer service logistics, to reduce data entry keystrokes and errors while offering customers more accurate and timely information about their shipments.

These new capabilities offer greater control over customers' and carriers' labeling and packaging requirements, and greater cost control by supporting the ability to dynamically calculate shipping charges online.

The system prints shipping documentation, including international shipments, and calculates final shipment costs, integrating with Vista Accounts Receivable to bill shipping charges directly to customers or third parties.

'In these tightened economic times, companies are focused on finding ways to reduce essential business expenses such as shipping, which can be a significant expense for small and midsized manufacturers,' said Paul Farrell, senior director of product marketing for Epicor's Manufacturing Solutions Group.

'Vista's new advanced shipping packages offer companies an integrated solution that can reduce time and resources spent on shipping and logistics.' Hygrade Precision Technologies, based in Plainville, Conn., USA, is among the first customers to test drive Vista 6.1's new shipping capabilities.

The company specializes in precision contract machining, grinding, and lapping services.

'Although we are not a warehouse distributor, we found ExpressShip to be an additional value-added tool we can use to further simplify our throughput process,' said John A.

Salce, president of Hygrade Precision Technologies, Inc.

'We anticipate it will reduce paperwork along with wasted time and effort.' The Vista manufacturing solution is fast becoming the software of choice for a growing number of small and midsize manufacturers.

Last January, Epicor introduced Vista 6.0, which offered customers new capabilities including enhanced supply chain visibility, contact management, inventory management and quality assurance capabilities, and flexible deployment options including support for both Microsoft SQL Server and Progress platforms.

Epicor's Vista solution was recently selected by Absolute Manufacturing, Astoria Wire and Metal Products, Farmington Cabinet Company, and Hardwire LLC.

'The response from customers has been overwhelming, and proves Vista functionality is meeting the needs of our small to midsize manufacturing customers,' said Farrell.

'Just because you're a small or midsized manufacturing shop doesn't mean you have to accept manufacturing software that delivers pint-sized benefits.

Smaller manufacturers often have more intricate manufacturing requirements and more critical needs to wring out costs and inefficiencies.

Vista can help drive these efficiencies and help these companies attain a competitive edge.' About Vista - over 3,000 customers have standardized on Vista, Epicor's Windows-based desktop integrated manufacturing solution for small- to medium-sized custom manufacturers and make-to-order departments of large enterprises.

Vista offers powerful, integrated manufacturing capabilities to drive efficiencies in scheduling, estimating, job costing, and financials to deliver maximum productivity and profitability, yet is easy-to-use and totally customizable to meet the specific customer needs.

About Epicor Software Corporation - Epicor is a leading provider of integrated enterprise software solutions for midmarket companies around the world.

Founded in 1984, Epicor has over 15,000 customers and delivers end-to-end, industry-specific solutions that enable companies to immediately improve business operations and build competitive advantage in today's Internet economy.

Epicor's comprehensive suite of integrated software solutions for Customer Relationship Management, Financials, Manufacturing, Supply Chain Management, Professional Services Automation and Collaborative Commerce provide the scalability and flexibility to support long-term growth.

Epicor's solutions are complemented by a full range of services, providing single point of accountability to promote rapid return on investment and low total cost of ownership, now and in the future.

Epicor is headquartered in Irvine, California and has offices and affiliates around the world.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Real-time performance for the current shift/day

Harford Control's Production Information Management System gives any manager with a PC on the factory network graphical screens to present real-time performance measures for the current shift/day
Harford Control present their Production Information Management System. Any manager with a PC on the factory network has graphical screens available to present real-time performance measures for the current shift/day. Typical information available at the click of a mouse...

Line efficiency.

Downtime analysis.

Yield/Wastage per line.

Legal status of current production.

Batch-traceability information.

Quality non-conformances.

Data is collected automatically when checks are completed, thus problems are highlighted immediately to enable the speedy application of resource to each problem.

As all information on every packing run is automatically archived, reports on factory performance, product quality and due-diligence/HACCP checks are available from any angle over any time period.

This significantly improves relationships with TSO/EHOs and technologists representing major customers.

This can only improve prospects for more business and reduce the chance of packaging errors and quality failures losing business.

Faster wire EDM CAD/CAM programming on offer

Camtek's PEPS Productivity Enhancement Technology allows the Wire EDM CAD/CAM user to create more accurate programs in less time
Camtek continues its tradition as an innovator in the world CAD/CAM industry with the introduction of PEPS Productivity Enhancement Technology (PPET), placing Camtek at the forefront of the highly competitive wire edm CAD/CAM marketplace. PEPS goes beyond the 'next generation'. PPET is a combination of advanced time and error saving innovations, which allows the user to create more accurate programs in less time.

PPET features include: Open DWG support - Automated Drawing Repair - Automated Fillet Insertion - Associative Figure Maintenance - OpenGL Persistent Rendering - Automatic Wire Control - Automation of Unattended Machining - Automatic Skim Cuts - Automation of Multiple Tags - Advanced No-Core Machining - Automatic 4-axis Synchronization - Graphically Interactive Creation and Editing of Variable Taper - Variable Corner Modes, Variable Land and Ruled Surface Constraints, Inclusion of OEM cutting parameters in Cutting Schemes - Advanced Operations Editor including Cut and Paste - Any of these features alone simplify programming but when combined, they make PEPS the most comprehensive and easy to use CAD/CAM system for programming wire EDM machines.

New Web Version of World's No.1 SPC Software

NWA Quality Analyst WebServer Edition is the first true web version of any statistical process control (SPC) software.
NWA Quality Analyst is already established as the world's most widely used statistical quality control software for the PC, with thousands of users in many countries. Now a major new version, available in Europe from leading technical computing distributor Adept Scientific plc, takes the technology even further. NWA Quality Analyst WebServer Edition is the first true web version of any statistical process control (SPC) software.

Up to now, SPC software could send data over the Web in view-only form.

Now with NWA Quality Analyst WebServer Edition, users across an organisation, including customers, can have dynamic access to quality analysis data via corporate intranets or extranets.

SQC/SPC charts created centrally can be sent to a Web Site in a variety of different formats.

These include standard graphics image formats (JPEG, Bitmaps etc) for viewing with a standard Web Browser such as Microsoft Explorer or Netscape Navigator, and in NWA Quality Analyst's own format, which can be viewed, organised and printed using the Quality Analyst Graphics Viewer as well as with the full Quality Analyst software.

These charts can be 'static', which means that, once on the Web Site, the data remains there until updated.

Alternatively, they can be 'dynamic' - in other words, when a user requests a chart, it is generated directly from the most recent data.

This means that 'dynamic' charts on the Web Site are always current, so - unlike other SPC software - there is no danger of working with out-of-date information.

Licenced users of the full NWA Quality Analyst software have full access across the Web to the entire range of Quality Analyst SQC/SPC charts and other functions.

So they can interrogate the data dynamically, and manipulate it within the software in the same way as data accessed directly.

The NWA Quality Analyst Graphics Viewer allows users to receive and view data in NWA Quality Analyst format.

It offers functionality not available with a standard Web Browser: for example, users can accumulate several charts (more than 100 at a time) and format them into multichart page layouts for display and printing.

This makes it easy for them to compare charts from multiple products, processes or locations.

In addition, Graphics Viewer users can control the appearance of charts and, by clicking on data points, can view descriptive information (such as date/time, shift, lot number etc) associated with the data point.