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Chapter: Automation, Production Systems, and Computer Integrated Manufacturing - Process Planning and Concurrent Engineering

Advanced Manufacturing Planning

Advanced manufacturing planning emphasizes planning for the future. It is a corporate level activity that to distinct from process planning because it is concerned with products being contemplated in the company's long-term plans (210year future), rather than products currently being designed and released.



Advanced manufacturing planning emphasizes planning for the future. It is a corporate level activity that to distinct from process planning because it is concerned with products being contemplated in the company's long-term plans (210year future), rather than products currently being designed and released. Advanced manufacturing planning involves working with sates, marketing, and design engineering to forecast the new products that will be introduced and to determine what production resources will be needed to make those future products. Future products may require manufacturing technologies and facilities not currently available within the firm. In advanced manufacturing planning, the current equipment and facilities are compared with the processing needs created by future planned products to determine what new facilities should be installed. The general planning cycle is portrayed in Figure 25.6. Activities in advanced manufacturing planning include: (1) new technology evaluation, (2) investment project management, (3) facilities planning. And (4) manufacturing          research


New Technology Evaluation. Certainly one of the reasons why a company may consider installing new technologies is because future product lines require processing methods not currently used by the company. To introduce the new products. the company must either implement new processing technologies in-house or purchase the components made by the new technologies from vendors. For strategic reasons, it may be in the company's interest to install a new technology internally and develop staff expertise in that technology as a distinctive competitive advantage for the company. These issues must be analyzed, and the processing technology itself must be evaluated to assess its merits and demerits.

A good example of the need for technology evaluation has occurred in the microelectronics industry, whose history spans only the past several decades. The technology of microelectronics has progressed very rapidly, driven by the need to include ever-greater numbers of devices into smaller and smaller packages. As each new generation has evolved, alternative technologies have been developed both in the products themselves and the required processes to fabricate them. It has been necessary for the companies in this industry. as wel! as companies that use their products, to evaluate the alternative technologies and decide which should be adopted


There an: other reasons why a company may need to introduce new technologies:  (1) quality improvement. (2) productivity improvement, (3) cost reduction, (4) lead time reduction, and (5) modernization and replacement of worm-out facilities with new equipment. A good example of the introduction of a new technology is the CAD/CAM systems that were installed by many companies during the t 980s. Initially, CAD/CAM was introduced to modernize and increase productivity in the drafting function in product design. As CADlCAM technology itself evolved and its capabilities expanded to include three dimensional geometric modeling, design engineers began developing their product designs on these more powerful systems. Engineering analysis programs were written to perform finite-element calculations for complex heat transfer and stress problems. The usc of CAD had the effect of increasing design productivity, improving the quality of the design, improving communications, and creating a data base for manufacturing. In addition, CAM software was introduced to implement process planning functions such as numerical control part programming (Section 6.5) and CAPP, thus reducing transition time from design to production


Investment Project Management. Investments in new technologies or new equipment are generally made one project at a time. The duration of each project may be several months to several years. The management of the project requires a collaboration between the finance department that oversees the disbursements, manufacturing engineering that provides technical expertise in the production technology, and other functional areas that may be related to the project. For each project, the following sequence of steps must usually be accomplished: (1) Proposal to justify the investment is prepared.

(2) Management approvals are granted for the investment. (3) Vendor quotations are solicited. (4) Order is placed to the winning vendor. (5) Vendor progress in building the equipment is monitored. (6) Any special tooling and supplies are ordered. (7) The equipment is installed and debugged. (8) Training of operators. (9) Responsibility for running the equipment is turned over to the operating department.


Facilities Planning. When new equipment is installed in an existing plant, an alteration of the facility is required. Fluor space must be allocated to the equipment, other equipment may need to be relocated or removed, utilities (power, heat, light, air, etc.] must be connected, safety systems must be installed if needed, and various other activities must be accomplished to complete the installation. In extreme cases, an entire new plant may need to be designed to produce a new product line or expand production of an existing line. The planning work required to renovate an existing facility or design a new one is carried out by the plant engineering department (or similar title) and is called facilities planning. In the design or redesign of a production facility. manufacturing engineering and plant engineering must work closely to achieve a successful installation.

Facilities planning is concerned with the planning and design of the fixed assets (e.g land. buildings, and equipment) of an organization. Facilities planning can be divided into two types of problems: (1) facilities location and (2) facilities design. Facilities location deals with the problem of determining the optimum geographical location for a new facility. Factors that must be considered in selecting the best location include: location relative to customers and suppliers. Labor availability  skills of labor pool, transportation,  cost of living. quality of life. energy costs, construction (;OSIS. and tax and other incentives that may be offered  by the 10l:alor state government. The choices i:l facilities location include international a~ well as national alternatives. Once the general location of the facility has been decided (i.e.,state and region within the state). the local site must be selected.


Facilities design consists of the design of the plant, which includes plant layout, material handling. building, and related issues. The plant layout is the physical arrangement of equipment and space in the building. Objectives in designing a plant layout include  logical work flow. minimum material movement. convenience of those using the facility. safety, expandability, and flexibility in case rearrangement is necessary. Material handling is concerned with the efficient. movement 01 work in the factory. This is usually accomplished by means of equipment such as powered forklift trucks. conveyors of various types. automatic guided vehicles. cranes, and hoists (Chapter 10). Material handling and plant layout arc closely related design issues. Building design deals with the architectural and structural design of the plant and includes not only brick, and mortar but also utilities and communications lines

Manufacturing Research and Development. To develop the required manufacturing technologies, the company may find it necessary to undertake a program of manufacturing research and development (R&D). Some of this research is done internally, whereas in other cases projects are contracted to university and commercial research laboratories specializing in the associated technologies. Manufacturing research can take various forms. including:

   Development of new processing technologies - This R&D activity involves the development of new processes that have never been used before. Some of the processing technologies developed for integrated circuits fabrication represent this category Other recent examples include rapid prototyping techniques (Section 24.1.2).


   Adaptation of existing processing technologies A manufacturing process may exist that has never been used on the type of products made by the company yet it is perceived that there is a potential for application. In this case, the company must engage in applied research to customize the process to its needs.


   Process fine. tuning This involves research on processes used by the company. The objectives of a given study can be any of the following; (J) improve operating efficiency, (2) improve product quality, (3) develop a process model, (41 learn how to better control the process. (5) determine optimum operating conditions, and so forth.


   Software systems development - These are projects involving development of customized manufacturing related software for the company. Possible software development projects might include: cost estimating software, parts classification and coding systems. CAPP, customized CAD/CAM application software, production planning and control systems, work-in-process tracking systems. and similar projects. Successful development of a good software package may give the company a competitive advantage


   Automation systems development - These projects are similar to the preceding except they deal with hardware or hardware/software combinations. Studies related to

applications of industrial robots (Chapter 7) in the company are examples of this kind of research .

   Operations research and simulation Operations research involves the development of mathematical models to analyze operational problems. The techniques include linear programming, inventory models, queuing theory, and stochastic processes. In many problems, the mathematical models are sufficiently complex that they cannot be solved in closed form. In these cases, discrete event simulation can be used to study the operations. A number of commercial simulation packages are available for this purpose.


Manufacturing R&D is applied research. The objective is  to develop or adapt a technology or technique that will result in higher profits and a distinctive competitive advantage for the company.

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