New methodologies for integrated product and process design and
production has significantly reduced time-to-market. However, even
the most advanced collaborative design software cannot incorporate
tacit knowledge, respond to changing markets or organizational structures,
or accommodate multilingual or multicultural projects.
Data exchange has been hindered by:
- Lack of data standards - Standards for product data, such as
for the Exchange of Product-Model Data] are gaining acceptance.
- Lack of interoperable systems-level applications software -
difficulties in characterizing and integrating processes. Large
companies have encountered significant difficulties in the integration
of enterprise resource planning [ERP] with design functions.
- Lack of collaborative tools that integrate between different
engineering design packages, restricting virtual collaboration
to those sharing the same tools.
- Lack of product lifecycle management capability - little has
been done to integrate product lifecycle processes, cycle costs
and management into overall designs. The optimization of product
and process life cycles is advancing with more advanced business
- Lack of flexibility in machine tools and manufacturing cells
– can only be reconfigured in very limited ways and only
with significant human intervention. The time taken to input data
and coordinate non-integrated systems extends beyond the window
of market opportunity. Newer, more flexible tools and cells have
reduced set-up times from hours to minutes.
- Difficulty in technology implementation - new manufacturing
technologies must be implemented by people and can be difficult
to implement and maintain, slowing the rate of innovation.
- Lack of suitable manufacturing technologies - not intended to
support just-in-time user learning, knowledge creation, and flexible
use. User interfaces for manufacturing technologies have been
fixed [non-customisable] to support TQM goals of reducing user
- Current production process simulations are lagging behind industry
needs and their complexity requires operators to have specialized
knowledge of process models and software tools to use them. In
addition, models of manufacturing operations are usually oversimplified
in that they do not account for human factors like variable skills,
discretion, or motivationm meaning the are of limited use.
In spite of these challenges, rapid prototyping technologies have
shortened product development times and improved the integration
of product and process design.
The technologies, processes, and systems used are driving further
toward concurrency that can enable geographically distributed work
units to adapt and change rapidly.
Technological advances in four key areas:
- Systems Modeling Capability - synthesize operational
decisions to produce a feasible, optimal, solution. Manufacturing
enterprise modeling and simulation is used in concurrent, planning
and to support real-time operational decision making. Models must
incorporate all aspects of manufacturing: equipment, processes
and human interact with manufacturing systems. This includes human-machine
interfaces and processes that enhance human performance and promote
- Modular and Adaptable Design Methodologies
- designs must be readily adaptable to a broad range of products
and processes. Libraries of reusable design modules will incorporate
considerations such as waste generation, raw material and resource
utilization, manufacturing costs, maintenance time, and other
- Adaptable Processes and Equipment - that can
be rapidly adapted to manufacture new products to meet dynamic
market demands. This may include the capability to produce several
customized products on the same process line, meaning that manufacturing
processes and systems must be able to be quickly reconfigured.
Product designs will be need to be seamlessly transformed into
finished products with minimal process set-up time or human intervention,
using modular plug and play hardware and software components.
- Materials and Processes - rapid design, production
and release of new products require processes that can produce
totally new materials and shapes, making use of new materials
with new properties and structures. For example, large production-quality
components with varying material properties and high dimensional
precision can be produced using free-form fabrication. Materials
for one-of-a-kind products may have to be created just for one
use. Customizing new materials and shapes will require that processes
be controllable at the atomic level to produce synthetic materials
to meet specific, perhaps novel, performance objectives. This
will necessitate the development of modeling capabilities that
can derive the properties of the bulk materials from representations
of atomic structures.
Manufacturing enterprises will require integrated systems, automated
routine functions, and analytical R&D dedicated to meeting customer
needs. Speed of communcations and assimilation of new technologies
will be inherent throughout the enterprise, with frequent reconfigurations
a standard systems approach to production.
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