Futura Automation’s Mission is and has been: “To Counsel and Support North American manufacturers on the benefits of Industry 4.0 by Implementing IIOT and Robotic Solutions”. The Futura Automation consulting team has diverse backgrounds and experience. As a team we have degreed engineers, in some cases with advanced degrees, in chemical, electrical, manufacturing, mechanical and controls engineering as well as physics, math and computer sciences. Many on the team have robotics programming and application experience along with IT, ERP, MES, electronic motor drives, motion and programmable controls. We are well equipped to assist our clients with their advanced manufacturing design requirements.
Futura Automation clients seek quality and productivity improvements in their manufacturing operations to meet corporate objectives. With labor shortages now and in the near future, automation and robotics are increasingly viewed as the answer to reduce costs and improve productivity. But robots cannot replace all human labor directly. Most often, the tasks must be simplified for a robot, which lacks the intelligence, judgement, innovation and dexterity of a human operator. Futura Automation will work with the client’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to drive towards solutions that fulfill those KPIs.
It is best for our clients when Futura Automation can assist with manufacturing process design early in the development process and can help clients re-imagine the process to be more efficient and effective. The key to improving manufacturing practices is real-world simulation so that various solutions can be tested for efficacy in a virtual world. Futura Automation, with its partner OCTOPUZ simulation software, can provide such kinematic (real-world) simulations for all types of manufacturing equipment down to the level of machine and robot programming. We will be able to identify solutions that maintain the relationship between each manufacturing process within the system. The solution must accurately simulate capacities and bottlenecks within the system and do so in a “kinematically” accurate way taking into account the masses of the equipment and product and real-world constraints of physics. The solution must also be able to show how changes made to each manufacturing sub-system impacts the overall manufacturing operation.
Manufacturing optimization requires a complete analysis of the entire current manufacturing process and a re-imagining of how the process can be improved by changing manufacturing processes, workflow, plant layout, machinery and implementation of IIOT, automation and robotics. The following are some key aspects that would be required in a robust solution:
What should a Manufacturing Optimization solution deliver?
- Logistics: How do components get from producers into the manufacturing facility and finished goods out?
- Warehousing: How are components stored in the facility to minimize handling and transport time?
- Material Handling: How are materials conveyed to the production area from warehousing, by floor or overhead conveyor, lift truck or autonomous vehicle?
- Component Assembly: How are components assembled and inspected, with a minimum of labor, to meet the design manufacturing requirements for productivity and quality?
- Component Finishing: How are assembled products painted, polished or finished, if not done previous to assembly?
- End-of-Line Packaging: How are finished goods packaged for shipment in cases, cartons, on pallets and with strapping or wrapping?
- HR: human staffing levels, qualifications, training and equipment technologies required to execute the solution?
- Inventory: Optimized inventory analysis from historical and real-time data to reduce inventory without losing support for product change or customization
- Order Management: optimize scheduling and sequencing for the manufacturing solution to minimize set-up and changeover time
- How are simulations visualized and communicated to all stakeholders?
- How can changes to the process workflow be evaluated and then implemented?
- What are the Information Technology (IT) systems that tie manufacturing processes and each sub-process to the front office (ERP) system?
KPIs for Optimizing Manufacturing Processes
With multiple potential and competing goals within the overall manufacturing operation, one must ensure that each individual KPI or goal contributes to the overall efficiency of manufacturing. The following are potential manufacturing improvement opportunities that a kinematic simulation solution can deliver:
- Inventory Utilization Analysis
- OEE or Resources Allocation
- Labor Allocation or Productivity Analysis
- Material Flow and Restrictions
- Equipment Uptime and Maintenance Scheduling
- Plant Capacity Analysis and Expansion Planning
- Quality Control Objectives; i.e. “6 Sigma”
- Factory Performance Visibility; i.e. Dashboards
- Manufacturing Upgrades and Equipment Acquisition ROI Simulations
- HR Labor Performance Tracking Training
- Scheduling and Production Balancing
When working towards operational improvement, it is important to measure the tradeoffs between one alternative and another, or a set of other alternatives. This can be and has been accomplished with static analysis tools such as spreadsheets. But such “single state” tools fail to take into account the dynamics of typically inter-related manufacturing processes, people, materials, equipment, and systems present within most manufacturing operations.
The Solution – Kinematic Simulation
Kinematic simulation allows not only for the analysis of various production scenarios and types of equipment to be tested for optimal performance prior to acquiring and setting up said equipment. A wide range of scenarios can be developed and tested within days or weeks rather than static engineering, equipment evaluation and purchase, deployment and training that can take months or years. This allows the user to interact with the virtual environment and test, “on-the-fly,” any and all changes to layouts, processes, people, equipment, automation implementations, schedules, inventory options, sequencing patterns and virtually any change you can think of that may have a positive impact on the operation without the risk and cost of testing changes in a live environment. kinematic simulation allows the user the flexibility to view changes in real-time, saving time and money. Proactive forecasting of future events allows user the freedom to experiment with different scenarios, promoting proactive and economically advantageous decision-making.
OCTOPUZ is the intelligent offline robot programming and #kinematic_simulation software ideal for any path-sensitive application. Beyond kinematic simulation, OCTOPUZ took a revolutionary approach to robotic programming by combining the offline programming of robots with the manufacturing process simulation. OCTOPUZ provides a mainstream, versatile, powerful, and effective solution for any robot or manufacturing simulation challenge.
Simulation Model Building:
Typically a CAD layout, either 2D or 3D from any number of CAD development tools, will be imported into the model for visualization of labor and workflow. Then, processes, connections/conveyors, travel paths, and other defined data will be input into the model. Models are built graphically, without the need to write code. This is an important distinction between traditional and kinematic simulation environments. Defining schedules, sequences, processes, and such is historically done manually. It has become increasingly important with the advance of technology and the greater global competition labor cost, to interact in real-time with the ERP order entry (demand) system to input product mix, routing, and other relevant data to the production model with the goal of fine tuning processes. Simulation allows “Monte Carlo” forecasting by testing multiple production solutions, including addition, subtraction or relocation of equipment. This proactive forecasting allows the user to see projected scenarios based on actual collected input data as well as forecasted. The user has the ability to interact with the simulation model while it is still running, saving time and providing feedback immediately. The user can then utilize this information to better understand possible outcomes, advantages and disadvantages to changes, and ultimately select the most logical, efficient, feasible and economically advantageous course of action. Integrated optimization analysis, 2D and 3D visualization make our kinematic simulation solution ideal for our clients’ manufacturing optimization needs.
Kinematic simulation instantly provides, through integrated reporting and scenario analysis, feedback on efficiency gains at the point of attack, as well as how the change propagates throughout the system. Simcad allows users to strategic how the operation will ramp up or down based on changes in demand, react to disruptions in supply, both planned and unplanned, and how changes in the product mix will impact the operation as a whole. Additionally, kinematic simulation benefits the user in terms of allowing for a multitude of changes to the system in a virtual environment where the user does not have the extensive costs associated with trial and error or the lengthy time-consuming process of utilizing excel sheets, for example. A kinematic simulation allows the user the opportunity to check and set optimal schedules, get live updates for increased control on productivity, as well as play out “what-if” scenarios to optimize resources, equipment, schedules and production. Kinematic simulation allows the user to maintain relationships throughout the manufacturing, in order to better understand how different changes affect the entire system. The user can also analyze possible differences in efficiency based on automation versus manual labor. The best path for production can be established, in order to increase productivity and reduce non-value added time. Through Futura Automation and OCTOPUZ’s kinematic simulation environment, all of this and more can be done with the guidance of Futura Automation.
Kinematic simulation is a viable and accurate tool used in understanding current manufacturing constraints, identifying effects of machinery and process changes culminating in visualizing and communicating the impact of moving from current to future manufacturing environment.
Advantages and Benefits of a Kinematic Simulation Environment
- Futura Automation offers a team of highly experienced and qualified engineering professionals who will help develop the details of a manufacturing process simulation
- Futura Automation provides an array of resources to assist financial and operational decision-making
- Futura Automation can implement IOT and integrated MES systems through Tulip Interfaces to complement an automated manufacturing environment
- OCTOPUZ includes a CAD library with over 2 million components of robot, machinery and tool models that can quickly be imported with kinematics enabled for process simulation
- OCTOPUZ provides
- Real-time connectivity with external data sources to ensure accurate calculations
- Interactive “on-the-fly” changes to manufacturing equipment and system flow
- Robot programming in the native manufacturer language (most major brands) and then can be downloaded to real-world robots
- Live updates to the internet for virtual engineering review meetings
- Dynamic lean analysis for production forecasts
Kinematic simulation for manufacturing modeling is the future. Futura Automation is your trained and highly capable engineering partner to show you the way to this future, helping with all aspects of the manufacturing environment including the costing and financial return aspects of the process.