Dec 17 2018

Megan Ray Nichols

Steel and Aluminium Tariffs Will Impact Manufacturing Well Into 2019

While we may have avoided a full-blown trade war, the tariffs on steel and aluminum are still in place, which makes it more difficult for companies that rely on these two metals to continue to work in the current economy. How will these tariffs continue to impact the manufacturing industry into the next fiscal year?

What Are These Tariffs?

These tariffs date back to 2017 when the current presidential administration announced that they were planning on restricting the import of certain materials from outside the United States. Most of the manufacturers in the states were against these new taxes because of the negative impact it would have on the manufacturing industry. Steel would be subjected to a 25 percent tariff, and aluminum would have its price raised by 10 percent.

Tariffs have been implemented at various times throughout history, so they aren’t a new concept. However, these are the first of the Trump Administration.

Who’s Affected and Who Isn’t?

These tariffs wouldn’t affect everyone, such as imports coming from Canada or Mexico because of their shared borders. In addition to Canada and Mexico, other countries that are exempt from the steel and aluminum tariffs include Australia, South Korea, the European Union (EU) and Argentina.

The exact effects of these tariffs remain to be seen, but for example, if the exemption is not renewed for the European Union, the impacts could be far-reaching. Steel manufacturers in the European Union would likely have to change their manufacturing techniques to reduce costs and ensure profits are sustainable. Additionally, should the EU lose its exemption, about $7.8 billion in U.S.-imported goods might face taxation.

China and Japan are two of the countries that are not exempt from these current tariffs, and it nearly launched a full-scale trade war between the United States and China as a result. That has been avoided for now, but the tariffs are still in place — and the two countries continue to go back-and-forth with updated lists of taxed items in response.

The Estimates: $10 Million and Climbing

Experts are estimating that these tariffs could cost U.S. based manufacturing companies more than $10 million over the next five years. This will impact companies across a variety of industries. Directly, it will affect companies that are using steel and aluminum to create their products, leading them to pass those costs on to their customers. Ford and GM, both U.S.-based car manufacturers, are expecting to have to pay more than $1 billion in extra tariff costs. On a broader scale, it will also impact the buying power of companies and consumers that rely on metal products to run their businesses or make their lives easier.

When it comes down to it, everyone is going to pay more, either directly or indirectly, because of these tariffs, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to be going away anytime soon.

The automotive industry may be getting some relief, though. Unofficially, word has come down the pipe that the president may be planning to scrap the 25 percent tariff that he was planning to implement on imported cars and car parts.

What Can Be Done to Adapt to the Tariffs?

If the tariffs aren’t going away quickly, it’s up to manufacturers to adjust to these new expenses. One option that is being explored in Europe and could be adapted in the United States is the idea of reusing waste heat to reduce other costs. The steel industry especially relies on generating a lot of heat, and much of it is wasted or directly released into the atmosphere.

Instead of letting this heat go to waste, it could be collected in heat pipes to be used to generate energy which could, in turn, lessen fuel costs and offset the increased cost of steel and aluminum.

For now, at least, these tariffs are here to stay, and they will continue to impact the manufacturing industry for the next year, and possibly even longer into the future. Companies will need to adapt to these new tariffs to be able to maintain their profit margins while preventing a substantial increase in their prices. Most of the previous import tariffs didn’t last — President Bush’s taxes were put into place in 2002 and only lasted until 2003, for example, so this may be just another thing that manufacturing companies need to ride out until the current tariffs have been lifted.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2018/12/steel-and-aluminium-tariffs-will-impact-manufacturing-well-into-2019/

Dec 12 2018

Making an Impact at the Women in Manufacturing Annual Summit – Dassault Systèmes sponsorship helps to provide a platform for women to plan their manufacturing career success

A skills gap is on the horizon in the manufacturing industry—and women are a rich, under-utilized source of talented workers. Key to bridging the impending chasm is the ability for organizations to engage and promote women, an idea wholly supported by one of the industry’s leading networking groups, Women in Manufacturing (WiM).

The work of influencers to effect positive change could be seen and experienced this month at the 8th Annual WiM Summit, where sponsors such as Dassault Systèmes helped to provide a platform to expand women’s participation and influence in the industry. Held this year in Indianapolis, Indiana, the summit changes location every year, moving around the country to maximize participants’ opportunities to develop a diverse and broad network in manufacturing.

ANGELA REGAN, DELMIA Global Director of Business Development

According to Angela Regan, Dassault Systèmes’ Global Director of Business Development for the DELMIA brand and chairperson of the Massachusetts chapter of WiM, the summit is a highly motivating experience that happens at the end of the summer, after a traditionally busy and exhausting season in manufacturing. “Women go to this event to get the wind beneath their wings. We get re-energized.” Regan has seen firsthand how the workforce gap will affect the industry in the near future. “This is a critical issue. A significant amount of effort must be made in order to shore up and expand the pool of talent available to our industry.”

Making an Impact

This year, one theme dominated at the summit: Making an Impact. From keynote presentations to breakout sessions and plant tours, presenters covered a broad spectrum of topics that spurred attendees to ask themselves: In what way do I want to make an impact in my career? How can I accomplish those goals?

Among the unique and practical ways to explore these questions were sessions on crisis management and how to recover from significant business interruptions and professional goal-setting. Ellen Van Ousten, a professor at Case Western University and instructor of the WiM leadership certification program considered the role of emotions and how to leverage them in leadership and life. Another session led by Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO, 2020 Women on Boards encouraged women to spur change by serving on corporate and non-profit boards where they have the power to make or influence decisions.

Dassault Systèmes’ Sponsorship

Dassault Systèmes participated in this year’s summit by providing transportation to and from the plant tours. Participants from the summit visited Praxair Surface Technologies, Major Tool & Machine, Fastenal Company, Crown Equipment, Rolls Royce and Salesforce.

As an MC for the break-out sessions, Regan introduced various speakers, including Cindy Bolt, Senior Vice President for Salesforce Industries, who leads a global industry strategy team for the Manufacturing, Automotive, and Energy sectors and discussed the important role that women play in the fourth industrial revolution. Other influential speakers included Molly Ford, Senior Director of Global Equality Programs at Salesforce, who inspired attendees with her recommendations for millennials looking to take on the world: first, do your job well and succeed, then people will listen to you.

WiM at Work

A frequent and enthusiastic attendee at WiM events, Regan reminisces about what she’s learned through her participation with the organization over time—important ideas she needed to hear and learn in order to grow at different points in her career.

“When I was first asked to come to this event, I found myself sitting in a conference room listening to women who, in addition to being Dassault Systèmes’ customers, quickly became incredible role models for me.” Regan’s relationship to WiM has grown to where she now participates on panels to inspire new recruits and works alongside members to promote each other’s manufacturing careers.

At WiM events, Regan wears two hats, as a representative of Dassault Systèmes, and a promoter of Women in Manufacturing. “With my Dassault Systèmes hat on, I’m always interested in discovering where our customers are in implementing a digital journey for their organization. That said, the nature of WiM events—in which women are there to support each other in their careers—allows me to have a more bonded interaction with people who happen to be prospects or customers. We’re all there to help each other. I’m there to create an ongoing relationship with a network of women I’ll be connected with throughout my career.”

Creating New Opportunities

In her role at Dassault Systèmes, Regan has created opportunities for WiM to share specific ideas and strategies for engaging women by leveraging and reaching out to the company’s network of customers.

Through Regan’s efforts, WiM President and founder Alison Grealis will speak at COExperience in New Orleans in 2019, an event created by an independent community group utilizing the Dassault Systèmes suite of solutions. Grealis will identify specific ways women can help to fill the skills gap in manufacturing for these active and engaged users and customers. Grealis will also serve on a panel to discuss women’s roles in digital manufacturing at Dassault Systèmes’ upcoming Digital Manufacturing Symposium. At both events, Grealis will have the opportunity to introduce her organization to the many Dassault Systèmes’ customers in attendance, while showing how they can get women to take on important manufacturing roles at their own organizations.

 

Now that you’ve read about the platform and resources WiM provides, take a deeper dive by exploring the other articles in our series on Women in Manufacturing. Learn the perils of the coming skills gap and read a fascinating interview with Alison Grealis, President and Founder of WiM.

Continue the conversation by joining our DELMIA Communities on 3DSwYm. Membership is free.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2018/12/making-an-impact-at-the-women-in-manufacturing-annual-summit-dassault-systemes-sponsorship-helps-to-provide-a-platform-for-women-to-plan-their-manufacturing-career-success/

Dec 05 2018

Introducing AGVs on the Shop Floor? Here is What You Need to Keep in Mind (Part 2)

This is the second of a 2-part series on the implementation of AGVs on the shop floor.

Things to Consider When Planning the Introduction of an AGV System

What to Automate?

First, companies need to identify a candidate process to automate, the material flow paths within the process and the load to be transported automatically. A first estimation of employee relocation impacts, rationalization gains, quality improvements and improved work conditions can help decide which processes to target at this point.

What Kind of AGV?

The choice of the process and of the transported load will largely define the kind of AGV to select. There is no standard nomenclature for AGV types, but the most commonly cited ones are the following:

A forklift AGV

  • A Unit Load AGV

    Forklift AGVs, to move and lift pallets both at floor level and on stands

  • Unit load AGVs, to retrieve and delivery pallets, boxes or containers, equipped with decks for load transportation and load transfer
  • Towing AGVs, to move trailers or trains of trailers within the factory
  • Assembly AGVs, to move work-in-progress parts to the assembly line, usually at a slow pace
  • Light load AGVs, to transport small parts or baskets, for example in hospitals

Which Navigation Technology?

AGVs need to continuously assess their position, which can be done in different ways. The choice of navigation technology not only depends on what AGV suppliers may propose, but also on the environment in which the AGVs will operate, and on the desired flexibility for changing AGV paths.

Light Load AGVs, used to carry supplies at the Queen Elisabeth University Hospital. Photo credit: MrGRA

The laser guidance navigation technology is one of the most popular navigation methods today.  A rotating laser on top of the AGV emits a beam that is reflected by marks positioned on walls. The exact vehicle position is computed through triangulation.  This technology is flexible and highly accurate but is sensitive to dirt and sunlight.

Other technologies include:

  • Wire guidance: a current-carrying wire generates a magnetic field (low cost, reliable and robust, but not flexible and sensitive to metal in the ground)
  • Magnetic tape or grid guidance: a magnetic tape or magnetic spots are placed on the floor (low cost, flexible, but sensitive to dirt, sunlight, damages, and metal on the floor)
  • Optical guidance: a painted or taped line on the floor guides the AGV (low cost, flexible, but sensitive to dirt, sunlight and damage to the line)
  • Natural navigation: using a registered map of the facility and a camera or laser, the AGV identifies elements in the facility, such as pillars or walls, and computes its position according to them (highly flexible, does not require a specific infrastructure, but preferably used only in simple and constant environments, sensitive to sunlight)
  • GPS navigation: satellites are used to determine the position of the AGV (adapted to the outdoor environment, but low precision and cannot be used inside)

Charging station used at the Hamburg container terminal. Photo credit: Wolfgang Klein

Which Charging Strategy?

AGVs operate on batteries and there are different options to manage charging:

  • Battery swap. When the battery level falls beneath a certain point, the AGV is redirected to a station where the battery is replaced by a fully charged one. The swap can be done manually or automatically. The advantage of a battery swap is that it limits the unavailability of the AGV to a minimum. The disadvantage is that extra batteries must be purchased and stored.
  • Automatic charging. When the battery level falls beneath a certain point, the AGV is redirected to a charging station. During charging time, the AGV is not available, which means that more AGVs are needed, for example, the battery can last during all day shifts and be charged at night.
  • Opportunity charging. The AGV is redirected to a charging station when an opportunity arises. This is a solution to consider if AGVs are stopped and idle several times a day.

IT Impacts

Unless AGVs simply move back and forth across predefined and independent paths, there is a need for a central management of the fleet of AGVs. All AGV vendors propose an AGV Control System, which is proprietary software allowing to:

  • Program vehicle routes, using a map of the facilities and of possible paths previously entered in the system
  • Fulfill transportation orders, by selecting an available AGV and ordering it to go from point A to point B using a given path
  • Monitor vehicle statuses and locations
  • Interact with other systems, such as ERP or Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) Systems

Having a well-working AGV Control System also means addressing the IT challenges of a reliable wireless network and integrating with IT and OT Systems. Simulating the AGV fleet before its commissioning can also bring a lot of benefits.

Wireless LAN

Individual AGVs need to maintain constant communication with the AGV Control System through a wireless network, either to receive orders or send back field data.

The deployment of the wireless solution needs, therefore, to be carefully planned and tested. For instance, if antenna fields do not have sufficient overlap, this can result in the AGVs sometimes losing contact. The industrial environment may also cause interferences or other issues. For example, industrial metal surfaces such as those used in racks can cause a reflection of radio waves, preventing a well-functioning connection.

Integration with Other Systems

In order to fully automate transportation operations, the AGV System needs to communicate with other Systems, such as the ERP and MOM systems.

Transport orders need to be created and scheduled according to demand and capacity. The Warehouse Management System then needs to check the availability of the storage bins, communicate the location of the palette or goods to be transported and update the inventory after the transportation has been done. Integration with other components of the MOM system (Production, Quality) can allow a full traceability of the materials from receipt to final delivery.

AGV Fleet Simulation

Finally, a program that can simulate the operations of a future AGV fleet can prove useful to:

  • Verify that the AGV fleet has been properly sized,
  • Assess the efficiency of the routing and of the battery charging strategies,
  • Experiment “what if“ scenarios with unexpected events, such as a human crossing the path of an AGV or several AGVs being down.

Conclusion

Cheaper and more accurate sensors, better vision recognition, quicker-charging batteries, intelligent collaboration within an AGV fleet… AGVs will benefit from all these advances in the future, making their usage even more compelling and their deployment easier. In the meantime, and as we have seen, companies need to evaluate the business case for AGVs, select an AGV type that can support all the required loads, make sure the environment is suitable for the AGV navigation system, implement a reliable WLAN infrastructure for AGVs and properly integrate other systems, such as MOM software, with the AGV Control System.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2018/12/introducing-agvs-on-the-shop-floor-here-is-what-you-need-to-keep-in-mind-part-2/

Nov 28 2018

Data Science: Making Sense of Digital Manufacturing

It’s hard enough to understand any one thing, let alone the complex interactions between many things—each of which is constantly changing, through the other things acting on it.

That’s the promise of data science, a mashup of computing, mathematics, statistical analysis, and good old-fashioned critical thinking. Its knack is to detect signals, structure, and patterns from data sets to advance learning and decision making in every field—from the study of the universe and human genome through medicine, engineering, the stock market… and manufacturing.

Data science is the latest iteration of technique in humankind’s quest to get to the bottom of things. As such, it has emerged as one of the “Big Tools” of our 21st century world, alongside the Large Hadron Collider in physics and the Hubble Space Telescope in astronomy—tools that let us peer deep inside, or far away, to peel away the layers of the innermost workings of things.

Manufacturing has always been fiendishly complex, making it easy to throw up your hands in frustration at attempts to uncover root causes. Now, digitization has opened a window into its innumerable variables—by capturing the many data points that constitute any manufacturing process, from raw material provenance through production steps, work in process, yield rates, quality conformance, equipment effectiveness, and so forth, all the way through supply-chain planning and logistics.

That’s where data science steps in, with its intimidating kit of tools: linear regression, density estimation, clustering, decision trees, nearest neighbors, scoring engine, and so on. You’ll most likely not need to know much about them except this: these are the techniques that can decode the streaming, cellular composition of manufacturing, analyze connected elements and occurrences to make sense of what has happened—and is happening, and offer informed predictions of the probability of what is to come.

Data scientists are now integral parts of manufacturing teams. Glassdoor ranked the job number-one on its list of the 50 best jobs in America for 2018. The description of a data science course offered at UC Berkeley gives you a hint of what they know: “… will explore the data science lifecycle, including question formulation, data collection and cleaning, exploratory data analysis and visualization, statistical inference and prediction, and decision-making.” The class focus includes “… languages for transforming, querying and analyzing data; algorithms for machine learning…; principles behind creating informative data visualizations; statistical concepts of measurement error and prediction…”

The applications of data science to digital manufacturing are limitless. Real-time understanding of operational processes enables higher throughput and rapid pivots. Analyzing shop-floor sensor data lets manufacturers make compensating tweaks when quality veers from tolerance. Customer sentiment can be graphed to customized design and production. Supply-chain forecasts and delivery decisions can be optimized down to the individual stockkeeping unit and location level.

Data science will power today’s industrial renaissance. It is the “petri dish” of the experience economy, fostering in its culture a direct, flexible path from consumer want to manufactured fulfillment.

This post originally appeared on Navigate the Future, the Dassault Systemes North America blog

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2018/11/data-science-making-sense-of-digital-manufacturing/

Nov 21 2018

Is Your Planning Integrated?

Most manufacturers take advantage of planning software (MRP and its variants) to set production schedules and lay out replenishment requirements for inventory. Most companies also engage in a formal business planning process to set strategic objectives, plan cash flow and financial requirements, allocate funds to major business functions, plan capital expenditures, etc. But are these processes tied together into one integrated planning approach?

General Dwight D. Eisenhower was known to have said “Plans are useless but planning is essential” to acknowledge that the real world seldom behaves as we expect, but we must plan nevertheless. The end result of the planning process is a set of actions and goals that guide activities. In the case of manufacturing plans, the planning process lays out manufacturing and purchasing activities (orders) that must be carried out at the specified times in order to have products to meet demand, avoid shortages, minimize excess inventory, and best use the resources available. In other words, the planning process provides instructions that tell operations what to do to support the ultimate objective of satisfying customer demand.Integrated Planning

The real question is whether that objective is properly in tune with the business objectives – sales expectations, profit targets, market share, etc.

For most companies these days, the key planning process comes together in Sales and Operations Plan or S&OP. APICS describes planning in general as a top-down process that starts with the business plan that sets long-term targets for sales, profit, etc. at a high level. That business plan is broken down into successively more detailed views thusly:

  • Business plan: high level and long term e.g., total sales, margin, share, etc.
  • S&OP: intermediate to long term (typically 18-24 months) for product families or groups
  • Master Schedule: Intermediate term (6 to 18 months) for individual products
  • Material Requirements Planning: (up to 12 months) for all products, assemblies, materials and components
  • Execution – production and purchasing are activities carried out to support the plan

This, of course, is a highly simplified view but makes the point that the detailed plan must be driven from the overall business objectives in a top-down manner. Only in this way can the individual activities accomplished day-to-day be tied directly to what the company is trying to achieve. If whatever you’re doing is not according to the plan, it’s not generating value for the company. Note that the ultimate achievement of corporate objectives is inescapably tied to meeting customer demands. After all, they are the ones buying the products that put the money into company coffers that keeps the lights on. The top-down planning process translates corporate objectives into customer/product plans – supply and demand are matched in the S&OP step – which are then translated into specific actions for individual departments, functions and employees. The plan keeps everyone working toward the common goals.

 

This post originally appeared on Navigate the Future, the Dassault Systemes North America blog

Continue the conversation by joining our DELMIA Communities on 3DSwYm. Membership is free.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2018/11/is-your-planning-integrated/

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