Sep 13 2017

A HERITAGE OF INNOVATION: Embraer is driven to supersize its customer experiences

Brazil’s Embraer has gone from a newcomer in the business jet marketplace to one of the aerospace industry’s dominant share leaders
in just eight years. Ask any Embraer executive how they’ve achieved so much in so short a time and they’re likely to give a one-word answer: innovation. Here’s a look at how they do it.

Embraer technicians perform diagnostic tests on a Phenom 100 light jet on the production line in Melbourne, Florida. The entry-level business jet is one of the fastest aircraft in its class. (Image © Embraer)

In the eight years since Embraer began delivering jets designed specifically for business aviation, the Brazilian company has achieved a seamless progression of improved products that has established it as one of the world’s most innovative aerospace enterprises.

In 2008, the Phenom 100 became Embraer’s first “clean-sheet” (all new) design in the entry-level jet category. Developed in parallel, the slightly larger Phenom 300 entered service in 2009 with innovations that included the largest baggage compartment, largest windows and lowest cabin pressurization in its class.

“The Phenom 100 revolutionized the entry-level segment when it set new standards for comfort, performance, and operating costs,” said Marco Tulio Pellegrini, president and CEO, Embraer Executive Jets, “and the Phenom 300 was just as disruptive.”

Buyers noticed. Within two years of entering service, the Phenom 100 was the industry’s most-delivered business jet. Between 2013 and 2015, the 300 laid claim to that achievement. The Phenom 300 has captured 54% market share in the light-jet category for Embraer, a major accomplishment against larger, more established rivals.


Ask any Embraer executive how they did it, and it’s likely their answer will include one critical word: innovation. “Embraer’s culture of innovation has been driven by the need to be competitive internationally, without the safety net of a large domestic market or overprotective government,” said Antoine Gelain, managing director of London-based independent private equity firm Paragon European Partners and aerospace industry practice leader at Candesic, a London-based strategy and management-consulting firm. “This culture still pervades what they do today and will be even more important as more competitors emerge.”Embraer began exploring the business aviation market in 2000. Leveraging years of engineering expertise gained by manufacturing aircraft designed specifically for regional airlines, the company introduced the super-midsize Legacy, built on the same platform of its Embraer Regional Jet (ERJ) 135. Engineers took the fuselage of the 37-passenger commercial airliner, increased its range and gave passengers inflight access to the largest baggage compartment of any business jet at the time.

Continue reading the rest of this story here, on COMPASS, the 3DEXPERIENCE Magazine

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Sep 06 2017


How 3D simulation planning tools can make the plant floor safer and more productive

It’s impossible to overrate the value of shop-floor safety. Above all, there’s the commitment to protect plant workers from production hazards. Then there’s the need to be regulations-compliant and protect corporate reputation. Safety keeps the lines productive, protected against accidents and delays. And, finally, safety measures protect major investments in tooling and materials.

Using simulation to make safety a plant design fundamental

Safety starts with the basics: plant layout, beginning with resource planning. Tools are available that enable planners, working in a virtual 3D environment, to define manufacturing operations, sequences, and premises, and structures that organize resources, in a way that combines optimized productivity with worker safety.

As an example, planners can use an immersive 3D environment to create virtual mechanical devices, from simple clamps to complex robots and lift-assist equipment.   They can validate mechanical devices in the virtual offline world with no risk of injury to shop-floor workers or damage to equipment.

Simulate tasks to ensure production-line safety

Other simulation tools enable planners to create lifelike manikins with standard anthropometry (human body dimensions) and put them in a 3D model. Planners who aren’t expert in ergonomics can simulate predefined actions like grab and release, using a tool or operating a device. Analysis can be so precise and comprehensive that it includes spine stress analysis indicating reach ranges for the optimal placement of part bins or the manikin’s field of vision.

These tools give designers early identification of potential ergonomic problems so they can create a safe process with high productivity.

Keep work instructions graphically explicit-and always up to date

Safety can be compromised if work instructions are misunderstood or misapplied. But if the model and the process plan are developed in a collaborative 3D environment, they can be distributed in a lightweight web format to mobile devices and presented in 3D or 2D graphical format. Workers can view operation-by-operation product buildup in 3D, and select any operation for review.  They no longer have to work with printed documents and can always be confident that their instructions are up-to-date. Safety hazards from outdated printed documents are eliminated.

Please comment below. If you want to continue the conversation, join us in the DELMIA Manufacturing Planning community and in the Virtual Ergonomics group

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Aug 23 2017

MATERIALS COMPLIANCE: Deadlines loom, but preparation takes years

A barrage of materials-compliance regulations is springing up worldwide, challenging manufacturers to be proactive in protecting revenues, avoiding fines, and maintaining product quality. Some, however, have transformed their approach to the regulations from a burdensome compliance “chore” into a competitive advantage.

When Agilent Technologies (USA) learned that it needed to remove lead solder from its electronic test products to meet new European Union (EU) environmental regulations, it took more than five years to comply. Redesigning 2,100 products took 24 months; testing the new designs for performance and durability took another 18 months.

“If we hadn’t gotten out in front of the issue very early, the European market could have banned our products,” said Frank Elsesser, Agilent’s director of Environmental Compliance, Product Regulations and Safety. “We had a third of our annual revenues on the line, about a billion US dollars. And the regulations are expanding.”

Virtually every manufacturer on the globe faces Elsesser’s challenge, but few are as aggressive as Agilent in meeting it. “Our products last for decades, so we realized that meeting the regulations early could give us a strong competitive advantage,” Elsesser said. “And it has.”


Following the EU’s lead, regulations that limit the presence of hazardous materials in products and manufacturing processes are being adopted by government after government, affecting almost every industry. While most manufacturers respect the legislation’s intent, they face a complex maze of evolving and sometimes contradictory regulations that affect the production, distribution, use and disposal of their products.

Given the complexity, environmental compliance cannot be a one-time project, said Meglena Mihova, partner at the European public affairs consultancy EPPA (formerly known as European Public Policy Advisers). With the increasing barrage of regulations, most notably the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directives issued by the EU, Mihova urges manufacturers to be proactive.


Companies shouldn’t sit back and wait for the next regulation, Mihova said, but should get involved as directives are written and expanded. “The politicians involved in creating environmental regulations like RoHS and REACH often fail to understand the complexity of the supply chain,” Mihova said.

“For companies to be compliant, they have to reach out to different continents and, in many cases, completely redesign a very complex product. Sometimes it takes years to find suitable substitutes and retest for the required quality and reliability of a product that may be in use for 20 or 30 years.” Mihova points to US-based Agilent as a strong example of proactive action.

Although the monitoring-and-control- equipment giant was not in the immediate scope of RoHS when the regulations were first enacted, Agilent immediately examined its supply chain and began to redesign its products with compliance in mind. Its manufacturing experts also became active participants in the legislative process.

Continue reading the rest of this story here, on COMPASS, the 3DEXPERIENCE Magazine

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Aug 16 2017

PRODUCT DESIGN ENTERS A NEW REALITY: Immersive virtuality helps companies design better products faster and more economically

Seeing a virtual product in 3D on a computer screen is good, but the small screen makes it easy to miss the fine details of complex products – details that could be expensive to fix later. The arrival of low-cost head-mounted displays is eliminating that challenge, allowing designers and engineers to experience their creations at life-size scale.

While all three are immersed in a virtual cabin interior in Embraer’s mixed reality facility, Bruce McDougall kneels to point out a detail to Evelise Teixeira (center) and Brian Hammer (right). A model of the area they are experiencing is displayed on the wall monitor. (Image © Embraer)

Development of 3D design software revolutionized product development. The ability to see those 3D models in immersive virtuality (iV) is about to revolutionize it again.

“VR allows you not just to look at the 3D models, but to experience them,” said David Nahon, director of Immersive Virtuality at 3DEXPERIENCE Lab at Dassault Systèmes (publisher of Compass). “That is a game-changing development. Looking at a model on a desktop is good, but the full-scale experience of the model gives you the capacity to asses a lot of elements you might not notice on the small screen, before you invest in any further expensive development.”

The world’s wealthiest corporations have used iV technology in Virtual Reality (VR) CAVEs for nearly two decades, but high cost and complexity limited its use primarily to expert users in design and engineering. Low-cost head mounted displays (HMDs), newly introduced in 2016, are making immersive experiences available to companies of all sizes, however, while expanding access to more users than could ever fit in a CAVE.

“Many manufacturing industries have interest in VR,” said Hervé Fontaine, vice president of B2B Virtual Reality for HMD maker HTC Vive. “With the product lines of Vive designed specifically for enterprises, anyone who is using 3D software can suddenly view their model in VR.

“Rather than building a physical prototype to look for mistakes, they will be able to spot errors in VR at a much earlier point in development than they have been able to do on a computer screen, which will save them lots of time and money.”

Continue reading the rest of this story here, on COMPASS, the 3DEXPERIENCE Magazine

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Aug 09 2017

Opportunities and challenges of a manufacturing Center of Excellence

I recently blogged about the annual Gartner MESA survey and how it reveals that most manufacturers do not achieve the full value of their enterprise MES, or MOM systems, because they don’t start with a clear understanding of the value and benefits they are aiming for.

Manufacturers tend to view MES as a financial investment with predictable payback through automation of current operations reducing the cost of goods sold (COGS). This approach generates quick-hit benefits, but it limits the impact of the technology because it fails to enable all the new things that could be done. Enterprise MES should be the starting point, not the endpoint.

Now the latest Gartner MESA survey has come out, and it reinforces these findings. Most manufacturers are still implementing MES in limited ways that prevent them from realizing the high-level benefits such as responsiveness, agility, corporate-wide quality containment, synchronized supply chains, and continuous improvement.

The survey summary states, manufacturers should “look at MES as part of an enterprise architecture, not just as a stand-alone app, and build a long-term business case instead of an immediate fix.”

Ironically, by focusing on immediate financial return instead of the more strategic operational returns, many manufacturers miss out on the full value of their investment.

Transformation, not just automation

By contrast, the most successful manufacturers generate value from enterprise MES not just by automating their current operations, but by transforming them. For multi-plant manufacturers, the foundation of this transformation is the manufacturing Center of Excellence, or CoE. I touched on this in my last blog. Now I’d like to discuss the CoE in more detail.

A CoE is many things. It is a centralized hub where the best practices and expertise of an enterprise are formulated and eventually reside, so companies can set standards for the organization and deploy them consistently to all plants. It can also be a repository and gateway to critical enterprise manufacturing data, an environment for testing new emerging processes, and a tool for discovering, monitoring and disseminating manufacturing improvements.

Most importantly, a CoE that represents a single enterprise operations-based foundation, allows global manufacturers to extend their operational and quality control into the supply chains, upstream into external suppliers as well as internal design and engineering teams. This establishing a stream of digital continuity; the Digital Thread. This same foundation enables a holistic view towards customers and service and repair entities.

This is where the game-changing advantages are to be found. For example:

Quality. How is incoming quality inspection handled in each plant? Is the process the same everywhere, or are there differences? How do you know if you are comparing apples to apples? The Center of Excellence makes it possible to achieve consistency and establish meaningful KPI standards for quality. Then there is the larger question of consistent quality manufacturing across all plants. This can only be done, with real accuracy, with a CoE to monitor and control every step of production, everywhere.

Measurement. Measurement is critical for all operations. Take on-time delivery. Many manufacturers consider this a key metric and constantly try to improve it. But can you see how all the processes, supply chain issues, and other factors relate to on-time delivery? It’s hard to link these factors meaningfully unless you have an enterprise MES managed from a Center of Excellence.

Standard processes versus localization. Local variations are often necessary, but every difference in process creates inefficiencies. Further, where variations occur, it’s important to understand those differences and how they may impact all the other metrics. A CoE provides the control and visibility for manufacturers to manage these variations and ensure that only essential variations are allowed.

Discovery of best practices. Centers of Excellence are not just a way to deploy best practices, they are also a way to discover best practices. Innovations don’t always come from headquarters. Sometimes—maybe even most often—innovations are developed on a plant floor somewhere, by people who are close the problem every day. A CoE that can “harvest” best practices from their sites provides a formal path and policy to discover, “upload”, test, and then methodically deploy the innovation across the enterprise rapidly and reliably.  Industry leaders are utilizing this harvest within their COEs with terrific results.

These are just a few examples of enterprise MES benefits that are not easy to measure by a simple financial formula. They are soft, but strategic.  There are many more, such as quality containment, supply chain synchronization, rapid new prodct/ferature deployment, and design-manufacturing collaboration. While such benefits aren’t easily justifiable by a simple financial formula, they are clearly of major importance to global manufacturers.

Why so challenging?

With so many high-level benefits, why aren’t more manufacturers focusing on Centers of Excellence? One reason is complexity. A CoE is a combination of people, processes, and technology, and it touches on nearly every activity of a global manufacturer. The few examples given above should make that clear.

Yet while this kind of transformation is challenging, it is by no means insurmountable. There is a growing body of expertise and experience surrounding enterprise MES and Centers of Excellence, and how to deploy them successfully. DELMIA has helped many global manufacturers (Valeo and Cummins, for example) transform their manufacturing with enterprise MES technology.

In my next blog, I’ll explore the value and maturity assessment process we have developed at DELMIA over hundreds of engagements to assess, plan, and implement enterprise MES within a manufacturing COE so that the full benefits of transformation can be achieved.

Related articles:
CENTER OF EXCELLENCE: Optimizing key step in realizing MES/MOM operational transformation
The secret to MES success: Learn from experience

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