Consumer demand for more customised products is driving strong competition between OEMs, not just in innovation of design but also time to market. The difficulty often falls onto suppliers to optimize the manufacturing process to reduce time to market.
For NC Programmers, it can take a lot of time to verify positioning paths in order to find the safest motions to use that avoid collisions and over-travel during machining. This manual process of having to consistently correct errors discovered from the machine simulation can be very time consuming.
Further complications arise if the manufacturing programme needs to be relocated to a different CNC machine. Positioning paths now have to be redeveloped within the CAM system to accommodate the new CNC machine. So the whole trial and error process has to begin all over again, increasing cycle time.
Yet there are solutions that suppliers can take to reduce manufacturing cycle time. By taking a broader look at the manufacturing process and how suppliers can work with OEMs in scheduling, suppliers can prepare better for orders placed by OEMs. Narrowing down to the manufacturing process itself, upgrading software within NC programming can also have significant effects on reducing cycle time.
Collaboration with OEMs
Collaborating with OEMs can be an effective way to increase manufacturing efficiency with the side benefit of strengthening relationships with OEMs.
When thinking about how to reduce cycle time and speed up manufacturing, you should consider the broader manufacturing process. For example, OEMs can often place orders on an erratic schedule. This means as a supplier, you may have inconsistent deadlines for producing and delivering parts. You may even face situations where you have to complete orders on an extremely short time-scale.
To reduce the cycle time of manufacturing for these orders, you should consider working with OEMs to produce a more consistent scheduling of orders. By having a more predictable schedule, you can prepare for these orders well in advance and get the manufacturing process off to a quick start. The consequence for the supply chain is this helps to reduce the time taken to produce orders (i.e. machining parts), and also reduces the costs of carrying inventory.
So it may be worth a discussion with OEMs to see how you can work together to produce a more predictable schedule for orders.
Although it can be difficult to change your software and adapt to new processes, the efficient production of quality parts needs to come first, meaning software changes may need to be made.
For example, NC programming time can be increased by employing ICAM software. ICAM is able to function at the point of post-processing, significantly improving the efficiency of your manufacturing process.
ICAM’s Adaptive Post-Processing solution works by enabling in-process evaluation of feedback from the post-processor and simulation. Adaptive Post-Processing creates an optimized NC code for the CNC machine, directly at the point of post-processing. By eliminating the need to make consistent corrections to the NC Programme, Adaptive Post-Processing reduces your NC programming time by between 25-35%.
Ultimately, by collaborating with OEMs to produce a more predictable schedule of orders or upgrading software to reduce NC programming time, suppliers can reduce manufacturing cycle time. This enables suppliers to gain an advantage over competitors and ensure customers remain happy and committed.