Changes in the manufacturing process must always be assessed to ensure an operation maintains its efficiency. Adding flexibility to the equation is part of the key to managing packaging variability during runtime. Here are points to remember about rapidly changing markets and how they affect customer satisfaction.
What Is Variability Management?
Variability management refers to a system for overseeing multiple applications that may be similar or different. Part of this management deals with the infrastructure being flexible to account for a variety of changes that may occur in the market at any time. These changes might include product modifications, ordering parameters or rethinking lead times.
The complexity of a constantly changing market has led to changes in production systems that are best simplified at a centralized location. A modern manufacturing system needs to embrace flexibility in routing, product processing and machine use. Integrating new technology into a system should be possible during development and runtime for maximum efficiency.
At the heart of variability management is the goal of mass production or having the capability of managing a long list of items. It may be products with diverse portfolios or production processes that ecompass multiple machines. It may also involve several levels of classification. Another part of the operation may include managing the different types of requirements, processes and tools needed for production.
During manufacturing, it's essential to identify variability categories to help streamline the process. Categories that map space variability issues include macro process, micro process and the trade and component variability. In the case of a modular manufacturing system, a module consists of various components that contribute to the manufacturing process.
The more complex a process becomes, the more it should fall under the umbrella of a macro process variability model (MaPVM). A cylinder in an engine, for example, consists of multiple components (piston, spring, cap, etc.). Making matters even more complex, each part has a list of features including serial number and description. A part is also associated with a list of instructions in the manufacturing process. Instructions may include how to drill holes or space them apart from each other.
Variability models (VMs) can be used to analyze variants within a system. The trade and component variability model (TCVM) is useful when a variant in the manufacturing system needs to be identified. The TCVM contains all the revelation details about a product line.
Changing Configurations During Runtime
The use of a TCVM, an extension of conventional VM, provides efficiency, speeding up reconfiguration time during production. It keeps all the necessary information for changes in a module in one place. It's a fundamental strategy for meeting the requirements of changes in the manufacturing process, which is why TCVM needs to be considered at runtime.
Applying Variability to Industrial Needs
For broader industrial needs, variability categories can be merged together to create a consistent manufacturing concept. It allows for the easy analysis of the full manufacturing process, as well as variants within modules. There needs to be a heavy emphasis on resolving real world problems. One of the changes that many plants may not be in a position to deploy is development of new or expanded production space. Manufacturing firms must also consider plans for redesign and retrofit. New production systems may call for deeper analyis of how well prepared factories are to meet structural changes.
The logistics to factory needs are constantly changing, so an existing manufacturing system needs to be flexible enough so that new applications can be integrated. There may also be a need for a backup crew that calls for standardization of services. A well summarized MaPVM helps contribute to a more streamlined system that can be enhanced with certain requirements. The application should be flexible enough to process all the necessary information to support order planning.
Modern manufacturing processes must be set up for adaptable change during both development and runtime. Keeping processes flexible will be a key to reducing maintenance time and maximizing efficiency. Many of these challenges are being resolved with evolving software platforms.
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