• How do leading companies manage and operate their labs and what impact does that have on their business? Please share your thoughts in our short Chemical Lab Digitalization Survey.Tech-Clarity invites you to join a research study on best practices in lab management. If you've already completed the survey  –> please share with a colleague or you social media friends using the “Share/Save” buttons above. If you haven’t taken the survey  –> please: Take the survey nowComplete the survey and receive a free copy of the final report.In addition,  25 eligible* respondents will … [ read more ]

    Chemical Lab Digitalization (survey invitation)
  • Please join Airbus Helicopters’ Nicolas De Mauroy, PTC's Service Practice Lead Keith Garguilo, and Tech-Clarity's Michelle Boucher,  on Tuesday November 14, 2017 at either 8:00 EST or 2:00 EST to learn how to improve the quality of the information made to service technicians by using the engineering BOM to produce the service BOM. By attending this webinar, you will learn about:The capabilities needed to transform EBOMs into SBOMs. Service BOMs’ impact on field service productivity and service supply chain effectiveness. How Airbus used SBOMs to apply full-circle product lifecycle management … [ read more ]

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    Close the Engineering Skills Gap (survey findings)
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    How to Beat Your Competition in Product Development (infographic)
  • Tech-Clarity's Jim Brown hosted a panel discussion at the recent Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE Forum in Florida. The participants shared their perspectives on the cloud and their experience moving PLM to the cloud using the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. Participants include:Kavi Parupally, Senior Director of Business Apps, Rockwell Collins Javier Glatt, CEO, CADMakers, Inc. Jeff Walters, VP Engineering, Globe Trailershttps://youtu.be/qqjE-ZtJOKc … [ read more ]

    Accelerating your Business & Reducing Complexity with the Cloud (panel discussion)

Digital Prototypes – Yes. But for a Manufacturing Plant?

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A quick peek into some research on … the use of digital prototyping techniques and technologies to design (and redesign) efficient manufacturing plants. Thumbnail_DP_PlantMost of the times I discuss “digital prototyping” it regards products. But the same concepts apply when using digital prototyping in the plant – namely using digital models to increase design efficiency and get designs right the first time. Today I am happy to share my new report with you, Digital Prototyping in the Plant: Improving Manufacturing Agility with the Digital Factory.

Why Digital Prototyping Now?

Clearly, the economy has been tough on manufacturers across the globe. Today, manufacturers are facing a series of demands to survive today and thrive during the economic recovery. I researched engineering’s role in a survive and thrive strategy from a product perspective earlier this year, noting that Engineering can make short-term impacts on both the top and bottom lines in the near term while innovating to prepare for the future. But what impact does the economic downturn have on manufacturing and plant engineers? In the plant right now, you are probably facing:

  • The need to cut cost
  • The demand to improve efficiency
  • The requirement to adjust to plant or line consolidations, volume/mix changes, and potentially new products
  • Lean resources to accomplish all of the above

What Did the Research Reveal?

Tech-Clarity interviewed leading manufacturers including Android, Robert Bosch, and General Motors on their use of digital prototyping. By leveraging 3D models in their plants, these manufacturers are improving their ability to design and reuse optimal tooling at a detail level as well as optimizing workstations, lines, and plants at a macro level. They are leveraging the tools to validate and optimize changes in a virtual environment before commiting to physical changes. In return, they are able to “find hundreds of issues … early in the process” and ensure smooth production in the plant when modifications are brought online.

One interesting finding was the use of 3D laser scanning to create 3D models of older plants that were likely designed using 2D drawings. In these scenarios, 3D for prototypes is created “using 3D laser scanning (LIDAR) to capture 3D point clouds of existing brownfield sites and pulling those into our CAD models.” This helps to reduce the barrier to entry for digital prototyping in existing plants.

Another interesting finding was the use of digital prototypes to collaborate with tooling suppliers, who are frequently geographically dispersed. With lower travel budgets and short time frames, electronic collaboration can bridge the gap. As one participant said, “This enables engineers collaborating deeply with external design suppliers to see the changes much faster and with less errors than in the 2D world.” Of course digital prototypes also help enable collaboration with design engineers in a concurrent engineering approach to get new products ramped up quickly.

Implications for Manufacturers

Cost saving opportunities are available, and change is inevitable. Manufacturers today have the opportunity to increase their agility and improve efficiency through digital prototyping technology. Please read the report for more recommendations. You may also be interested in a prior report, Leveraging the Digital Factory: Enhancing Productivity from Operator to Enterprise on the use of digital prototyping and Manufacturing Process Management (MPM) and Digital Manufacturing solutions to reduce cost, speed time to market, and improve product quality.

So that was a quick peek into some recent research on digital prototyping in the plant, I hope you found it interesting. Does the research reflect your experiences? Do you see it differently? Let us know what it looks like from your perspective.

Please feel free to review more free research and white papers about PLM and other enterprise software for manufacturers from Tech-Clarity.

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