Today’s aerospace companies cutting composite materials have to be more competitive than ever, achieving this either through automation or other efficiency saving techniques. One area that, for many, still relies on outdated technology is material management, or specifically tracking the life of composite materials.
Many companies will comfortably spend a five or six figure sum on a Production Control software (MRP) system but find a black hole of invisibility of jobs that enter their CAM system. Management or Sales unsuccessfully trying to obtain information on the status of an order, other departments trying to locate parts that possibly have not even been programmed yet into CAM system etc. These are day-to-day occurrences for many manufacturers. Perhaps you’re one of them, or are just about to take the plunge into shop floor data management. Find out the common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Most companies start in the same way – a few people have an idea, create a business and then build the manufacturing processes required to make it happen. The tracking and reporting on these processes are often a reactive afterthought, usually as a result of problems caused through a lack of production planning. Does your business suffer from the same problems and what can an MRP system do about it?
There is often a trend by some CNC machine tool manufacturers, in any market sector, to push a complete integrated CAM software and hardware solution. While this does provide the customer with a single point of reference there are many hidden pitfalls; it can often be considerably more expensive in the long run and can also be restrictive when the company looks to buy new equipment in the future.
You can have the fastest engine strapped to the leanest, lightest chassis, but replace proper tyres with wheels from a shopping trolley and you’ll end up going nowhere fast. The same analogy applies to the relationship between a CNC machine tool such as a composite knife cutter and the software that programs it. More specifically, the requirements placed on the software will dramatically change based upon the machine technology in use – now and in the future. So what should you be looking for in a CAM system and how can it improve the efficiency of your machine, your work force and your material utilization?