Metrology for lean manufacturing: EM Sleuth's enterprise metrology self-assessment guide (the short form).
Lean Manufacturing Lean manufacturing is the production of goods using less of everything compared to mass production: less human effort, less manufacturing space, less investment in tools, and less engineering time to develop a new product. involves the system-wide analysis of the manufacturing enterprise to eliminate waste, improve efficiency, and wring wring
v. wrung , wring·ing, wrings
1. To twist, squeeze, or compress, especially so as to extract liquid. Often used with out.
2. out unnecessary costs. A key component of this analysis is the collection and evaluation of dimensional information using a new generation of metrology metrology
Science of measurement. Measuring a quantity means establishing its ratio to another fixed quantity of the same kind, known as the unit of that kind of quantity. software--tools that are part of the emerging discipline of enterprise metrology.
Enterprise metrology, like lean manufacturing, saves manufacturers a great deal of money. However, those are small savings compared with what happens when enterprise metrology systems make it possible for lean manufacturing practitioners to produce systemic cost reductions.
How far in implementing enterprise metrology is your manufacturing operation? To what extent are the tools giving your lean manufacturing team the ability to sleuth out waste and inefficiencies?
To begin, let's evaluate your progress in the six areas that define enterprise metrology:
* Early integration of measurement with CAD;
* Common look, feel, and functionality of measurement system control and operation;
* Streamlined, flexible part programming tools;
* Open measurement database accessible by a wide range of analytical tools;
* Flexible reporting capabilities;
* Enterprise-wide dimensional information publishing.
Up front with CAD
The manufacturing process starts with design. Enterprise metrology closes the loop between inspection and design by providing feedback on how well manufacturing is meeting the implicit and explicit requirements built into the CAD model both at its creation and through its lifecycle.
The best practice is to make design intent explicit at the very beginning by encoding See encode. GD&T (geometric dimensioning and tolerancing Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing is a symbolic language used on engineering drawings and computer generated three-dimensional solid models for explicitly describing nominal geometry and its allowable variation. It is often referred to by the abbreviation, GD&T. ) data electronically into the CAD model. In some cases, this happens when engineers develop measurement programs directly on the CAD system, using either proprietary tools or software based on standards such as DMIS DMIS Disaster Management Information System (FEMA)
DMIS Dimensional Measurement Interface Standard
DMIS Defense Medical Information System
DMIS Disaster Management Interoperability Service
DMIS Department of Management Information Systems . Recently, popular CAD software packages (e.g., Solid Works and Unigraphics) have begun providing tools for embedding 1. (mathematics) embedding - One instance of some mathematical object contained with in another instance, e.g. a group which is a subgroup.
2. (theory) embedding - (domain theory) A complete partial order F in [X -> Y] is an embedding if GD&T data into the CAD model. Consequently, designers now have a highly flexible method for making their intent an integral part of their models in the form of inspection plans.
CAD-based programs such as Wilcox Associates' IP Planner use this capability to create "electronic blueprints" that accompany the model to the CMM (Capability Maturity Model) A process developed by SEI in 1986 to help improve, over time, the application of an organization's supporting software technologies. . There a second program, IP Measure, uses it to automate To turn a set of manual steps into an operation that goes by itself. See automation. most of the job of part programming. This eliminates most data entry errors and reduces programming labor by as much as 80 percent.
Metronor's AIMS uses an alternate approach. A special data collection module accompanies the CAD model to the measurement system. This module causes the measurement system to capture sets of points on the part being inspected and writes them into a database. This database is then sent back to the CAD system where a built-in metrology component accesses the data and uses it to analyze and evaluate the part.
These examples represent two very different approaches to integrating measurement and analysis with CAD. The approach you use depends largely on the size and complexity of your manufacturing operation along with how much flexibility specific departments need to solve their unique problems. Two questions you should ask to assess your own capabilities and needs include:
* Are you using CAD files to develop inspection programs and programs for CMMs and other measurement devices?
* Have you found a way to make GD&T information CAD-resident and transfer that to the measurement device?
Look, feel, function
As much as possible, measurement systems in the lab and on the shop floor should have software with a common look, feel, and functionality. After all, people can accomplish much more when they are intimately familiar with their tools.
Using Windows-based soft-solving these problems. Having a common metrology software system does the rest. Such a comprehensive solution includes software usable on multiple brands and types of equipment, including CMMs, vision machines, probe-capable NC machines, and the like. Some are even capable of sharing measurement programs among dissimilar types of equipment.
Some important questions to ask:
* Is common software with a consistent look, feel, and functionality a consideration when you evaluate measurement equipment?
* Do you use a single control and operating software package on all or most of your CMMs?
We take for granted the capabilities of high-speed DCC (1) (Direct Cable Connection) A Windows 95/98 feature that allows PCs to be cabled together for data transfer. DCC actually sets up a network connection between the two machines. measurement systems that can perform, in hours or minutes, complex inspections that might have required days or even weeks only a decade ago. Now all the labor is in programming, which can be especially costly and nerve-wracking in the early stages of manufacturing process development--when everything is needed yesterday.
Today, it is possible to reduce this labor and cost substantially. Options range from simplified point-and-click programming using a CAD model as a template (1) A pre-designed document or data file formatted for common purposes such as a fax, invoice or business letter. If the document contains an automated process, such as a word processing macro or spreadsheet formula, then the programming is already written and embedded in the to automated au·to·mate
v. au·to·mat·ed, au·to·mat·ing, au·to·mates
1. To convert to automatic operation: automate a factory.
2. programming that takes design intent embedded Inserted into. See embedded system. in the CAD model and translates it into a part program that is almost ready to run. Sharing these programs among different types of inspection equipment offers even greater opportunities for savings.
Here are a couple critical questions to start with:
* To what extent are you capable of programming offline so that valuable measurement systems can continue operating?
* To what degree do you use CAD models for automated point-and-click programming?
Open DB and analysis tools
It is vitally important that all measurement data, regardless of the source, go to a common database open to best-in-class analytical tools. Data are stored in a consistent format and are easily accessible by all sorts of applications for multiple purposes. The result is a powerful competitive advantage.
Only you can decide which analytical tools are appropriate to your lean systems Lean manufacturing systems are aimed towards attaining the shortest cycle time by eliminating waste. Instead of allotting resources that would be required for future production, lean manufacturing systems focus on decreasing system response time so that the production system is able to . They might include very specialized spe·cial·ize
v. spe·cial·ized, spe·cial·iz·ing, spe·cial·iz·es
1. To pursue a special activity, occupation, or field of study.
2. commercial or homegrown home·grown
1. Raised or grown at home.
2. Originating in or characteristic of a locality: "Rock is homegrown music in the United States, evolved from blues and country and Tin Pan Alley" packages for gear, blade form, or mold mold, name for certain multicellular organisms of the various classes of the kingdom Fungi, characteristically having bodies composed of a cottony mycelium. The colors of molds are caused by the spores, which are borne on the mycelium. shrinkage Shrinkage
The amount by which inventory on hand is shorter than the amount of inventory recorded.
The missing inventory could be due to theft, damage, or book keeping errors. analysis. Or possibly just a good quality SPC 1. (business) SPC - Statistical Process Control. Something to do with quality management.
2. (body) SPC - Software Productivity Centre.
3. (company) SPC - Software Publishing Corporation.
4. package may be enough to meet your needs.
Some questions you need to ask:
* Do you have a common metrology information database that is open to a wide range of best-in-class analytical tools?
* Is your metrology information database robust enough to handle large volumes of data generated by all of your measurement devices, including those, such as vision and laser equipment, capable of generating huge volumes of data?
Incisive incisive /in·ci·sive/ (-si´siv)
1. having the power or quality of cutting.
2. pertaining to the incisor teeth.
1. Having the power to cut. reporting
Enterprise Metrology systems must include reporting capabilities that get information to those who need it in an appropriate and unambiguous format.
Good reports filter out volumes of analytical noise. They require little if any explanation. Enterprise metrology reporting capabilities should include standard statistical charts and graphs, basic tabular tab·u·lar
1. Having a plane surface; flat.
2. Organized as a table or list.
3. Calculated by means of a table.
resembling a table. and graphical reports, and customizable 2-D and 3-D CAD-based reporting modules.
Here are some things you need to ask yourself.
* Do you have the capability to create a wide range of graphical reports appropriate to the data analyses?
* Do you have the capability to automatically annotate annotate - annotation CAD drawings with unambiguous dimensional or statistical information?
Generating incisive reports is of little value if they are not readily available to anyone who could make use of the information. A few years ago, just setting up the infrastructure for this would have been a problem for most companies. Today, the tools for enterprise metrology publishing--including the Internet, extranets, VPNs (virtual private networks), and good, old hardwired LANs are accessible to organizations of all type and sizes.
Infrastructure is one requirement for effective enterprise metrology communications. The second is to fully automate metrology information publishing. While not quite there yet, these automated publishing applications are beginning to emerge. Soon, Web-based publishing software will become a key component of any lean manufacturing program.
Important questions include:
* To what extent is your existing communications infrastructure capable of publishing metrology information throughout the manufacturing enterprise?
* Who can keep you apprised of new publishing and other enterprise metrology tools as they become available? (Hint: the EM Sleuth column in Tooling & Production and www.pcdmis-ems.com are both good candidates for the list.)
Now Get The Long Form
Now that you have breezed through this article and answered our short-form questions, you may see the need for a more in-depth assessment of where you stand with enterprise metrology. For this, Tooling & Production will be posting an Enterprise Metrology Assessment Spreadsheet, which contains a more comprehensive set of questions and assessment scorecard.
Enterprise metrology is and will remain a work in progress and so is our scorecard. We will be expanding and improving on it based on your comments and questions. Please address them to the EM Sleuth at www.pcdmis-ems.com.
EM Sleuth is sponsored by Wilcox Associates Inc, (www.pcdmis-ems.com), part of the Hexagon Metrology Group and makers of PC-DMIS measurement software. Contributors to this article include: Ken Woodbine woodbine, name for several vines, among them honeysuckle and Virginia creeper.
Any of many species of vines belonging to various flowering-plant families, especially the Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia, family Vitaceae) of , vice president, Wilcox Associates, firstname.lastname@example.org; Steve Logee, director of business development, Wilcox Associates, email@example.com; Rob Fabiano, Sleuth illustrator, firstname.lastname@example.org and Joel Cassola, writer, jocas@cox.