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THE COMPANY: Nestlé Purina PetCare Co. is a global manufacturer of pet products with a plant in Mississauga, Ont.THE CHALLENGE: Before MDT AutoSave Change Management Software was installed (first at the Nestlé Purina plant in Mechanicsburg, Pa.), the plant used a homegrown program to track changes in their programmable devices. About 15 programmers regularly made changes by accessing the most current program from Explorer, making changes and then saving the new version of the program back on Explorer. "We really had no way to manage all the different program versions created by our programmers," controls engineer Alan Hiler explains. In facilities where multiple people are making changes from multiple computers, the documentation of changes is often lost, archives of older copies are non-existent and the wrong programs may be running on the devices. In environments requiring frequent changes, it is not uncommon for code to be lost or changes overwritten resulting in increased downtime and decreased productivity.THE STRATEGY: "We made the decision to use AutoSave because we wanted to get away from having different people making changes and not documenting it properly," Mark Buettner, director of electrical and controls, says. "We didn’t want a situation where an emergency occurs, such as a processor dies, and production is stopped because we don’t know where the latest version of the program is located or have to decipher which program is the current one."THE RESULTS: In providing a central repository of all program changes, AutoSave ensures that, if a device fails or a program results in undesired performance, a prior version of the program is readily available so plant operations can be restored quickly and correctly. "With AutoSave we can easily download the previous copy of the program and get things running again quickly. If one device is down, the entire plant could potentially be down, so the ability to get up and running again is very important," Hiler says. Stopping production because there are no older versions of a program available is costly enough but consider the cost associated to completely rewrite a program. "If you lose a copy of a program, it isn’t just the production time we are losing, but we also lose the intellectual value of the program we have created," Buettner says. The cost to re-write, test and commission a single program is often greater than the cost to implement a change management solution."Before AutoSave was installed in the plant, we had some problems with program version mismatches, the biggest issue being the assumption that the copy on file was the program running in the PLC, but in some instances, it was not," Hiler explained. "MDT AutoSave periodically queries automation devices and compares the code running in the processor with what is on file. If a mismatch is detected (indicating someone went around the software to make a change), an e-mail notification is sent highlighting the mismatch along with information pinpointing the changes. This ability to regularly verify that the correct version of the program is running significantly decreases product waste and safety risks. "A big benefit for us is AutoSave’s ease of use for our maintenance guys." We have guys here that have never accessed a PLC program before and they have to download a program to make a simple change. Before AutoSave, we had to write pretty detailed documentation on how to find the file, open it, connect to the server and so on. Not only does AutoSave save us time, it also significantly reduces any chance that the wrong PLC is accessed, causing big safety issues," says Hiler.
THE COMPANY: Armour Valve Ltd., headquartered in Toronto, supplies specialty valves, accessories and process equipment to the oil & gas, power, petrochemical and wastewater industries. It also has an office in Calgary dedicated to servicing the Western Canadian marketplace.THE CHALLENGE: In recent years, double-digit growth intensified the need for information to manage performance. Until 2007, it generated reports and key performance indicators (KPIs) from 24 Lotus Notes databases, all separate from its financial package. Response to customer, supplier and internal inquiries was hampered due to the lack of an integrated database. Metrics and reporting depended on manually transferring data from one system to another, increasing the potential for error and weakening the company’s ability to identify trends and respond to problems early. In 2006, Armour Valve drafted a mission statement to achieve integration and real-time information for improved decision support. With sales reps spanning the continent and suppliers worldwide, an integrated global system made sense.THE STRATEGY: After an extensive search, it chose Exact Software’s enterprise solution. In 2007, the company implemented Exact Globe, Synergy and Event Manager, and in 2008, Exact Business Analytics (EBA). The company customized its front-office processes with Synergy SDK (software development kit) and is currently working with Globe SDK to introduce custom elements to its core back office processes.THE RESULTS: Since implementation, metrics have flowed automatically via customized EBA dashboards. Analysis is multi-dimensional by company, cost centre, sales rep, sector, product and manufacturer. Meanwhile, notifications from Event Manager have increased visibility of process gaps and informed task prioritization. According to marketing manager Liz McBeth, customer service has improved and operations have been streamlined. "Having a central integrated database allows us to retrieve information quickly and be more responsive to customers, suppliers and internal stakeholders. The system encourages collaboration in new ways thanks to a cross-enterprise view of the business," she says.Benefits also come from integration of all four systems. For example, the sales team uses Synergy on the road for access to 30,000 contacts, plus real-time sales and scheduling information via their mobile devices. Globe ERP allows the company to conduct business seamlessly with faraway customers and suppliers. It functions as a financial, inventory, project and workflow management tool. Event Manager automates processes, notifies and frees users for higher priority tasks. "We wanted consolidated metrics gathered from both companies that could easily be filtered to focus on single company performance," McBeth says. "Exact has enabled us to provide KPIs via custom dashboards to any level of the company in real time for access to performance data whenever needed." With Exact’s suite of systems, real time metrics became a reality, steering the company toward more growth.• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Flexahopper Plastics Ltd. is a plastic products manufacturer based in Lethbridge, Alta., that uses a rotational molding process serving agricultural, industrial, fishing and ecological industries.THE CHALLENGE: Flexahopper has a complex product mix with more than 600 items and several dozen distributors that makes for a difficult management task in materials planning, BOM maintenance and production scheduling. Many of the products produced are often changed based on custom ordering. Under their old system, having a non-standard or custom BOM based on a sales order was next to impossible to maintain as it would require creating a new BOM for every custom order. This led to outdated and inaccurate costing of BOMs and production.As well, material planning was a guessing game based on constant physical counts and checks of raw materials. The system in use had no practical or accurate material requirements planning system. Production scheduling was also a problem, as their old system had no facility for estimating production times of product runs.THE STRATEGY: Flexahopper needed to find a manufacturing control system that would accurately cost their BOMs, make BOM management and customization easier, and provide them with both material requirement forecasting and master production scheduling. They needed to find a software system that would integrate with the existing accounting system rather than purchase an entire new ERP system. MISys Manufacturing for Sage Accpac ERP (MISys SAE) fit the bill as it allowed for easy cost "roll-ups" throughout BOMs when items are replaced or have price changes; allowed customization through the use of "manufacturing orders" that can customize a BOM without changing the standard BOM; did an excellent job of materials and purchasing planning based on unlimited customizable criteria; and accurately forecasted production run times based on the BOM routing details.THE RESULTS: The cost savings and return on investment were enough to justify the purchase, the company says. They now always have proper stock levels and have reduced freight costs by an estimated 15 percent by eliminating "emergency orders." It has also allowed them to negotiate better terms with their suppliers. They now have accurately costed finished goods, allowing them to determine the best product pricing for customers and themselves. They can also customize a production run and still know exactly what it costs based on standard, projected and actual costs – and can now give a customer accurate delivery dates.• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: As a provider of design engineering and manufacturing services for electronic products, Kanata, Ont.-based BreconRidge collaborates on voice, video and data applications with the world’s leading communications, industrial, medical, aerospace and defence OEMs.THE CHALLENGE: Collaborative partnerships with customers are the cornerstone to BreconRidge’s value proposition, making responsiveness and service paramount to maintaining its competitive edge and managing multiple, geographically dispersed manufacturing sites. Therefore, it needed to improve data availability and analysis to support decision-making and response times. Managing order promising and on-time delivery in response to order or forecast changes were urgent needs in particular. As well, effectively managing engineering changes is an ongoing focus; many of the company’s business engagements with customers are at the design and first-time build stage.THE STRATEGY: The company then decided to deploy Kinaxis RapidResponse globally in multiple areas of the company, which arms it with the ability to drive rapid resolution to persistent changes across the supply chain. Users can access accurate and detailed information in an easy-to-use spreadsheet-like interface embedded with ERP analytics and automatically populated with live data feeds from BreconRidge’s SAP system. Participants from across various functional groups can instantly model ERP data to simulate and share the impacts of countless "what-if" scenarios in response to changes in supply, demand and product. They can then rapidly score these scenario alternatives against set performance metrics to ensure that decisions are aligned with corporate goals. The RapidResponse solution offers key functionalities the company says is not found in traditional planning systems, such as component to sales order allocation/pegging, clear visibility of projected delivery dates of demand records, and business metrics and trend analysis/reporting.THE RESULTS: With RapidResponse, the company was able to offer its customers more accurate original-commitment information and supporting details for constraints or problem materials through improved "capable to promise" analysis, increasing on-time delivery performance by 40 per cent in just eight months. What’s more, the software’s ability to provide readily accessible, actionable data reduced the company’s response times to customers for demand change requests by 80 per cent. RapidResponse provides accurate product lead-time information internally and to customers – all with the supporting detail required to simulate and assess inventory reduction options. With the help of the tool, manufacturing lead times have been reduced by 20 per cent and confidence in the accuracy of the lead time is very strong. For one customer who strategically invested in inventory, RapidResponse aided in defining the investment needed to meet a certain flexibility factor, which allowed product lead times to be reduced by 50 per cent overall.
THE COMPANY: Freybe Gourmet Chef (FGC) in Langley, B.C., a subsidiary of Freybe Gourmet Foods, has grown substantial since inception and continues with strong growth. It supplies salads, dips and soups to local delis, chain stores and distributors, and prides itself in using local produce whenever possible.THE CHALLENGE: A major challenge is that the raw material used is highly dependent on seasonality, which is a major contributor to the volatility of raw material cost. FGC’s legacy system used for managing recipes and work instructions could only track projected cost instead of actual cost. Maintenance of the existing system was almost impossible as it was a homegrown solution. Similarly, any upgrades and modifications proved to be extremely difficult and time consuming.THE SOLUTION: The president of FGC requested the implementation of an IFS recipe management application that was already in use by its parent company Freybe Gourmet Foods. Recipes included in the pilot project were based on complexity of their structures, and a recipe from each product category was to be included. Once the data for the project was cleaned and entered into IFS, the system was then configured to provide reports and information that addressed core business requirements. As soon as the costing information is available (estimated material cost, latest purchase price or average purchase price), one of these costs is selected and set to the standard cost for evaluating the inventory movement of the finished goods. The summary graphical presentation of the costing result, allows for review of product costing buildup without having to go into detailed accounting explanations. An added benefit is the revision control, and accountability for changes.THE RESULT: Cost can now be rolled for estimated material cost; latest purchase price or average purchase price." This information is extremely valuable when renegotiating contract pricing with major customers. It also helps the operations management group to identify product categories that need to be revisited to review and update the production standards. FGC is impressed with the results of the pilot; and will capture all of the current active recipes into the system. Particularly helpful was the fact that IFS Applications was able to handle the mixed mode nature of FGC’s business, combining recipe management and process manufacturing with discrete manufacturing, which allows FGC to track cost per packaged item as well as the cost of recipe ingredients as they change.Custom reports were designed to present recipe information to the shop floor." In a format that is easy to read, and understand yet still capturing all the requirements needed for traceability, yield and test results for a production run. The costing report also includes a section with pricing suggestions detailing the unit and per kg costs and selling prices at different markups.An additional phase of the project that is under discussion is shop order access on the shop floor, allowing for real time tracking and electronic end-to-end lot tractability.
THE COMPANY: Burnaby, B.C.-based Ballard Power Systems Inc. develops, manufactures, sells and services hydrogen fuel cells, with annual revenue of US$65.53 million. The company’s products are used today in various markets, from materials handling to residential cogeneration, backup power and transportation. As an innovator in the clean energy industry with 485 employees, Ballard works to accelerate fuel cell product adoption.THE CHALLENGE: Given the nature of its industry, the company needs to remain on the leading edge of the fuel cell industry and foster market adoption. In order to maintain its competitiveness, it must improve operational efficiency to reduce costs and accelerate time-to-market for fuel cell products – and position the company for significant product volume growth.THE STRATEGY: Ballard implemented Oracle’s Agile Product Lifecycle Management solutions to create a central repository for product data, including Agile Product Collaboration and Product Quality Management." Additionally, they added Oracle’s Hyperion Planning, a centralized, Excel and Web-based planning, budgeting and forecasting solution that integrates financial and operational planning processes and improves business predictability. They also use Hyperion Analyzer to provide intuitive Web analysis. THE RESULTS: After the implementation, the company streamlined its end-to-end process from product design through manufacturing, accelerating time-to-market. "As the fuel cell industry really takes off, we need to be prepared with a scalable, flexible system to meet the demands of significant product volume increases," Paul Louw, manager of design services and configuration management, says. "We trust Oracle’s Agile applications will enable us to meet those demands."Among the results, it increased access to product data and improved data accuracy and currency; enabled users to create product change requests directly, accelerating the approval process and reducing delays; and increased the ability to react to changing markets by enabling it to modify or create new products quickly to meet demands. The software created a new workflow to handle product fixtures and prototypes, enabling the company to react quickly to problems with products in the field or to customer change requests, and it enabled fixtures and prototypes users to purchase new parts or send drawings to vendors without clogging the material requirements planning system. Overall, the new system ensures appropriate approvals and documentation control without stalling the product manufacturing cycle.• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Ottawa Mould Craft Ltd. develops customized plastic product for a wide range of industrial applications. These include telecommunications equipment such as phones, connectors, cable management, fibre optics connectors and cellular phones. It develops consumer products including tools, toys, pagers and furniture components. The company also manufactures protective equipment and breathing apparatus for the military.THE CHALLENGE: The company has been an IQMS customer since 2003. Prior to implementing IQMS EnterpriseIQ, Ottawa did not operate any formal ERP system. It used spreadsheets. The company was using separate, multiple programs for its accounting, sales management, marketing and a third software solution for shipping. Even when bundled, Ottawa’s systems lacked the functionality and interoperability needed to mange its business effectively. David Beal, vice president of Ottawa, Inc. describes the company’s old system as, "between a crystal ball and Ouija board."THE STRATEGY: After an extensive review of competitive vendors and software, Ottawa selected EnterpriseIQ, which provides a powerful and cohesive solution that meets the unique and varied requirements of industry specific manufacturers. Ottawa was impressed with its features, such as a comprehensive financial management system, real time machine monitoring, regrind usage and consumption capabilities, multi-level bills of manufacture and multi-tool and family-tool functionality."Ottawa Mould Craft Ltd. spent four years researching the best software for our company and we are convinced when all things are considered IQMS was the best choice and still is," says vice-president David Veal.After working out minor compatibility glitches with a third party software Ottawa was using, IQMS technical support and customer service helped" Ottawa achieve a flexible, lean and robust solution to run its injection molding and manufacturing platform. THE RESULTS: IQMS was the only solutions provider that was able to assist in establishing its new ERP platform around the company’s multi-system configuration, saving Ottawa money, both in capital investment costs and manpower during implementation.Ottawa is bound by quality standards to exceed customers’ expectations both in product performance and customer service, and EnterpriseIQ has been central to this effort. While most technology companies target markets, IQMS targets customers. According to Veal, IQMS EnterpriseIQ technical support for customers is one of the most powerful features of the software. IQMS has saved Ottawa ten times of what they were previously paying with third party software. Having a single-source, Web-enabled ERP solution has allowed Ottawa to centralize its business activity, and improve its overall effectiveness and efficiency of operations. As a comprehensive solution, EnterpriseIQ enables Ottawa’s separate business areas to consistently achieve the rigorous quality standards set forth under ISO certification.• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Oakville, Ont.-based Integral Machining Ltd. machines and designs precision parts to the aerospace, medical, alternative fuel, instrumentation and photonics industries.THE CHALLENGE: President Peter Reypa said the company felt that in order to be more efficient, they needed to get into the Swiss-turn market with machines that are very fast, with multi-axis capability and extreme accuracy requirements. However, programming for these machines can be very complex and time consuming. THE STRATEGY: When they purchased their Tornos machine, at first they used the software that came with the machine; but when they saw Delcam PartMaker at a trade show, he was amazed at how easy it was to program. "With PartMaker we were able to combine the speed of the machine with PartMaker’s robust postprocessor," Reypa said, reducing programming time from six to one hour.The software breaks complicated part surfaces into sets of planes or faces, so machining tasks like turning, plane milling and cylinder milling are carried out separately and for each face in a intuitive manner. All this can be documented so the operator can handle even the most complex part quickly and easily. The software provides the link between the engineering department – which designs its product using both 2D drafting and 3D solid modeling – and the manufacturing department, is tasked with producing the parts.THE RESULTS: "The really big benefit to having PartMaker is the ability to take the solid model, or even the DXF file, coming out of our engineering department for the part and immediately import it and be able to view it, edit it as necessary, and generate accurate toolpaths," said CNC programming manager Andrew Sweeting. Thanks to a close collaboration between Tornos and the PartMaker developers, a special data-file format generated by PartMaker can be directly imported into Tornos’ TB-Deco software. This ensures accurate transfer of the SwissCAM toolpaths"As a business owner, for me, it’s all about speed," commented Mr Reypa. "With such powerful tools at our disposable, my staff and I can give customers the attention to details needed when producing components." Whether it is a single part or complete assembly using electronic files or blueprints, with the system IML has in place, they can offer a very quick turnaround.• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Toronto-based Mercor Lighting Group distributes lighting products for residential, industrial, retail and commercial customers in Canada and the United States. The company has annual revenues of approximately $20 million and currently employs 40 people. Mercor is the result of a merger between Mercury Lighting of Toronto and Eclairage Corlite of Montreal.THE CHALLENGE: Following the merger of Toronto’s Mercury Lighting of Toronto and Montreal’s Éclairage Corlite in 2002, Mercor has enjoyed an increase in market share. Given this rapid growth and the competitive nature of its industry, Mercor needed to standardize business processes, and consolidate inventory management and go-to-market strategies across its organization. The company also aimed to increase precision of managing inventory and enhance client and supplier relationships to ensure continued success and profitability. In addition, Mercor wanted to improve its ability to support growth, as it looked to further expand across Canada through organic growth and future acquisitions." THE STRATEGY: Mercor decided to integrate its IT systems to increase visibility across its supply chain and enable better decision-making. The company partnered with Implanciel (now known as Fortsum Business Solutions) and SAP Canada to implement the SAP Business One application, which helps small businesses to streamline operations and manage their entire business, including financials, sales, customer relationships and inventory using a single solution. It can be tailored to meet industry-specific requirements and is scalable to support changing needs as businesses grow. Using a phased approach, Mercor implemented the software in Montreal and then moved to Toronto.THE RESULTS: Since implementing SAP, Mercor has improved inventory visibility, reduced data entry errors and simplified transfers between locations–reducing annual inventory costs by 10 percent. The company has also optimized its procurement processes and improved its ability to audit suppliers to choose the most suitable one at any given time. This enables Mercor to fulfill orders quickly and effectively, which in turn has improved customer satisfaction and retention.Mercor has streamlined its financial and reporting processes and reduced invoicing costs by approximately $8,000 per year. The company has also improved its sales management and has seen a significant increase in profitability. In addition, Mercor has increased efficiency in its IT systems without increasing support costs and established a platform that can support future expansion and integrate acquisitions more easily. "SAP software has become the backbone of our company, providing IT stability and support for our critical business processes," Mercor owner Eric Tordjman said.
Michigan-based Fisher & Company, an automobile seating safety systems and precision metal parts manufacturer, has chosen to deploy the 2X ApplicationServer for Windows Terminal Services to optimizing company-wide access to critical server-based applications. Its use will give the company’s users effective remote application delivery, supporting over 300 global users in company offices based in the United States, Mexico, Germany, India and Japan.Network administrator Kevin McDaid is responsible for guaranteeing day-to-day mission-critical software access to company employees, regardless of location. The company had previously deployed nine 2003 Citrix Presentation Server 4.5 servers for the task; yet with an initial product cost of $75,000, not including $11,000 in annual maintenance fees, he became concerned with the constraints Citrix’s solution placed on his IT department budget. Through his switch to the 2X ApplicationServer solution, Kevin retained all of the functionality previously provided by Citrix at a total cost of about $12,000, including maintenance fees, a savings of 86 percent in operational costs.Additional savings from ApplicationServer accrued through increased server operational longevity. McDaid remarked that by choosing a 2X solution, his "servers can go a lot longer between reboots." He added that he could "add more users to each server, which means I have less servers to administer," not only reducing server administration and energy costs, but also saving him the time and hassle required to maintain larger server farms.He was immediately impressed with the efficiency possible through a 2X solution, as ApplicationServer installation took approximately six hours, a stark contrast to the "two days required to install our nine Citrix servers, resulting primarily from Citrix-required policy updates and modifications."2X business development manager, Scott Sims, explained that the company was "proud that Fisher & Company chose 2X for their global application and desktop delivery. 2X ApplicationServer protects companies from exploding software maintenance and administration costs. To stay competitive, companies are becoming increasingly dependent on flexible and secure access to their applications and data from anywhere. With centrally managed and published applications, businesses can optimize access to their network."An example of the flexibility of 2X’s products is shown in the way their solution has effectively addressed the unique facets of Fisher & Company’s corporate culture. Many at the company occasionally avoid traveling to the corporate office, working instead from their respective home offices – yet they still require full-time network support for vital tasks, such as printing critical documents. To address this potential dilemma, the 2X Universal Printing driver, which is automatically included with the 2X enterprise license, provides users print capabilities regardless of location."Our printing problems have disappeared since we started using the 2X ApplicationServer with Universal Printing," McDaid said.Perhaps more important is the way the 2X solution was seamlessly integrated with existing company processes, since out of the hundreds of users occasionally working from home offices, all have "been able to map to their local printer without any problems." Though McDaid typically expects occasional product functioning glitches, such as the fact that "printing difficulties were a constant issue with Citrix servers, he was pleasantly surprised that while his cost savings were significant, the less expensive 2X solution also provided improved functionality.McDaid also appreciated the freely distributed 2X ThinClient Operating System included with his purchase. To address specific needs within the company, it retained a number of custom-built computers, for which new operating systems would ordinarily have to be purchased. Utilizing the ThinClient Operating System with the 2X ApplicationServer allowed these computers to operate effectively without the need for additional operating system purchases, which he estimates has saved the company "roughly $100 per unit so far."Though valuable in cutting corporate operating costs, McDaid sees such additional features as indicative of 2X’s commitment to addressing corporate remote application publishing needs as a complete, effective solution, stating that the "2X team was effective in not only addressing my individual product issues, but also finding a comprehensive solution to my remote application computing needs as a whole."The success has encouraged McDaid to pursue increased engagement with the company to provide similar solutions in the future. He states that he trusts 2X to provide him with "effective solutions that improve and simplify server-based computing issues," and that he looks forward to implementing 2X products and services in the future.For more information, contact 2X at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
National Instruments, a leader in control design and embedded systems, and SolidWorks Corp., a leader in mechanical design software, have collaborated on a mechatronics tool that helps mechanical and control engineers work together to lower the cost and risk of motion system design.Seamlessly connecting NI LabVIEW graphical system design software and SolidWorks 3D CAD software, the new virtual prototyping solution helps engineers and scientists design, optimize, validate and visualize the real-world performance of machines and motion systems before incurring the costs of physical prototypes. Because LabVIEW is used for controlling the virtual prototype, engineers and scientists can deploy their graphical software to physical NI hardware with little to no change to the code."The increasing complexity of machine designs demands better collaboration between different engineering disciplines including mechanical, electrical and control," said Jeff Ray, CEO of DS SolidWorks. "SolidWorks and National Instruments have developed a prototyping solution that dramatically shortens the gap between idea and reality."Mechatronics-oriented design tools improve machine development by simulating the interaction between mechanical and electrical subsystems throughout the design process. Historically, teams of engineers from different disciplines worked in silos and in sequential development. Design decisions were made independently, resulting in longer development times and higher costs. Now, to streamline development in a mechatronics approach, the teams work in parallel and collaborate on design, prototyping and deployment. The ability to create virtual prototypes is a critical aspect of the mechatronics approach because it helps engineers and scientists explore machines before they are built."We live in a multi-domain world, so designers should have access to best-of-class tools in each domain," said James Truchard, president, CEO and co-founder of National Instruments. "By combining two of the most powerful design tools, LabVIEW and SolidWorks, we are giving engineers and scientists a new way to collaborate more effectively and innovate more quickly."The seamless integration of the LabVIEW 2009 NI SoftMotion Module and SolidWorks software delivers a design environment that is ideal for virtual prototyping. Existing SolidWorks CAD models can be easily connected to LabVIEW, which automatically links the motor actuators and position sensors defined in the model. Using the high-level functions provided by the NI SoftMotion for SolidWorks, engineers and scientists can develop sophisticated motion control applications that include logic based on sensor feedback. Design teams, customers and sales engineers then can use the virtual prototype to visualize realistic machine operations and analyze cycle time performance. By using LabVIEW and SolidWorks, the mechanical dynamics of a machine, including mass and friction effects, as well as motor and mechanical actuator torque requirements, can be simulated before parts are specified."The SolidWorks and LabVIEW connection gives our R&D teams the ability to develop a virtual prototype in advance of a physical build," said Dr. John White, chief engineer at NCR Corporation. "LabVIEW controls the motion trajectories while SolidWorks can be used to calculate the driving forces, power requirements and stresses. Together, these two development tools provide our engineers with the data needed for full design analysis and optimization."The new virtual prototyping solution also makes it easy to deploy motion applications, validated using the SolidWorks 3D CAD environment, to NI embedded control platforms such as the NI CompactRIO programmable automation controller (PAC). Because the application was developed in LabVIEW, the same code used to create the virtual prototype can be deployed to physical NI hardware with little to no programming changes. Additionally, engineers and scientists can use the new NI 951x C Series drive interfaces to achieve direct connectivity to hundreds of stepper and servo drives and motors from NI and third-party
For more than a quarter of a century, database software giant Oracle has been providing reliable, secure and integrated technologies managing business systems and information. A partnership with Kepware Technologies, a leader in communications for automation, connects to hundreds of protocols and a wide variety of control equipment enhancing the integration of connectivity from plant floor equipment to Oracle's manufacturing applications found in the Oracle E-Business Suite, including Oracle Manufacturing Operations Center (OMOC) and Oracle Discrete Manufacturing.However, before this partnership was finalized, Oracle contracted with a third party, Geometric Ltd., to test environment, scenarios and procedures to deliver unbiased results of the KEPServerEX OPC server as a quality data connector solution." "Amit Singh, director of product strategy for the OMOC, comments that "we place a very high degree of importance on rigorous testing and certification to ensure smooth integration and great customer experience." Therefore, Oracle enlisted Geometric to perform the testing and certification of the integration between OMOC and KEPServerEX. The KEPServerEX solves the complex problem of connecting fragmented disconnected shop floor data to the business context of the customer’s back office systems. The OMOC, with a data model based on ISA-95 industry standard, applies a pre-built, flexible and extensible adapters to connect the existing infrastructure, manufacturing execution systems (MES) and ERP systems, converting raw shop floor data into meaningful business KPI (key performance indicators) information. A robust contextualization rules engine drives pre-built key performance indicators and analytics, delivered in Oracle’s easy to configure and extendable Business Intelligence (BI) technology. All the components combined deliver real-time monitoring and analysis of shop floor operations that provide a foundation for running Continuous Improvement (CI) programs such as Lean and Six Sigma.Geometric established a KEPServerEX OPC server testing project in the OMOC Lab in Pune, the eighth largest city in India. This facility mimics a realistic shop-floor systems environment with the complete test setup of the connectivity solutions from Oracle’s shop floor communication provider partners, and PLCs. In this lab, tests for flawless connectivity and integration are conducted, resulting in rejection or endorsement. This process ensures quality in an environment where the ultimate solution relies on a combination of products from different vendors. Performance TestingThe shop floor communication product was tested in several scenarios; the performance of response time to handle high frequency data, the correct processing of voluminous data and the reliability under heavy load in a high volume real-time production environment. Testing at a very high rate (one to five seconds) the shop-floor devices continuously generated data to insert into the OMOC device table. Oracle conducted further testing under high data intensity and volume, double checking for accurate recording, contextualizing and processing the data thus ensuring performance of their OMOC." "Not only was data produced at high frequency and volumes straining the systems to optimum capacity, the test scenario included performance monitoring tests. Different data acquisition frequencies and number of tags were utilized.During the entire test, procedures included accounting for various time factors of the different situations." Intervals were examined in correspondence to;1."" "Changes to data on the shop floor communication device 2."" "KEPServer reading data3."" "Data pushed into the OMOCMultiple time intervals were selected for various performance tests. A MicroLogix 1100 PLC was programmed to produce data for 15 tags configured inKEPServer. The PLC was switched on first, and after stabilization, the KEPServer effectively transferred data into the OMOC.ResultsThe KEPServer server performed successfully in writing data at high frequency to the OMOC with consistency in response, accuracy and stability. Exceeding actual shop floor conditions where typical frequency for data written is expected to be much lower."Geometric has gone beyond the general test scenarios to make sure that our customers can be fully confident about being able to connect to shop floor equipment and devices using Oracle Manufacturing Operations Center and partner solutions such as Kepware," Singh says. "We are grateful to our partner Kepware Technologies for working with Geometric and helping them build the entire infrastructure for the test laboratory. On their part, Geometric has displayed an amazing understanding of the manufacturing operations space and appreciation for real world customer issues. This case study is a Geometric document but we agree with and fully support their findings."Roy Kok, vice-president of sales and marketing for Kepware, further comments on the testing process as "Kepware has worked closely with Geometric to ensure they have a full understanding of our product capabilities, to support this evaluation, and to support Kepware partners requiring solution assistance."This testing encouraged Oracle to enlist Kepware Technologies as a key partner to gather real-time streaming data from plant equipment and control systems. Now Kepware ships an OMOC’s Connectivity Suite that can be configured to collect specific device tags in real-time and transfer them to the Center, which then contextualizes and aggregates the data into role based dashboards with specific KPIs including OEE.The end results for businesses are tools to maximize plant asset performance with a simplified solution to connect hundreds of protocols and a wide variety of control
Autodesk Inc. has announced that design and engineering professionals can become Autodesk Certified in AutoCAD 2010, Autodesk Inventor 2010, Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010 and AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 software. Becoming Autodesk Certified allows professionals, and companies boasting Autodesk Certified employees, to validate their industry skills and knowledge, demonstrate expertise and gain credibility. Customer demand has contributed to the huge growth of Autodesk Certification over the past year, increasing the number of Autodesk Certified professionals to more than 100,000. " "With engineering and design fields becoming increasingly competitive, certification gives employees an edge at a time when having one is critical to career success," said Barbara Bowen, certification program development manager, Autodesk. "Autodesk Certification allows experienced designers and engineers to validate acquired skills by receiving recognition for their knowledge of specific Autodesk software applications." "
Rittal Systems Ltd. has launched a new way for users to access product models on its website at new feature provides CAD models for Rittal’s industrial, IT, climate control and busbar power distribution solutions including enclosures, racks and accessories in a variety of native, neutral and image formats. The database contains two-dimensional drawings and three-dimensional models for over 2,000 Rittal parts in low, medium and high resolutions to give users the ability to tailor the level of detail to their precise specifications.By utilizing this tool, denoted by a "3D" icon beside applicable part numbers or found by clicking the "Downloads" tab on the product detail pages of the website, customers can obtain product information online in an intuitive fashion, streamlining enclosure-system
Bosch Rexroth Canada is beating the recession blues for both itself and its customers by installing a new $1.5-million CNC machine and CAM software package that uses the latest technology to build customized hydraulic manifolds for its customers efficiently and for a competitive price. The economic outlook might be gloomy for some companies, but Bosch Rexroth Canada is looking ahead to a brighter future by taking a positive, proactive approach to helping its customers make the most of every manufacturing dollar. In the current tough economic conditions, Bosch Rexroth Canada is continuing to make investments centered around customer satisfaction, including implementing lean programs such as 5S, BPS (Bosch Production Systems) and continuous improvement of its processes and technology, resulting in greater value added to the products it provides to customers.Bosch Rexroth recently installed a brand-new, state-of-the-art CNC machining center and CAM software package at its Welland, Ont., facility, demonstrates Bosch Rexroth Canada’s commitment to its Canadian customers. The new $1.5 million investment will allow the company and its customers to stay competitive by delivering top quality Bosch Rexroth custom integrated hydraulic solutions for a variety of applications."We pride ourselves on providing strong engineering and manufacturing solutions meeting our customer’s requirements," says Dino Paladino, general manager of systems with Bosch Rexroth Canada. "Investing in state-of-the-art equipment and personnel training is key to our commitment to maintaining the level of service and satisfaction customers expect from Bosch Rexroth."The new CNC machine will provide the Welland facility with added flexibility and capacity to manufacture custom manifold blocks for Bosch Rexroth’s hydraulic solutions. A team of application engineers and designers develop the integrated circuits and manifold designs, then forward the information to the machining center for manufacturing.The new machine is a Mazak HCN 6800 horizontal machining center. It features a 10,000 RPM spindle speed, which provides fast, reliable machining of the blocks. The Mazak contains six pallets, where multiple work pieces can be loaded, offering great flexibility and the opportunity to perform unmanned machining over a period of time. Other features include a wide machining area and large table capacity, 330 tool storage magazine and cyber tool management to monitor tool condition.According to Paladino, the machine will increase Bosch Rexroth’s current capacity and, with the added flexibility, allow penetration into new market areas. As part of the project, Bosch Rexroth also implemented new CAM software to help improve the process. The software is Delcam’s FeatureCAM, which recognizes the features of the manifold block from the original three dimensional model, identifies the tooling required to manufacture the block, then creates the required machine code."The FeatureCAM software will eliminate the majority of programming typically required when trying to transfer information from our design group to the machine," Paladino

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