Designing Modern Factories

Posted by Chuck Harrell on May 18, 2016 11:00:00 AM

377_1factory_floor1Factories are complicated places and designing them is a complicated process.  Getting the parts in the right place is obviously essential for things to work, but a well designed factory can also improve work flow and production efficiency which can in turn, speed up the delivery of whatever is being manufactured.

Modern factory design methods not only ensure that these things work, but also ensures that staff have enough space to carry out their tasks in a comfortable manner.  Software company, Autodesk, has been writing computer aided design (CAD) software for quite sometime and have found a way to make this easier with software which mimics the flow of products along the production line.  Through the use of 3D models in their Factory Design Suite, factory designers can place the components of their production facilities on the bare virtual concrete floor and determine exactly how everything will function in the real world before the investment is made.

In the world of Industry 4.0, it's likely that factory design software will also be able to integrate into applications such as Advantech WebAccess and virtual sensors will monitor the life cycle of specific components based on their use, so that factory management will have an accurate idea of where machines will fail and plan maintenance accordingly or designers will be able to choose from a range device from different manufactures and choose the one that performs best based on real world figures.

Once the factory has been designed and built, CAD Managers can use digital prototyping to streamline every stage of their product development and make it possible to simulate how products will perform.  This software lets designers explore the five stages of product development: design and engineering, test and validation, manufacturing and production, sales and marketing, and data management to provide a total cradle-to-grave solution.

Once again, through the use of Industry 4.0, changes to these prototypes can be sent directly to a 3D printer where they can be produced quickly before the final software file is sent directly to the production line.

In instances like this, bespoke manufacturing plants can be made and rearranged in such a way to give end users the best choice of options.


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