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Optimizing Throughput and Cost with Manufacturing Simulation



Optimizing Throughput and Cost with Manufacturing Simulation
This paper describes the design and implementation of several manufacturing simulation use-cases at an electronics assembly factory in Nanjing, China.
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Authored By:


Jay Gorajia
Director Global Services, Digital Mfg.
Siemens Industry Software
Irvine, California

Long Ting Chen
Operational Excellence
Siemens Numerical Controls Ltd.
Nanjing, China

Krug, Stefan
Project Management
Siemens Numerical Controls Ltd
Nanjing, China

Summary


Electronics assembly can be delivered at competitive market prices only as long as the manufacturing process is continuously improved. Manufacturing companies are mastering with the help of Industry 4.0 and simulation tools: a high degree of variance, continuously shrinking batch sizes, and fluctuations in order volume that are increasingly difficult to predict. The word “simulation” is defined as the computer-based modeling of the operation of a real-world process or system over time. With this definition in mind, it is easy to understand why simulation is ubiquitous in engineering and industrial organizations; imitating a real-world process or system allows experts to study the process or system they are interested in within a controlled environment.

Manufacturing simulation allows companies to identify manufacturing bottlenecks and opportunities to increase throughput, identifying cost savings opportunities such as optimization of direct and indirect labor, managing inventory levels, and validating the expected performance of new or existing production facilities or value streams. Manufacturing simulation consists of plant simulation and process simulation. Plant simulation enables studies of material flows, bottleneck analysis at the area and line level, movement optimization, AGV movement simulations, and resource optimization studies. Process simulation enables studies of processes and operations to optimize sequencing of operations, robot and collaborative robots (“cobot”) operations, spatial risk analysis when humans are close to robots and cobots, and ergonomics simulation for optimal human movement. Simulation ensures compliance to Lean Manufacturing methodologies and removal of “waste.” We answer the question; is manufacturing simulation applicable and effective in electronics assembly manufacturing?

This paper describes the design and implementation of several manufacturing simulation use-cases at an electronics assembly factory in Nanjing, China. This factory has six surface mount lines, fairly high product mix and variants, and also demands some high-volume production. Also, they have integrated circuit (ICT) and system tests, manual assembly lines, software loading stations, box-build cells, packing and labeling, shipping and, aftermarket service and depot repair. The chosen factory is an ideal candidate for testing the effectiveness of manufacturing simulation in electronics manufacturing. We describe the use-cases investigated, the approach, KPIs used to monitor progress, changes made to production, and the results of the theoretical simulation vs. actuals. We will also discuss using the Digital Twin of the factory and processes in additional use cases, such as sales evaluation and estimation validation. Finally, we publish results that may be used as an example of how other factories can use simulation to optimize throughput and cost in their factory to make steps forward in their digitalization journey and remain competitive.

Conclusions


Electronics assembly can be delivered at competitive market prices only as long as the manufacturing process is continuously improved. Manufacturing companies are mastering with the help of Industry 4.0 and simulation technology: a high degree of variance, continuously shrinking batch sizes, and fluctuations in order volume that are increasingly difficult to predict. The word “simulation” is defined as the computer-based modeling of the operation of a real-world process or system over time. With this definition in mind, it is easy to understand why simulation is ubiquitous in engineering and industrial organizations. Plant simulation enables studies of material flows, bottleneck analysis at the area and line level, movement optimization, AGV movement simulations, and resource optimization studies. Process simulation enables studies of processes and operations to optimize sequencing of operations, robot and cobot operations, spatial risk analysis when humans are close to robots and cobots, and ergonomics simulation for optimal human movement. Simulation ensures compliance to Lean and removal of “waste”.

This paper described the design and implementation of several manufacturing simulation use-cases at Siemens Numerical Controls Ltd., an electronics assembly factory in Nanjing, China. Based on initial bottleneck studies performed at the factory, three (3) main areas were identified as opportunities for improvement; 1) Capacity simulation of wave soldering machines, 2) Logistics material flow simulation, 3) UV Coating robot automation. The model developed and tested for the wave soldering machines is now used in production planning and forecasting, as well as their daily planning meetings, to better order the sequence and product assignment to wave solder machines. The water spider analysis project allowed production planners and manufacturing engineers to determine the optimal number of water spider resources, their work sequence and total path traveled to ensure that production forecasts are met. For the period of the case study, the team recorded a 25% improvement. Finally, we described that with a simulation at the cell level, robot movement and programming simulation combined with human movement and ergonomics simulation allowed an improvement of 35% in line performance.

Manufacturing simulation is no longer reserved only for specialized engineering and industrial organizations. Automotive, Aerospace and large machinery companies are not the only benefactors of manufacturing simulation. Based on this paper, we can clearly see that there are benefits to electronics manufacturing companies as well, for the optimization of production throughput and costs.

Initially Published in the SMTA Proceedings

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