Conference “Efficient Manufacturing 4.0”

LLC NPP Gran ‘took part in the PRACTICAL INDUSTRIAL conference “Effective production 4.0” in the section “Automation of machining” on February 2-4, 2021, which was organized by the group of companies “CIFRA” and the ACADEMY “ROSTEKH”.

Speech text:

LLC NPP “GRAN”. February 2, 2021

Dear colleagues, good afternoon!

Company “Gran”, Smolensk, contract production. We are over 20 years old. The company is engaged in complex metal machining and all these years we have been providing professional services in this field. The company has created a wonderful team capable of mastering modern technologies, helping our partners create perfect products.

I will tell you how the project of automation of mechanical metal processing was implemented at our production site.

In 2020, using our own resources, we purchased the first robot manipulator in Smolensk, the EROWA Robot Easy 250. This allowed us to form a robotic cell with a 3-axis CNC milling center.

So, what does our company sell? Technology? Knowledge? Staff experience and skills? Of course, yes, but in this case we are talking about selling the functionality of the equipment. Therefore, we will consider the operating time of the equipment as the most obvious cost factor.

Machine tools only make a profit when they produce products. All that matters is getting as many productive hours as possible from our machines.
A few years ago, at similar enterprises in Switzerland and Germany, where I was able to visit, the average productive operation time of machines integrated into robotic complexes was 7,000 hours per year. Which is pretty good…

The equipment operation was analyzed. Registration of data on the operation of our machines was provided by the AIS “DISPATCHER” software and hardware complex, which we installed on all CNC equipment. Monitoring allows you to get complete and timely information about the operation of each machine, as well as record the time and causes of downtime.

The nature of our company’s production involves processing small-scale and single orders, which is associated with a large number of changeovers, and as a result, constant downtime.The final result is 3,300 m / h per year. That is 2 times less than at many European enterprises. This difference made an impression. The reports received showed a large number of unregulated downtime related to labor and technological discipline. A number of organizational measures made it possible to increase the productive time of machines by 20-25%, which is certainly interesting, but clearly not enough to work at the level of market leaders.

It was then that the understanding came that the only way to fundamentally increase the effective time of equipment, to build automated production with maximum flexibility and scalability. The vector is set.

We have adopted a simple structured model that has applied expertise-these are the four main steps:

  • Step 1-standardization of the main stages of pre-production;
  • Step 2-organize all standard steps into simple and most importantly repeatable processes;
  • Step 3-automate simple, repeatable processes;
  • Step 4 is the integration of already automated procedures into the overall enterprise management concept.

Step 1. Standardization of the main stages of pre-production

Difficulties in standardization were associated with a large range of small-scale and single products, a significant weight of the workpiece and the lack of its repeatability.
And so in the standardization of the main stages of pre-production, we have included:

  • The tool;
  • A snap-in;
  • Standard for fixing the workpiece;
  • Standard for preparing technological documentation.

Up to 15% of the time is lost when preparing the tool directly in the machine, when assembling and binding the tool during changeover. The decision to take tool adjustment outside the machine is obvious. How do I do this? Tool usage statistics allow you to determine 80 % of the most frequently used positions, and it is from them that the list of already standard tools is formed and approved. Next, the buffer level of the warehouse stock is determined, which is considered to be “0”. Programmers standardize tool assemblies and create CAD models of assemblies, which is very convenient at the stage of designing a processing strategy and creating setup maps. Further, from the most experienced workers, we selected a separate adjuster, who, according to the adjustment map, prepares the tool outside the machine, in a separate room, ensuring control of its geometry. A tool that does not fall within the specified tolerance does not enter the machine. Thus, the operator only needs to insert the finished assemblies into the machine.

Regarding the snap-in. When placing a blank on the desktop, the machine needs to be told exactly where it is located. This task is solved by special clamping pallets with a “zero point”, on which the workpiece is fixed. Erova helped us take this important step by offering a ready-made solution — a mechanical interface that allows you to implement an end-to-end workflow. It is suitable for all machines, for most parts, workpieces. We have developed and implemented regulations for the use of a mechanical interface with a” 0 ” point and described the standard for fixing the workpiece.

Thus, the preparatory operations for binding the workpiece were also taken out of the equipment. It is now easy to replace the tooling with a blank, it takes no more than 1 min.

Further. The standard of preparing technical documentation is decided by many technological CAD systems. With their help, the technologist manages the technological composition of the product, assigns resources, and develops the structure of the technological process. Programmers create a package of control programs and setup maps. All design and technological documentation is accompanied by an end-to-end ID number and barcode.

By creating standards for the tools, tooling and process documentation used, we have improved the quality and manageability of the entire pre-production process.

Step 2. Organize all standard steps into simple and most importantly repeatable processes.

The basic principle of “THREE STEPS” has become a guideline for us — this is what any process should become if we want to make it simple for the staff, easily managed and controlled.

As mentioned earlier, the use of standard solutions for tools, tooling and process documentation solves the main problem-it allows you to take the equipment adjustment outside the machine, which fundamentally reduces the time for replacing the processed parts and reconfiguring the equipment. In addition, we can create a queue of fully ready-to-process “adjustments” at the workplace and exclude idle machines due to waiting for a task. Serial number of products is not a key factor. Knowledge and experience of the operator, as a highly qualified specialist, is no longer required, his work consists in a simple change of adjustment, it becomes comfortable and uncomplicated.

It is possible to organize production processes in fairly simple and, most importantly, repeatable operations. These organizational and technological solutions made it possible to increase the effective operating time of the equipment on average, up to 4,500 m. h. / year.

And so, we come to the main thing – automation of production. Automation becomes a natural process, it is “HOW TO BREATHE”.

Step 3. Automate simple processes.

There is no reason to stand next to a car and wait for some part to be replaced. It doesn’t make sense anymore!

The introduction of the robot becomes obvious and is limited to the conditions of production, the type of product and the issue of investment.

  • The “EROWA Robot Easy 250” robot installed here occupies 4 square meters for 6 400×400 pallets on which the workpiece is placed;
  • It carries pallets up to 250kg from the storage unit to the machine’s desktop;
  • Control is done directly from the remote control;
  • The pallet is changed in 1 minute;
  • Installation repeatability accuracy up to 2 microns;
  • Easy access is available for setting up parts and workpieces during operation;

One of the limitations that I want to discuss in more detail is a significant increase in the total weight of the tooling with the workpiece installed on it. The average weight of the kit was 15-25 kg. The operator cannot move it to the processing area by hand. You need a means of transportation. In the European market, there is a ready — made solution-a stationary elevator, which is installed at every workplace. We have developed our own mobile device for transporting and moving pallets with blanks, which has become an integral component of the internal logistics of the production process. This is a mobile manipulator that allows the operator, due to the lateral removal of more than 1 m, to quickly and conveniently move heavy tooling sets to the machine processing area. The device is universal and can be used for moving various loads around the shop, used in warehouse complexes, assembly sites. This year, the first sales of the mobile manipulator are planned.

Step 4. Integration of machining processes into the overall enterprise management concept.

We are currently at the beginning of our journey to create a MES digital executive production system.

Business processes are described. Together with the company Digital, the development of a module for monitoring the progress of production is underway, which integrates the interfaces of AIS “Dipetcher”, as a logger of data on the operation of equipment and CAD” Technopro”, as an analog of the PDM system. We will export the obtained data on the structure of the technological process, resources, rationing and analysis of equipment loading to the APS planning center, in our case, an analog of the MES system. The goal is to be able to plan and manage a production order or work. Have hardware load analytics. Work in this direction continues.

And in the conclusion about the result of the work done to date, after the introduction of standards and organizational and technological measures.

  1. Profit growth for the year, amounted to 25 %;
  2. The effective operating time of milling equipment has been increased to 4,500 m / h per year.
  3. We have gained experience in implementing a robotic complex, which allows us to see a holistic strategy for building automated production.

I really like the phrase that: “you have to invest, even when you fall vertically down.” You need to look for your own path, try to see yourself in a 5-7-year perspective, do not be afraid to invest and look to the future only with positive emotions.

Thanks for attention.

OOO NPP “GRAN” Buchinsky Alexander Vasilyevich