At Plataine we develop AI-based optimization solutions for advanced manufacturing. Recently, we partnered with SAP to offer a holistic smart factory solution to SAP customers. In this blog I will shed some light on how the Aerospace & Defense can take the next step towards digital transformation and the smart factory.
Essentially, Plataine has combined its offering with SAP, bringing our unique AI capabilities to SAP’s core solutions, to deliver significant efficiency and productivity benefits to SAP customers. The SAP solution is designed to operate across factory floors in order to plan, manage and orchestrate production. Now, with Plataine’s Factory floor AI-based Digital Assistants and advanced manufacturing expertise, SAP has a whole new layer of capabilities to optimize production and provide factory floor staff with and insights, alerts and recommendations.
Plataine’s added value centers around three core areas: a cloud software, AI-based Digital Assistants and specialized manufacturing applications. These solutions complement the SAP offering, offering SAP’s industrial customers competitive advantages that can be immediately translated to production efficiency and savings on the factory floor.
The benefits of the cloud
There are significant benefits for industrial companies that switch to a cloud-based software solution. Cloud software essentially makes almost unlimited computing capacity and processing power available to even the smallest of manufacturing companies. It is highly scalable, requires no installation or IT support and comes at an attractive cost of ownership.
What this all means, is that this solution is applicable to any manufacturer – from the biggest aerospace or automotive enterprise to the smallest supplier.
But what do these solutions deliver in practice? Read on to find out…
Factory Floor Digital Assistants
Plataine’s software introduces AI-based Digital Assistants to make data-driven decisions. Plataine’s solutions process automation wherever possible, leading to process optimization across your factory floor. For example, Production Scheduler, is able to rapidly assess all the many thousands of variables present on any modern production floor, helping managers create optimal production schedules that run with maximum efficiency. The software looks at historical and real-time data, at known equipment efficiency, and at expected duration of tasks, to create the best possible production plan. If a production restriction is overlooked or misunderstood by a human planner, Plataine’s Digital Assistants deliver an immediate notification – solving problems before they have the chance happen.
Not only that, but the software can respond to sudden changes on the factory floor in real-time, adjusting the entire production plan on-the-fly to cope with unexpected occurrences and ensure on-time delivery. If, for example, there is an unexpected delay on an aerospace composite parts production line caused by a machine breakdown, the software is constantly aware of the shelf-life of time sensitive composite raw materials, and can deliver an automated alert to a shop-floor worker to return them to the freezer, or instruct the worker to swap one raw material roll for a different one if necessary.
Digital Assistants can help any discrete industrial manufacturer at every stage of the production process by delivering automated alerts and smart recommendations to shop-floor workers and managers alike, in order to minimize rework and scrap and allow the best possible optimization of the production process. The Plataine solution is used by both managers and shop floor employees. When tasks are assigned, they are instantly visible to shop-floor workers and, likewise, managers can see everything that everyone is working on, in real-time.
Operational costs are reduced by making the best possible use of all assets. RFID sensors throughout the factory – including raw materials, work in progress and tools – allow visibility and real-time tracking of everything that matters. For example, a dedicated Tool Manager solution constantly tracks the usage and location of all tools in real-time throughout the manufacturing process. Tools can no longer cause production delays by being – for example – misplaced, because Digital Assistants will alert a shop-floor operator the moment a tool is detected to be somewhere it should not.
The AI-based software also ensures that shop-floor operators understand the optimal number of tools that are needed in a production process at any given time. Tools are tracked not only for their location and usage, but also for their condition and any reported issues. When it comes to scheduled tool maintenance, the software analyses all available data from the tool’s usage history and upcoming production schedule, to recommend the optimal time for maintenance that will be least disruptive to production schedules. Finally, quality control is improved because AI-based correlation is used to detect tool defects.
The Digital Thread
The Plataine solution maintains a complete Digital Thread that contains the history of each production process from raw material to end product ensuring quality control across the board. This means that plant managers can look back at the history of any finished product and see all relevant historical details and information. They can see which batch the raw material came from, and where that batch was sourced from. The solution displays who worked on the product at each stage of the production line, and when. Factory staff can see in and out of the freezer time for each material used in the production, and which machines and tools were used in the production process.
The Digital Thread is of particular benefit to highly regulated industries such as Aerospace and Defense because it means that manufacturers are always audit-ready. Additionally, all records are logged automatically – allowing for a paperless production environment in which manual record keeping is a thing of the past, eliminating the human error that can so easily creep into such a mundane task, and freeing up skilled staff for other higher value tasks.
Minimizing raw material waste
AI-based software makes the best possible use of all raw materials and remnants, and intelligent algorithms completely automate the generation of raw material cut plans, allowing new levels of optimization. Essentially, the software will ensure that as many parts as possible are cut from any given roll of raw material, considering all production variables and constraints to allow generation of a much more efficient cut plan. RFID or other sensor technology placed on all raw material rolls as they enter the factory also ensure that material is used up in the most effective possible way, taking full account of raw material shelf-life where relevant, and also ensuring that short material rolls and cuttings are used wherever possible.
SAP is the gold standard when it comes to Enterprise Software. By bringing Plataine’s huge expertise with AI, and extensive knowledge of advanced manufacturing, we have created an offering together that represents the most complete and holistic digital manufacturing solution available on the market today. To learn more about SAP solutions, click here. Or, to continue the conversation about digital manufacturing optimization with one of our Digital Transformation Specialists directly, get in touch with us.