Reliable production planning

How to get a reliable production planning

The production process within machining companies consists of countless variables that influence production planning. Cellro’s automation solutions speaks of “data intelligence” when it comes to collecting, unlocking and streamlining all these variables. This intelligent data presents itself to the user with the right information at the right time. This provides insights, that are the basis on which preventive actions can be taken. We call this “actionable intelligence”. In this article, we explain how you can achieve reliable production planning by unlocking and reusing all these separate data.

The following topics are covered in this article:

Opening up data (retrieving it from the source) and using it for re-use

The production process in a machining company involves much more than you might think. Think for example of production programs, detailed product specifications, material management, logistics, quality control, required tools, etc. All of this is spread across different machines and the necessary information is spread across different departments in the company. When CNC machine tools are operated manually, all these separate parts of the entire process are retrieved or supplied separately from various departments in order to be able to start the final production. From our data models, we know that an average production order involves over 600 data points that need to be seamlessly connected in order for production to flow smoothly. If you read this, you will immediately realise how much profit there is to be made if you safeguard all this by digitising and streamlining it.

Automation removes uncertainties in advance

Today, systems produce more and more data in companies. The whole thing does not just work together and it is quite a quest just to get everything linked up. Let alone to make it work together effectively. Cellro is independent in this. We retrieve the required production data from the source by connecting our system to the source, think of CNC(s), ERP, PLM, MES, TM, LAS, AGVs, etc. This is rather flawless because nothing needs to be entered twice, but it also offers ‘live’ insight if something changes in production or the business process. This not only saves a lot of (unnecessary) labour-intensive work, but also reduces the chance of human error. More importantly, you have more time to improve your ‘proven concepts’. This ensures a higher and constant product quality and prevents delays in the completion of small or larger product series. Automation thus removes many uncertainties and ambiguities in advance that could lead to unforeseen situations and stagnation in the production planning afterwards (during production).

Creating peace and overview

In non-automated production, production workers are actually more like firemen. They have to keep all the balls in the air and are constantly on the lookout for things that could go wrong and have to intervene abruptly when production comes to a standstill. While they should actually be able to focus completely on their craftsmanship. A lot of valuable time is lost on questions like: where is my raw material, do I have the right NC-file, are the right tools pre-set, will I get it done on time, etc? Apart from that, all the production steps have to be done all over again for every new order. If you switch to automated production, Cellro’s software will help you achieve much more reliable production planning by unlocking and reusing relevant data. Production can be started in three clicks. With Cellro’s intelligent software, you can take the first steps and discover the peace of mind and security that automation provides.

Cellro job validation functionality

Gradually this can be expanded further. More and more data is opened up and – perhaps even more important – by re-using all digitised and linked data, you can oversee the entire production planning much better and keep it under control. The diversity and quantity (complexity) of data increases when multiple jobs are run autonomously in a row. The Cellro control system provides for this by structuring, clarifying and timely reporting of essential actions to guarantee the production process at all times.

Job validation

Our unique job validation functionality is a striking example of this. By means of clear signals, you can see at a glance what still needs to be thought of before starting production. Because you do not have to keep searching for the relevant data from all kinds of different systems, the automated production can actually be started immediately. The system not only cooperates perfectly with other systems, but also with your operators, foremen and managers. We see the cooperation with people as important and Cellro is progressive in this respect. This way, decisions can be made together. For example, if a tool exceeds its useful life, it can be agreed in advance to schedule and start production anyway. We then indicate this with a grey cross cross. Below is an example of our job validation functionality.

Given the green check marks, in this example much is well prepared and available. But still the production cannot be made. The reason is easy to find by looking at the red crosses. This shows that essential tools are not available. By clicking on details, we present you with an overview of which tool(s) are missing and direct you to where they should be entered. In this example, too, you will have production on the go in 3 clicks.

Reliable production planning for now and the future

For many entrepreneurs who work with an ERP package, but who are not yet familiar with robot cells and the software that controls the robots, it’s a revelation when they see what Cellro can do for them. Cellro has developed Manufacturing Intelligence (MI) software. This uses, among other things, a micro service architecture and a super fast communication bus, derived from proven technologies from the IT world. This provides a fast but also safe interface and communication possibilities to almost all systems. Data is retrieved safely and in real time from the source, calculated and released to where it is needed.

Standard MI software prepared

Our MI software is prepared for every system as standard. This makes us a growth jewel, which, depending on the developments within a high-end manufacturing company, can be extended in an increasingly modular fashion. The more data that is digitally linked and available for reuse, the more calm and overview this provides in the entire production planning. Looking to the future, with the ever-evolving technical developments in the machining industry and the complexity of data systems, the gains to be had from smart automation will only increase.

Cellro offers effective solutions for complex issues

However, many companies in the machining industry will recognise that this is not so simple. There are many suppliers who all claim to be able to do a lot, but a lot goes wrong and added value is not realised. For years we have been working together with our progressive customers in their search for the right steps on their roadmap towards robotisation, automation, digitalisation, and logistic integration. Cellro plays an important role in this because we “unlock” the production data with our robot systems. This is where a lot of added value lies and where the connection to the business processes is made possible. The trick is to convert this data into actions and to explain them in a timeline, thus bringing them back to simplicity. At Cellro, we were inspired by Albert Einstein: “Genius is making complex ideas simple.” With this, we create a unified overview of all production actions in the right order. This is ‘scalable’, suitable for both simple and complex production processes, small and large series mixed together, single or many machines and even complete factories.

AGV mechanism on a tablet screen

Always thinking ahead and acting in time

It enables your people in the factory to always act well in advance. But also think of other systems that can perform these tasks, such as AGVs that are instructed to bring material to the relevant machine 30 minutes before production starts. Or that when certain work is finished, picks it up and brings it to inspection and packing for transport. Below is an example of this mechanism, showing an Elevate and an Xcelerate on a tablet device.

Start small, but think big!

All data can be consulted in your factory or office and is all connected in real time. Thus, with our platform, we enable connectivity ‘any device, anywhere’. This is bi-directional, which means that we not only send tasks, but we can also receive tasks from ERP or MES, for example, systems that you have already set up and that are running to your satisfaction. We see this flexibility as a necessity in order to be able to integrate with the diversity within the machining companies and to be able to add value directly, both now and in the future. How nice is it for the entire production planning if, for almost every new order, you can get all the relevant data needed to start production directly from the virtual shelf? You don’t need Cellro in your day-to-day work. You can adjust existing work or create new orders yourself, and easily start the work. It is, as it were, a ‘digital tool’ that you apply yourself and with which you link and streamline the production process and the business process. We therefore say to our customers who want to start automating their production: Start small, but think big!

Cellro thinks along in sustainable solutions

Do you, as an entrepreneur or production manager, want to get serious about creating a reliable production planning? Then get in touch with us, so that we can look at which solution Cellro can offer you.