Running an aerospace and defense machine shop is incredibly challenging. Keeping pace with the aerospace market and the required changes (updates) in technology, requires moving from a traditional toward a digital machine shop. This transitioning from traditional to digital in an aerospace manufacturing environment, involves integrating advanced technologies that enhance production, efficiency, and innovation. Is it possible to remain competitive while transitioning from traditional to digital? At Intrex Aerospace the answer is YES. We are continually adopting digital tools, to overcome manufacturing challenges and build our business for the future.
Features of a Traditional shop
There are many ways to define what a traditional shop “looks like”, but some (not all) characteristics are:
- Uncontrolled data – Do not have a good system in-place to track the flow of information. Storing and processing of data and collaboration among and between different departments is weak or non-existent.
- Paper documents – There is a good deal of paper as opposed to electronic documentation. Access to the necessary parties (purchasing, production, quality, shipping) is not adequate for timely information exchange.
- Old equipment – Not all older machines are ineffective, but without continued investments in capital equipment, it is impossible to maintain the high degree of tolerance required in aerospace. Maintenance of older machine tools also requires a higher level of staffing. Improperly maintained equipment can also lead to a higher level of rework and scrap.
- Out-dated software system – It is very difficult to provide acceptable parts in a production environment without a modern up-to-date ERP/MRP system. A system that meets the raw material – floor production – quality control – shipping, is necessary to maintaining quality and OTD requirements.
Features of a Digital shop
A modern digital shop addresses all of the shortcomings noted above in the traditional shop, and the transition goes well beyond.
- Seamless connectivity – Every aspect of the manufacturing process from ordering the raw material to the part shipping out the door is data driven. There is a digital traceability in all phases of manufacturing.
- Automation and robotics – Integrating robotics in manufacturing processes can streamline repetitive tasks, improve accuracy, and increase in productivity. The gained efficiencies also help drive down cost and improve profitability.
- Agile scheduling – With a powerful integrated software system, you can be more confident in your total information base, and thus more flexible with schedules. Having a handle on the potential impact of schedule changes, is a great asset, giving you the ability to make informed decisions that can meet customer demands with a minimum of scheduling inconvenience.
- Cybersecurity: As the digital world grows, security in the cyberworld increases. Knowledge, technology, and familiarity with digital systems is crucial to ensuring robust cybersecurity protocols that safeguard sensitive information and prevent potential cyber threats.
- Collaboration: There are tools available for implementing digital collaboration and platforms for improving communication among inner-company groups and teams, as well as with your customer. Having access to real-time accurate, integrated information, is a formula for success.
Moving from a traditional toward a digital machine shop is an ongoing process, that requires careful planning, investment, and workforce training. Intrex Aerospace has been involved in the digital transition for several years. Part of our success in this transition is involving employees in the process We offer appropriate training and support that ensures a smooth transition and maximizes the benefits of these digital advanced technologies.
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