“DONE IN ONE” MANUFACTURING
“DONE IN ONE” MANUFACTURING for the CNC Machining World and in the Fabrication of Structural Steel and Plate
Regardless of where you travel in the world today, Industry 4.0 is the buzzword that is cast about as all industries try to explore how they can enhance their competitive edge. Many countries in the world today predict that this new industrial revolution will reduce manual labor by up to 40% in the next 10-15 years. This strongly indicates that the change in productivity in the next few years is not a wave but rather a tsunami!
In the world of CNC production, the traditional concept of the past meant expanding a firm’s throughput by building a larger plant facility with more dedicated work centers. For example, in structural steel fabrication this meant how many saws feeding how many drills, copers, etc. This was a solid formula for increasing a firm’s volume but historically did little to change the productivity as more work centers required additional operators, material handlers, support personnel and plant space.
“Done in One”
The metal working industries (metal turning and fabrication) during the past 15-20 years have rapidly changed course with the adoption of a new “Done in One” philosophy. The firm Mazak, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of innovative machining technology, coined the phrase “Done in One” to reflect their multi-tasking concept. This permitted the capability of a single work center to convert stock material into a finished part without the need to route the part to other machining operations. Mazak states that this Multi-Tasking has revolutionized manufacturing and plays a critical role in today’s progressive smart factories. They continue to engineer new features and benefits into this machine tool technology that goes from a single setup to complete part machining.
This new capability for metal turning or steel fabrication generates the following benefits:
- Increases capacity, flexibility, productivity and profitability;
- Improves part accuracy and overall quality;
- Streamlines production and boosts output with fewer work cells and less labor;
- Substantially reduces the total required plant space;
- Enhances overall production management and enables the ability to reduce the quantities per production run;
- Reduces production part costs by cutting fixture and tooling cost.
Bottom line… the new process assists firms to enhance their competitive edge.
FICEP has endorsed the concept of “Done in One” for both their manufacturing processes and in the development of their innovative solutions for the fabrication of structural steel and plate.
FICEP Invests in New a Machining Facility and Equipment
Mazak’s “Done in One” philosophy is not new to FICEP as they have used this machining concept for over 20 years. FICEP never stands still, however, as new innovative machining technology is constantly being introduced to the market.
Considering FICEP’s continue (continued) worldwide market share growth the management made the decision to once again expand their firm’s internal productivity and capacity. In line with this commitment to constantly reinvest in the firm’s capabilities, FICEP has recently completed the acquisition of a 35.000 square meter plant for machining of their proprietary parts.
FICEP’s investment in a new additional plant and the latest in “Done in One” technology not only expands their capacity but more importantly, it substantially reduces their machining cost.
FICEP Endorses the Same “Done in One” Philosophy in the Engineering of Their Products
In the fabrication world of structural steel and plate FICEP has pioneered this multi-tasking work center approach since the Seventies with drilling and sawing performed in one integrated system.
Since that period, the capabilities of this initial multi-tasking concept has been expanded to integrate:
- Cutting to length
- Plasma cutting
- Oxy-fuel cutting
Prior to the “Done in One” concept of structural steel fabrication that was innovated by FICEP, multiple work centers were required to perform the different operations. Since each system is required to have it’s own measuring system there were always some concerns for commonality of tolerances between work centers and the finished parts. The “Done in One” concept uses the same measuring system and zero point so the finished part tolerance is never in question.
Since all operations are performed in one common work center, this drastically reduces the plant space required by over 50% when compared with a system consisting of multiple work centers.
The ability to also generate high performance milling within the FICEP drill line produces extremely accurate dross-free parts that do not require a secondary operation.
For example, look at a section that has milled weld prep on the flanges and rat holes in the web. When milling rat holes, it is possible to generate the clearance flush to the flange so a secondary thermal and grinding process is not required. In addition, both weld preps or rat holes can be generated simultaneously for unbelievable productivity by using both flange spindles for this process.
This multi-tasking concept has been further expanded to integrate multiple work cells and automate the material handling. With this level of automation one operator can monitor the handling and the processes of multiple work centers and their operations.
Fabricators of structural steel and plate around the world are experiencing the labor saving benefits, enhanced capabilities and productivity gains that FICEP’s multi-tasking technology has generated. It is no longer practical to have separated work cells that are single process oriented. The productivity solution of today is a multi-tasking work cell or cells integrated with “Intelligent Steel Fabrication” technology to lower your cost per ton. This integrated software approach monitors and optimizes the product cycle from the planning stages to real time production.
If your competitors are eliminating 4 of 10 positions in the next 10-15 years, what is your firm doing to keep pace with this labor saving revolution? Don’t wait until it is too late!
THE HISTORY OF SCRIBING
When, why and how did FICEP introduce its patented scribing application?
Beam lines (punching and drilling), when introduced to the structural steel fabrication industry, drastically reduced a fabricator’s cost per ton. The cost reduction was realized by the elimination of the layout associated with the required holes and in the process also reduced some of the material handling. A by-product of this technology (digital and later NC) was by short stroking the punch or drill, a mark could be generated to indicate a coordinate location. By combining several of these manually generated layout marks the fitter could more or less “connect the dots” to indicate the true location of a stiffener to be welded or a cope to be generated, for example. Because of the extensive manual programming that would be required to generate a recognizable location for a fitter, in practice this was not utilized by the industry.
As the control technology passed from numerical control (N/C) to computerized numerical control (CNC), these systems were now capable of not just positioning point-to-point but controlling more than one axis in synchronization with another axis. This control capability existed for sometime before someone decided to take this capability to the next step.
Recognition of the Concept and the Benefits
In 2004 FICEP realized the labor saving component of a drill line was yet to be fully realized. As fabricators struggled with the ability to employ qualified layout men, they realized that they needed to be able to utilize the positioning capability of a CNC controlled drilling line to eliminate the manual layout process.
It was decided to develop a tool that would use an inexpensive 4-sided carbide insert that would generate a high speed milling function that would just mark or scribe the surface at speeds up to 20 meters per minute (65 feet per minute). In view of the mill tolerance variables that are normal in structural steel sections, the tool was designed to float to maintain a consistent depth of penetration for marking. The mark penetration of the tool was designed to also be adjustable so that deeper penetrations could be achieved for part marking of material that was subsequently galvanized.
Because of the uniqueness of this tool and its application, patent applications were filed in the United States, Canada and Europe. Since the filing, the United States Patent Office has issued patent #7,974,719 covering this FICEP invention.
Advancing the Efficiency of the Invention
The shop labor savings that fabricators realized by implementing this soon to be patented technology was fantastic as it addressed the root of the challenge of not being able to hire qualified layout men in sufficient number. Unfortunately, there was some considerable manual programming labor that was added to the process that did not exist prior to scribing. All of the scribing information now needed to be manually programmed as a series of lines and arcs. It became apparent that the labor that was being saved on the shop floor was being added in the programming office.
FICEP, wanting to push the pioneering of its scribing technology, realized that to make scribing a cost effective tool for the fabricator, they needed to automate the programing function associated with the generation of the CNC program to create the scribing. If this invention could not be realized, scribing would die the same kind of death that happened in the industry years before when fabricators thought about using individually generated layout marks.
FICEP and Steel Projects, a 100% owned FICEP Group firm who is totally committed towards the development of software to organize, automate and track the structural steel fabrication process, got together to tackle the challenge. During this time period CAD firms started to further develop their detailing software around the 3D model of the designed structure. From the 3D model the data to generate the required holes in all of the components were able to be downloaded automatically as a DSTV or later as an XML file. Both Steel Projects and FICEP realized that the real power of the 3D model was the relationship that existed between sections as to how they intersected with each other within the model.
US Patent #7,974,719
Understanding the ability to grow the scribing invention to a practical level, both FICEP and Steel Projects started to develop the software to extract the intersecting points from the 3D model.
This then evolved to generate the CNC program automatically from the 3D model to produce the required scribing lines. This included layout marks, the reference number for the intersection member, a matchmaker to define the orientation and welding symbols to clearly indicate to the fitter the orientation of the mating part or section and the welding requirement.
FICEP and Steel Projects filed for patent protection on this unique invention in the United States, Canada and Europe. On July 5, 2011 the United States Patent Office issued patent #7,974,719 for this invention.
Go to patent: http://www.google.com/patents/US7974719
FICEP Lean Manufacturing
HOW DOES FICEP MANUFACTURE OVER 100 CNC DIFFERENT FABRICATION LINES IN A COST EFFECTIVE MANNER?
The key words in our production process are STANDARDIZATION, MODULARITY and ORGANIZATION
Since their founding in 1930 FICEP has built their reputation as the world’s most dominant and largest manufacturer of CNC fabrication lines for plate and structural steel. Their global strategy and reason for their worldwide dominance is centered on developing the most innovative and cost effective solution for each unique market. The ideal solution in one market could be a single spindle drilling line where a different market requires a multiple spindle drilling line that also provides scribing and milling capability. This extreme range of system capabilities and the need to furnish cost effective solutions between diverse markets requires some unique manufacturing challenges.
Typically, the needs of the target markets not only require different levels of capabilities but they are generally requested to address a client’s pending contract so delivery flexibility is paramount. As a delivery requirement maybe initially urgent, it is frequently delayed because of slow progress on the construction of the new facility where the line maybe installed or the financing could be facing some unexpected hurtles.
In summary, the challenges that FICEP frequently faces in serving the global markets are as follows:
The need for a combination of uniquely different solutions for the dynamics of each specific market.
The ability to serve a client with a customized solution with a fast delivery.
Delays in the project can occur because of financing challenges or the client’s construction delays of a new facility. The ability to be able to quickly change the priorities of the production schedule without incurring additional production cost and delays is paramount.
As these challenges became more relevant in the day to day business, FICEP realized that they needed to implement a better system to achieve the continuing demands of the market. They needed to achieve greater flexibility while maintaining a low cost manufacturing structure.
After engaging outside consultants in conjunction with Politecnico di Milano, it was decided that a rethinking of the manufacturing process and the adoption of “Lean Manufacturing” was the type of program that needed to be implemented to achieve this goal.
This was a company-wide initiative that had to involve an integrated approach by sales, engineering and manufacturing. Producing over 100 different CNC lines, most in quantities of less than 100 units per year for each model, required the implementation of a system of standards and commonality to achieve the goal.
Main areas of emphasis were
- Production planning
Goals and standards were required to be established for all aspects of the production process.
Starting with Sales, the commonality of options and features needed to be adopted to start the process. Engineering needed to standardize parts and assemblies that could be used on different models rather than have a unique part or sub assembly for each system.
The effort put forth by Sales and Engineering was just the beginning as the real streamlining of the production process had to occur in the manufacturing department.
The manufacturing team at FICEP explains that the key words are standardization, modularity and organization. An assembly line was started for both the sub-assemblies and the machines. Subsequently, assemblies are all created in the same identical manner. This gains flexibility as a machine model can be changed from one type to another based on design standardization in the early stages to give sales more flexibility to change the ultimate model and optional configuration.
Multiple shop floor management meetings are held daily to identify potential delays in the required parts or assemblies so this expediting task can be given a priority. The machine assembly dashboard must be all green (all parts available) before a machine or sub assembly task hits the floor. This shop floor management system, real heart of all supply chain activities’ synchronization, is called “The FICEP Synchro System”.
Wooden pallets are eliminated on the assembly floor and replaced with standardized multi-tier movable carts for maximum efficiency and organization.
Even the fasteners and only the corresponding tools required for each model are presented to the corresponding assembly area. Assembly personnel are not substituting one fastener for the designed fastener or using a tool that is not optimally designed for the specific task.
When the program was initially implemented, there were some reservations from the assembly technicians as change always presents some challenges. These initial concerns have been replaced, as now the same assembly technicians are constantly coming forward with new ideas to streamline and standardize the process to take it to even a higher level.
Once assembled, the check-out process for each system is a defined routine and sequence so nothing is missed during this critical step.
As a system is approved for shipment, there is even a standardization of sizes and types of shipment crates as well as their content to eliminate hunting for different elements during the site installation.
This standardization of all aspects of the machine assembly process has enabled FICEP to achieve the maximum flexibility in filling orders with an expansive product line and in the desired time frame.
Machine Tool Indonesia 2019
FICEP HONG KONG invites you at Machine Tool Indonesia 2019 which will be held on coming Wednesday to Saturday (4 – 7 December).
04.12.19 – 07.12.19
MACHINE TOOL INDONESIA
HALL B – BOOTH 4203
Jakarta International Expo
Come to visit our booth 4203 in hall B to learn about all the news in our production range and our latest technological innovations!
Metalex Thailand 2019
FICEP HONG KONG participated in METALEX 2019 in Thailand.
In collaboration with our Agent LVD Thailand, we show all latest news regarding Ficep CNC machines, Steel fabrication and Intelligent fabrication.
Show Title: METALEX 2019 (ASEAN’s Largest International Machine Tools and Metalworking Technologies Trade Exhibition & Conference)
Date: 20 – 23 November 2019
Venue: Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center (BITEC), Bangkok, Thailand
88 Debaratana road(km.1), Bangna Tai, Bangna, Bangkok 10260, Thailand
Tel: +(66 2) 726 1999
MetalForm China 2019
China International Metal Forming Exhibition 2019
Exhibition Name: China Metal Forming Exhibition (MetalForm China)
The China International Metal Forming Exhibition in Shanghai in 2019 was held successfully completed in July.
In addition to displaying videos of various equipments, the Fisep team also showed samples of processed parts for forging equipment in the booth.
For more information, please contact us:
email@example.com (Guangzhou FICEP)
firstname.lastname@example.org (FICEP Hong Kong)
ABOUT METALFORM CHINA:
MetalForm China is the brand & specialization exhibition organized by CCMI. The exhibition has been successfully held for 10 times. We achieved steady growth of floor space, exhibitors, and visitors by consistently focusing on solutions which are aligned to process sequences of forging, stamping and sheet metal fabricating – and the automation of processes.
MTA Vietnam 2019
In the beginning of July, FICEP is exhibiting in the MTA Vietnam Exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City, Booth number AF1-4.
ABOUT MTA VIETNAM:
Established since year 2005 with 17 years of history and widely recognised as Vietnam’s leading precision engineering, machine tools & metalworking industry event.
Machine Tool Indonesia 2018
FICEP HONG KONG invites you at Machine Tool Indonesia 2018 which will be held on coming Wednesday to Saturday (5 – 8 December).
Our Booth is 4203 at Hall B1 (together with LVD Indonesia) and we will put a FICEP CNC plate punching & drilling model – P113E on display. Please come to discover more.