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Research advances in the last decades have allowed the introduction of Internet of Things IoT concepts in several industrial application scenarios, leading to the so-called Industry 4. The Industry 4. This is possible by leveraging IoT in Industry 4. In this paper, we describe the renovation process, guided by things2i s. The first phase concerns the digitalization of the control quality process, specifically related to the company's production lines.
The use of paper sheets containing different quality checks has been made smarter through the introduction of a digital, smart, and Web-based application, which is currently supporting operators and quality inspectors working on the supply chain through the use of smart devices. The second phase of the IIoT evolution—currently on-going—concerns both digitalization and optimization of the production planning activity, through an innovative Web-based planning tool.
The changes introduced have led to significant advantages and improvement for the manufacturing company, in terms of: i impressive cost reduction; ii better products quality control; iii real-time detection and reaction to supply chain issues; iv significant reduction of the time spent in planning activity; and v resources employment optimization, thanks to the minimization of unproductive setup times on production lines.
These two renovation phases represent a basis for possible future developments, such us the integration of sensor-based data on the operational status of production machines and the currently available warehouse supplies. In conclusion, the Industry 4. In the last decades, there has been a digital revolution in manufacturing factories, especially related to the adoption of new digital tools for the company and business processes management.
Today, we are participating to the ongoing convergence of real and virtual worlds, which can be considered as the main driver of innovation and changes in all sectors of our industrial economy. Moreover, the progressive establishment of Information and Communication Technology ICT and the possibility to employ modern technologies to collect continuously growing amount of data, are strongly changing the concept of company.
Hence, the first change in the industrial scenarios corresponds to an advanced digitalization process that, in combination with Internet-based and future-oriented technologies including, as an example, Smart Objects—SOs , leads to the new paradigm of the industrial production denoted as Industry 4. This new concept, whose name is also due to the fact that this wave of changes is considered as the fourth industrial revolution in modern history, promotes the vision of a factory as a modular and efficient manufacturing system, in which the products control their own manufacturing process.
Industry 4. At this time, there seems to be no clear solutions, generally employed in manufacturing industries, that can bridge the gap between IoT and legacy systems. Nevertheless, there are many uses cases and IoT deployments offering a rapid return and enabling manufacturers to realize digital transformations from several perspectives: efficiency, automation, customer-centricity, competitive benefits, together with the advantages offered by using data across the manufacturing value chain, thus turning into new revenue sources; this undoubtedly represents a key aspect of digital transformation in manufacturing, as highlighted by Ustundag and Cevikcan In industries there are many opportunities to leverage IoT in connecting physical and digital worlds, collecting data from various assets such as machines, production assets, and various additional objects not strictly related to the production process, generating a vast information network as described by Borangiu et al.
As highlighted before, even in this case this innovation process is an important element, since in manufacturing-oriented companies, we typically tend to think about physical goods and products, while bigger opportunities for manufacturers come and lie in Cyber-physical Systems CPS , looking to new service economy models and information opportunities. In this work, we present the description of the innovation and digitalization process, following the Industry 4.
The process has been completely guided by things2i, a cross-disciplinary engineering-economic spin-off of the University of Parma and, in particular, involves two applications: the first one, denoted as SmartFactory , has been developed to improve the production monitoring and the control quality activities. The second application, denoted as SmartPlanner , is a Web-based tool aiming at supporting the production planning staff in the complex activity of scheduling the manufacturing orders on the production lines proper of the partner company.
Finally, we will discuss about IoT-based evaluation of the developed systems. The rest of this paper is organized as follows. In section 2, an overview of related works on Enterprise Resource Planning ERP and digitalization adoption is provided.
In section 3, a description of the partner company and of its internal business organization is given. In section 4, a detailed overview of the innovations adopted in order to improve the performance of the control quality department is presented. A detailed description of the second phase of the digitalization process actuated in the target company is detailed in section 5, while in section 6 an overview of future developments is presented.
Finally, conclusions are drawn in section 7. Among the different technologies characterizing the evolution process of a company, the ERP adoption is one of the most important, due to the significant effects that it could have on the entire production process.
Several studies highlight that companies, depending on their size, approach ERP implementations in different ways, and have to face heterogeneous issues. At the same time, it has been also demonstrated that benefits coming from the ERP adoption differ on the basis of the company size itself: Mabert et al. Regardless of the company size, understanding, and optimizing business processes represents a success factor in fast-changing environments, like the one proper of previously highlighted scenarios.
Mabert et al. Moreover, ERPs allow a seamless integration of processes across functional areas with improved workflow, standardization of various business practices, improved order management, accurate accounting of inventory, and better supply chain management. Hence, as highlighted by Raymond , the adoption of an ERP has different effects on the company's lifecycle, thus involving interventions in different aspects and layers of the business, ranging from higher layers e.
Davenport analyzes the effects of the introduction of ERPs on the operative side, highlighting that companies of different sizes tend to follow a different behavior in their implementations.
In particular, there are differences between large and small enterprises over a range of issues, including: i the motivation that leads to the adoption of an ERP system in the factory; ii the kind of adopted system; iii the implementation strategies effectively adopted; and iv the customization and re-engineering's degree of the system operating with the ERP.
Moreover, Ein-Dor and Segev and Yap highlight that there exist several differences even in the outcomes attained to an ERP adoption, in particular regarding the relationship between structural variables proper of a company e. Thus, Swanson suggests that small companies tend to lag behind large factories in implementing new technologies, also employing different practices, whereas larger manufacturers are more likely to be early adopters of information technology innovations, being also more suited to have an internal IT office handling all the networking operations.
Other aspects that have to be kept in mind in choosing an ERP system are: i the software installation complexity—this, however, normally represents just a part of the process, due to the fact that a successful ERP implementation involves more than having sophisticated software and advanced computing technologies; ii the motivation guiding a company to implement an ERP; iii the type of ERP that is to be implemented and the resulting system configuration; iv the implementation strategies adopted by the manufacturing company; v the degree of customization required to the ERP developers; and vi the implementation cost required by the ERP adoption, with the consequent investment revenues and returns.
Based on these additional aspects Gremillion, ; Harris and Katz, state that smaller companies are more likely to change their processes to fit the system, while larger companies are more likely to customize the system. This leads to the fact that any change to the system can have major implications.
Generally, modifications lead to higher costs, longer implementation times and more complicated implementations. Another key point, which raised attention in the last decade and is characterizing the evolution process of a company, relates to the digitalization—or digital transformation process—which has been identified as one of the major trends changing society and business, since digitalization causes changes for companies due to the adoption of digital technologies in the operation environment or in the organization.
Parviainen et al. Huberty and Quinton and Simkin motivate the fact that replacing paper and manual processes with software-based solutions allows to automatically and quickly collect data that can be mined to better understand the rick causes and the process performance. Finally, Iivari et al. The factory target of the activities described in this paper has been founded at the end of 's and represents an important independent thermoplastic hose manufacturer for medium, high, and very high pressures.
The company Head Quarter HQ and the production factory are located in Italy, where thermoplastic hoses are produced and assembled. Through a network of relevant distributors, the produced hoses are then distributed in 65 different countries around the worlds. The annual company workload can be assessed in more than 13 millions meters 42 millions feet of hoses, made for different industrial employments, such as: hydraulic systems for forklifts, aerial platforms, cranes, mobile devices, rescue tooling, high pressure sewer jetting, gas and water supply, paint spray markets, and air conditioning and refrigeration.
Niche markets are also covered with, as an example, hoses for air breathable management systems and applications where high temperatures or aggressive fluids resistance are required. The high quality standards followed by the company for its products and services have made its success at the international level and have driven its constant attention to technological innovation and modern research, in order to continuously improve each stage in production and organization activities.
The production activity of the company is divided into 7 departments, where a single production phase is performed. Each thermoplastic article is thus produced across a few consecutive departments which are shared, with different configurations, among the production processes of several articles.
Moreover, each department has one or more lines that can work simultaneously. The main actors operating in the company and being involved in the activities related to this work are mainly the following three. Each QI is assigned to a set of lines, and each item produced in the company has a predefined set of checks that should be performed to guarantee conformity to quality standards.
For this reason, during the manufacturing activity, the QIs, conforming to the diary schedule defined by PSMs, move between lines, in order to inspect the production process. Some production lines require a dedicated LO to work, while, in other cases, a single LO can simultaneously manage few lines. The aspects of the manufacturing process that are of interest for the digitalization process described in this paper are mainly two, namely: the manufacturing process monitoring and the production planning management.
In the following, the management of these two aspects in the target company, before the digitalization introduction are described in detail.
In order to maintain and guarantee to customers an always growing quality level of produced items, the company has defined a precise protocol to be followed during the manufacturing process.
More in detail, after the definition of the schedule for each line, performed by PSMs, each article to be produced is separated into a set of N Manufacturing Orders MO , one per department involved in the productive process. Each MO is then assigned to a specific line in the factory.
The protocol of manufacturing monitoring defined by the company and set up during the years of its activity was initially performed through the use of MO Forms MOFs printed on paper sheets. Even though each department in the company has a specific layout for the MOF, in terms of input information types and number of sections, one can find a common set of sections. Some of the sections are descriptive, aiming at showing some important information for the manufacturing process i.
The possible section types identified during the preliminary analysis activity are described in the following and depicted in Figure 1. The Header section does not require any input, and simply identifies the MOF type, among the overall available, through the title together with a start date and an order alphanumeric code. The Manufacturing Order Description section is another part of the documents which does not require any input from LOs, hence is containing a list of textual information describing the steps needed for the order completion and the machine configuration.
The Material List section contains the names and quantity of the raw materials that should be used by LOs during the manufacturing process: depending on the kind of MO, this section may differ in some aspects such as, for example, in the structure of the list and the shown details. Nevertheless, the overall material lists require that the LO working on the line hand-writes in the form the codes of the material lots employed during the production, in order to trace the use of materials. The Progress Log section is filled out by LOs in order to write the quantity of hose products made during their shift.
This is motivated by the fact that the completion of a MO could require multiple work shifts and, in some cases, some days; with this section, the LOs can check and trace the development status of an order, and inform LOs starting their work in the following shift.
The Quality Checks section contains the results of data surveys performed during the production process, in order to verify that the products comply with the required standards. This section has a different layout depending on the MOF type, as different production articles require specific quality checks. Moreover, this section is periodically filled out by both LOs and QIs. Finally, the Other Input section in Figure 1 is used to indicate other and more specific document parts, which are present only in some kinds of MOFs and are used to include additional quality checks, additional descriptive sections, or additional inputs required by the specific production task.
In general, these parts correspond to extra paper sheets printed and directly provided to the operators. In Figure 1 , some examples of filled out MOFs are shown. Due to their internal structure, most MOF layouts can be printed in a single paper sheet, while, in other cases, a single MOF, requiring more data, should be printed in more pages, up to a maximum of 4 pages.
The protocol adopted by the company in order to monitor the productive process considers the following daily steps. The printed MOFs are distributed and delivered to the supervisors of all factory departments. Then, the supervisor subdivides the MOFs on each department's production line. Finally, the PSM staff manually scans all paper sheets and stores the obtained digital image, where inputs are only hand written. The work related to the production planning is an extremely important and time-consuming task for the partner company, as it strongly affects both results and performance of the subsequent activities.
The planning, on one side, should fulfill the customer requirements and, on the other side, should try to use efficiently both machines and human resources on the lines. This activity is performed by the PSM staff with a sliding time window of about 2 months. At the beginning of the analysis described in this paper, the production planning was managed through the use of Excel-based spreadsheets, with different layouts and protocols depending on the specific department.
An example of this kind of spreadsheet is shown in Figure 2 , in which each row represents a production line in the department, while each column represents a working day. The thermoplastic hose items to be produced, with their required quantity measured in meters , are placed inside the Excel cells whose intersection identifies the evasion of an order on a specific working day and on a specific production line.
In order to improve the productivity per line, each single production line is able to produce more than one article per day. As can be easily understood, this manual process is extremely complicated and time-consuming for the PSMs, because it requires to take into account several factors, such as those explained in the following sections, and is not exempt from possible errors during data insertion.
The first aspect that has to be considered in activity planning is related to the items namely, the articles that have to be produced. Handling this task requires to take into account several factors, such as: i the number of orders requested by the customers; ii the minimum stock quantity of goods that the company desires to maintain; and iii the workload of the lines, as it is desirable to schedule the activities without any production interruption and guarantying continuity.
The company, during the years of its activity, has incrementally acquired different machines with heterogeneous characteristics, in terms of efficiency and work velocity.
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The magazine delivers the news, technical articles, and case histories that enable fabricators to do their jobs more efficiently. Digital subscribers can view the digital edition in their browser or in our iOS or Android apps. E-mailed once a month, Fabricating Update alerts you to new content on thefabricator. He has been with the publications since April He has written about U. As a trade journal editor he has traveled extensively throughout the U. He is a Louisiana State University journalism graduate. He lives with his wife and two children in Crystal Lake, Ill. Davis can be reached at dand thefabricator. Since then he has covered the full range of metal fabrication processes, from stamping, bending, and cutting to grinding and polishing.
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Since the last reduction in the German feed-in tariff for medium-sized PV systems at the beginning of April, not much has changed in terms of module prices. This is down to unchanged demand in the country — at least in the first days of April. What is more, any local lags in the market are outweighed by steadily rising demand throughout Europe. Young people no longer want to accept the frivolous endangerment of their livelihoods on this planet. Facts about the causes and effects of the ongoing destruction of the environment have been known for decades, but beyond high-minded declarations no one has taken decisive action.
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Twenty years ago, most Americans pictured the Japanese factory as a sweatshop, teeming with legions of low-paid, low-skilled workers trying to imitate by hand, with great effort and infrequent success, what skilled American and European workers were doing with sophisticated equipment and procedures. Today, shocked and awed by the worldwide success of Japanese products, Americans […]. My research see my note on this page for a detailed description suggests that this new stereotype is probably as incorrect as the old one.
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Для панков? - переспросил бармен, странно посмотрев на Беккера. - Да. Есть ли в Севилье такое место, где тусуются панки. - No lo se, senor.
Беккер показал лейтенанту эту полоску. - Смотрите, полоска осталась незагорелой. Похоже, он носил кольцо. Офицер был поражен этим открытием. - Кольцо? - Он вдруг забеспокоился. Вгляделся в полоску на пальце и пристыжено покраснел.
Но нутром он чувствовал, что это далеко не. Интуиция подсказывала ему, что в глубинах дешифровального чудовища происходит что-то необычное. ГЛАВА 10 - Энсей Танкадо мертв? - Сьюзан почувствовала подступившую к горлу тошноту. - Вы его убили.