Комаров Артем о развитии металлообрабатывающего производства (eng)
Комаров Артем о развитии металлообрабатывающего производства (eng)

Комаров Артем о развитии металлообрабатывающего производства (eng)

Komarov Artem clarified that changes are taking place in the sheet metal industry. Someone who entered the business 30 years ago became an expert in the craft after years of experience. Today, a manufacturer equipped with state-of-the-art lasers, stamping machines, and press brakes can turn a novice into a productive worker extraordinarily quickly. In fact, the knowledge needed to be productive is much less than it used to be. Skills are still important in a modern factory, but the learning curve for new hires is shorter. However, to grow and progress, people still need knowledge, but they also need to apply this knowledge in new ways.

Артём Андреевич Комаров

As metalworking moves towards Industry 4.0, new career paths will lead to new opportunities, especially for those who are open to change and new ways of thinking – thanks in large part to intelligent data management in machines and software. Those who seek to learn, who look beyond the part they form or the nest they carve, will reap the rewards.

3D model influence

A decade of shortages in skilled labor have pushed machine tool and software makers to meet the need with technologies that allow the less experienced to produce more and with higher quality than ever before. Traditional knowledge has been baked into a pie as the software does the work that merchants used to do pen and paper calculations 30 years ago.

This shift has changed the way people spend their careers. Those who started on the shop floor 30 years ago have most likely spent their entire careers there. They could advance in one department or move to other departments, perhaps becoming a manager or department head. Today, newcomers to sheet metal fabrication can start as a machine operator but move on to machine programming or become a CAD/CAM specialist. The technology also frees operators from the need to specialize in one type of equipment and facilitates cross-training across the shop floor.

The 3D model is helping to make this digital-focused career path more common than ever. Early in their careers, perhaps even in their first days or weeks on the job, new hires see 3D models of the parts they make. These 3D representations become an integral part of their work life.

In some shops, new employees do not know what a paper traveler is. All they need is a work ticket, a matrix code, or a barcode. Marking parts will eliminate the need for accompanying paper. A drawing, a 3D model, work instructions, basic training materials — all this is available to them on the screen, whether it is a tablet, laptop, computer terminal or the machine control panel itself. They’ve worked with software their entire careers and know the realities of the shop floor, so moving from the shop floor to the office isn’t a giant leap.

The division between “office” and “shop” will become less clear-cut. The creation of a 3D model starts in the office, goes through programming and planning, where processes are modeled, programmed, and ordered in an optimal way, considering potential bottlenecks. On the shop floor, frontline workers are looking at screens to see what’s next. They don’t go through mountains of paper and put out an unexpected bottleneck. They do what customers pay for: they make good parts.

About Usage

In the old world of manufacturing, an operator could start her day by sorting through bags of jobs stacked on pallets next to the machine, then look up and see her supervisor walking briskly towards her. He spent the last 30 minutes frantically moving between the offices and the store. The client needs something immediately and is now asking the operator to drop everything to make it happen.

So, the firefighting begins. The operator talks to the shop manager, waits for the forklift driver to deliver the blanks (maneuvering around all work in progress), checks with his supervisor again, then starts bending. During all this time, the pressure brake piston did not budge. She changes her tool, does a few test bends, and then—finally—starts the run. Meanwhile, the number of WIP pallets at her workplace did not decrease.

In this new world of manufacturing, data plays a leading role. Operators work less in the process and more on the process. During production (when they are working in progress) they only see what they need for the next run. They won’t have to worry about how much work they must do in an entire shift. They will start generating details and then run whatever comes up next on the screen. At this point, the software has optimized the job sequence for optimal flow. If the client requests changes, the software redistributes the flow.

The more automated a plant is, the more important usage metrics become for production management. A 12kW laser without automation may have poor utilization efficiency simply because humans cannot maintain power to the machine. If the same laser in an automated setup uses little, something is wrong.

Data-driven intelligence will support Industry 4.0 initiatives in the metalworking industry

Industry 4.0 shop floor careers will be different, but they will all have a common thread in the metalworking industry: reliable data will drive decisions.

Индустрия 4.0, Комаров Артем

With some combination of online and traditional training, they produce quality parts within days or weeks of being hired. However, the learning does not stop. Using virtual learning tools, they continue to learn the fundamentals of the process and receive numerous training sessions over the weeks and months that follow. They study software, but also learn how different metals react to specific manufacturing processes. Training helps new employees learn the basics of metalworking. They also learn to view the software as a tool that helps them make the most of that knowledge to get the job done as efficiently as possible.

Alternatively, employees can work their way up to positions in sales, valuation, or purchasing, although in the world of Industry 4.0, these job functions can be very different from what they are today. Reliable data enables the entire operation to produce customer-specific products with less WIP between work centers and less inventory of raw materials, which in turn reduces the amount of working capital on the shop floor.

Industry 4.0 will not, of course, eliminate the need for raw materials. Shops need buffers, as recent supply chain issues have proven this all too well. However, Industry 4.0 will allow purchasing managers to make decisions that, again, are based on real data, not gut feeling.

Those involved in procurement are focused on this data and are working to optimize procurement mechanisms. Order processors do the same, sometimes connecting directly to the customer’s enterprise resource planning systems. Instead of manually entering a bunch of purchase orders, transactions are done electronically without requiring human intervention.

Those involved in sales and appraisal will pay less attention to “evaluating” the work. In fact, hard data will make citations much more scientific, based on actual machine speeds and actual material and labor costs. Quotations for prototypes and low-volume orders will also become much more automated as customers upload 3D CAD files and receive quotations shortly thereafter, sometimes within minutes or even seconds, Artem Komarov said.

The sales and appraisal department will focus on unusual jobs and long-term contracts. Big difference: Armed with data, they will negotiate based on real opportunities and actual costs.

The industry 4.0 employee sees the whole picture, from the initial offer to the final shipment, and data transparency fosters a culture of excellence across the value chain. They may not spend years perfecting their cutting or bending skills, but they will learn how to use data to make the entire operation more efficient, less stressful, and ultimately a better place to work, Artem Komarov said.