This is a guest blog by Bill Barnes, General Manager, Lattice Technology, Inc.
Using 3D to power the shop floor – the quiet revolution
Why Kubotek USA and Lattice Technology, Inc have become partners
It's safe to say that if you are a product designer or engineer, you probably use 3D CAD daily, or are often sent 3D CAD data that you have to deal with. 3D is ubiquitous in the front end of the product design process, and our manufactured products are all the better for it - higher quality, cheaper, more reliable, faster to market. It enables companies to be more competitive in the global market.
But even after the amazing technological revolution that 3D CAD has wrought in the last 2 decades, too many downstream departments have remained resolutely paper-based, often detached from the systems that drive the 3D CAD data, and overall manufacturing productivity has suffered as a result. There are all sorts of reasons why (and they vary from company to company) but can include:
- 3D CAD data in its pure form is meaningless to other departments
- Lower specification PCs and network bandwidth limitations in other departments make accessing 3D data difficult
- Some departments are entrenched in older methods and have resistance to change
- While companies are desperately searching for ways to improve productivity, 3D beyond the product design department has never seemed like a viable option
- When collaborating with other companies different 3D CAD systems are often in use
Every day our customers prove that, with the right approach, the barriers listed above have been removed and that some pretty amazing productivity improvements occur. For example, Alpine Precision successfully halved lead-time from design to measurement of test parts using 3D with Lattice Technology Solutions, and improved product time-to-market by 92%. KVAL Inc., has seen productivity gains of 20-25% in manufacturing, technician learning curves reduced to minutes instead of days and spare parts service calls reduced from 15-20 minutes to just seconds using Lattice Technology.
With these kinds of results, you think that every company would already have jumped onto this - and indeed many have. But as is human nature, when a manufacturer takes a huge step forward in productivity, they tend to be secretive as to how it was achieved. Also, based on the third and fourth points written above, we often help companies ease gradually into an enterprise-wide 3D strategy and it is not until using 3D on the shop floor, procurement, support and other departments has become second nature that they are willing to discuss it. Hence, while it is a rapidly developing part of manufacturing processes, it also remains a quiet revolution.
But this is why a partner agreement between Kubotek and Lattice Technology is occurring at an ideal time, and addresses all the points above that can be barriers to really exploiting 3D data enterprise-wide.
Let me explain: Kubotek delivers what I believe are best-in-class tools for creating, editing and validating 3D data, regardless of its origin. So using Kubotek products your designers can create original data and if a customer sends you 3D data from just about any 3D CAD system, you are able to actively see it, accurately and easily edit it, check it, and manage ECOs. But then what do you do with it? This is where Lattice Technology comes in.
Lattice Technology Solutions allow 3D data to be used to digitally mock-up assemblies and check for interferences, clearances and other issues. Assembly processes can be designed, including dynamic clash detection, interaction with resources such as tools, fixtures and humans can be checked and the designed processes can be easily published in both digital and print ready forms including assembly animations, BOMs and technical illustrations. Integration with existing PDM and ERP systems can easily be accomplished and downstream data changes can be handled automatically when the upstream design data changes
The affordable but highly sophisticated software products from these two companies deliver a seamless workflow of accurate, usable 3D data through any and every part of your manufacturing operation.
You will, of course, be hearing more about this, and we will be inviting everyone to attend seminars that demonstrate what I have been talking about. But in the meantime, please consider if you would like to be a part of The Quiet Revolution too!
Find out more at: http://www.lattice3d.com
As always, thank you for reading and commenting.