How to Improve Your Factory Throughput
Whether you’re looking for faster material handling, fewer bottlenecks or less idle time for workers, a factory layout redesign might help. But before you go through the expense and brain drain of changing your layout, equipment or staffing, it would be immensely helpful to know if the changes you’re considering will actually accomplish your objectives. With the expense involved, it shouldn’t be a hit or miss thing.
Before you redesign your existing factory, you can get insight into your proposed changes by employing simple workflows using AutoCAD, Factory Design Utilities and ProModel.
You can design, simulate and optimize your existing or proposed factory layout directly in AutoCAD.
First you build a spatially accurate layout and process simulation model at the same time in AutoCAD. You can use Factory Design Assets and the ProModel AutoCAD Add-in to help simulate a scaled model directly in AutoCAD. There are out-of-the-box assets or you can have customized user assets.
As shown above, selecting Simulate will show you how your model runs with animation. The layout can be changed and tested multiple times until you’ve run through the options you envision.
An Output Viewer will show you the model output metrics. You can compare them with other scenarios you test. These key performance indicators will help you examine and validate layout and process changes.
Once you’re satisfied and the model is finalized, you can view it in 3D with Inventor and ProModel 3D Animator.
In the Applied Software, Graitec Group webinar “The Best Ways to Increase Throughput,” Jason Flores, Todd Schmoock and Mark Siebert explained how you can determine ahead of time the impacts that changes to your labor force and equipment will have on your factory throughput. Using ProModel AutoCAD Edition, you can simulate and measure changes before actually making them. Without using a tool like ProModel, you are basically guessing about the results you will get when making changes.
Promodel enables you to add locations, conveyors, varied flows, and resources. It identifies the flow of a part as it goes through your entire process. Using scenarios, the effect of additional staff and additional equipment can easily be evaluated.
As Jason, Todd and Mark emphasize in the webinar, sometimes adding more people doesn’t mean you’ll get more productivity. There may be bottlenecks that can only be remedied with additional machines. Then again, more machines may increase the idle time for workers. These are things you can test out using scenarios in ProModel.
The Output Viewer helps capture data and evaluate productivity using charts. You can see movement patterns for workers, as well as counts of finished and rejected parts. Using this data, you can decide which scenario would ultimately give you the best results.
As you look to redesign your factory layout to speed up material handling, reduce product bottlenecks or make the best use of worker time, you will be well served to plan your changes using ProModel AutoCAD Edition.