Making tool management simple – Is it possible?

Making tool management simple – Is it possible?

If producing machined parts for your manufacturing tools is a complex process, should the system that is supposed to make it more efficient be a “necessary evil”? Considering the cost of stopping production because a part is missing from the tool magazine, the necessity of a good tool management system seems obvious, but it does not have to be complicated as it should be designed to make your processes more efficient and safer. Here is how.

1) “Tool Management”: what do we mean by that?

Tool management encompasses physical tool management in a workshop as well as all the technical data attached to each tool and component used in your manufacturing process. This is usually handled by a dedicated software designed to assist machine parts manufacturing by automatically loading technical data into the CAD/CAM system as well as managing tools’ and components’ physical inventory.

Tool management becomes even more important when considering next-generation CAD/CAM software. Based on 3D modeling, machine kinematics, advanced simulation and many other tools needed to create high-precision machined parts, a lot of data is generated to ensure that the products coming off your assembly lines are of the highest quality.

This data needs to be accurate, up-to-date, available, and ready to be retrieved. This way, you avoid inaccuracies and save time and money in the overall process, which also means improving profits.

2) Challenges that come with tool management

Since tools and components for manufacturing processes are a very large and complex topic, one of the biggest challenges is the interface to get the 3D data into the CAD/CAM application. Indeed, in addition to the 3D graphic, a tool also contains many parameters and functions in space that form the basis of the toolpath algorithm in CAM. If there is a single faulty parameter, the operation in CAM is invalid and cannot be generated.

Another challenge is that most of the available solutions on the market only work by pure database application, which means that you only get a graphic view (and not a 3D visualization) of the part to be produced. This makes it confusing and complicated to use, especially for occasional users. Most of these solutions do not facilitate 3D data management or even offer a functional interface for CAM applications.

3) The benefits of a good tool management solution

If all the data for each tool and component are centrally managed, any information can be retrieved at any time and from anywhere in the company. In addition, good tool management ensures that all references and back references are stored, not only for transmission to the CAM system, but also for all existing NC programs. This allows you to better plan for new programs as well as improve change management.

A good tool management solution also provides you with a real time picture of your tool magazine on the shop floor, allowing you to directly synchronize your machine magazine with your CAM environment. Therefore, by centralizing production data, you can optimize your workshop organization and increase overall productivity by:

·       Reducing machine set-up lead time

·       Improving traceability of program modifications

·       Providing precise tool location

·       Monitoring the use and wear of tools

4) Advice for beginners

If you are thinking about implementing a tool management system, you should look for a solution that will help you to efficiently manage your tool components, your assembled tools, their life cycle, and is running on a single data source that is always easily and readily accessible. But above all, it should be adapted to your activity!

The tool management solution you consider should be able to adapt to your existing processes, workflows, and growth strategy by being completely modular and scalable. Think big in order to be able to implement additional modules in the future!

You should also be able to build on your existing NC data. As you are not starting from scratch, your tool management solution should automatically take into account your existing data in an intelligent way. Indeed, you cannot afford to stop production while you fill in and set up the database. The system must be able to connect existing data, learn and expand while using it, and integrate it step by step.

5) Why TopSolid’ShopFloor can answer your needs in terms of tool management

What makes TopSolid really unique on the market is that there is no interface between the tool management system and the CAM application. TopSolid’ShopFloor is a product that is completely based on TopSolid’PDM as are all TopSolid solutions. Thus, components and tools are controlled by revision, oriented towards properties and BOMs like a “standard” part or assembly and are fully associable with all modules available in TopSolid (CAM, Design, Draft, …).

To easily create components and assemblies, TopSolid provides libraries to create your own components from fully parameterized ISO 13399 models. Of course, you can also import and use supplier data. TopSolid’ShopFloor supports all data, even data from other tool management systems.

Searching for components and creating assemblies are simple and can be managed via TopSolid’ShopFloor Tool Manager. The fully graphical drag and drop assembly process is very user friendly and is a great help in daily activities.

In other words, a system that:

  • has no interface
  • does not translate or transform any data to create the toolpath
  • builds the data source on the TopSolid core

We can 100% guarantee that a tool defined in the TopSolid environment is functional throughout the process, from CAM to presetting and machining.

TOPSOLID is a leading CAD/CAM software company in the world. With more than 35 years of experience, we are able to offer fully integrated CAD/CAM solutions adapted to your industry, whether it is in mechanics (machines, tools, etc.), sheet metal or wood industry. Wherever a machine interacts with the material to be machined, whether to shape or produce a part, we have an adapted, innovative, and unique solution. To learn more, contact us!

Industry 4.0: Challenges and perspectives for the factory of the future and intelligent machining

Industry 4.0: Challenges and perspectives for the factory of the future and intelligent machining

Concurrence mondiale exacerbée, habitudes de consommation en constante mouvance, délais exigés toujours plus courts … Dans un tel contexte, le secteur industriel n’a eu d’autre choix que faire évoluer ses méthodes de production à la faveur des technologies numériques. C’est ainsi que depuis une décennie, on parle d’Industrie 4.0. Sous l’effet de la percée des technologies de l’information, des communications mobiles et de la robotique, les multiples opportunités ouvrent autant de perspectives qu’elles ne posent d’enjeux.

Entre défi de compétitivité, d’agilité, de productivité, et technologies intelligentes, quelle sera l’usine du futur ? Décryptage immédiat !

I/Qu’est-ce que l’industrie 4.0 ?

1/Concept et origine de « l’industrie 4.0 »

Concept mis en évidence pour la première fois au Salon de la technologie industrielle à Hanovre en 2011, on parle d’industrie 4.0 pour faire référence aux trois premières révolutions industrielles.

La première a eu lieu au XVIIIe siècle après l’invention des machines à vapeur, permettant la production mécanisée. L’arrivée du réseau électrique a permis l’essor de la seconde révolution industrielle à la fin du XVIIIe siècle. Enfin, l’automatisation de la production au XXe siècle a débouché sur la troisième révolution.

L’idée derrière l’industrie 4.0 est celle de retourner la tendance de la mondialisation à l’avantage des industries européennes en encourageant les usines de se doter des derniers outils technologiques, tous connectés en réseau via internet et le Cloud.

Dans l’usine nouvelle, l’idée est de mettre l’usine au service de l’opérateur, et non plus l’opérateur au service de l’usine. L’humain étant le facteur central de ce plan, tout est mis en œuvre pour améliorer l’ergonomie, la productivité et la sécurité de chaque poste. L’évolution des méthodes de production ayant amené l’opérateur à devoir remplir toujours plus de procédures, l’objectif de l’usine ultra-connectée est de dématérialiser toutes ces phases, afin que l’humain soit centré sur les taches à fortes valeur ajoutée. Pour cela, chaque machine sera connectée et communiquera avec le réseau, et les informations seront transversalisées pour être distribuées entre les différents services. L’information se diffusera de manière fluide et efficace depuis le client à partir de son bon de commande, en passant par toutes les étapes de la fabrication, jusqu’à l’expédition du produit fini.

 

2/Les composants de l’industrie 4.0 : de quoi parle-t-on ?

L’industrie 4.0 fait référence à la convergence des technologies numériques et des techniques de production industrielle. Plus qu’une révolution, il s’agit d’une évolution des équipements existants qui sont améliorés et placés au cœur d’un réseau, au sein duquel toutes les informations sont partagées. A ce titre, les nouvelles technologies permettent d’accompagner cette mutation.

-L’internet des objets (IOT – Internet Of Things) et sa dimension intelligente, constituent une force novatrice : essor de nouveaux produits en tant que services, transformation d’un business model et nouvelles perspectives de marché.

-La fabrication additive ou impression 3D est un procédé de fabrication rapide et évolutif. Eloigné des standards traditionnels, il s’adapte parfaitement à la production de petites séries pour lesquelles il se révèle très compétitif. Il permet également la réalisation de pièces complexes en réduisant le nombre d’étapes intermédiaires. Qu’il s’agisse d’un prototype, d’une pièce sur mesure ou d’un élément de personnalisation, l’impression 3D accélère la conception et sécurise la production.

Le COBOT (contraction de Collaboratif et Robot) : avancée notoire pour les collaborateurs de l’industrie 4.0, ce robot industriel facile à programmer endosse le rôle d’assistant-opérateur, remplaçant généralement le bras humain pour des tâches simples et répétitives. Pour l’entreprise, le COBOT améliore la précision, l’efficacité, la sécurité sur les postes de travail … et la productivité.

  • La réalité augmentée (AR – Augmented Reality) consiste à superposer un contenu virtuel 3D sur la réalité. Affichant les informations essentielles en production, le procédé permet à l’opérateur de visualiser le déroulement en temps réel d’une procédure, et de la réaliser vite et bien. Véritable synergie entre terrain et numérique, la réalité augmentée constitue un véritable atout pour gagner en qualité et en productivité, tout sécurisant les processus.

 

  • La simulation des procédés, à l’aide de logiciels d’analyse, permet quant à elle de repérer les meilleures options concernant la production ou l’entretien des machines, et par conséquent l’optimisation des actifs.

 

  • La Maquette numérique ou jumeau numérique permet la réalisation de plusieurs tests avant que le premier prototype d’un produit, ou la première mise en production d’une ligne industrielle ne soient réalisés … un moyen itératif de gagner du temps sur les différents designs d’une pièce, et faciliter la mise en service d’un processus avant production.

 

  • Les systèmes Cyber Physiques (CPS en anglais) visent à ajouter des fonctionnalités supplémentaires aux éléments physiques dans un but de contrôle et de pilotage des processus. Ils constituent des éléments clés de la chaîne d’informations.

Le Big DATA Industriel, enjeu incontournable de l’Industrie 4.0 est une technologie puissante d’analyse des données en temps réel, qui permet de suivre la production et la qualité de manière très précise pour prendre les meilleures décisions avec réactivité. Son évolution vers le «Smart data » avec la généralisation de l’intelligence artificielle, devrait contribuer à une significative avancée de la maintenance prédictive.

 

 

3/Quelles applications pour l’industrie 4.0 ?

Les applications de l’industrie 4.0 servent la simplification des processus d’approvisionnement, de fabrication et de production, tout en réduisant les coûts, dans un contexte complexe. De la stratégie paperless de l’entreprise à l’introduction de l’internet industriel des objets, elles sont très diversifiées, mais convergent toutes vers un gain de productivité.

Dans un premier temps, on pense à la dématérialisation globale des documents de l’entreprise, qui s’inscrit logiquement dans le cadre de la stratégie de digitalisation industrielle. Associée à une solution GED (Gestion Électronique des Documents) ou ECM (Enterprise Content Management) pour les stocker et les partager permet plus de transparence, moins d’erreurs et un travail collaboratif : les gains en temps et en argent sont significatifs.

L’internet, lorsqu’il est associé aux nouvelles technologies, joue également un rôle majeur dans l’industrie 4.0. L’internet Industriel des Objets, variante de l’IOT, implique la captation des données en temps réel pour la surveillance des machines. A ce titre, certains procédés de contrôle, dotés eux-mêmes d’une Intelligence Artificielle, confèrent aux machines qui en sont équipées, des fonctionnalités d’auto-analyse de leurs données : nécessité d’entretien, évaluation de la qualité des pièces en cours de production, signalement de dysfonctionnements éventuels, … La réactivité et la prise de décision stratégique n’en sont que meilleures. 

On peut aller encore plus loin en embarquant partenaires, clients et fournisseurs ! En effet l’intégration de réseaux informatiques tels qu’un extranet, un EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) ou même une plateforme web transactionnelle, permet une communication optimale et constitue une véritable synergie avec les technologies 4.0.  Par exemple, dans le cadre d’un suivi d’utilisation, les produits connectés à des capteurs émettent une alerte, en cas de dysfonctionnement ou de nécessité de maintenance, directement envoyée au client.

La liste des possibilités est encore longue. Ce qu’il faut retenir est que l’ensemble des applications inhérentes à l’Industrie 4.0 s’appuie sur la capture et l’analyse de données en temps réel, combinées à l’Intelligence Artificielle et les nouvelles technologies. Au final, les procédés sont simplifiés, la prédiction améliorée et la chaîne de production optimisée de A à Z.

 

II/Enjeux et perspectives de l’usine du futur

 

1/Pourquoi l’industrie 4.0 est-elle essentielle à mon entreprise ?

L’enjeu majeur de l’évolution digitale de l’entreprise vers l’Industrie 4.0 est lié à la notion de continuité numérique. Il s’agit à ce titre, d’être capable d’exploiter en temps réel les données d’un produit, au cours de son cycle de vie. Une exigence qui suppose de préserver la chaîne de valeur de la conception à la maintenance chez le client, en maîtrisant des flux de données croissants quelle que soit la complexité du produit. Le moyen : disposer de la bonne information, au bon moment, afin de prendre des décisions factuelles et pertinentes. Bénéficier d’un accès fluide à l’information, et partagé par tous, représente le minimum vital pour y parvenir !

En effet, en désilotant les flux de communication et en favorisant un travail collaboratif, l’entreprise possède des avantages synergiques notoires pour s’adapter au marché et aux besoins des clients. Il s’agit en effet de pouvoir piloter la production en mode « agile, flexible et réactif » pour accélérer la conception, être plus efficient en production et améliorer la qualité.  Ainsi les gisements de valeur sont plus facilement identifiés, et les nouvelles perspectives commerciales bien mieux exploitées.

Il faut également garder à l’esprit que c’est le développement continu des nouvelles technologies qui permet cette continuité numérique … et l’impose par la même occasion. Il a en effet conduit à des solutions aussi puissantes que user friendly, et surtout toujours plus économiques ! Si bien qu’aujourd’hui, l’avantage concurrentiel qu’elles proposent est tel, que leur utilisation pourrait devenir « inévitable», pour des raisons évidentes de compétitivité, de productivité et … de rentabilité ! Pour rester dans la course, le passage à l’industrie 4.0 est donc incontournable.

La gamme de solutions CAO, FAO, PDM, ERP TopSolid

2/Quel fonctionnement pour le système de production de l’usine du futur ?

Le cercle vertueux du fonctionnement de l’usine 4.0 implique la collecte et l’analyse de données en temps réel, la conservation et l’exploitation du savoir-faire, la sûreté des process, et l’intelligence artificielle pour servir la production.

L’enjeu résidant dans la capacité à s’adapter rapidement aux nouvelles façons de consommer, c’est-à-dire les demandes de personnalisation et de pièces uniques à moindre coût, l’usine du futur devra placer le consommateur au cœur de sa transformation digitale.

Mais pas n’importe comment ! Il s’agit de voir loin et d’avancer petit à petit, la gestion du changement n’étant pas anodine.

Néanmoins, à terme, le fonctionnement optimal de l’industrie 4.0 devrait suivre la logique suivante :

  • Utilisation des technologies de l’information et de la communication permettant à tous les systèmes de l’usine, et aux usines entre-elles, d’interagir en permanence, afin que l’information soit traitée dans un délai très court.
  • En matière d’usinage, mise en place de systèmes intelligents capables de s’auto évaluer et se corriger. La finalité étant de sécuriser et flexibiliser la production mais également d’en maximiser l’efficacité, grâce à la réduction des coûts de main d’œuvre et d’énergie.
  • Pour le collaborateur, travail soutenu par l’aide de la robotique, renforcement de la spécialisation de son poste et expertise requise sur l’utilisation des machines afin de garantir la qualité du service auprès des consommateurs.

Une aberration il y a encore une décennie, mais aujourd’hui, les usines interconnectées et intelligentes se démocratisent. D’ailleurs, qui refuserait un mode de fonctionnement fiable, épaulant les opérateurs dans leurs tâches quotidiennes, facilitant les analyses et les projections, permettant de répondre à une demande pointue, rapidement et à moindre coût, tout en favorisant la productivité ?

D’ailleurs, dans le cadre de l’industrie 4.0, l’usine de production devrait évoluer vers une notion de « smart entreprise », tellement flexible qu’elle sera en mesure de se transformer en permanence, embarquant clients et collaborateurs, d’exploiter à tout moment sa chaîne de valeur, et d’exécuter des processus d’innovation de manière perpétuelle… Une smart attitude dans laquelle se conjuguent mouvement perpétuel et temps réel !

III/Comment TopSolid s’intègre dans l’industrie 4.0 ?

 

Bien que le concept « d’industrie 4.0 » soit apparu il y a quelques années seulement, TOPSOLID n’a pas attendu la quatrième révolution industrielle pour s’inscrire dans cette logique d’usine du futur.

TOPSOLID propose en effet depuis des années déjà, une chaîne numérique totalement intégrée via sa suite de logiciels CAO, FAO et ERP, et offre ainsi une inter connectivité totale de la conception à la production, en passant par les systèmes numériques externes tels que les plateformes clients et fournisseurs. Une performance qui implique des fonctions intelligentes de centralisation, d’analyse et de restitution des données, permettant de prendre des décisions rapides et précises … Autrement dit un ERP en bonne et due forme !

A ce titre, TopSolid’Erp, le logiciel de gestion industrielle le plus complet du marché, se positionne comme le partenaire de la performance industrielle, permettant de répondre aux enjeux de d’optimisation de la productivité et de la compétitivité liés à l’industrie 4.0. D’ailleurs, les bénéfices des fonctionnalités MES (Manufacturing Execution System) intégrées de manière native sont notables :

  • Fiabilisation des délais de livraison
  • Gestion électronique documentaire
  • Traçabilité
  • Gestion du cycle de vie avant, pendant et après production grâce à la chaîne numérique CAD/CAM/ERP
  • Inter connectivité en temps réel avec les systèmes internes et externes de l’entreprise
  • Acquisition, restitution clé en main et analyse de données avec la Business Intelligence pour un meilleur pilotage de l’entreprise et une prise de décision de façon agile et proactive. 
  • Traçabilité, acquisition et remontée des données : vous bénéficiez des meilleurs avantages de l’ERP pour optimiser la productivité et la compétitivité de votre industrie 4.0.
  • Vision globale du business model et organisation optimale des services

Le logiciel TopSolid’Erp a été pensé pour l’industrie 4.0, dans ses moindres détails et surtout, propose une chaîne numérique ininterrompue … un pas de plus vers l’usine du futur !

 

IV/TOPSOLID continue son évolution vers le CAO-FAO-PDM-ERP du futur, ce qui implique :

  • Une conception intelligente : en plus des modèles 3D déjà bien récupérés au niveau géométrique, la récupération des informations d’usinage (PMI) et les tolérances, ainsi que la prise en compte des opérations de fraisage et de tournage.
  • Plus d’automatisations : calculs prédictifs : calculs de vibrations, déformation des pièces dues au bridage ; gestion affinée de la durée de vie des outils (avec conditions de coupe calculées) ; familles de pièces analogues (en s’adaptant à la production personnalisée de masse) ; génération des gammes en automatique ; gestion du flux intégral du process de fabrication : du premier import 3D à la pièce usinée.
  • La simulation numérique : optimisation des programmes CN pour gagner en productivité et en sécurité.
  • Plus de fiabilité et de traçabilité dans les processus de chiffrages de pièces et de contrôle.
  • L’utilisation du Cloud : récolter le BigData de l’entreprise, déporter les calculs gourmands, mettre à jour le logiciel en permanence.
  • Placer l’humain au cœur de la 4ème révolution industrielle : accompagnement au changement, mise en place de formations certifiantes pour le bénéfice mutuel des entreprises et de leurs collaborateurs.
Say goodbye to the boundaries between the Design Engineers and the Process Engineers, thanks to TopSolid!

Say goodbye to the boundaries between the Design Engineers and the Process Engineers, thanks to TopSolid!

It’s a fact: jobs, missions, methods, organization, tools and work habits, … everything seems to oppose the Design Engineers and the Process Engineers, and this happens within many companies. The two entities often do not operate in the same environment and are geographically distant. The lack of interaction between the two departments can sometimes create what we speak of: a “border.”

However, at the time of Industry 4.0, where connectivity and communication in all directions are a strategic necessity.  The divide between the IT department through the manufacturing department tends to become a structural issue for the company’s performance.

Let’s discover how the TopSolid digital solution can break down these walls!

1) Design Office VS Process Office: two entities often in opposition within a company

 

A) Reminder of the missions of each

Design Office

Between engineering and expertise, the mission of the design office revolves around advice, recommendation, and control: 

  • As a subcontractor, the design office receives and evaluates the feasibility of its entrusted external projects.
  • As an integrated department within a manufacturer, the design engineer is responsible for designing projects for their company’s customers.
  • Project management also falls within the scope of the design office, which must ensure compliance and traceability.
  • Finally, the design office draws up a detailed plan of the design and sends it to the process office.

An innovative mission dedicated to service

 

Process Office

As the linchpin between the production line and the design office, the process office is responsible for implementing the project from the design office. Its mission has several facets:

Validation of the product’s feasibility after studying elements such as modeling, average dimensions, the geometry of the raw material, or machining assembly. 

– Industrialization: it is the study of the means (tools, machines, operators, materials, and equipment) and the solutions to be implemented in the manufacturing process.

– Optimization of work organization (flow management, access, handling, etc.) and machining (time and cost management) to increase productivity.

They monitor machinery and equipment: reporting the need for maintenance or replacement.

– Management of the conformity of the production about the operating procedures (order of operations, tools used, number of people, and time required to carry out each task).

A multi-faceted mission at the heart of which is naturally a strategic need for communication with the design office.

However, often these exchanges between departments are far from being fluid and collaborative.

 

B) Two worlds that can clash

Creative on one side, functional on the other, and incompatibility of opinions … the reality is hardly subtle. Moreover, the lack of geographical proximity can also factor in.

It so happens that the mission of the Design Office lies in the conception of innovative projects resulting from R&D and consequently presenting a very elaborate technical plan. As such, the department can misrepresent these gratifying aspects, with other departments or subcontractors, thus obscuring how the projects will be industrialized… or even the project feasibility! 

However, the Process Office is in charge of industrializing the projects issued by the Design Office … an endemic situation inevitably puts the two departments in opposition, with the Design Office defending innovation and considering the Process Office as the “brakes” on design and creativity … the Process Office, for its part, is not always able to respond favorably to the conceptual project because of a proven lack of solution.

Should we accept this state of affairs as inevitable and “deal with it”?

2) The disadvantages of a two strong opposition between Design Office and Process Office

 

One thing is sure; the two departments speak the same language: that of 3D modeling, average dimensions, raw materials, machine set-up, and tolerances. There is no shortage of opportunities to exchange information for the smooth running of the project: information needed for industrialization from the design office to the manufacturing office, as well as requests for clarification or revisions before launching the machining, from the manufacturing office back to the design office.

But when the border between the two departments is unbridgeable, a cascade of dysfunctions harmful to the entire organization ensues:

  • Waste of time in post-design discussions; each defending their own position.
  • Increased risk of errors and data loss if there is no direct exchange interface.
  • What about the automatic recovery of part properties and manufacturing characteristics for process office or design office patches?
  • And then … we talk about the work atmosphere and motivation?

It is mainly from this cumbersome operation that tensions arise. The loss of time due to a lack of reliability and traceability is the number one enemy of efficiency. A situation that increases standard costs potentially decreases the quality and puts a heavy burden on productivity… not to mention the delay in deadlines!

In short, the exact opposite of what is expected to meet the company’s strategic challenges. How, then, to create the bridge between the design office and the process office to close this counter-productive border?

 

3) TopSolid: the solution that links the two worlds

 

Going from a product idea to its industrialization implies, in the current context linked to Industry 4.0, the practice – and if possible, the mastery – of several so-called “basic” requirements:

  • a shared thinking process on the global project scale
  • a single, reliable, shared information, to frame and manage exchanges
  • fluid and factual communication
  • a reactive decision-making process
  • a genuine and synergistic collaboration

Also, to connect and rally the two departments falls under a logic of synergy of the processes, the objective being to achieve the rigorous management of the geometrical data, the orchestration of the flows, and the collaboration. An ambitious challenge that TOPSOLID takes up with brilliance!

TopSolid’s CAD and CAM solutions are developed on a common database (PDM) with an intuitive user interface and are associative. In addition, the design process integrates all the tools in line with the manufacturing process: the updates of the parts follow in CAM, and the process office can even make slight modifications in agreement with the design office.

With this highly successful CAD/CAM software solution, TopSolid meets the needs of today’s companies:

  • Data control: the PDM of the solution manages both the technical data of the design office and the manufacturing office, thus allowing the full recovery of the “parts and manufacturing” characteristics.
  • Traceability: TopSolid automatically transfers CAD modifications to CAM, managing common modification indicators.
  • Streamline and secure the exchange of information: with TopSolid, file conversions, data entry, and risks linked to errors and data loss are over.
  • Efficiency: By merging the design and manufacturing processes, the collaboration between the design and manufacturing departments is improved, thus boosting efficiency and motivation.
  • Increased productivity and improved quality.

Suppose this new configuration of the relations between the design office and manufacturing office requires to know how to manage the change (company culture, working methods, tools, …). In that case, it also constitutes the beginnings of digital continuity, so essential to the industrial requirements of tomorrow.

As you understand, fluid and collaborative communication between the design office and the manufacturing office allows the border between the two departments to be erased… And because data volumes are increasing and work flows need to be justified, it has become difficult for industries to pass up a software solution. TopSolid, through its CAM, CAD, PDM, and ERP applications, enables the simplification of exchanges between the design office and the manufacturing office, ensuring the coherence of projects, and secures the design and manufacturing processes while reducing their cost. The time saved is colossal, and the efficiency of the design and manufacturing teams increases. In the end, it is the company’s productivity that improves… A successful challenge!

Why must CAD/CAM solutions become increasingly flexible?

Why must CAD/CAM solutions become increasingly flexible?

In recent years, the notion of flexibility has become an integral part with companies of all sizes. All resources are considered: flexibility in terms of staff working hours, adaptation of the organization’s personnel according to demand, the flexibility of the software used… In this context, many factors tend to become flexible to coincide with the evolution of industry. Computer-aided design and manufacturing are no exception to the rule! CAD/CAM software used by companies must also become more and more flexible. Here’s how….

Flexibility is a significant challenge for companies

Flexibility, what are we talking about?

Whatever their activity, flexibility is a concept many companies are trying to implement. The objective is to move away from a rigid organization and adapt the organization to the company’s needs at a given moment. In this way, resources are allocated according to the actual activity of the departments, which optimizes their efficiency. Therefore, professionals are required to master a variety of subjects and tools in all areas.

Flexibility is an exceptionally fundamental concept when it comes to CAD/CAM systems. Reducing programming and machining times, improving quality, reducing costs, being competitive with the competition… Many challenges must be met by the teams in charge of CAD/CAM. Flexibility must therefore be translated into concrete terms in the organization of the resources in place, especially personnel. The boundaries between design offices, manufacturing offices, and management must become increasingly narrow. Computer-aided design and manufacturing professionals must collaborate and demonstrate a versatile know how to meet the challenges of their department.

 

How does flexibility translate into CAD/CAM?

As you will see, lack of flexibility can be a significant issue for companies using CAD/CAM solutions. The concept of this notion of flexibility has many interesting points, two of which are fundamental:

  • As soon as the design office considers the way parts are going to be manufactured, the company gains in quality and productivity. Design offices must therefore be aware of manufacturing and production requirements (CAM).
  • Likewise, the manufacturing office must consider the way the engineering department designed the parts. This flexibility allows for modifications to be made if necessary to make projects more easily machined. The company then realizes essential productivity gains.

In sum, flexibility in CAD/CAM has four significant benefits:

  • Strengthen the links between the Design Offices and the Manufacturing Offices;
  • Gaining team cohesion;
  • To gain in quality and therefore in customer satisfaction;
  • To gain in productivity and therefore in profitability.

 

However, flexibility in CAD/CAM is not only a matter of teamwork. The CAD/CAM solution used by the company must also be flexible to favor the adaptability of the organization’s resources.

Flexibility is a significant challenge for companies

Flexibility, what are we talking about?

Whatever their activity, flexibility is a concept many companies are trying to implement. The objective is to move away from a rigid organization and adapt the organization to the company’s needs at a given moment. In this way, resources are allocated according to the actual activity of the departments, which optimizes their efficiency. Therefore, professionals are required to master a variety of subjects and tools in all areas.

Flexibility is an exceptionally fundamental concept when it comes to CAD/CAM systems. Reducing programming and machining times, improving quality, reducing costs, being competitive with the competition… Many challenges must be met by the teams in charge of CAD/CAM. Flexibility must therefore be translated into concrete terms in the organization of the resources in place, especially personnel. The boundaries between design offices, manufacturing offices, and management must become increasingly narrow. Computer-aided design and manufacturing professionals must collaborate and demonstrate a versatile know how to meet the challenges of their department.

 

How does flexibility translate into CAD/CAM?

As you will see, lack of flexibility can be a significant issue for companies using CAD/CAM solutions. The concept of this notion of flexibility has many interesting points, two of which are fundamental:

  • As soon as the design office considers the way parts are going to be manufactured, the company gains in quality and productivity. Design offices must therefore be aware of manufacturing and production requirements (CAM).
  • Likewise, the manufacturing office must consider the way the engineering department designed the parts. This flexibility allows for modifications to be made if necessary to make projects more easily machined. The company then realizes essential productivity gains.

In sum, flexibility in CAD/CAM has four significant benefits:

  • Strengthen the links between the Design Offices and the Manufacturing Offices;
  • Gaining team cohesion;
  • To gain in quality and therefore in customer satisfaction;
  • To gain in productivity and therefore in profitability.

 

However, flexibility in CAD/CAM is not only a matter of teamwork. The CAD/CAM solution used by the company must also be flexible to favor the adaptability of the organization’s resources.

 

TopSolid, a flexible solution?

TopSolid is a powerful CAD/CAM solution that offers a fully integrated digital chain. TopSolid contributes to the flexibility of organizations by meeting the challenges of development and adaptability of many companies.

 

TopSolid, an integrated CAD/CAM-PDM-ERP solution meets the flexibility needs of companies

The CAD and CAM solutions proposed by TOPSOLID are developed in the same environment. This means that they communicate perfectly with each other. The TopSolid CAD/CAM tool guarantees that:

  • Changes made in CAD are automatically transferred to CAM.
  • The part numbers are associative between CAD and CAM with integral PDM.
  • The handling of the CAD tool is fast and straightforward: the manufacturing office can make modifications on the projects of the design office.
  • The TopSolid’Erp solution also communicates with the CAD/CAM solution: the management data is entered as soon as the CAD design is completed.

The result: no more re-entering of data and loss of information. Process reliability is guaranteed, and CAD/CAM teams save considerable time.

 

The flexibility of the TopSolid solution is illustrated!

 

Legend: Succinct diagram of TopSolid’s workflow

 

 

  • TopSolid ERP sends manufacturing orders (OFs) directly to TopSolid’SheetMetal CAM in the Job Manager.
  • The drawing files (CAD) are automatically retrieved with the part files (parts with cutting or punching operations).
  • In the OF(s) sent by the ERP, the following information is provided:
  • Part references
  • Designations
  • The order
  • The customer
  • The quantity
  • The material
  • The thickness
  • The machine
  • TopSolid’SheetMetal CAM gathers this data and creates the nesting.
  • TopSolid’SheetMetal CAM refers back to the ERP:
  • References of manufactured parts
  • The quantities
  • The material used
  • The times achieved

Conscious of what’s at stake regarding company flexibility, specifically in regard to the CAD/CAM system function, TOPSOLID developed an adaptable and intuitive solution. The collaboration between the engineering offices, the manufacturing offices, and management is thus facilitated. Everyone has the information they need, and processes are optimized and secured. TopSolid Digital Integrated solution offers you the possibility to work with all your collaborators on the same platform and database, capitalizing on the know-how of each one! Would you like to know more? Contact us for more information!

 

5 necessary features of CAD/CAM software

5 necessary features of CAD/CAM software

The furnishing and design sector present an infinite creative range. In addition, the demand is characterized by needs as varied as they can be complex. An efficient design and manufacturing tool is therefore essential. The question is how to find the rare pearl, adaptable to both customer requirements and project constraints, but also capable of preserving efficiency, reliability, and – the most important – respect delivery deadlines.

With TopSolid’Wood, a solution specialized in furnishings, TopSolid SAS reveals the five features that are necessary for CAD/CAM software to meet the challenges of the sector.

1) Intuitive modeling features

Design and produce, this is the main answer to which a CAD/CAM software worthy of the name must respond. It is therefore important that it offers highly relevant features to cover all the user’s needs. For the woodworking industry, such features include material removal, configuration of assemblies between parts, parametric 3D modeling, as well as advanced software customization to allow for greater benefit and ease of use. And the list goes on.

Imagine a tool that is easy to use, providing you with a range of tools adapted to meet your needs.

The TopSolid’Wood solution includes all those features and more: the application works in real-time and provides results that are as realistic as possible, whether the designs are simple or specific and complex, and all this while saving considerable time!

Intuitive modeling features - Slot function

Slot function

Intuitive modeling features - Profiling function

Profiling function

2) Scalable component libraries

Most CAD/CAM software offers “turnkey” component libraries designed to increase productivity. However, there are very few norms or standards for the design industry, as each company has its own specific needs, even for the most obvious components. How then, can you increase productivity by using component libraries that are certainly rich and easy to use, but that do not take into account the unique character of each designer when the point is to bring out the DNA of the designs?

The answer lies in the ability to create your own scalable component library capable of growing daily, by integrating, new methods or different means of production. It is important to understand that it is the company’s practices that enrich the software library, and make it possible to create, capitalize and then factorize know-how. This is not possible with turnkey solutions.

In short, customization and configuration power of a component library are essential criteria for choosing a CAD/CAM software. Think about it when the time comes!

Scalable component libraries 1
Scalable component libraries 2

Scalable component libraries

3) Real-time visualization of the changes made

In the vast CAD/CAM software market, keep in mind that most tools use a polyhedral engine to model designs. Can such a process provide an accurate and precise representation of 3D designs? Of course not.

Moreover, these same tools are not advanced enough to design in an associative way. This means that the design department has to anticipate and redesign a potentially large number of elements for each modification request. No need to mention the colossal loss of time and the countless possible sources of error!

In a context where project requirements are as demanding as they are complex, real-time feature is an unequivocal imperative.

Thanks to its accurate 3D modeler, TopSolid’Wood allows you to visualize the modifications made in real time and to make changes to dimensions without having to check each element. Therefore, the operation of the chosen design rules, as well as the conformity of the rendering based on the customer’s wishes, are verified on the spot and with reliability. Not to mention that drawings, bills of materials, and machining programs are also updated automatically: invaluable comfort and time saving for the design department!

Real-time visualization of the changes made TopSolid’Wood 1
Real-time visualization of the changes made TopSolid’Wood 2
Real-time visualization of the changes made TopSolid’Wood 3

Real-time visualisation of modifications made with TopSolid’Wood

4) Perfect management of the modifications to be made to a project

Bigger, more storage, shallower and less expensive if a scalable component library allows the user to quickly decline a project while respecting the initial specifications of his customer which are likely to evolve often and quickly! In short, a “normal” design department life which can seriously call into question the very composition of a project.

To be able to make the various adjustments requested by the customer at a moment’s notice and with a smile, configuration tools are required. But be careful, not just any tools! Indeed, the solution used must allow you to modify various functional or aesthetic aspects of the project, either locally or globally.

Must I remind you that drawings, bills of materials, and machining programs are also updated automatically?

In this respect, the TopSolid’Wood software offers mechanisms for the interchangeability of components and sub-components, coupled with configurators, which allow this type of action.

 

5) Automation of the digital chain

TopSolid SAS’s approach is to ensure continuity between design and production, i.e., not to break the digital chain between the design department and the workshop. Not only is the risk of error considerably reduced as there is no need for post-processing, but also the time saved is invaluable! TopSolid’Wood is one of the few software packages on the market to offer this essential advantage. 

Automation of the digital chain
Automation of the digital chain

One software to meet CAD/CAM needs

Intuitive modeling, scalable component libraries, associative design, real time feature, and digital chain continuity: five necessary and non-negotiable essentials for your furnishing CAD/CAM software.

TOPSOLID SAS, one of the world leaders in CAD/CAM/ERP publishing software, offers one of the most advanced solutions on the market. Customizable and dynamic, it allows unlimited creativity without sacrificing the efficiency and fluidity of the processes. By integrating design, manufacturing, and ERP, the tool allows perfect management of your furnishing or design projects. From design to production, you save time, develop everyone’s skills, and factorize your know-how!

What are the seven essential features of a CAD software?

What are the seven essential features of a CAD software?

The CAD software must have all the necessary features to address your needs. To choose your computer-aided design (CAD) software, you need to take into account the current issues specific to your business! What are the challenges that professionals encounter for designing parts and machines?

  • Strict delivery time requirements: new consumer habits and the rise of Industry 4.0 are making delivery times even shorter, so compliance is urgent.
  • Competition is increasing: in this context, the company must improve performance and make a difference in its market.
  • Just-in-time logistics require optimized stock management.
  • New quality standards are emerging, traceability must be implemented in an exemplary manner.
  • The technicalities of the business are constantly evolving: faced with this fact, the company must surround itself with personnel that is not only qualified but also regularly trained.

To fully meet these challenges, equip yourself with a CAD software with seven key features.

 

#1 A modern and ergonomic user interface

The first essential feature of the CAD software: its user interface. The way in which the tool is controlled and operated has a direct impact on the final productivity. The easier and faster the software is to use, the more productive the user becomes.

  • The commands must be designed according to modern conventions: copy and paste, drag & drop, contextual menus, etc. to allow the user to immediately adapt to the new tool.
  • Access to the commands should be easy, fast and intuitive, in order to optimize the user’s working time.

Choose a CAD software with a modern and ergonomic user interface: you reduce the learning curve and you can work faster.

 

#2 Associativity, a guarantee of reliability

Associativity automates the updating of one element with respect to another. The designer can therefore easily modify his construction history: the associated operations are automatically updated.

Illustrations: 

  • Moving a screw automatically moves the holes.
  • Changing a chassis length automatically changes the positioning of the associated components.

With associativity, a key feature of good CAD software, you can drastically reduce the risk of errors or omissions when updating an element. And therefore, you can save time in the design process. So be sure to choose a tool that allows associative or parametric design.

 

#3 Choice in design methods

A good CAD software offers three design methods.

  • “Bottom-up” design: this is the simplest method which consists of first designing the parts individually, and then assembling them. This is the principle of LEGO®! The assembly is then a succession of predefined part positionings.
  • “Top-down” design: conversely, the designer starts from the constraint, then deduces the necessary assemblies and parts.
  • “In-place” design: a variation of top-down design where parts are designed in their assembly context. The designer then has the advantage of simplicity for the creation of connecting parts, in particular.

The relevance of which method to be used varies from one profession to another. A manufacturer of highly standardized products will favor the Bottom-up method, while a subcontractor who works “on the case” will favor the Top-down method, for example. In any case, the three methods are complementary. To take advantage of your CAD software, make sure that the tool offers these three powerful design methods: maximum flexibility in choice and the precious opportunity of complementary methods.

 

#4 Smart components

User productivity increases as good standard components are created. For this purpose, your CAD system must provide the appropriate features. Unique smart components, process management, installation wizards, etc. allow you to store user know-how. Ultimately, the design is accelerated: the productivity gain is obvious.

 

TopSolid CAD/CAM Product Range

#5 Design documentation tools

Once completed, the design must be documented. This includes generating exploded views, assembly instructions, bills of materials, etc. These features are essential to get the most out of your CAD software. The tool must therefore make it possible to easily generate all useful production documents from an assembly.

 

#6 A detailed and standardized drawing

Despite the increasing use of 3D, detailed and standardized drawings of the designs are still often necessary, “the drawing is authentic!” Your CAD software must therefore integrate a powerful automated drawing module, to perform this task quickly when necessary.

 

#7 Change management tools

When choosing your CAD software, the extent and performance of the modeling features are essential criteria, but are not sufficient! The designer also has to deal with management issues. Changes to the specifications during the design process are common practice, so the tool must offer intuitive and powerful features for this purpose. To manage all types of modifications, without wasting time or reliability, choosing a PDM is then crucial. Therefore, you should choose a fully integrated PDM, which will allow you to track changes during the design process. From simple part number change to more complex modifications (interchanging parts, for example), pay attention to the extent of the PDM capabilities of your CAD software.

 

TopSolid is designed to address all the current challenges faced by professionals when designing parts and machines. TopSolid integrates the essential features of a good CAD software. In addition, you benefit from close support for the deployment of your new solution. Beforehand, evaluating your needs allows us to define the features of your tool according to your working methods. Afterward and in the long term, our technical support, everywhere in France and around the world, is available and responsive for beneficial proximity.

 

Interested in deploying a CAD software perfectly adapted to your needs? Contact us!