Take-off for TDM
For planning and implementation of the production processes at the Swiss aircraft builder, Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG, TDM (tool data management) is an important element. More than 6000 individual tools for component production are recorded and documented in the tool management software, along with technology data. Whether stock, storage location or planning data for programming: everything can be called up at the push of a button – even within other systems.
Continuous innovations accompany the product creation process at
Pilatus (Stans, Switzerland). In this regard, the Swiss aircraft
builder stands for leading technology and meeting production
deadlines. However, this target can only be achieved if all
processes - from development to production - are checked, optimized
and standardized permanently. The basis for this is provided
partially through product lifecycle management (PLM). At the same
time, in order to provide standardized essential tool and technology
data for the production process as well, Pilatus has used the tool
data management software (TDM) from TDM Systems GmbH since 2008.
Central tool database replaces Excel & Co.
For the team headed by Walter Keiser, Head of NC Programming, and Marcel Aregger, Head of Technical IT, this was reason enough to search for a suitable software solution in 2006. The main aim was to create an integrated solution that comprises both production planning and order planning in SAP as well as the production procedures right up to the machine. "At the beginning, an analysis of all the processes was made", Walter Keiser remembers quite clearly. "We examined which processes run well in planning and production and which run badly. With the results, we then defined specific requirements and workflows together with the technical project managers from TDM Systems. The result was a specifications catalogue of more than 100 pages." Particularly important to Marcel Aregger was the high level of integration in upstream and downstream systems: "The basic system must be able to communicate with the upstream and downstream systems, so an isolated solution was out of question." With TDM, Pilatus ultimately discovered the best solution in terms of functionality and communication with other systems.
More than a test flight
Data is stored centrally in the TDM database all, the latest tool and technology data, cutting parameters and also feed and speed settings. Co-workers in the tool preparation department know at the push of a button where everything can be found and whether a drill can be reground or not. Thanks to TDM, the whole tool cycle has been made transparent. Evaluations about stock levels in the warehouse and at the machines as well as the frequency of use provide information about which tools are needed the most and which gather dust on shelves. Even communication between production and planning staff works better now. Each tool is recorded and documented in the proper manner with the correct and uniform description. "Production is standardized, improvisations are ruled out", Walter Keiser is happy to say.
A further advantage: Despite the diversity, the work preparation team knows at the push of a button where a tool can currently be found, whether it is in the storeroom or installed on a machine as a tool assembly. In this way, double orders are avoided and ultimately costs are saved.
Seven in one go
With tool procurement as an example, it is possible to see how the TDM software, SAP and the tool storeroom now interact: Previously, staff had to fill out order slips for tool requirements. These were sent to procurement, manually recorded and logged in SAP. Today, the procurement of tools and consumables is controlled centrally thanks to TDM. "We do not work with automated orders here. Although minimum stock levels are maintained and reported via the TDM Tool Crib Module, our central procurement department still checks the stock levels once a week and conducts the ordering process", Walter Keiser explains about the procurement process. The exchange of ordering data, including manufacturer and manufacturer code, from the TDM to the ERP software is via the standardized SAP interface.
Tool preparation also works optimally now: The production control system, Fastems, is connected to TDM via a standard interface. With TDMshopcontrol, the software for tool cycle management, tools are prepared according to the job order and thereby made available at the machine in good time. A comparison is carried out automatically between the tools on the machine and the new tool list for the production order. This prevents tools being reserved twice or tools having to be changed unnecessarily. In cases of excessive wear, a sister tool is made available in time.
Simple operation facilitates acceptance
"Quality and productivity go hand-in-hand here", says Walter Keiser, Head of NC Programming. "Designers and engineers work according to fixed specifications. Moreover, they also have the necessary machining know-how." Test runs on CNC machines are no longer carried out; everything must be right from the start. These days, this is assured thanks to the correct tool and cutting data from TDM. With TDM, everyone accesses the same data pool, whether NC programmers, CAM users for production simulation, configuration technicians or machine operators. They also all work with identical, tested and reliable tool and technology data. Once a machine is running it cannot be stopped. There is also no way of modifying or altering programs on the machine. However, if the correct tools are planned and the machining process was simulated, this is generally no longer necessary. "Our processes are standardized, the machine tools run around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." And TDM contributes towards more standardization in a huge way.
|Main Topics: Tool Data Management | Tool Crib Management | Recource Management | Gauge Management | Calibration Management | Shopfloor Management | ...|