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How digitalization improves efficiency in tool management at NPO Energomash

Sergei Kolganov, Deputy Chief Engineer of Production Planning at JSC NPO Energomash, the leading Russian enterprise in rocket engine manufacturing, explained how digitalization has made it possible to start planning tool distribution and to reduce time for tool selection.

Interview with Sergej Kolganov

Mr. Kolganov: Why was it necessary to start managing tools in a new way?

Sergej Kolganov: As NPO Energomash wants to achieve digital production by 2020, we are on the way to implement a digital infrastructure based on integrated information systems, like Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). We realized the efficiency of an integrated tool management system and started the implementation of a “Tool Management Efficiency Improvement Project”, which is of high importance at Energomash.

Our strategy is based on the perception, that previous methods of organizing cutting tools were unable to meet new requirements such as an efficient and transparent dispensing of tools, quality control regarding their usage and prompt follow-up ordering Previously, different shop floors could create order requests for the same tool that led to increased inventory and costs. And due to a long purchase procedure, the situation occurred “stuff today and starve tomorrow” in tool inventory.

 

How is the implementation of the new tool management proceeding?

Sergej Kolganov: During 2017 we undertook preparatory work, like creating the project conception and preparing the machining employees in testing und using the TDM software.  In 2018 we entered the active phase of adapting the new processes. We created a new tool data base which identifies the cutting tools with their key features, like geometrical and technological parameters, 2D-drawings and 3D-models, also the application of the tools and operations they perform. Information about stock availability, inventory level and storage locations are now available to create and control tool purchase orders in time. We proceed in the project without delays and this year (2019) we plan to finalize it.

We realized the efficiency of an integrated tool management system and started the implementation of a “Tool Management Efficiency Improvement Project”, which is of high importance at Energomash.

Sergei Kolganov
Deputy Chief Engineer of Production Planning

What have you achieved so far?

Sergej Kolganov: We have achieved a lot. We now manage our tool inventories with TDM software in our four core-production workshops. Another two core production workshops are currently launching the TDM software and the processes.  This influences a lot the availability of the tools on the shopfloor: the operators now prepare the tools in advance of a shift-work task. The tool preparation is based on tool lists for each machining order, which a process engineer creates by using TDM software. Also, the workers in the storage area use these lists to pick the tools required. Using TDM software, process engineers now select the required tool according to its application and the quantity in both, as they see the stock level from the stock areas of all workshops, all in real time.

We now can locate each tool, as we see the detailed storage information at a glance: the workshop, the rack, the box, etc. In all processes we are using the TDM software with provides every kind of information needed. This minimizes the search time and the risk of mistakes when dispensing and preparing the tools. Today, excessive tool inventories are almost impossible. To ensure this we changed the procedure of creating tool requests. Purchase requisitions now must be sent to the tools department, where the demand from all workshops is calculated. Only then the required tools are purchased. This reduces the tool orders and avoids an unnecessarily large number of types and excess quantities.

Our specialists have also reached great efforts in reviewing the tool database. In painstaking work unused tools were identified and checked how they can be utilized in the future. We are particularly proud of the first tool dispensing machine, which is installed in the machining workshop and connected to the TDM software. Tools are dispensed on the base of a barcode after the employee has been identified. It is fast and easy, usage is tracked, prompt follow-up ordering is ensured, and statistical analysis of stock give us more information.

 

Which tasks will Energomash complete in the project’s final phase in 2019?

Sergej Kolganov: The last year has shown that we are capable to master the challenges in the ongoing deployment of digital tool management and I realize that we still have a lot of hard but interesting work ahead of us. Plans for 2019 include launching tool inventory management for all production units.  We are about to integrate the TDM software with the implemented ERP and PLM systems. In addition, we are starting to transfer 3D tool assembly models from TDM to the CAM system NX, to use in the machining simulation processes. I would like to add that only through our active engagement NPO Energomash can transform itself into a digital factory. This ensures that we stay ahead of our competitors in the global market and make ground-breaking progress. I wish us all great success in these challenges.

Process Innovations and Results

  • Identification of all tools and storage in the tool data base recording to different parameters and features
  • Smart and consumption-oriented purchase procedure
  • Absolute transparently tool inventories
  • One Database for all tools of all manufacturing areas
  • Fast and easy tool selection and assembling
  • Barcodes ensure fast tool dispensing
  • Almost no mistakes due to wrong assembled tools

Benefits

  • Time reductions in tool searching, dispensing and assembling
  • Cost savings due to
    • low tool inventories
    • efficient usage of all tools
    • and smart purchasing process
  • Ensured quality improvements as the best tools are chosen for each operation

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