3YOURMIND is a very interesting additive manufacturing startup based in Berlin.
The company, only a few years old, doesn’t make 3D printers. They don’t manufacture 3D printing materials and they don’t provide print services.
Instead, they produce sophisticated software that glues all of the above together to enable more efficient manufacturing using additive manufacturing approaches.
They produce three key systems that can, together, achieve higher levels of manufacturing efficiency. The three parts include:
Agile PLM, a product lifecycle management system that tracks everything you need to know about a product as it flows through the manufacturing process
Agile ERP, an enterprise resource planning tool that provides sophisticated order management and work dispatching
Agile MES, a manufacturing execution system that provides the necessary information for factory floor operations as production occurs
Digital AM Workflow Challenges
You’d think the use of sophisticated system like these would eliminate the need for paper tracking of shop floor activities, but evidently this still occurs. 3YOURMIND says:
“AM production floors still possess aspects of physical workflows. Maintaining a central schedule overview certainly provides business value, but that value is increased significantly when replacing paper travellers generated by hand.”
In other words, in spite of management systems being available, there are still pieces of paper moving through the workflow, carrying apparently important information.
3YOURMIND QR Codes
3YOURMIND has developed a rather simple feature for their Agile MES that attempts to lure workers back into the digital realm. They explain how it works:
“The scheduler in a company can simply download part production sheets for each design being produced. The sheet includes a QR code to jump instantly from a printed page back into the Agile MES for tracking. Each production step including quantities and workstations, while project comments are automatically generated in the document. This provides a clear manufacturing plan that dramatically reduces human error. By automating manual steps, production engineers can better focus on producing the actual parts.”
Aha! This mitigates the common failure point of many workflow systems: the active task is transferred to a piece of paper by workers who “just want to get the work done”, thus removing the “cursor” from the workflow. And it never gets back.
But with the new QR code feature, it should allow those who need a piece of paper to have it, but not compromise the digital workflow.
Increasing AM Part Quality With Information
Why do workers need information? It’s pretty simple, as 3YOURMIND explains:
“AM output quality can also be significantly improved by collecting and delivering the right part data to the corresponding steps in the production chain. 3YOURMIND has added part requirements as a major feature improvement to capture crucial data at the point of ordering in a structured and standardized way. This allows production engineers to ensure they have key data like intended use, production quality, tolerance range and certification requirements prior to planning.
We have found that by using part requirements effectively, our customers eliminate 2-6 further conversation threads and thus provide both faster lead times and more accurate production. All the information can be included in the comments that appear on the Part Production Sheets, ensuring the information is transferred along the workflow from order to production.”
Like everything else, the devil is in the details for efficient additive manufacturing.