Dream Site 2 enables efficient high-mix, low volume production on a par with mass production
Incorporating the learnings from the state-of-the-art smart factory of DS1, we have now invested about eight million Euros to further our ability for automated production of highly diverse product mixes in low quantities, thus providing the parts for a wide range of Okuma products.
The investment paid off: Dream Site 2 has achieved even higher levels of automation than DS1. To enable a seamless material flow, all parts have workpiece ID tags attached so that their location and destination can be determined at all times. This allows operators and logistics personnel to quickly react and give instructions on how to further process any given part. Our new facility uses Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) to eliminate manual handling of materials and to considerably cut down time between machine set-ups.
Currently, DS2 is able to run completely unmanned for 72 hours. In the past, using robots for high-mix, low-volume manufacturing systems has proven problematic. By consolidating processes, DS2 enables the use of robots in a completely unmanned parts machining system. The Production Planning System (PPS), an improved version of the one running at DS1, has considerably shortened delivery times and enables us to immediately respond to changes in production requirements and to meet customer demands as needed.
At DS2, we employ means to front-load as many production steps as possible. An essential tool for this is Okuma’s 3D Virtual Monitor. The application provides highly accurate, 3-dimensional machining simulations generated from the exact specifications of the machine tool scheduled to cut the part. Operators know in advance if the workpiece will be produced accurately, without errors or collisions and on schedule. Costly repairs and downtimes are thus eliminated before machining even begins.
Streamlined production plant layout
With a total floor space of 11.000 m², DS2 is divided into four main areas: The small parts machining area handles continuous machining of a large variety of mostly round workpieces with diameters no larger than 30 mm, such as flanges and manifolds. The precision parts machining area is dedicated to high accuracy machining of main spindles, tailstock spindles, flanges and more. Medium-sized parts machining pertains to components like headstocks, tailstocks and turrets. Finally, the large parts machining area for machine beds, saddles and other components of this magnitude employs three of our large double column machining centres MCR-BIII as well as a large surface grinder.
A factory that keeps on learning
The entire set-up of DS2 is visualised on central screens and on handheld tablet computers running Okuma’s Factory Monitor. The application enables visualisation of the entire plant, showing the status of every production cell and machine tool in use. Machining data can be viewed and analysed in real time so that problems or a lack of productivity can be identified and addressed quickly. The software accumulates and stores data, such as information on machine runs, downtimes and alarms. The result is a factory that is learning and evolving on a daily basis so that each run is an improvement on the previous one.
DS2 – a dream come true
We are very satisfied with the performance of DS2. Since the facility’s opening in May, we were able to increase the productivity of our parts production by 30 % and shorten lead times by half. We will continue to invest in new ways to improve IoT-based production facilities.
We are well aware that our customers are facing the same bottlenecks in terms of high-mix, low volume production. This is why we are using the know-how obtained from constructing DS1 and DS2 to provide customers with equally state-of-the-art manufacturing abilities. Okuma’s Smart Factory Solutions are designed to enhance the entire planning and manufacturing process, providing the same means of visualisation and data processing used at our own smart factories.