Accurate production planning can contribute significantly to the effective use of materials and machinery, reduce the cost of raw materials and energy – and significantly increase quality to boot.
To find out exactly where most of the money is “lost,” every company needs to know what, where, when and why is happening on the shop floor. It must know the technical manufacturing costs, that is, the actual costs of components (raw materials) and the costs of machinery and personnel. It must be able to identify production bottlenecks and, in the case of excessive returns or complaints, for example, find out where and why quality problems occur and correct them.
The most important prerequisites for effective production planning are the availability of information and its use to increase the plant’s production capacity through the optimal interaction of machinery, materials and personnel. Modern, cross-industry manufacturing systems (MES, Manufacturing Execution System) exist for this purpose.
The Lantek MES software tool is made precisely for the special situations and requirements of sheet metal production. It has been designed so that it is easy to select from the pool of all parts currently to be produced – regardless of which orders they belong to – according to parameters such as material type, thickness and delivery date, to bring them together for optimum nesting on a sheet or for a pipe blank and have them worked by the next free machine. And all this without losing the overview, so that all the pieces of an order come together again at the end.
This parts-based view of overall manufacturing, rather than order-based, offers the potential to efficiently nest many parts of different sizes. This optimizes material utilization, reduces the storage of unprocessed material and residual sheets, enables optimal use of the machinery and can ultimately lead to significantly shorter delivery times.
Lantek MES goes even further by managing the entire production process, including cutting, edging, painting and so on. It can track part, material and scrap inventories for each operation, allocate material to specific projects and keep track of material price changes to ensure manufacturing remains profitable. And with this information, it is ultimately possible to identify production bottlenecks – areas where performance, availability or quality need to be improved. With this knowledge, the plant’s production capacity can be increased solely by optimally utilizing the potential of the machine inventory – without the need for investment in a new plant, for example.