CASE STUDY - Acutec Precision Aerospace Reduces Cycle Time and Machining Costs

VIMANA’s IoT Solutions for Smart Manufacturing:
Asset Performance Management

Company Background

Acutec Precision Aerospace, Inc., is a high-precision manufacturer that handles a wide range of customer requirements, from prototype to high volume parts, from power generation to aerospace.

Challenge

For Acutec Precision Aerospace the goal was to achieve the next level of operational efficiency, process repeatability, and competitive advantage while reducing manufacturing costs.

Solution

Acutec Precision Aerospace Uses VIMANA’s Industrial Analytics Software to Improve Operational Efficiency

  • VIMANA Connect captured IoT data from assets (CNCs, EDMs, Grinders), assembly, and paint cells across multiple plants. Then standardized and prepared the data for advanced analytics.
  • VIMANA Elevate, Smart Manufacturing Analytics application, enabled real-time visibility to performance, expanding awareness from operators and operations leaders to the finance department. Large screen monitors displayed customized dashboards of the real-time status of each asset producing period, in-cut time, downtime, tooling usage, and parts made. As a result, the visibility led to a significant improvement in asset utilization.
  • In addition, the advanced analytics revealed causes for production loss and provided insight into the ‘best machine’ and tool paths for the job. Acutec used VIMANA software in deciding what types of parts they had to load on different machines. They were able to quickly assess the impact of machining electrodes instead of production parts on machine tools. However, the additional cost of setting up the machine to produce the graphite electrodes and then cleaning the machine after vastly inflated the total costs of the machining process.
  • With VIMANA Elevate, they determined the impact on the overall productivity, which led to shifting this capacity to a new machining center exclusively for graphite electrodes machining.
  • VIMANA’s Operator Panel provided a single interface to understand in-cut time performance, machine health, and offered digital collaboration tools for fast problem resolution.
  • Customized alerts notified leaders of inefficiencies (operator, machine, tooling) and predicted failures and production risk.
  • VIMANA’s data integration with existing systems, i.e., QMS, ERP, SPC, eliminated rekeying data, and enabled workflow automation of scheduling and job management.
  • Secure SaaS deployment enabled Acutec to rapidly and efficiently scale VIMANA software across their facilities. As a result the real-time data was viewed from different facilities across the company.

Acutec’s Employee Adoption Was Critical to Success

Shop floor employees perceive software that monitors machine activity as being “intrusive.” However, at Acutec, management was proactive in communicating with operators and machinists.  They explained how VIMANA could help them find ways to become more efficient. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Operators embraced it and welcomed gaining an understanding of their performance and the financial impact. Machinists were empowered to make their own decisions based on the data. They were motivated by healthy competition and embraced total accountability. The exposure of operators day-to-day issues enabled management to solve problems more quickly.

“We are using VIMANA Elevate to make decisions and improve awareness across the facility. Our operators have welcomed the objective data, and we are fully transparent with the analytics”. Elisabeth Smith, President & CEO, Acutec Precision Aerospace, Inc.

Business Outcomes

VIMANA’s IoT technology has enabled Acutec Precision Aerospace to improve manufacturing efficiency and reduce machining costs. The data-driven insight resulted in: 

  • Gained transparency to performance across the business.
  • Improve assets performance and increased capacity by 20%.
  • Increased cycle time with insight into tool usage.
  • Enhanced workforce performance and productivity with the adoption of analytics software.
  • Reduced machining costs:
    • Capital purchase avoidance of an incremental machine.

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© MANUFACTURING SYSTEM INSIGHTS 2020