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1factory’s Partnership Brings Arena’s All-In-One Product Development Platform to the Factory Floor

Arena-1factory integrationDear manufacturing leaders, Arena recently partnered with 1factory to provide OEMs with complete visibility of product quality from initial design through the quality control processes on their factory floors and across their supply chain. This is part II of our interview with 1factory’s sharp President Nipun Girotra.

He’s both a spirit and a sage when it comes to understanding the challenges facing manufacturers. In part I of our series, Girotra highlighted in gruesome detail but with an empathetic heart all the hurdles facing manufacturers. The good news is that, with this partnership/integration, inspection plans in 1factory are revised in sync with engineering changes in Arena. Associated documents such as drawings, work instructions and inspection procedures, created and controlled within Arena, can be accessed directly from 1factory in a proactive manner.

When parts or assemblies fail inspection or test, a quality inspector can create an Arena quality object, such as a non-conformance material report (NCMR), supplier corrective action (SCAR), or if sufficiently serious, a corrective action preventive action (CAPA), directly from within 1factory. This powerful integration solves a whole lot of problems. So, without further ado, let’s continue our Q&A with Girotra.

Arena: Can you explain the manufacturing process and vulnerabilities that motivated you to create this product?

Girotra: Many years ago, I ran a manufacturing (assembly and test) plant, and I observed first-hand that 40%-50% of manufacturing cycle-time was lost in defect troubleshooting and reworking. When a part came into the assembly line and did not fit, in the best-case scenario you only just pulled a replacement and moved on. In the worst case, the defect was only found after the machine had been assembled and was being tested. Hours were wasted troubleshooting, isolating the defect, disassembling to remove the bad parts, waiting for replacements and then reassembling and retesting the products. Frequently even the replacement parts were defective.

Arena: In that situation it’s probably convenient to blame suppliers, but the reality was that they had no tools to deal with the ever-increasing data complexity.

Girotra: Exactly. As an example, let’s say a precision machine shop makes 500 unique parts with an average of 20 features each. That’s 10,000 unique features that they must manage and get right.

To make things slightly more challenging, these parts are produced intermittently, in batches of 5 to 500 on general-purpose CNC tools. Every time a new batch is produced, machines must be set-up correctly (fixtures, programs, tool-offsets etc), and the shop must ensure the right revision of drawing and inspection plan and work instructions are being used at each machine. To make things even more challenging, drawing revisions change frequently, resulting in a paperwork nightmare.

Arena: What is your solution most pointedly designed to resolve?

Girotra: 1factory is designed from the factory technician’s perspective. We’ve mapped all the things a quality control or manufacturing technician/engineer works on, and built a solution from their perspective. 1factory is designed to simplify and speed up quality control tasks from inspection planning to data collection and analysis, enabling technicians to control quality at source.

Arena: Are the pain points that the Arena & 1factory partnership solves different in different industries or are these consistent problems faced across industries?

Girotra: The fundamentals of quality control remain the same across industries. In every case, quality is best controlled at source. Defects must be prevented, and variation must be controlled in every industry from medical device and aerospace to food and packaging.

However, the data collection and analysis interfaces must change to meet the manufacturing process and product requirements. For example, in high-volume manufacturing facilities, a lot of data is collected using automated in-line gauges. On the other hand in high-mix facilities, a lot of the data is collected using off-line gauges.

Tune in next week for the final and—in my opinion—most important installment of this three-part series. The answers, tips and manufacturing best practices you seek will be revealed in the dark art that is this blog—or you get your money back.