A very large portion of Swedish industry offer Engineering-To-Order (ETO), customised and individualised products. Customized products undergo changes upon customer order and a considerable engineering activity is allocated for each customer. In order to stay competitive, the process for customised products needs to be rationalized and automated, and hence e-FACTORY integrates engineering activities from sales, through product and production development and to delivery of the final product.
An example of a customized product is the industrial stair systems from Weland and Häfla which have a well formulated modular structure with steps, stanchion and interfaces. However, the number of steps, floors, and railings differ considerably from one order to another.
One main issues with today’s processes, see Figure 1.1, are the estimates the sales staff needs to make when it comes to both product and production development. The cost is too high to involve product and production engineers in each quote. Therefore, mistakes are sometimes made.
With an integrated product and production development and by using large amounts of data already existing in the company, many of these shortcomings can be addressed.
e-FACTORY will enable companies to utilize digital tools as a means to obtain a number of different production values. Our hypothesis going into this project is that two main enablers for such values can be achieved with e-FACTORY, namely:
To reduce errors and shorten lead time it is needed to (see, Figure 2.1.):
There are several technologies at hand to realize the project goals. The projected result is visualized in Figure 2.1. The following deliverables are expected within e-FACTORY:
Rationalizing and automating the product process will increases cost-effectiveness and strengthens competitiveness. This also allows engineers and sales staff to work with more advanced and creative tasks and be able to undertake more complex missions and further enhance competitiveness and thereby keep ahead of the competitors.