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Construction 2023

Web-based Mechanical Engineering Reduces Costs And Lead Times

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Web-based Mechanical Engineering Reduces Costs And Lead Times
Web-based Mechanical Engineering Reduces Costs And Lead Times

Video: Web-based Mechanical Engineering Reduces Costs And Lead Times

Video: Web-based Mechanical Engineering Reduces Costs And Lead Times
Video: Introducing the Future of Manufacturing | Tyler Alvarado | TEDxCoeurdalene 2023, June

Focus on precision: Youniq Machining's core business is the production of small clamping devices and parts that are mainly used for testing and measuring. Strict regulations must be taken into account in their manufacture, which is why production is usually outsourced by the manufacturer.

However, most manufacturing plants are not adequately equipped for the implementation of corresponding orders. With a conventional machining process, the production of individual parts usually takes eight to twelve weeks.

In contrast, many parts can be 3D printed with a lead time of just two working days. Against this background, Youniq Machining has checked whether a similar reduction in lead time for machine manufacturing is possible.

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The goal: to significantly reduce manufacturing time

Additive manufacturing / 3D printing technologies emerged when working with online platforms was already widely recognized. From the very beginning, the business models of most 3D printing service providers were heavily geared towards web-based platforms. However, the requirements for industrial production are significantly more restrictive. After various options had already been examined, Youniq Machining still had no answer as to why the time to market could not be significantly reduced.

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Limiting factors

The only limiting factors that the company was able to identify were the dimensional tolerances. These are typically significantly lower during processing. After some research, it became clear that these tolerances almost never represent an obstacle in production: Most machine manufacturers define tolerances based on 2D drawings. These are based on generic and too narrow tolerance levels from the ISO limit value system and fits that lead to a tight fit.

Other reasons for long processing times are:

  • overloaded production facilities,
  • the lack of trained personnel,
  • unnecessarily cumbersome processes as well
  • lack of material availability.

Problem solving through digitization

The primary challenge for Youniq Machining was to create a completely new business model. The company revised the entire process from scratch - from incoming orders to order evaluation and production to delivery. The only way to implement the new approach was to digitize all elements of the process.

Youniq Machining envisioned a digital workflow designed to streamline and accelerate the order-to-production cycle - a web-based manufacturing that can translate the efficiency and speed of 3D printing services into machining processes.

This is how web-based processing works

  • The digital process begins with the customer creating a 3D model of the desired component in a CAD program and then uploading the CAD file to a web portal.
  • Youniq then uses automated processes that analyze the model for its production capability and create an offer based on the simulated processing time and the material. The company can provide the customer with a downloadable 3D model of the part with the expected result.
  • With this, the customer checks, for example, the accuracy of fit in an assembly.
  • Customers can adjust the offer based on material, quantity, delivery and post-processing requirements and then place the order.
  • Using computer-generated programs, Youniq employees and the company's modern workshops are able to manufacture the parts and arrange delivery at the time and location specified by the customer.

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Challenge: Connect the web environment and CAx applications

One of the biggest challenges in the implementation of web-based mechanical engineering was the connection of the web environment with computer-aided design and manufacturing solutions (CAD / CAM). Since there was no ready-to-use solution, Youniq had to program all functions manually. A CAD / CAM solution with a powerful Application Programming Interface (API) was of crucial importance.

Youniq Machining initially worked with a CAD / CAM provider that offered good web integration; however, he was unable to meet the API requirements. Another CAM solution provider offered a strong API, but failed due to web integration and CAD capability. The company therefore commissioned Siemens Digital Industries Software, whose solution portfolio met all of Youniq Machining's requirements.

Siemens NX: open approach extends possibilities

Youniq Maching finally found what he was looking for at Siemens. The NX product development software offered options for CAD / CAM integration and application programming. With its open approach, the company outperformed other providers. The functionality of NX included both

  • the web integration of the JT data format as well
  • the NX Open API for programming and customization.

Together, these core elements created an open environment, extensive programming options and a powerful CAD connection that became increasingly important over time.

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Design 3D printing with Siemens NX

Realization of the vision through digitization

Youniq is now using the Siemens solution to redesign conventional processes through end-to-end digitization. The result is a process that offers customers transparent prices, direct feedback on manufacturability, refinement alternatives and design changes. It can also reduce costs and lead times. But above all, the optimized and digitized process shortens delivery times from eight to twelve weeks to up to two days. In addition, it is not necessary for the customer to produce comprehensive 2D technical drawings.

Synchronous modeling speeds up design adjustments

A key function of the NX solution that supports the newly designed process is synchronous modeling, which enables direct machining of the component geometry regardless of the CAD source system. This eliminates the hassle of manually changing the original CAD design. With NX, Youniq Machining can easily redesign the part, ensuring that all specifications and tolerances meet requirements.

Additional information on the topic What is synchronous technology?

Synchronous Technology connects all process participants in the product life cycle. Thanks to the synchronous technology in Solid Edge and NX, the user no longer has to choose between parametric and history-free modeling. He doesn't have to be the designer of the model to understand and reuse it. In addition, data from several CAD systems can be used easily.

Automated NC programming with processing

The feature-based processing options of NX CAM are also crucial for digital data flow. They provide the basis for automatically creating NC programs (numerical control) based on the features in the component model. A feature called Machine Knowledge Editor (MKE) allows Youniq engineers to record all the rules and tools that are used when editing the properties. In this way, information and data can be recorded that control the automated NC programming.

Advantages of web-based machine manufacturing

  • With the web-based machine production and the automated, practical workflow, Youniq Machining was able to reduce the time to market from the typical eight to twelve weeks of the competitors to two days. The company also offers additional cheaper delivery options: standard deliveries with five working days and budget deliveries with 15 working days.
  • With its fully digitized workflow, Youniq Machining also achieves higher margins than the competition. This enables investments in future innovations.
  • In addition, the company has reduced its dependency on external experts and reduced the administrative burden so that it can concentrate on its core business.
  • With processes defined and programmed in NX, the development processes were standardized and the production hardware standardized.

Future plans: Process PMI automatically

In the future, Youniq Machining wants to offer its customers more interactivity in its web environment. This also includes the ability to add tolerances without 2D drawings and to bypass manual product approval through the use of advanced algorithms. The company also aims to automate the processing of product and manufacturing information (PMI 3D annotations in sub-models) to support model-based design and offer a wider variety of materials.

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