Concrete manufacturer increases throughput in production by 600%

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By Clinton Perry

Autodesk’s Global Consulting Delivery team has recently worked with a manufacturer of molds and machines for the precast concrete industry. One key area of focus for the manufacturer is the production of equipment to produce precast forms. The manufacturer is keen to ensure that their process, and their customers’ processes, are as efficient and streamlined as possible. One of their goals is to increase the level of automation in the molding process to increase quality while at the same time reducing the overall time and cost of production.

The parts manufactured are traditionally made in a manual, labor-intensive process resulting in a lengthy time to produce each part and a large increase in costs. This is caused by the complexity of the parts and the fact that they are all unique and hence produced in batch sizes of one.

To overcome this challenge, the manufacturer turned to Autodesk’s Global Consulting Delivery (GCD) team to find out how automation could help. Autodesk’s GCD team was able to use a combination of products, including Autodesk Inventor and Fusion 360 with PowerMill, to create an automated process to manufacture the parts using industrial robots. This combined with a custom-produced application creates an end-to-end workflow that automates part production.

The system takes the parameters of the design from a configurator application to automatically create the CAD geometry in Inventor. This CAD data is then fed into PowerMill to automate the creation of toolpaths and subsequent output of NC data for a robot to machine the negative form. When machining, the parts are tracked via QR codes helping to automate the machining process and ensuring the correct parts are shipped to the correct customers.

The system has allowed the manufacturer to move away from manual, labor-intensive tasks to an automated platform.  This allows for the creation of a more accurate part in a shorter timeframe. In their customer base, there has been an increase in throughput of over 600%. As well as bringing efficiency gains, this new automated process is also helping the customers to overcome another challenge in their workforce. As the younger generation of engineers comes through, they are less keen to do manual work and the skills of the older workforce are being lost. This change in the platform allows the manufacturer and their customers to attract younger talent who bring with them new ideas that can help the company bring on new product lines and innovate new product types.

For more information on how Autodesk’s Global Consulting Delivery team can help you with your manufacturing problems contact your Autodesk Account Team.

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