Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) are becoming a popular mode of automation. As the name suggests, this system easily adapts to changes in the specification of the part that is being manufactured.
Article by – Rajeev Kaul, MD Aerospace & Global CFO, Aequs.
Considering the precise nature of aerospace manufacturing and its insurmountable implications, the aerospace industry has always welcomed new technologies to improve people, processes and parts.Most manufacturing industries are going through a digital transformation and it is well established that this is going to be the way of the future. Technology is expected to redefine organizations and become a key differentiator.
The largely untapped potential of Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Blockchain, AR and VR are being currently leveraged by companies to maximize the potential of their manufacturing processes.
The current global landscape demands quick turnaround for projects without any compromise on the quality of manufacturing. In this new world, an effective shop floor is integral to the company’s success.
Automation has started to play a growing role in shop floors today and helped streamline manufacturing processes. It will have a significant, positive impact on productivity of the whole floor. Especially in a ‘zero error’ industry such as aerospace manufacturing, automation drastically reduces the scope for human error or negligence.
Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) are becoming a popular mode of automation. As the name suggests, this system easily adapts to changes in the specification of the part that is being manufactured. This means that an operator can remotely rectify or make alterations on the basis of customer requirements at a real time basis without any downtime. This flexibility has become the need of the hour for manufacturing companies to surpass customer needs and meet global competencies.
FMS technology is available in multiple forms, but it is primarily two or more automated machining centers linked by a common controller, load station and pallet pool system. This means that manufacturers can reduce lead time for projects. FMS helps aerospace manufacturers be prepared for any rise in demand. It has improved agility within the workforce and processes, while significantly reducing human effort. Unlike traditional processes, there will also not be need for large scale inventory for the parts.
To meet the demand in target markets, Aequs has scaled up focusing heavily on new machines, equipment, and technology in India. With the focus on operational excellence through lean manufacturingand Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS), Aequs has been steadily progressing towards automation making it the first aerospace manufacturer in India to understand the benefits of FMS and introduce it to their hard metal line. Soon after the success of the first line, the company set up a second line for soft metals. FMS is expected to act as the nerve center for all of Aequs’ projects going forward. This adoption was an important milestone for Aequs as it showcased the company’s commitment to welcome new age technologies to stay relevant and meet global competencies.
All technological innovations will need humans in command. Automation or an FMS system would not be able to reach its full potential without the right human minds backing it.
When organizations adopt FMS systems, they also need to ensure that the workforce is re-skilled to keep them relevant. These specialized skills will give them an edge over peers as the future will demand a multi skilled workforce with the right domain, technology and soft skills.
In this fast-paced digital world, the workforce needs to be flexible and agile to remain relevant. Agility remains the key to sustainability for every organization.
Aerospace manufacturing is at a cross roads today and FMS is the first step towards an ‘end-to-end’ automation system. By implementing this system, manufacturers will be able to make products ranging from cars to aviation components. These systems will have multi skilled operators who can switch from one kind of task to another. Such collaborative environments must be created between automation and a skilled workforce to help take businesses to new heights.
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