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Take a holistic view of modern production

Modern production is made up of many different technologies and processes. Having Etteplan as your main partner can improve efficiency, safety, profits and shorten project lead-times. “I had no idea you guys could do that, too.”

It’s a common refrain in modern production. You have a specific challenge, so you get a specific partner to help solve it. When a new issue arises, you find another partner. It is an understandable process, but not the most efficient.

“We like to take a holistic view,” explains Jari Luotonen, Senior Manager of Production Automation at Etteplan. “When we can see the big picture we can help optimize the whole end to end process of your production line, eliminating bottlenecks and increasing efficiencies from pre design to delivery.”

“Process visualizations and simulations are great tools in the pre-design phase to analyze possible options and to select the most efficient way to move to the engineering phase and finally to the process integration phase.  Hence, risks are reduced, efficiency improved and project time is kept under control. Naturally we at Etteplan can be part of all these phases,” continues Luotonen.

Using Etteplan as their main production partner also benefits the customer by minimizing the number of suppliers they need to manage. Communications are easier, efficiencies are increased, risks are minimized and the total investment can have a higher return.

Improve quality with automation

Manufacturing has never stood still. It is always evolving, so Etteplan has invested in 3,500 specialists in the top solutions and industries. Today’s evolution is being driven by improved technologies paired with improved processes and value added information, so a wide competence base is critical to help manufacturers achieve their goals.

“Two of the biggest trends in production are automation and real-time data,” Luotonen continues. “Many manufacturing facilities are planning to add more automation to boost quality. Manufacturing processes provides lots of data, so another trend is to collect and analyze this data to improve operations and ergonomics.”

Modern production uses up-to-date technology and techniques in order to improve efficiency, quality and sustainability. To improve quality is one of the main reasons companies choose automation.

“For example, you can’t have mistakes if you are making medical devices. Many industries have strict regulations and standards for the devices that come to market. Automation is a good way to improve quality, control and repeatability,” says Luotonen.

“Automation can also improve safety and ergonomics. We had one customer who discovered workers kept getting hurt at one point in the process when they had to repeatedly lift a heavy object. We designed a process automation solution to do the product handling and related lifting operations which solved the problem.”

“Another good example are process steps which are beyond the skills, capabilities or competences of a human operator. These can be tasks such as micro dispensing, accurate assembly, or process phases where traceability or repeatability are measured. Automotive, medical and aviation are just a few examples of industries where mistakes are not tolerated,” concludes Luotonen.

Make better decisions with data analysis

Modern production produces an enormous amount of data, but that information is useless unless it can be properly analyzed and used to make valuable decisions. Teppo Välisaari, Director of Test Solutions at Etteplan, points out that companies should integrate and standardize data to make the most of it.

“You can analyze production, testing and sales data,” he says. “Now R&D has valuable data to use in product design. Sales people have data which they can use to better serve their customers. This improves communications throughout the entire company and you get real data to help guide your actions.”

Testing – and making use of valuable test data – is growing in importance. Manufacturers need to ensure that their product is as good as they promise.

“We also help with regulated testing standards, such as for electrical devices, and with other phases of product development,” Välisaari says. “We are proud when we help a customer get the ‘CE’ mark, affirming their product conforms with Europe’s strict health, safety and environmental protection standards.”

A long-term partner grows with you

Etteplan can help with many different aspects of modern production, but the core of what they do is integrating process design, engineering and hardware to enhance total manufacturing performance. When you pay attention to the whole picture, the pixels are easier to handle.

“I think a lot of companies might be surprised at what we can do,” says Välisaari. “They might know us as an industrial automation company, but not realize we could help with assembly process design, simulation, monitoring or management, for example. We even offer services like maintenance.”

“When we work with a customer for a long time we can grow and learn together. Over time we can help them in more and more ways, so they are constantly improving efficiencies, quality and safety,” puts in Luotonen. “If you are one of our existing customers and are interested in learning more of how we can bring value to your production, please talk to your key account manager or give us a call.”