Saturday, March 9, 2013

No. 700: Optimizing the production in a virtual plant with the aid of big data (March 8, 2013)

Fujitsu plans to review staff assignment and working process substantially and construct the optimal mass production line by utilizing the simulation technology. The optimal mass production line will be introduced to the 15 major plants in a few years, and the system will be put on the market. The Japanese manufacturing industry has been maintaining the strong competitive edge through constant improvement activities (Kaizen). Fujitsu wishes to strengthen its competitive edge with the computer technology that analyzes big data and construct highly efficient production lines for successful competition in the global market.

With the development of simulation technology, it is now possible to decide staff assignment and equipment layout to maximize the productivity on the computer screen. The system Fujitsu plans to develop will utilize big data that include the work sequence of each worker and information on parts and components. Data to figure out the optimal line will increase tremendously if they contain information even on the finger movements of each worker. Using the new system, the company will input information on about 6,000 parts of the smartphone and work sequence and display a virtual mass production line on the computer screen to construct the most productive line.

The period required from the development to mass production will be about three months that is half of the current level because it is no longer necessary to construct a line for improvement. The efforts to utilize IT technology for more efficient production and product development are in progress in various industries in Japan. Nissan has set up a system to develop prototype vehicles for the world market intensively in its Zama plant. The company optimized the moves of robots and assembling procedures, and successfully reduced the number of frequency to build prototype vehicles. It reduced the preparation period for mass production from more than one year to half a year.  

Creation of work instruction  

Fujitsu’s virtual product simulator 

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