Comply or die

Every possible advantage: That's what manufacturing needs in many cut-throat global marketplaces. End-user manufacturers are setting and using guidelines and standards from the eight-year-old OMAC (open modular architecture controls) Users Group and reducing some costs by 50% or more. Companies involved read like an operational efficiency benchmark list: 3M, Boeing, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble...

03/01/2005


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Every possible advantage: That's what manufacturing needs in many cut-throat global marketplaces. End-user manufacturers are setting and using guidelines and standards from the eight-year-old OMAC (open modular architecture controls) Users Group and reducing some costs by 50% or more. Companies involved read like an operational efficiency benchmark list: 3M, Boeing, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, SABMiller, Unilever, and others.

It might be extreme to say these or any companies would die without implementing OMAC guidelines (or other emerging standards). Even so, if you're hoping to compete successfully, I'm sure you seek every possible advantage. At Feb. 3 and 4, 2005, meetings, during and after the ARC Advisory Group conference, end-users and others summarized OMAC advantages.

  • Bottom-line software security benefits to corporations total $5-20 million per year for large corporations and $1-5 million for smaller companies, according to an estimate from Ashok K. Nangia, senior staff engineer with 3M and chair of the OMAC Microsoft Manufacturing Users Group.

  • Wayne Hixson, manager of advanced manufacturing and information systems, material and process technology, Boeing Commercial Airlines, cited Step Tools Inc. numbers that suggest tool path planning time might be reduced by 35%, paper drawings on the shop floor might be reduced 75%, and machine time for smaller jobs (under 50 pieces) could fall by 50%, with use of STEP-NC, a draft ISO standard, which helps move information from CAD/CAM programs into code for machine tools. OMAC Machine Tool group teams are working on issues related to completing STEP-NC.

  • Unilever served as a machine test bed for OMAC PackML State Model guidelines, according to Andrew McDonald, the company's global automation & control manager. He estimates, in general, overall engineering costs of packaging line integration could fall by one-half.

  • The cooperative effort, Make2Pack, involving World Batch Forum, OMAC, and ISA S88, aims to streamline production through packaging with ISA S88 Parts 1, 2 & 3 and the current PackML model. David Chappell, section manager with Procter & Gamble, said some packaging companies using S88 modularization techniques have reduced design, construction, and start-up costs by up to 50%. More savings are expected through integration with packaging.

Could you sell 50% savings or more at your place? Get involved at OMAC and other industry standards organizations. Doing so allows end-users, OEMs, and vendors of automation to focus on adding value, rather than trying to wring information from systems with disparate data models. Learn more at www.omac.org .

Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief

MHoske@cfemedia.com





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