GE Fanuc, Datasweep integrate manufacturing, supply chain

Charlottesville, Va.; San Jose, Calif. - Users can expect significant benefits from tighter integration of control software with the supply chain arising from a global agreement between GE Fanuc Automation North America Inc. and Datasweep Inc.


Before taking Cimplicity Advantage to market, GE Fanuc implemented the solution at a GE manufacturing site and now plans to extend its use internally

Charlottesville, Va.; San Jose, Calif. - Users can expect significant benefits from tighter integration of control software with the supply chain arising from a global agreement between GE Fanuc Automation North America Inc. and Datasweep Inc.

GE Fanuc (Charlottesville, Va.) says it implemented the integrated, 'Cimplicity Advantage' software at a GE site first, liked the 'high double-digit' improvements in yield, and plans to do more as it offers it to external customers. Datasweep (San Jose, Calif.) provides web-based manufacturing, repair and analysis solutions.

With the Oct. 1 agreement, GE Fanuc extends, integrates, and supports Datasweep Advantage under the new name Cimplicity Advantage. Coupled with the Cimplicity suite of products, the firms say the new package integrates the plant floor and supply chain, allowing GE Fanuc to deliver an 'integrated, world-class collaborative manufacturing solution' globally to other GE businesses, the automotive segment, and the process industry. The agreement combines software capabilities of Datasweep with the e-manufacturing systems, global business knowledge, and customer support of GE Fanuc.

'The combined manufacturing solution will allow our customers to bring products to their markets faster, increase quality, reduce work-in-process, decrease warranty expenses, and/or generate a higher return on net assets,' according to Kevin Roach, GE Fanuc vp, global solutions.

Trying it out firs t

Before the agreement was final, GE Fanuc tried out the solution at a GE manufacturing facility to improve correlation between production yields and key process parameters. Mr. Roach and Vladimir Preysman, Datasweep's president and ceo, described the implementation at GE, and other details of the agreement, in a Sept. 27 interview with Control Engineering .

'We implemented the integrated software around a proprietary process that has process, discrete, and hybrid manufacturing activities,' Mr. Roach says. The facility had high yield variability, discovered and analyzed with a traditional supervisory control and data acquisition offering, he adds.

The new implementation mines data to identify and analyze the root cause of variability. 'It's very fast to implement, web-centric, and covers many plant areas.' Developing and integrating the solution as they went, 'in about 12 weeks, the first phase was up and running, with high double-digit improvements in yield.' With the experience gained, and software packages combined, customers may get running in less time.

And, just as customers might apply it, 'The first implementation of the software was at the plant level,' Mr. Roach says, 'but we're looking at broadcasting data back to particular suppliers,' about correlation information found across batches. Customers should see immediate manufacturing applications in real-time and greater benefits extending that value into the supply chain-transportation, storage, inventory. 'Expediting the value potential is huge,' Mr. Roach adds.

Manufacturing's strategic value

GE Fanuc expects to expand internal use of Cimplicity Advantage at other GE businesses and at its own manufacturing facilities to increase operational efficiencies via inventory management and reduction.

Datasweep's Mr. Preysman expects GE Fanuc and Datasweep to 'help automotive OEMs and other global manufacturers solve many of their strategic operationing problems.'

Mr. Preysman says the enhanced product improves data collection, viewing, genealogy, retrieval, and performance analysis of lifecycle data using data warehouse and business intelligence tools, with few limits on data amounts or frequency. Web capabilities of the software aim to ease implementation of using information across the supply chain, especially important as some manufacturers outsource parts of manufacturing or other processes that were previously internal.

In contract plants, explains Mr. Preysman, data can start in a local database, then move to the original equipment manufacturer, incorporating information from many sources depending on the product being made, with real-time input from assets and operators on the floor.

Data capture in manufacturing is natural, Mr. Preysman says; aggregating information from manufacturing through the supply chain can eliminate confusion caused by a 'hodge-podge of home-grown and other existing solutions.'

Mr. Roach says GE Fanuc's experiences with GE Six Sigma quality initiatives and networking abilities via GE Cisco will assist in this effort to take customers' expertise, aggregate it, and turn data into knowledge.

A potential implementation would likely begin with a consultation with the customer on the business issues causing the customer to be less competitive, says Mr. Roach. Pricing and delivery options vary, and the full implementation typically blends software, hardware, networking, maintenance, training, services, and remote monitoring and diagnostics. Implementation could be scaled according to needs, range in cost from under than $100,000 up to millions of dollars, and from the plant floor to across a large enterprise and/or supply chain. Time for implementation could be 8-12 weeks on the short end.

About GE Fanuc and Datasweep

GE Fanuc, a division of GE Industrial Systems, offers industrial hardware and advanced business software solutions and implementation, field service and customer support globally. GE Fanuc products include Series 90 and VersaMax programmable logic controllers and I/O, CNCs, motion control systems, operator interfaces, industrial computers, CO2 and YAG lasers, and a wide range of integration and customer support services.

Datasweep develops and markets Advantage, a suite of web-based manufacturing, repair and analysis solutions for users in the technology, industrial and automotive market segments. Datasweep customers include General Electric, Honeywell, ZF Meritor LLC, Johnson & Johnson, Lucent, KLA-Tencor Corp., and Flextronics International Ltd.

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