Digital Manufacturing Process Management

The digital manufacturing process management is a newer concept and is still evolving; it is software-driven. Although the industry has already deployed digital
manufacturing in some areas, the full scope of application is yet to stabilize. This section describes a model briefly studied at the QUB [7]. It outlines the nature of changes taking place. These types of studies are conducted in many places, propos­ing many different models. The core fact is that digital manufacture is here to stay, grow, and replace or merge with traditional manufacturing philosophies.

Today, the microprocessor-driven digital manufacturing process is rapidly over­taking older methods. In fact, all modern production plants are already using it to the extent that it can be advanced. The advantage of microprocessor-based tools is that they are digitally controlled and driven by software. These tools deliver the desired “quantum leap” in manufacturing assembly techniques for future aircraft. This section outlines the role of MPM and identifies the benefits of PLM through the reconciliation perspective (i. e., estimation versus actual) between design and manufacturing engineering disciplines. PLM is a business strategy and part of MPM as a management strategy. (Life cycle is used in a generic sense, meaning all aspects of a product, from concept to retirement.)

Digital-manufacturing solutions enable the continuous creation and validation of the manufacturing processes throughout a product’s life cycle. It allows manu­facturers to digitally plan, create, monitor, and control production and maintenance processes, providing complete coverage of the manufacturing processes. With the advent of new processes and techniques, there has been a greater use of software in the design and engineering of aircraft. CAD, CAM, CAE, and CAPP tools are now used to determine electronically how an aircraft system must be built. NC machines are linked with CAM.

The new frontier with software suites focuses on PLM, emphasizing the man­ufacturing processes. PLM is a business strategy that allows companies to share product data, apply common processes, and leverage corporate knowledge to develop products from conception to retirement across the extended enterprise. By including all participants in this process (i. e., company departments, business partners, suppliers, and operators and customers), PLM enables the entire net­work to operate as a single entity to conceptualize, design, build, and support products.

MPM is segmented into process detailing and validation, resource modeling, and process planning simulation. Within each segment are several modules, dis­cussed as follows.

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