Digital technologies on a solid foundation

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Digital transformation in manufacturing will only work if it is based on the traditional enterprise automation landscape and the range of key IT systems that make up that landscape, and if it evolves side by side with the continued improvement of those systems. Evgeniy Stooping, IT director of the UAZ company, talks about this.

Managing the enterprise: The concept of digital transformation is considered new today, and industrial automation can rather be attributed to traditional disciplines. What is your attitude towards digital transformation in manufacturing?

Evgeniy Stooping: Digital technologies by no means negate the automation that we call traditional today and that enterprises have been engaged in for a long time. However, the nuances of the joint development of traditional areas and the new concept of business IT support, now defined as “digital”, certainly exist.

Digitalization is designed for a very high pace of operational decision-making, quick response to them and close collaboration between employees of various departments. Those information processing mechanisms that the concept of digital transformation offers and that are designed to implement such management approaches are well known – they are now being talked about a lot.

As for traditional technologies, in the context of digitalization, their shortcomings can come out in relief. This is due to the lack of proper information support in those areas where automation has not penetrated deeply. Previously, this did not have such a strong impact on business performance. If we talk specifically about the industry, then this is more about the nuances of IT support for activities at the shop floor level. Further, it is important to understand that the above features of management in the context of digitalization dictate the need for deep information integration, including at the level of traditional business systems. In general, we proceed from these simple principles.

IT support for cash management, warehouse logistics, personnel, equipment and repairs, procurement, regulatory and reference information and a number of other important functions is being built on its basis. The 1C:Enterprise platform also automates production planning (according to the MRP standard), material flow planning, and standard cost calculation. In the near future, we are going to transfer sales management, after-sales service and internal workflow to this platform.

Effective development of digital technologies is impossible without the base created by traditional systems.

– What are you doing at the level of shop automation, so that in the conditions of digital transformation, work is carried out more efficiently?

– There is some work related to the development of traditional products and technologies. This is a key class of systems for machine-building production. Although it is difficult to categorize it as a shop floor automation product, it is closely related to it. In the PLM system, the main object for our type of production is formed – Bill of Materials (BOM). After designing a car, we get an engineering BOM (Engineering Bill of Materials, eBook).

Then comes the production version of this specification (Manufacturing Bill of Materials, myoma), focused on the assembly of the car at the level of the conveyor and subsequent shipment to the consumer; it is slightly different from eBook. And last but not least is the so-called configurable BOM (Configurable Bill of Materials, cob), the appearance of which is directly related to the ability to customize products in a mass production environment. choom is extremely important, because it is with its help that you can establish efficient work on assembling cars with different equipment on the same conveyor.

However, the effective development of digital technologies is impossible without the base created by traditional systems. And it’s not just a PLM system. At the workshop level of our automobile plant, an MES system based on the 1C:Enterprise platform has been implemented. This solution is called “Prof-IT: MES Engineering”.

it was created by our partner – PROF-IT GROUP. In this case, we pursued the goal of ensuring the rhythm of production, minimizing downtime of the main conveyor and providing flexible variability in vehicle assembly in a variety of configurations. Cars of the same configuration, even if there are any in current orders, do not necessarily go in a row on the conveyor. In order for the worker to understand right during the production process which components to put in which car, there is a special document called a manifest. In fact, we are talking about a kind of configuration matrix that shows which positions for which options you need to mount

Digitalization is designed for a very high pace of operational decision-making. Under these conditions, the shortcomings of the previous stage of automation and poor information support of activities will be clearly visible.

Another project implemented on the 1C:Enterprise platform and directly related to what is happening at the workshop level is the construction of an information support system for quality management processes (Quality Management System, QMS). With its help, we solve two classic problems: improving quality and building a multi-stage control system for detecting and eliminating defects.

QMS works in conjunction with the MES system, which is also responsible for the operational management of the movement of products, components and other material resources in the workshop. If a defect is fixed on the car during the passage of one or another control point, this instance will not leave the site until the quality service confirms that the defect has been eliminated. By the way, we have 60 similar quality control points.

– On what principles do you build information interaction with external partners and customers of the enterprise?

– We have a dealer portal and a supplier portal. However, these are rather mandatory methods of working with external organizations for a manufacturer of the 21st century, rather than a competitive advantage. In the modern economy, production and logistics processes are closely intertwined. The latter are no longer so clearly divided into intra-factory logistics and logistics associated with orders and deliveries from external companies.