Romar’s New IT Directions: Streamlining Advanced Manufacturing Solutions
At Romar, we continually adapt to stay at the cutting edge of our advanced manufacturing, medical device manufacturing and materials manufacturing solutions. As recently reported, we’re midway through a project to upgrade our IT systems and software – and move in new IT directions.
Our recent blog focused on Industry 4.0 and our system integration for valuable data collection across our molding and CNC machinery.
We’re also pleased to advise that a secondary focus is on technology upgrades to streamline processes and enhance efficiency. Here’s what that involves and how it will help us deliver robust and cost-effective advanced manufacturing solutions for our customers across the aerospace, medical, mining and defence sectors.
Streamlined processes for in-house productivity
Our focus on new IT systems has a key goal – to streamline, enhance and improve our processes to deliver smart and agile medical, precision molding, micromolding, elastomers, silicone and advanced manufacturing solutions. Sean Emery, Systems Integration Engineer with Romar, explains.
“Over the last year, we’ve integrated two new additions to our suite of organisational software. We have an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system that plans and tracks stock, processes and individual items through the manufacturing timeline. We also currently use JIRA to track where each manufacturing project is at overall, and that helps us maintain clear and precise scheduling.”
Due to a developer support issue, we are now transitioning away from JIRA to Sharepoint, a web-based platform for secure data storage and organisation, ideal for collaboration across our advanced manufacturing and engineering teams.
Another practical tool is Power BI, an analytics service that provides advanced business intelligence capabilities to converge data across databases, online web applications and spreadsheets. “It provides us with real-time tracking of processes and detailed end of month reporting,” says Sean.
CAD and 3D Modelling Solutions
CAD and CAM are central to tooling part design. We use CAD to generate 3D models from a customer’s 2D drawing, and CAM to program our machinery for manufacturing. Our CAD and CAM software applications include Fusion 360, Solidworks, PTC Creo and NX, a CAM program that integrates with our state-of-the-art Lasertec 65 3D printer. A new tool that we have started leveraging to streamline our workflows is Fusion 360’s Python API.
“We can use the API to automatically generate a bill of materials which lists all parts and materials in a model, for instance,” explains Sean, “and we’re also working on a dashboard with RMIT that generates key information from the Lasertec 65, with the aim to generate superior models for metal 3D printing.”
Additionally, by connecting our CAD and ERP systems, we can create part files from the CAD system directly into our ERP system. “It can automatically generate that part file which streamlines the process, saves work and eliminates the chance of human error,” says Sean. “It will also reduce paperwork, as we can store product specifications in the CAD and ERP systems, reducing the need for hardcopy documents.”
Data analytics and storage
As described in our recent blog on Industry 4.0 manufacturing, Romar is now using PLCs (programmable logic controllers) as well as a suite of micro-controllers such as ESP32, Arduino and Raspberry Pi, to gather and assess process information from our precision molding, micromolding and silicone molding machinery – and there are multiple potential uses for that data.
As one example, by capturing and assessing CFD (computational fluid dynamics or mold flow analysis) we can analyse the flow of material within a tool to create optimised injection molding tools.
For precise data collection, storage and analysis, we use a variety of software, including MSSQL, a scalable database platform; and for data analytics, SQL, Python and Excel. For our data visualisation, we use PowerBI, Python, Excel, Paraview, CSS and HTML, which allow us to facilitate complex, interactive and remote visualisations from large data sets.
Expertise for advanced manufacturing solutions
As part of our IT strategy, we are refining multiple efficiency tools across our manufacturing and in-house procedures.
“There are little programs that I’ve written to help us move information and automate mundane tasks such as scanning documents, manipulating files and folders, and navigating our file storage system more efficiently. We can run a python script to put those docs where they need to go and help us transition towards paperless processes,” explains Sean.
Our IT upgrade is part of our overall commitment to tailored and comprehensive advanced manufacturing solutions.
Please contact us if you require an expert and tailored advanced manufacturing solution.