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36 SMT007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2019 Dromology is a new word for most of us, I expect; it certainly is for me (and Microsoft Word). Dromology resonates as an interest- ing way to describe changes in the manufac- turing process due to technical and business innovation over the last few years, leading us towards Industry 4.0. It is easy to lose track of the many changes that are happening, as our experience of the compression of time and space has taken place over many years. Para- digm shifts that new technologies enable today should not be surprises if the trends and direc- tion of business needs are understood. Best practices going forward should be based on achievable goals, edge towards expected future business needs, and be driven by the oppor- tunities that technologies bring. Let's look at dromology in the assembly factory today. Digital Manufacturing Engineering We started with what was once industrial engineering. For many, the earliest applica- tions of computer system technology in man- ufacturing were related to electronic product design and the entry of data into manufac- turing. Previously, data was created through reverse engineering, taking measurements and paper drawings to feed the need for automa- tion. What took weeks, if not months, could now be done in days using computers. Though the use of engineering systems helped, it was not enough to change the par- adigm. Production configurations continued to be defined and decided by engineering and driven through the singular assignment of product to line configuration. Best practices today, enabled by digital manufacturing engi- neering tools, have broken through to support the business need for flexibility, allowing prod- ucts to be made on any configuration when- ever needed as determined by the capability to deliver closest-to-completion requirements. For data preparation, programming, and paperless documentation, the time needed using digital tools is compressed down to just a few minutes. Planners can utilize this capability and have a wider choice of plan- ning options, increasing equipment utilization, overall productivity, and reducing the need for sub-assembly and finished goods storage and warehousing space. The use of standards, such as the IPC-2581 Digital Product Model Exchange (DPMX), together with the latest digital manufacturing engineering tools, revo- lutionizes design through manufacturing flow as well as the potential for planning in accor- dance with Industry 4.0. Dromology: Time-space Compression in Manufacturing Smart Factory Insights by Michael Ford, AEGIS SOFTWARE

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