Let's Get Digital! Software to Track AM Quality Control and Production

Press Release Brian Crotty | January 22, 2020

The industrial 3D printing and post-production of high-quality, end-use parts requires certified documentation. For safety-critical industries like automotive and aerospace, required QA documentation is lengthy and time consuming. 3YOURMIND has added features to their Agile MES that increase transparency and provide a thorough digital documentation trail for the entire AM production workflow.

Using Software to Automatically Create AM Manufacturing Plans

While the Agile MES provides transparency to AM workflows for leading AM producers like Erpro, AM production floors still possess aspects of physical workflows. Maintaining a central schedule overview certainly provides business value, but that value is increased significantly when replacing paper travellers generated by hand.

The 3YOURMIND feature releases in October and November added automatic manufacturing plan generation into their Agile MES. This means the scheduler in a company can simply download part production sheets for each design being produced. The sheet includes a QR code to jump instantly from a printed page back into the Agile MES for tracking. Each production step including quantities and workstations, while project comments are automatically generated in the document. This provides a clear manufacturing plan that dramatically reduces human error. By automating manual steps, production engineers can better focus on producing the actual parts.

Erpro using Agile MES to track Chanel Mascara Brush ProductionErpro 3D Factory Engineer using iPad for Inputting Tracking Data
Quality Assurance Data input into iPad at Erpro 3D Factory

In addition, workstation lists can be generated for each printing or post-processing station. These are based on a workload that is confirmed in the Agile MES at the beginning of each day. The production engineer can then move seamlessly through their daily production quota. At each step, a QR code brings the engineer directly to the documentation page to mark the part as done, and provide a digital signature that the work has been successfully completed.

How do Part Requirements Improve AM Output Quality?

erp-custom-parts-1AM output quality can also be significantly improved by collecting and delivering the right part data to the corresponding steps in the production chain. 3YOURMIND has added part requirements as a major feature improvement to capture crucial data at the point of ordering in a structured and standardized way. This allows production engineers to ensure they have key data like intended use, production quality, tolerance range and certification requirements prior to planning.

We have found that by using part requirements effectively, our customers eliminate 2-6 further conversation threads and thus provide both faster lead times and more accurate production.  All the information can be included in the comments that appear on the Part Production Sheets, ensuring the information is transferred along the workflow from order to production.

Quality Assurance Data Management

Creating a digital audit trail for additive manufacturing was the third key improvement that this series of feature updates enabled. Once finished, each production step can be confirmed by a single user, along with any relevant comments. Items with failures can immediately be marked as scrapped and will cycle back into the software for rescheduling.

The most significant improvement is the ability to document each production step with a time stamp, a user name, the production machine used and the material batch. Production comments and required documentation can also be attached. This data is searchable during the auditing process and can be exported to create specific auditing documentation. 

The next development steps will add data from AM machines directly added to this documentation using machine connectivity, which will in turn be stored alongside the confirmation received from production engineers.

AM Order being processed in Agile ERP by Initial, Prodways Group
Order Input by VIP Customer at Initial, Prodways Group

The Goal: Fully Digital AM Workflow Documentation Streams

3YOURMIND is working to enable Agile Manufacturing - AM ordering and production based purely on data. A key enabler of this is the ability to route production requirements and document manufacturing data independently of where and when each part is produced. 

The addition of Production Documents, Part Requirements and Quality Assurance Documentation features in the 3YOURMIND Agile ERP and Agile MES move AM workflows much closer to full automation.

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