TNO and Total Productivity are working together on the factory of the future
Total Productivity (TP) en has been maintained for over fifteen years TNO a pleasant cooperation basis, including in the Fieldlab Flexible Manufacturing on the Brainport Industries Campus in Eindhoven (BIC). Here, supply and demand in the field of digital innovation and robotization are linked. The BIC is an inspiring practical environment where production companies, educational and knowledge institutions and suppliers can use each other's knowledge, possibilities and network. TP participates in the Flexible Manufacturing Fieldlab with a werkcel die is voorzien van VisualFactory (VF). This modular software system has various features, including supporting operators with smart, interactive work instructions that can significantly increase productivity. In addition, VF can also record all data from production processes, for example, which benefits quality control and traceability.
Fieldlab Flexible Manufacturing
TP participates in the Flexible Manufacturing Fieldlab with a werkcel die is voorzien van VisualFactory (VF). This modular software system has various features, including supporting operators with smart, interactive work instructions that can significantly increase productivity. In addition, VF can also record all data from production processes, for example, which benefits quality control and traceability.
Dutch manufacturing companies are lagging behind in terms of automation
Both TNO and TP experience that, from a global and European point of view, Dutch production companies are out of step when it comes to digitization and robotization. This is where steps really need to be taken. Tim Bosch, senior researcher at TNO, explains how TNO approaches this development: “When it comes to digitization, TNO thinks more in terms of opportunities than threats. Technology helps companies to become more competitive, to support employees better, to achieve more attractive work, to make the manufacturing industry more fun, actually. Companies should seize these opportunities with both hands. In the Flexible Manufacturing Fieldlab, entrepreneurs get a good idea of what innovations - and thus efficiency gains - are possible in the market. ”
Digitization advice based on facts
What does the collaboration between TNO and companies like Total Productivity look like in practice? Tim Bosch: “TNO takes a broad and neutral approach to digitization questions from production companies. In the BIC we show various technological solutions for operator support on the basis of concrete demo setups, which we can also use in pilots at companies. TNO also has canvas operator support with which the right technology can be determined in a work session together with a company. The pilots are mainly intended to introduce organizations to digitization, to enthuse them and hopefully allow them to take that next step.
During this pilot TNO will evaluate the effects on quality, productivity and learning time. If a company becomes enthusiastic about something, and we have worked out the business case with the company, then at the end of the pilot we will reach out to various suppliers who we know will deliver a good product. TP is one of these suppliers, but it is ultimately up to the company itself to make a decision. TNO is completely objective about this. ” Such pilots naturally give Total Productivity interesting opportunities to present itself to the manufacturing industry.
Technology is a means, not an end in itself
For TNO, technology is always a means and never the end in itself. Every TNO pilot therefore starts with examining the characteristics of the current process, the product and the employees. After all, production improvement only starts when the work processes are in order and all information is available, not just stored in the heads of operators. The ultimately chosen solution must suit the company, the production process and the products themselves and - very importantly - the people in the workplace. And not the other way around.
Balance in people, resources and method
In this approach to technology as one part of a production improvement process, TNO and TP are a good match. Alex Valkering, sales & marketing manager at TP: “We deliver productivity to companies. We do this by finding the right balance between people, resources and method, taking into account the available budget and the return on investment objectives. If you use that balance, you can produce efficiently in the Netherlands and you do not have to move to a low-wage country for this. Of course you first have to invest for this, but in the end you will save. "
TNO and TP also regularly discuss developments in their field on other fronts. For example, TNO uses the practical experience of Total Productivity: Tim Bosch: “We sometimes run into things in our work and it is nice to be able to test your ideas. TP, for example, has a sounding board role in a project in the Fieldlab RoboHouse in Delft. Here we develop one canvas model for optimal collaboration between humans and robots. TP's input is very valuable to us in this respect. ”
Total Productivity is of course proud that an independent organization such as TNO sees them as a serious partner to improve productivity in the manufacturing industry. In this way, these organizations are building the factory of the future in a complementary way - on Dutch soil.
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