Do we really need another set of manufacturing planning and virtual commissioning tools? Let’s talk about CENIT.
Who is CENIT?
CENIT is a company that’s actually been around for a while. There are several different divisions of the company. There’s consulting services. There’s actually a group that provides Dassault Systèmes a lot of their manufacturing planning capabilities.
But there is a different arm of CENIT that now has developed and is offering its own manufacturing solutions. To understand why their offering is really pretty interesting, you’ve got to understand the state of the industry today.
The State of the Industry
There’s a wide range of needs when you talk about manufacturing planning, virtual commissioning, and programming. So, let’s walk through it. At the lowest level, you have programming for CNC equipment, other types of equipment, and even robotics. So, what are the individual instructions in sequence that are sent to that equipment?
Then, you have the cell level where you have human workers, equipment, robotics, inventory, and conveyor lines. You have to figure out what’s the flow of work within the cell and also you got to think about ergonomics.
Then, you have the line level where there’s a number of cells that are kind of in sequence. You got to understand what’s the flow through the cells within the line such that you have good and proper productivity within that line. At the highest level, at the facility level, you have a number of different lines that are connected that need to interact with one another and deliver equipment or components and products to one another.
So, what’s also interesting about this is a lot of these are interrelated. The programming at the lowest level will interact and impact what happens at the cell level and that impacts what happens at the line level. And what’s interesting about it today is that you see a lot of different solutions out there for these different levels, but they’re not very connected today. They’re almost like separate silos. You can certainly program equipment, and that’s one thing separate by itself, figuring out what’s going to happen in the cell is a separate thing that happens by itself.
What’s the Big Deal?
Okay, so we have different tools that are used at different levels in this overall manufacturing planning environment. Why is that a big deal? Well, because they are interrelated. You make a change in how you’re going to program a robot to operate within a cell it’s going to affect the cell flow of work, and that’s going to affect the line flow of work, and then all the way up to the highest level.
So, there is a flaw here where usually those are separate silos. You develop that work. You plan out that work separately from one another. If you make a change over here, it might not propagate over here. And that can result in lots of issues around when you start to go commission it. When you go to actually try to test out that CNC code is it going to clash into something else?
What’s Interesting About CENIT’s Manufacturing Solutions?
So, that’s what is interesting about CENIT. CENIT is one platform that is meant to cover all of these four spaces in one solution set. So, if you make a change to the programming, it actually affects everything else. So, let’s talk about that for a second.
As we were saying before, with CENIT, the idea here is that you basically have one model, one database underneath and you’re using different modes of the solution or the platform to interact with that single model. So, if you change programming at the lowest level, it’s going to affect your plan for the cell, which is going to flow up and affect the flow through the cells as part of the production line or production system, and so on. So, there’s this, you might think of it as associativity, but it’s really when you’re using one model underneath you’re not dealing with separate things, they’re all part of one thing.
So, that’s the compelling thing about CENIT. It has connectivity between these different modes of modifying things and creating content, programming things, laying out lines, and it kind of flows from one side all the way up and down to the other. Now, to be clear, they do not have complete coverage of all four of these areas yet, but they are working on it. It is part of this kind of single unified model where changes can be pushed back and forth.
So, that’s the compelling thing, and you can avoid those errors, right? So, you make a change in programming, it affects how the robot moves within the cell, but that doesn’t get communicated to the design and layout of the cell, and lo and behold, when you go to commission it, “Oh, wait a second, we have a major problem here.” And you’re keeping a facility shut down for an extra three or four days while you’re trying to figure out, “Okay, how do we solve this problem?” So, again, that is the compelling thing about CENIT is that we’ll avoid those issues.