In this tutorial we will discuss procedures for a factory floor layout, a Large Model Design Review type in the chart below. We will explore ideas of how you plan which assembly steps will happen at specific assembly stations. We will discuss best practices and step you through the process to support your own factory planning tasks. We will also discuss assembly sequence planning and end user simulation of an assembly sequence. By having access to all the 3D geometry for both the product being assembled and the factory itself, 3dtagz can be a valuable tool to provide assistance to those planning the factory layout. It can also benefit those planning the assembly sequence and station jobs, and the mechanic on the factory floor responsible for assembling the product. Once you start talking about adding factory components to the mix and multiple assembly stations with the product being built, the size of the 3D dataset can get to be pretty large. Most CAD systems will start to hit severe performance problems in this scenario and will become frustrating to use and in many cases be unusable for this purpose. 3dtagz and its lightweight visualization format is designed to shine in such large model situations.
Entire Factory Context
With 3dtagz, a user can load and review an entire factory model with good navigation and interaction performance. At the entire factory level will be where a factory planner could do some high-level planning and layout of an assembly line. With a general layout and the required components imported from the CAD system into 3dtagz, the user can then select and move around different stations, components, tooling fixtures, etc. using the Transformation feature. They can get a good idea of how and where things will fit into the existing factory and design a new assembly line to make the best use of the available space.
Assembly Line Layout
Once the general factory layout has been completed, the planner can then spend additional time planning out the specifics of the assembly line they are designing. At this point they can start working with specific fixtures, bins, tables, and the parts and sub-assemblies for the product being assembled.
In the case of this example we are laying out an assembly line for a small two-cylinder engine. We have decided to do this in three stations. Each station will be on a rolling parts bin, which the workers can just roll to the next station when each assembly station job is complete. We will lay out larger sub-assemblies on the table next to each station and small parts, nuts, bolts, etc. will be in the parts bin. All these parts were created in one model in the CAD system, but we use 3dtagz to move around the station locations, table locations and the build-up of the product being assembled at each station, because performance was too poor in the CAD system to do this work. Save each revised 3dtagz state in an Animation Sequence so you don’t lose your work.
Once you have an Assembly Line Layout you’re comfortable with, use the final 3dtagz view to revise the CAD source model. Then, use this to revise the Entire Factory Context CAD source model. Retranslate these to separate model banners in 3dtagz.
Now that the general factory and assembly line components are in a proposed configuration, 3dtagz can be used to review a proposal with affected parties and management for comments and buy-in. With the proposed layout stored in the Cloud any person with permissions to the data can access and review the proposal.
Each Assembly Station
Once we have planned out how many stations will be used and roughly what parts will be assembled at each station, we will import a copy of each individual station into 3dtagz. Inside of 3dtagz we will show the build-up of the product being assembled at each station.
At each station you can use the Model Browser to select parts and sub-assemblies which you can then perform operations on, such as hide, transformation, show, etc. In this way you can show just the components that are going to be at each station. Using the Animation function the author can then create the motion and assembly sequence to simulate each part being installed in order. Tags can be added to each step with instructions or descriptions for the person doing the assembly of the product. At the end of the assembly steps at a station, a company can also author inspection steps for that station to approve the product to move to the next station. The next blog post will go into detail on the process of authoring the assembly sequences, plus you can go to the 3dtagz support page for specific guides and videos on how to author assemblies or inspection procedures.
The person on the factory floor can consume the authored content and see how the assembly line is laid out and play a simulation of the parts at each Station showing how they are to be assembled. The best practice for this is to create a separate 3dtagz Model Banner for each Station. The assembler can just select the station they want and then select to play through the steps of the assembly process.
At any stage along the planning and layout process, managers and stakeholders can review the detailed assembly build up at each station and provide input. This is a great tool for improving visibility and communication within a company. Literally any person in the company could login to 3dtagz and review things with little to no training.