MetalQuest Unlimited, Inc. manufactures precision-machined parts and assemblies for oil and gas, firearms, agriculture, construction, commercial hydraulics, and other product manufacturers at its 50,000-square-foot production facility in Hebron, Nebraska, and at a second facility in Idaho. MetalQuest Unlimited leverages a variety of CNC mills, lathes, and multitasking machines to hold tight tolerances with high efficiency.
Optimal Plant Layouts Enhance Productivity
Maintaining a plant layout configuration that optimizes factory flow is key to MetalQuest Unlimited’s productivity. Company management found that using 2D drawing tools to reconfigure robot cells, machinery, and equipment before a physical move required excessive time, and some stakeholders had trouble extrapolating 2D layouts to the physical space.
President Scott Harms recalls, “What we needed was a 3D tool [like SOLIDWORKS®] that can do the same for the configuration of the shop floor, enabling us to try different things, just like our designers do with a part model.” In 2022 MetalQuest Unlimited found a solution in DELMIA® Factory Simulation Engineer on the cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE® platform.
Using a combination of detailed scans, 3D, 2D, and point-cloud data, Factory Simulation Engineer enables manufacturers to create a virtual model of their production facilities and simulate reconfigurations of plant layouts to maximize material flow, boost productivity, and enhance collaboration.
“Digitally manipulating the shop floor layout, just like designers use SOLIDWORKS to simulate the movement of parts in an assembly, provides the insights into various options that can help us account for things like cost, time, cycle flow, and process flow, which is incredibly powerful.”
MetalQuest Vice President/COO Scott Volk
A Bird’s Eye View Enables Exacting Detail
Factory Simulation Engineer enables a top-down view with exacting detail of a virtual 3D model of an entire facility and the impact of moving manufacturing cells, machinery, equipment, and furniture on cycle times, lead times, and cost. In addition, it highlights the potential for consolidation. Because the top-down view is easier to comprehend than a floor-level view it facilitates collaboration among and input from everyone affected by a reconfiguration.
MetalQuest Unlimited leveraged Factory Simulation Engineer to analyze and optimize the flow of its entire organization, including robotic cell configurations and cycle times for each cell. It continues to leverage the solution to manage factory flow to support business needs, such as the cost-effectiveness of purchasing a new robot to meet demand.
Inspired to Form a Partnership
Because MetalQuest Unlimited’s management was so impressed with the Factory Simulation Engineer solution, they founded a new company, MetalQuest Solutions, and partnered with Dassault Systèmes to serve as a distributor for the technology.
“After using Factory Simulation Engineer, we could plainly see the opportunity to help other manufacturers leverage this technology to make better decisions when they need to ramp up capacity or reconfigure part of the plant,” Harms says. “The solution has a ripple effect that over time will shorten delivery lead times, even for complex jobs. We’ve certainly benefitted from Factory Simulation Engineer and are well-positioned to bring it to the broader manufacturing community.”
You can read the Metalquest case study here: Read full story: http://www.solidworks.com/metalquest.