Modern Times in Manufacturing

By Michael

Watching Charlie Chaplin working the assembly line makes a lasting impression of what manufacturing means. Nuts and bolts, big wheels turning, adrenaline pumping. Clearly, manufacturing is where things are done.

Think of Ford’s production of the Model T like “Tin Lizzy” which started just over 100 years ago in 1908. The goal: produce a reliable automobile at a price people could afford. The price was just 400$ at the time and this was quite an achievement, but the color was black and custom changes not at hand. Fifteen million models of the same car have been produced at the Highland Park Plant in Michigan during a period of 19 years (video).

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Times have changed no doubt. After the revolution of Total Quality Control which has driven the manufacturing industry to re-engineer their processes, improve their tools and train their staff to focus on better and better products, market demand for Mass Customization has forced discrete manufacturing to allow a great deal of flexibility to build individual variants from product platforms. See for example what offers the Mini brand to customers: not only they can configure their new car online with colors and all features, but they are also invited to add their unique design to go on the roof top of a car which hereby becomes a custom product.

And of course there is an ever increasing and pervasive pressure for short time to a global marketplace, surely at competitive cost structures, to be realized at the best locations, at the same time meeting demand for best quality, the right features, and all meeting legal regulations.

This makes a seemingly simple product like a printed T-shirt a global challenge. With designs changing about every 5 weeks at a leading fashion retailer … 5 sizes, 4 cuts, 10 colors, 100 variants of prints, 10 production sites in 5 countries, 1500 shops in 73 countries … you do the math regarding what needs to be accomplished to have those products ready for sale in stores for customers.

Manufacturing today has acquired an enormous complexity. The challenge: enable managers to visualize the global picture and gain the controls needed to take the right decisions. Supply chains, equipment and resources need to be managed. Production schedules and logistics need to be organized.

Manufacturing has also become an integral part of the PLM process which is interwoven with design and engineering. Production needs to be prepared early during the design process and product changes need to be accommodated with no delay, even long after production has started. PLM software has become the backbone to manage the challenges in collaborative manufacturing. Read more about how DELMIA’s 3D virtual factory solutions support the creation of innovative production systems and enables experience of the complete manufacturing lifecycle.

A key component to the success of the 3D virtual factory is the ability to integrate with enterprise-wide ERP systems, to connect product engineering with manufacturing execution. These systems allow production people visualize what “is to be produced” and track change requests in real-time. To serve that need, Dassault Systèmes DELMIA has established a close partnership with Intercim, a leader in Manufacturing Execution Systems.


With 25-year experience and over 200 customers in data rich manufacturing, Intercim takes care to proliferate information required to build the product to the shop floor, by bringing engineering, manufacturing and quality communities on the same collaboration platform. Thanks to the deep integration with Dassault Systèmes PLM platform, customers can reuse all their virtual information for real production and vice versa. Find Intercim on the PLM Marketplace.

The close loop between the real world and the virtual environment creates tremendous benefits and makes it an indispensable ingredient for customers who aim for 21st century manufacturing operations.

Enjoy a beautiful month of May.


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The Trebbia Bridge

By Kate

Instead of Back to the Future, the people of Italy’s Piacenza region are Leaping to the Future thanks to a virtual bridge.

You don’t need a DeLorean to get there, just 3DVIA Virtools and a few engineers, architects and urban planners.

For over 30 years, the people of Piancenza have been waiting for the construction of a bridge to cross the Trebbia river. Price-tagged at 26.5 million Euros, the bridge promises to bring significant improvements to local infrastructure.

The virtual bridge was “constructed” to anticipate work procedures, but it will also be used to feed local curiosity. Once the 2-3-year period construction phase begins, citizens will be able to take virtual tours through the Piancenza government’s website.  You can take a video sneak prevue here.

Now if only I could take a virtual tour of the Greater Paris architecture competition! And what about letting citizens vote for their favorite proposition?

Have you ever gotten to do that, as a citizen and consumer of urban development?



Driving for Green: Changing car-use habits?

By Jonathan

So you drive your car to work everyday, once a week you fill the boot/trunk with enough food to sustain your starving teenage children, now and again you take the car and the family on a well earned holiday to the mountains or the seaside – like for all of us the car is an integral part of your life.

But, with China, India and other developing countries wanting a piece of the action there’s going to have to be a lot of give and take.

So,why not lead the change instead of suffering it…

What would make you change your current car-use habits? This is how you answered the survey question number 3:

Offering alternatives really seems to have been the focus of the vast majority of you; i.e. better public transport. In other words, you all want to do your bit to help but today’s alternatives are really not viable…I can relate to that, my trip to work by public transport is bearable but at least there is public transport! This can’t be said for the people who live outside large cities.

So these people will have to turn to flexible car leasing options, i.e. tiny car to go to work in (if you can’t share with another commuter) and a bigger car for family leisure.

And lastly, hike up the price of fuel to “force” change-resistors to change. I don’t really like this, or at least I don’t like it on it’s own. If there are no alternatives we’ll just see businesses fold as they won’t be able to cover their running costs any more. But in fact the price of fuel has never been cheaper than it is today, in 1955 fuel cost 3 times more than it does today relative to earnings. What I’d like to see is the current taxation removed and replaced with a “cleaning-it-all-up-when-it’s-gone” tax, so that this money can be injected into research and actions to clean up the CO2.

Here are some of your additional comments: increase the offer of greener cars and make them affordable, no more fuel for transportation (why burn all those nice molecules…), ecologic company cars.

Sustainably yours,


P.S. In case you missed the poll and the anaysis for Q1 & Q2, here are the articles:Driving for Green: a mini poll, Driving for Green: Poll answers for Q1 & Driving for Green: Do You Have Range Anxiety?

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