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Challenges in Production Planning

Hardware designers face many challenges on a daily basis, and production planning problems can arise if they are negligent in some crucial areas of their work. It is also important to note that it is the production planning process that serves as the catalyst that drives how other functions in the manufacturing chain react.

Control methods and production planning problems must be addressed quickly and efficiently in order to reduce costs and downtime, and changes in the hardware manufacturing industry have forced companies to make improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of their planning in order to remain competitive. Here, we will discuss some of the most pressing production planning problems or challenges in the industry.

Combining Different Functions

After schedules have been made it is ideal that very few changes are made afterwards. In order to achieve this goal, the quantity of labour scheduled for the department or the facility must be greater than the production cycle.

Following-Up

Struggling to meet commitments should not become a top priority when the designated tasks are started on time and completed before the deadline. The best operation of the factory can only be achieved if the primary strategy has been implemented prudently from the get-go so that manufacturing plants’ facilities are used to their full potential and delays don’t occur.

The Re-Planning Step

Re-planning is something that is very common in production planning and should be expected from time to time. This could occur if your company’s manufacturing methods have changed over the last few years in order to adapt to trends in the industry. Given how competitive the manufacturing sector is, companies that fail to adapt are often left by the wayside, so you will eventually need to make changes to your manufacturing plans.

Industry Forecasting

You will need to carefully follow any market fluctuations in order to stay afloat as a business. For instance, you will need to look carefully at market trends to understand how you can get ahead of your competitors. Market trends can help you predict the demand for your products in the future.

You may encounter certain challenges in the not too distant future, such as a sudden decrease or increase in demand for certain products, or you may have to adapt to new work shift policies. In any event, such changes are sure to have an impact on production control and planning, so you need to be prepared for anything.

Sales Order Revisions

At some point in your business operations, you will inevitably have to deal with client order rewriting. Examples include issues pertaining to the shipment authorization to the client, quantity changes, and product changes. When there are changes to a customer order or variations to a sales order, your production planning and control methods will be impacted significantly. You need to prepare for such issues in advance in order to reduce costs and downtime when they occur.

Conventional Process Sheets

The standard process sheet is made by either the process proprietor or an associated engineering cavalcade and comprises basic but essential data, such as the type of machinery that will be used for production, and the estimated processing time. However, if there is a hardware manufacturing failure or issue during production then the datasheet will be impacted, which, will adversely impede production control and planning.

Load Charts

Load charts must be fabricated for each apparatus and workstation in the manufacturing facility before production takes place. In some cases, they may also be prepared for entire departments or committees, or for groups of machinery, which may cause additional issues or challenges for your company, if you are not prepared to handle the workload.

Project Planning

Any item that is made is fabricated in a given quantity with a processing time measured meticulously should be subject to stringent quality control. To do so, one of two project planning strategies are implemented; namely, ‘Program Evaluation and Review Technique’ and ‘Critical Path Program’. The planning process consists of sequencing as well as choosing certain activities so that they adhere to a predetermined nomenclature of domain constraints, and that a given set of objectives are met.

Moreover, the schedules that are made should reflect the connection between the capacity limits of a shared group of resources and the activities in question. Failure to do so may cause challenges that your company may be unable to deal with during a chaotic production schedule.

Preparing a Master Production Schedule

The first thing you may want to consider is how to reduce the amount of re-planning activities that your business has to deal with during the master production schedule. The original master production schedule should be optimized so that it is feasible as possible, and you and your team will need to be reactive to any hindrances that will negatively affect the flow of materials in your production line.

Finally, your planners will need to be kept abreast about the pool of material resources at their disposal. The information that is relayed to them must not only be up to date but accurate as well. Otherwise, bloated inventory problems will arise and your enterprise will likely fail to deliver products to your customers on time, which will impact your company’s reputation and lead to lower customer retention.

For more information about overcoming the challenges in production planning for your manufacturing plant, call Circuits Central at 1-888-821-7746 or contact us here.

Steps of Production Planning

Production planning and control can be very arduous and complicated in some cases, and the same applies to designing hardware that is cutting edge in some instances. This is especially true for companies that are just starting up, or for companies that have a meagre pool of resources to work with during the production planning and control phase of manufacturing electronics. However, the entire process can be streamlined if the 5 steps below are followed, with the end goal being the manufacturing of a prototype that is completely functional.

Designing the Schematic

The ultimate goal is to fabricate a printed circuit board (PCB). As such, the first step that must be taken in order to fabricate a functional PCB is to fabricate a circuit design schematic. In this case, a schematic is similar to a blueprint for a new home.

In order to design the schematic circuit, you will need to hand-pick the most cost-friendly components as well as pick the quintessential topology during the preliminary research phase. In some instances, companies may breadboard, which while rare is sometimes used in modern electronics. However, in most cases, simulations are run during the schematic design step.

Those looking for an affordable but powerful and user-friendly software for electronics design may want to consider using DipTrace because it is a powerful software that is equipped to handle complicated designs but is also easy to use.

Designing the Layout for the PCB

After having used the aforementioned software, the next step is to fabricate the layout for the PCB. It should also be mentioned that optimum performance can usually only be achieved if manual routing of the boards is performed, albeit in some cases it may be possible for a segment to be routed automatically.

Moreover, RF and power circuits tend to be highly sensitive as far as their PCB layouts are concerned, so PCB errors in these areas are very common. Hence, caution must be taken when working with the PCB layouts of many of today’s RF and power circuits, which include the latest GPS, wireless, and Bluetooth devices.

In any event, once the layout for the PCB has been completed, the software will tell the designer if the PCB matches their schematic, as well as indicate if the trace spacings and wire widths are in strict compliance with the protocols for the specific PCB fabrication process that is being implemented. Once the design for the PCB has been finalized the data should be sent to a PCB shop so that prototyping can begin.

Prototype Evaluation and Debugging

Once the first prototype has been sent to your company, you will need to evaluate the prototype to check for any errors that may cause problems in the future. Any problems that have been discovered will need to be debugged as soon as possible. The debugging of a new circuit is a step that can be hard to forecast because you will be unable to accurately determine how long it will take your team to rectify the issue until you determine what the error actually is.

Also, while it is possible that no errors will be detected during the evaluation phase, such a scenario is, in actuality, very rare. In most instances, you will discover at least 2 or 3 problems during the evaluation phase of your first prototype.

Programming the Microcontroller in Question

The vast majority of electronics that are made today include a microcontroller that serves as the “brain” of the device. What’s more, the majority of electronic products with microcontrollers are programmed using the “C” computer language, although certain components of the products may be programmed in an assembly language if the program needs to be very quick and efficient.

Interestingly, while the microcontroller programming may be performed by the same man or woman who designed the PCB circuit, most companies will hire an external software expert to handle the programming of the microcontroller.

The Final Step: 3D Modelling

Step five is usually taken on by an engineer who did not handle the first four steps of production planning. In most cases, assuming you have a clear vision of what your device should look like, a 3D modelling connoisseur is all that is required during the initial phase. However, in due time, you may want to strongly consider hiring an industrial design engineer, as industrial design engineers are highly skilled in making products look sleek and sophisticated.

Considering image is almost everything when it comes to marketing a product, an industrial design engineer can help your product stand out amongst a glut of competitors, and many such engineers have worked on the latest Samsung, LG, and Apple phones and tablets.

Finally, the person that you hire for your 3D modelling should also have extensive experience in the proper use of injection moulding technology. This is because while 3D printing is often utilized for low-volume prototyping, injection moulding is frequently utilized for manufacturing projects that are high-volume in nature. Many 3D designers will make the error of fabricating a model that can be printed in three-dimensions but that cannot be injection moulded.

If you would like to learn more about production planning and control, call Circuits Central at 888-821-7746 or contact here.

Advanced Electronic Trends in 2019

The electronics world is in a state of perpetual flux, as new burgeoning trends strive to become the gold standard in an industry that strives for excellence. Those interested in the latest trends in electronics should look no further, as we will discuss some of the latest trends in electronics while also identifying trends to look for in the not-too-distant future. Development and testing are only the beginning, as some of the emerging technologies to look for in 2019 strive to take the industry by storm.

The Industry is Preparing for 5G

While it is true that 5G will officially launch next year, the industry is preparing for its launch. To do so, manufacturers have placed a greater emphasis on creating an even larger number of users per station, while also focusing more on quicker response times as well as an all-round increase in speed in order to optimize performance.

As such, products that have launched in 2019 and that launch in the near future will be updated in order to support 5G when it arrives in 2020. Furthermore, the automotive industry will also focus more on 5G technology, as the state of the art technology allows for automobiles to communicate with one another. Expect more automobile manufacturers to shift their priorities towards 5G dissemination and adoption so that smart cars will become the gold standard in due time.

Most Technology Will Be ‘Smart’

It seems that more and more electronics developers and manufacturers have made the transition towards smart technology, and electronics consumers can expect an increase in the development of smart technologies in 2019. Furthermore, while the medical industry has been experimenting with different smart gadgets and tech in order to provide health care providers and their patients with streamlined, reliable, and responsive devices, the adoption of smart technology in other, non-medical apparatuses has only been on the agenda for the last few years.

Today, some experts have begun discussing the adoption of smart technology into the clothing that consumers wear. Recent advances in smart technology mean it is now possible for clothing to implement smart technology that can measure a person’s pulse, muscle use, and ECG. The sensors manufactured today are so minute that they can be affixed to clothing and patches, but are still sophisticated enough to detect harmful UV radiation as well as the body temperature of patients who are ill.

In fact, 2019 will mark the advent of the smart sock, as these socks will use tactile pressure to measure running time, speed, and distance covered. Self-regulating clothes will also make their mark in 2019, as these seemingly sentient inner and outerwear will be able to regulate heat according to the outdoor temperature as well as the body temperature of the wearer.

IoT Will Undergo a Marked Metamorphosis

In 2019 virtually everything that will have the ability to be connected will become a connected device. In addition, many of the IoT devices that consumers use, whether at home or at the office, will become controlled by highly sophisticated artificial intelligence in 2019. Thanks to the latest cutting edge singular devices and sensors, many gadgets can locally integrate top-of-the-line machine learning capabilities.

For instance, many of the wireless speakers that launched in 2019 came equipped with AI software, and consumers can expect more such products to arrive on store shelves in the next few months.

IoT Multifunctionality and the Standardized Solutions

2019 will also usher in the shift towards more niche integrated solutions, whereby multifunctionality will take the form of increased connectivity as well as different sensors. For instance, some companies have begun manufacturing communication sensors that are not only wireless but also completely customized at the nano-chip level. These custom chips are also optimized in order to provide users with products that consume less power, are more compact, and are more cost-effective than their antiquated predecessors.

It should also be noted that most of the research and development in the aforementioned areas will mainly target products within the IoT realm in 2019.

Emphasis on Advanced Robotics Technology

According to some industry reports published in 2019, approximately fifteen million new jobs will be created in the next ten years in order to work on new robotics technology. Furthermore, while this will mean rapid advancements in the field of robotics, the increased focus on robotics ingenuity will also ensure that the robots of the future will not only be able to perform more intricate tasks than today’s robots but will also be smaller in stature.

In fact, R&D is already underway at some forward-thinking manufacturing laboratories in order to create swarm robots as well as robots that have the ability to self-learn. The next step, then, is to scale down these helper robots so that they can help humans with their projects, as well as perform tasks that humans cannot.

To learn more about the latest trends in electronics, call Circuits Central at 888-821-7746 or contact us here.


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