Preventing quality defects before they happen

  • 30-Jun-2008 06:36 EDT
787 interior.jpg

Boeing is using Intercim software for work on the interior of the 787 Dreamliner. Boeing

Reducing cycle time and time to market while improving quality and efficiency are the benefits customers of Intercim’s Pertinence Suite can expect, according to the company. The Suite manages the entire production process, from design through final inspection.

The Suite offers customers in aerospace and other sectors the power and technology to manage the most complex processes through simplicity, according to Intercim President and CEO John Todd. “What makes the suite unique is the way it delivers additional return on investment,” he said. “Take the cost of poor quality, for example. Intercim’s patented predictive analysis capability offers manufacturers a totally new way of understanding and preventing quality defects before they happen, improving yield while decreasing the cost of rework and scrap.”

A new value-based pricing model, unique to the industry, eliminates the large initial investment typical in purchasing enterprise software licenses, the company says, adding that the new pay-per-use model allows customers to take advantage of the suite’s production management capabilities sooner.

Native web technology allows the Pertinence Suite to do what Intercim claims no manufacturing execution system can: “manage production within the four walls of the factory, across a company’s enterprise, and throughout the supply chain.” Process plans, data collection, risk patterns, emergent processes, electronic approvals, and key performance indicator reports may be entered locally and accessed globally. Comprehensive interoperability also allows customers to optimize and leverage their existing product lifecyle management and enterprise resource planning investment. 

User acceptance is also made easy via an intuitive user interface, according to Todd.

Another innovation is the ability to extend 3-D modeling to the shop floor. “Since everything conforms to the 3-D design, translating it to 2-D as it leaves, engineering is non-value-add and possibly error-prone,” said Todd. “Using 3-D as a common model throughout the process ensures consistency and is more intuitive for the shop-floor technician.” The product also ensures that work is performed only by authorized or certified employees.

The Pertinence Suite comprises Process Planning, Process Rules Discovery, Process Execution, Operations Advisor, Emergent Process Management, and Performance Tracker. It is powered by the company’s Velocity Core, an innovative transactional layer that facilitates data exchange between modules. Using Service Oriented Architecture and built on the Microsoft .Net platform, the system is the only completely web-based, commercial-off-the-shelf operations management solution available, according to the company.

Intercim says the launch is the latest accomplishment resulting from its July 2007 merger with Pertinence. Intercim describes itself as a leader in the development and application of web-based manufacturing operations software.

Among the company’s customers are Boeing, which uses Intercim’s products to manage final-assembly process at its Everett plant in Washington, and the quality process worldwide. The company says its software provides Boeing immediate knowledge of supplier product anomalies that could affect production. For example, if a supplier anywhere in the world has an interruption in its facility, Boeing can make immediate decisions to avoid production disruptions downstream at Everett.

In final assembly at Everett, Intercim software manages or integrates with every aspect of the production process. The software ensures procedural control in every task. Every piece of data pertaining to installation of the aircraft is archived in a complete as-built record, including the date, time, and person who performed the work. The system also manages the process for each aircraft’s airworthiness certification.

Other aerospace customers include Bell Helicopter, for which Intercim software is used to manage final assembly of the V-22 Osprey and H-1 military helicopters; Ball Aerospace, for an anomaly and corrective tracking system; United Launch Alliance, for process execution in rocket assembly and launch procedures related to the Delta Program; and EADS/Airbus for operational risk analysis.

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Boeing and Airbus forecast a worldwide demand for up to 40,000 new aircraft over the next two decades. With a 10-year production backlog and new aircrafts increasingly counting on lightweight composites, manufacturing companies are developing advanced sandwich-structure composite solutions to fill the production gap.

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