One question that we ask steel fabrication production managers to help them think about the way they plan their production is “How long does it take to drill a hole?”. Of course in steel production planning there is no simple correct answer, or way of precisely estimating it as there are so many different factors involved.
You could make an educated guess with some further information - what tool or CNC machine will be used, what size the hole is, what the material and profile is, how many other holes are there in the beam... but no production manager no matter how good they are could factor all this in and give a precise time.
With it being so difficult to estimate how long even processing a single hole can take, it’s a wonder how Steel Fabrication companies can plan their workload and estimate how long full projects will take to get through their workshop.
The standard way of approaching steel production planning is to make a judgement on the type of job, tonnage and normal throughput, but the reality is this can only ever be a medium term guide and it is impossible to rely on the estimate.
The more precise way however is to go through every single part and assembly drawing by hand and make a judgement on what machine to use for the processing, who will be doing the welding, and estimate how long each production phase will take. Once this has been done for every assembly, then a more realistic production time can be calculated.
It’s no wonder than why the future planning can sometimes seem to Production Managers either a bit in the dark, or from over the top of a new pile of paperwork!
By utilising a modern Steel Production Management System such as Graitec Advance Workshop alongside leading industry CAD \ BIM design software such as Advance Steel, a lot of your production planning processes can be simplified and even automated.
In the back end of the system there is a “virtual workshop” set up which understands your production workflow and capacity, right down to the individual process level such as drilling a hole. It also has a whole load of different options setup to take into account the different variables such as profiles, machine capabilities and tooling.
Once the project data has been imported into the system, it will automatically determine the most optimal routing though your workshop and calculate the estimated timings for every process, from marking and drilling right through to fabrication and welding. This can then be visualised on a dynamic chart which allows you to plan your upcoming short to medium term work with a full understanding of the work that is involved.
This tool gives production managers an easy way to get quick and precise estimates of the amount of work required on all their upfront work, and make a plan in advance instead of on the hoof like is all so often the case.
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