This section waswritten byAssociate EditorJean Thilmany
DigitalFactory toBecome theNorm
y 2005, plants won't be able to operate without firsttesting production runs by means of digital factorysoftware, according to Emmerich Schiller, who is directorof digital production planning in the passenger car divisionat DaimlerChrysler in Stuttgart, Germany.Schiller spoke at the Delmia user group meeting heldrecently in Stuttgart. Delmia makes digital factorysoftware."On the assumption that, in the long run, only five or sixcar manufacturers and about 1,000 suppliers will be leftby 2005, the crucial thing is to speed up production withfewer model ranges and more model variants," Schillersaid.Planners today spend more than 70 percent of their timecollecting, testing, and updating data, he said. In thefuture, those planners might be able to access the currentstate of the actual factory digitally—that is, to see adigital, working mockup that mirrors current factoryworkings. Planners could access the data from anywherethey happen to be, said Gunter Schmidgall of theautomaker's research and development arm.All factory data could be monitored continually, he added.
aj. Steve Schweitzer, who teaches a computer-aideddesign course at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point,N.Y., thinks that professors should devote the most timepossible in the classroom to content, and students shouldspend less time learning how to use support technologies.For example, the more time professors spend explainingthe ins and outs of finite element analysis programs, theless time students will have to spend learning the theoriesand principles of engineering design and analysis,Schweitzer said.
3/02 mechanical engineering departments: computinghttp://www.memagazine.org/backissues/membersonly/mar02/departments...1 of 84/9/2009 1:01 PM