This paper was produced for the 2019 NAFEMS World Congress in Quebec Canada
Whether it be beverages, cosmetics or complex drug delivery devices, these products are often produced in extremely large volumes often approaching hundreds of millions of units per annum. In order to achieve this high-volume throughput, the design and setup of the production line must be sympathetic to the product being conveyed. Although a pack may not suffer catastrophic damage, severe throughput penalties may be encountered in the form of stability and the ability of assemblies to remain upright in response to a large array of accelerations and decelerations. These challenges increasingly come to the fore with the industry-wide sustainability drive, which sees pack construction getting lighter and the redundancy in the form of excess material diminishes. The scope of work covered here starts with empty units but covers filling optimisation, dynamics of fluid-filled conveying, product capping and labelling.
From the earliest point on the production line, complex structural interactions are at work where large volumes of components require automated sorting. The ability to identify nesting and interactions early on and design against these has major efficiency benefits for the line. Alongside sorting, bulk transport of empty packs by conveyors, belts or tracks is met with a range of jamming and stability issues. There are opportunities early in the development process where both the product and the process can be tuned to arrive at an optimised outcome. With respect to the product, there may be an opportunity to define the size, shape and mass distribution in such a way to elevate the robustness to a given set of demands placed on the pack by the line. With a fixed pack geometry, there are opportunities to explore the mechanical construction of the line and various touchpoints such as guide rail heights, belt construction, bend radii to name a few.
With the pack and line geometry well defined, there is valuable opportunity to virtually trial a wide range of speed transitions as packs are required to aggressively accelerate and decelerate on occasion depending on given line buffering conditions. These explorations can leverage tools within Dassault Systèmes isight functionality, whether it be a range of DOEs, or optimisation algorithms.
The benefits to the industry and society are clear in that higher throughput and ability to satisfy market demand has a bottom-line impact. From a consumer perspective the opportunity to push the light-weighting opportunities is enhanced and derived from a sound evidence base.