Virtual Factory Technology Implemented at Ford

August 4, 2000

NEWS BRIEFS

Ames, IOWA — Engineering Animation, Inc. announced that the Ford Motor Company has implemented EAI’s FactoryCAD and FactoryFLOW, components of the VisFactory solution suite, for use in factory layout and analysis. FactoryCAD’s customized smart factory objects models and FactoryFLOW’s analysis and planning for material handling will provide Ford a comprehensive solution for fast and effective design and analysis of factory models.

EAI solutions enable concurrent engineering of the entire factory, resulting in fast and efficient creation, analysis and presentation of visual factory models. FactoryCAD and FactoryFLOW are instrumental in helping Ford engineers reduce design time and time-to-production.

Ford engineers are using FactoryCAD to drag-and-drop standard factory equipment to build virtual factories. Built-in knowledge enables these objects to easily snap together to create logically connected production systems. Integration with VisMockUp, EAI’s digital prototyping solution, further enables Ford to view, fly-through and animate factory models designed in VisFactory before making changes to their actual factory layouts.

Ford’s manufacturing engineers are using FactoryFLOW for evaluating and improving material handling methods and material handling labor requirements. FactoryFLOW facilitates material handling engineers in determining the amount of storage needed, its optimal location and the optimal material handling route for distributing resources. The storage location and routing information is then combined with a simulation data exchange (SDX) file to create a discrete event simulation for analysis.

SDX, which was co-developed by EAI and Ford, is a new standard for process/simulation data exchange between factory modeling software programs, such as EAI’s FactoryCAD, and discrete event simulation programs such as AutoSimulation’s AutoMOD, Lanner’s Witness and SIMUL8 Corporation’s SIMUL8. SDX presents a standard file format for exporting both graphical and process information from a CAD layout model to build an initial simulation model. With SDX, Ford is reducing simulation development time and ensuring the accuracy of models.

“With FactoryCAD and FactoryFLOW, Ford is capable of virtual factory modeling and analysis. FactoryCAD provides the models and FactoryFLOW provides analysis of the models,” said Dave Sly, EAI vice president of Virtual Factory solutions. “The combined solutions allow Ford to leverage data for verification, analysis and validation of factory models, thus enabling Ford to identify potential problems that could cause costly delays and cost overruns.”

Engineering Animation, Inc. is a leader in Internet-enabled visual process management, collaboration, analysis and communication solutions for extended manufacturing enterprises. EAI’s solutions, which include e-Vis, Open Enterprise Visualization and Virtual Factory, help manufacturing companies drive down costs while improving business practices, efficiency, quality and time-to-market. The Company maintains its corporate headquarters and technology center in Ames, Iowa, and has offices worldwide. Visit http://www.eai.com for more information.

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