"The capabilities of our simulation software are very advanced. Thanks to the expertise of our engineering team, we are able to represent the flows of materials and pieces, in 2D & 3D, and build all the KPIs needed for decision making. In just a few minutes, we are able to simulate several months of production"
Can we start off with a brief introduction to Inoprod and the services it provides to the aerospace industry in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes?
Inoprod is an engineering consultant based in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes that helps industrial companies to optimize their manufacturing processes and supply chain management, with around 20% of our business in the aerospace sector. We can create new manufacturing plants, optimize existing plants, and, thus secure the CAPEX investments of our customers. We use dynamic flow simulation technology, through different digital tools. Thanks to this expertise we are able to create digital twins of manufacturing plants, and calculate the interaction between all of the processes and resources within it.
The capabilities of this simulation software is very advanced. Thanks to the expertise of our engineering team, we are able to represent the flows of materials and pieces, in 2D & 3D, and build all the KPIs needed for decision making. In just a few minutes, we are able to simulate several months of production and thus predict how the plant will be operating and what its the future performance will be, such as its ODT. This is particularly useful at the moment with the production ramp-up in the aeronautics industry, because we are able to calculate a company’s capacity to meet demand, and advise on where they should invest their resources in order to increase their capacity.
Our projects can help operators work better and more safely; we can assess all of the work stations within plants and calculate their maximum resource capacity in terms of human ressources, energetic power, robots and all other types of machinery. We also simulate the impact manufacturing machinery is having on the people who are operating it: in order to avoid musculoskeletal problems arising from labour within manufacturing sites.We calculate the safest and most ergonomic ways for operators to use equipment by simulating them in a virtual environment, and then downloading the settings directly to the equipment. This means that there is less human risk involved, and time is saved in production.
OEM’s are pushing for a consolidation of the supply chain in order to meet ramp-up demand. How can Inoprod contribute to a consolidation of the supply chain?
We contribute by helping small and medium companies in aerospace significantly increase their production capacity. First example, we were recently working with a company that produces engine parts for the Airbus A321Neo program, and who were having big problems with meeting ramp up demand; when they came to us, they were able to produce less than 100 parts per year. After working with us they are now producing 3000 parts per year; we spent one month assessing their site and developing a model for their future operations, which we then helped them to implement.
We are also in discussion with major companies in the ASD sector. For example we worked with the Ariane Group to help them develop their manufacturing processes for building the new Ariane launcher.
Companies across the value chain in the aerospace industry are increasingly incorporating Industry 4.0 into their processes. What role is Inoprod playing in this development?
We are a strategic partner in the implementation of Industry 4.0. For example, we met with Airbus recently, who confirmed that it is important for them to have a robust supply chain and guaranteed delivery times, which will only be possible with the integration of digital bricks as we propose them. Small companies need to prove that they can answer Airbus’ needs, and we can help them do that. We are the only company that offers this kind of engineering and simulation services, so we expect to play a leading role in this development.
What is the future strategy for Inoprod?
We are expanding into the North American aeronautical market, particularly Canada. We have our first customers there now, and we expect to attract more quickly, as the Canadian aeronautic industry is increasingly committed to incorporating Industry 4.0 into their processes, and we are best placed to partner with them on this. Before the end of this year, we hope to have a subsidiary in Montreal in order to be near to our customers and offer them the best possible service.