Original Date: 02/19/2007
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Engineering Assembly Shop Rapid Prototyping
Raytheon Network Centric Systems’ Engineering Assembly Shop located at the company’s Fort Wayne, Indiana, facility provides design engineering a complete resource for rapid prototyping by implementing a parametric, model-driven process for electrical and mechanical assembly at the company’s Largo Manufacturing Center. The use of Pro-E design tools has enabled the Engineering Assembly Shop to develop a more producible product for the Largo facility, which has significantly reduced time and cost and improved product quality.
The Raytheon Network Centric Systems (NCS) Fort Wayne, Indiana facility houses the Engineering Assembly Shop (EAS) that designs the engineering work prior to its transition to production at the company’s NCS Manufacturing Center in Largo, Florida. EAS provides electrical and mechanical prototyping, including inspection and testing, in a rapid-response fashion for design engineering using Pro-E model-driven design tools to develop three-dimensional (3-D) models for use by Largo Manufacturing personnel.
The former EAS process was driven by paper documentation designed and created by engineers as a two- dimensional drawing package, which ultimately resulted in inferior configuration control. Parts were fabricated and assembled by interpreting the paper-based Technical Data Package, a method that was both time-consuming and labor-intensive, with proof of design not possible until after the fabrication of the first piece. Mechanical parts were machined from drawings, an expensive process that resulted in many mistakes and changes. Engineering changes and redlines were common. Any design-for-producibility function was accomplished after the design baseline.
The new rapid prototyping process is model-driven, with engineers designing and creating 3-D parametric models in less time. Information necessary for fabrication and assembly is contained in and annotated on the model. Proof of Design and Design for Producibility are accomplished prior to fabrication and assembly using software tools. The model directly drives the fabrication both in-house and at outsource locations including nonmetallic rapid prototyping machines at Raytheon NCS in McKinney, Texas and Raytheon NCS in Indianapolis. Assembly is paperless, enabling technicians to view, explode, section, and annotate the model and component part information.
Raytheon’s use of the Pro-E model design tool has enabled engineers to design and create mechanical parts in a paperless assembly process that provides detailed model requirements for use by technicians to view, explode, section, and annotate the model and its component part information before it is sent to the Largo Manufacturing Center, eliminating costly mistakes and man-hours. Any changes required are now made to the model prior to production, which reduces configuration management activities. Product quality is also enhanced through analysis, configuration control, assembly, and inspection.
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