Original Date: 01/23/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Virtual Company
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) has established a virtual company with many of its suppliers to address problems associated with manufacturing prototypes to print. The old method required communicating with suppliers by telephone and mailing hard copy drawings since the drawing was the product definition. This practice resulted in long turnaround times and increased the chance of errors because the geometry had to be recreated by the supplier to program their CNC equipment.
The virtual company concept has created a nationwide partnership with nearly 2400 suppliers. With no restrictions on the origin of the CAD files they use, these suppliers can now apply their in-house expertise and equipment to provide the necessary services required by Sandia. With electronic communications and downloading of CAD files created by Sandia when they build a prototype model, suppliers can program their equipment to manufacture the required parts.
Benefits obtained by applying this practice include a reduced turnaround time on electronic assembly fabrications from two weeks to two days. Mechanical part fabrication times have been reduced 5% to 40% by eliminating the need to re-create the part geometry for CNC programming. The use of electronic files as product definition has allowed early recognition and resolution of problems during the development/design cycle. Intangible benefits include unlimited access to engineering specifications and the promotion of two-way manufacturability communications between the supplier and the design engineer.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.