Introduction

Bharat Forge Limited (BFL) is the second largest manufacturer of commercial steel forging in the world. Automobile, oil and gas and construction equipment are its core focus areas. BFL caters to leading names in these sectors in India , America , Europe and China .

BFL has state of the art forging and machining facilities at Pune ( India ). To ensure uninterrupted supply of Dies for its forging lines, BFL also has a large and modern die manufacturing facility. The "Die Shop" manufactures new dies and reconditions/ repairs existing dies. Availability of dies in required numbers and of required quality is an essential prerequisite for meeting planned production targets of different Forging lines.

Problem Definition

BFL has identified strong customer focus as a critical factor for meeting this goal. This involves reducing lead times as well as meeting delivery commitments regularly and consistently. BFL primarily manufactures closed die forged components, and availability of Dies in required numbers and of required quality is an essential prerequisite for meeting delivery commitments.

Availability of Dies is measured at BFL by a measure called "Die Availability Index". Die Shop management was not satisfied with the "Die Availability Index" that they were achieving and wanted to improve it to 95% to 98%.

Maintaining a high "Die Availability Index" was difficult, because of:

  • Large number of Dies to be manufactured,
  • Frequent changes in Forging plan due to changes in Customer priorities,
  • Complex and lengthy manufacturing process for Dies,
  • Complex and constantly changing Routings for Dies (a die may be manufactured fresh, or may be re-cut or may be repaired and all these have different manufacturing process),
  • Manufacturing capacity constraints,
  • Manual planning/scheduling was difficult due to large number of Machines in Die Shop (over 100 different machines)

FDS was entrusted with the responsibility of implementing a Finite Capacity Scheduling solution. The mandate was to improve "Die Availability Index".

Solution Overview

FDS customized, deployed and implemented its Finite Capacity Scheduling solution at the Die Shop. This solution considered as input time phased demand for individual Dies and generated efficient and feasible schedules taking simultaneously into account capacity constraints of Machines, Manpower and Tools/Jigs/Fixtures.

Due dates for individual Dies is not a static input. This is because the Forging plan changed frequently due to changes in customer priorities and other constraints. Thus, there was a need to change the Die due dates based on the changes in Forging plan. FDS developed a pre-processor to its scheduling solution to ensure that due date/priority of individual Dies always remained in synch with the forging plan.

The as is processes of Die Shop were studied and recommendations made for revamping of shop floor feedback system and procedures for loading individual machines based on generated schedules. A lot/order based shop floor management/monitoring system was introduced.

A replica of Die Shop operations was created in the Scheduling solution. This involved updating Machine/Manpower/Tool constraints and building data on Component Master, Bill of Materials, Route Sheets, Shop Calendar, demand for individual dies and other operational constraints. Each die, depending on the situation, may have to be made fresh or repaired or re-cut. Scheduling solution was customized to generate Orders for individual component of each die depending on the specific Route Sheet selected.

FDS has been able to fully integrate the scheduling solution to SAP in use at Bharat Forge Limited. Based on the data exported from the scheduling solution, it is possible to carry out precise costing of individual Dies.

The End Result

Within a few months of FDS scheduling solution being implemented, there was a consistent improvement in "Die Availability Index". "Die Availability Index" has improved by 20 % and it is being achieved more consistently from month to month.

With FDS scheduling solution reliable and latest information on production status of individual dies, costs and likely constraints is available. This has helped Die Shop to give tight commitments and meet them.