TEAM, an acronym for "Technologies Enabling Agile Manufacturing" is a program started in 1992 for the purpose of strengthening U.S. industry's overall manufacturing competitiveness. This program, focused on agile manufacturing, has completed its work and released a final report in July of this year. The following is a review of that report.
The TEAM project goals include delivery of high quality products on the first pass. The driving force of TEAM has been the partners' realization of the need for a strong manufacturing infrastructure where advanced manufacturing technologies can be utilized to enable quantum improvements in manufacturing efficiency, product quality, responsiveness to customers' needs, life-cycle cost, and time to market. The TEAM program therefore was focused on providing key technologies and tools to support this infrastructure through adherence to standards and concepts of inter- operable, "plug and play" systems. This focus also ensured that the technologies delivered by TEAM would have maximum value to both commercial and defense manufacturing.
The goal, which was met by TEAM, was to assimilate, validate, and deploy an "agile technology toolbox" by the year 2000 that enabled an information driven, agile manufacturing base. The "toolbox" developed by TEAM was populated with technologies that support operation of integrated agile manufacturing enterprises. These technologies were jointly developed, integrated, and refined by technology developers, industrial users, government agencies, national laboratories, and universities. This activity was formalized into the following five primary thrust areas:
- Product Design and Enterprise Con-currency—Integrated product design tool suites that interface directly with virtual manufacturing, manufacturing planning, and control systems to reduce cost and time in the design process while enhancing quality and agility.
- Virtual Manufacturing— This entails advanced modeling and simulation capabilities in the areas of product performance, material removal, turning, forming, and enterprise modeling to optimize product and process designs for cost-effectiveness and quality.
- Manufacturing Planning and Control— Integrated Manufacturing planning and control systems including Macro and Micro planners and an agile shopfloor control system to optimize the design and execution of manufacturing operations for best use of resources, materials, supplies and manpower.
- Intelligent Closed-Loop Processing— Advanced, intelligent closed-loop processing capabilities including validation of open-architecture capabilities for high-value manufacturing processes.
- Enterprise Integration— Manufacturing and business system integration tools that support formation and operation of virtual enterprises.
The TEAM technical agenda was car- ried out on the following key principles:
- A commitment to a totally integrated manufacturing enterprise.
- A belief that seamless product realization from product design to the factory floor is a valid goal using an object-oriented approach compliant with protocols such as STEP and CORBA.
- A commitment to features as an optimum way to represent product requirements and as the mechanism for creation of a single solid model that drives all downstream applications for a given product.
- An affirmation that modular, adaptable, reconfigurable technologies, both hardware and software, produced to open specifications, is the best approach for the common good.
Who has benefited from TEAM? Certainly DOE has received significant benefits with TEAM methodologies and tools being applied to making weapons components, but throughout the life of the TEAM project, the focus was on tools that benefit all manufacturers. Direct benefits to industry were realized as individual companies responded to the opportunity to apply TEAM tools. In a material removal demonstration, General Motors Powertrain Division piloted the design for manufacturing tools in making engine parts and used direct comparison with tools normally used in producing these parts. These tools included a new open architecture control that approached compatibility with TEAM's application programming interface (API).
Other demonstrations included Pratt & Whitney's application of the modeling and simulation tools of TEAM in the development of a die set for forming a jet engine exhaust nozzle and demonstrating a 6 to 1 reduction in design to manufacturing time.
Rockwell-Collins is applying the TEAM tools and methodology in a joint program for the collaborative design of radio frequency components. Hughes Missile Division, now Raytheon Defense Systems, evaluated the TEAM approach and applied the methodology and tools in a new design center.
TYCOM Corporation implemented the TEAM developed Web Integration Manager as a foundation for their integrated enterprise. All of these companies have realized benefits as they embraced the opportunity for change and applied TEAM tools within their enterprises.
TEAM has also made an impact on U.S. manufacturing technology. Organizations such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) were strong TEAM partners and are utilizing the TEAM foundation in influencing their technology programs.
The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) has embraced the TEAM planning documents and has utilized these plans in defining its projects. The National Science Foundation has encouraged proposals from academic institutions that address the needs identified but yet to be provided. In addition, the Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM) project and TEAM's follow-on project, Integrated Manufacturing Technology Roadmapping (IMTR), are both strongly TEAM influenced. The TEAM formal program has ended but the vision will live through these projects.
The complete TEAM final report can be accessed on its website at (www.llnl.gov/eng/eetd/ise-agile.html).