To solve modern manufacturing challenges, Sandvik created the Lighthouse program. This technology-enabled digital initiative engages customers and supports their drive for zero downtime and maximum efficiency across all departments.
Sandvik Beacon Factories
Manufacturing is developing at a rate that is increasing exponentially. With COVID-19, this pace has accelerated digital transformation and shifted the nature of manufacturing to a seamless workflow through automation. Sandvik is an integral part of the Smart Manufacturing reality. From software and hardware developers, people on the shop floor, and those who educate the market, everyone is working together to define this concept and chart a clearer path to the future. Sandvik has created the Lighthouse program to help customers piece together a variety of disconnected technologies including metrology, robotics and digital tool management.
In its development phase, Sandvik’s ambition is to provide solutions that are easier to learn and use, more automated and more tightly integrated to create complete modular packages that can be combined and compatible in diverse industrial areas.
Lighthouses – recognized and respected landmarks
Sandvik products and solutions are fortunate to be widely known and used in the world, and thanks to their user base, customers provide feedback on the products used in their shops. On the other hand, Sandvik wishes to operate in an open ecosystem where its products work well with complementary products in the industry so that all components work together. This represents a beacon and the results so far have been predictable – improved efficiency, increased quality and reduced waste for customers.
Mathias Johansson, President of Design and Planning Automation at Sandvik “Through this journey, we maintain a customer-first approach, inspire innovation, address needs and provide solutions for a range of pain points,” says Mathias Johansson, President of Design and Planning Automation. at Sandvik. “We’re still gaining ground on the gaps that also exist in customer operations,” Johansson continues. Top priorities include cost and time savings, improved production and equipment efficiency, and better control from the shop floor. All this contributes to reducing waste, ensuring sustainability and increasing profitability. “And we learn from each other and learn from each other as we move forward with frequent engagement, installation and analysis,” notes Johansson. All the while, joint development and improvement creates awareness of future technologies in production.
Collaboration that outpaces the pace of change
The collaboration is twofold, the first being behind the scenes between Sandvik and its network of experts. This core group of companies and individuals is a think tank that designs and validates strategies, opens communication and removes barriers. This ongoing effort is aimed at further developing digital solutions that impact manufacturing performance and finding and refining ways to integrate them.
The portfolio consists of digital solutions that address various areas of production processes. Specifically inventory management (CRIBWISE), machine monitoring (Comara), CAD/CAM software (SigmaNEST, Cimatron and Mastercam), exclusively CAM software (GibbsCAM) and tool management (TDM). By combining technologies and different skills, Sandvik is constantly learning and developing connected solutions that can be adapted to customer needs.
These Lighthouse customers or early adopters who boldly embrace digitization in their operations are progressive and tend to incorporate new technologies soon after launch, influencing subsequent market adoption.
Fårbo Mekaniska, is a custom shop that focuses on Low Mix, High Volume (LMHV) production. “Ensuring that we have all the (machining) parameters identified and set precisely to meet our customers’ specifications is crucial because we run high volumes continuously on several different dedicated cells,” says Mikael Vetterskog, CEO of Fårbo Mekaniska. “We also achieved the goal of zero downtime due to stock-outs,” continues Vetterskog.
This cooperation benefits both the customer (the lighthouse partner) and Sandvik. Partners benefit from continuous learning and solutions focused on their needs. They realize the power of digitization and get their hands on several integrated solutions for a more automated production flow. Things like improved part quality, quickly resolved issues, and operators benefiting from the results of automation, alleviating some of their responsibilities, are worth noting. On an individual level, operators, managers and every worker involved in the interactions actually contribute as well as gain additional experience and skills.
As far as Sandvik is concerned, customers provide invaluable feedback from real installations, addressing additional needs and issues and improving their own efficiency. How Beacon customers respond to a product is one of the better indicators of how it will do overall, which in a way helps predict future adoption:
Uncovering usability flaws to enable a smoother and more integrated experience
Providing an early business model for a collaborative partner / major influencer
Greater understanding of customer needs and market trends also increases engagement with customer partners as well as a larger market to replicate.