Having embraced the benefits of Cloud Computing, a similar strategy has been pioneered by Eurocan for manufacturing it’s TAJ tooling products.
Cloud Computing is about utilising a network of computing resources via the internet, rather than maintaining dedicated hardware, and purchasing software programs and licenses for individual PC’s. Instead, you rent a virtual computer to host your website, and access online software programs like Google Docs to create and store your files and data. In practice your website files are hosted across farms of computers, with files copied and stored in multiple locations for security and integrity.
The Eurocan Cloud Manufacturing strategy is based on similar principles, production is now outsourced to multiple manufacturing locations around the world. Each location has compatible machining, and CAD/CAM capabilities and is only making a small percentage of the work in progress (WIP) at any one time. If a particular location has a shutdown or other production interruption, then WIP is simply placed with another location. The companies designs, drawings and CNC programs are protected in that they reside at multiple locations and restrict a single location from compiling a full library.
This is different to traditional sub-contract manufacturing, where production is often dependent upon one single company, where a lot of know how and intellectual property is at much greater risk, and production capacity has a ceiling.
The Eurocan Manufacturing Cloud extends across three continents, with at least five locations manufacturing components at a given time. Locations are based in North America, Europe and Africa. So successful has been this strategy, that Eurocan closed it’s own UK tool room in July 2010. Parts are distributed through the UK, as well as direct from the manufacturing locations, which offers significant shipping advantages for customers outside Europe, and maintains QC control from the UK.
John Jenner, MD comments “the success of our Cloud Manufacturing Strategy was endorsed when orders comprising parts from multiple manufacturing locations were first shipped to customers who simply accepted them as our standard production items”.
Standard lead-times for tooling are four weeks, a significant improvement from the typical eight weeks quoted by most seamer tooling manufacturers.
Since acquiring the TAJ Seamer Tooling product range in 2003, production has been expanded to include necking, flanging and liner tooling for various machine types including Blema, Bliss, FMI, Grace, FMC, Lanico, and Metal Box machines. The range is re-branded as TAJ Can Tooling.