What does a smartphone have to do with a plastic part from asma? Apart from the fact that both are high-tech products that are indispensable in today’s everyday life, there is a large portion of mathematics in both parts.
In contrast to a smartphone the use of mathematics is not quite as obvious in a plastic part from asma. Asma relies primarily on mathematics in the optimization of production processes. The required data have been collected since the introduction of the ERP-system in 2004.
A view years ago a planning software based on a mathematical planning algorithm was introduced. The use of this software means a significant simplification for the operation management and work preparation since each order no longer has to be planned manually. Furthermore, the system can react much more flexible and faster to changes. In cooperation with the operations manager and the software manufacturer our internal mathematician takes care of the optimal parameters, settings and interfaces for our company.
For about four years now, the data collected via the ERP-system has been professionally evaluated internally and visualized using interactive key figure dashboards. The visualization of data and the calculation of conventional key figures is already common practice in most companies. But asma goes one step further and increasingly relies on the in-house development of mathematical models to optimize production processes.
In the last two years, an algorithm for the calculation of the expected time required on the respective machines based on the shape, dimensions and manufacturing process of a product has been developed. This means a significant simplification for the work preparation and a great potential for constructive developments. A prototype for a configurator that calculates the expected sales price based on the expected production times and the expected amount of material is already in the test phase.
These are just three of the many areas where mathematics is used at asma. But one thing is certain: due to the rapid technical development – keyword: digitalisation and Industry 4.0 – the use of mathematical optimization models will become increasingly important in industrial companies. At asma there are already many other ideas on how processes can be improved and optimized using mathematical algorithms.
A report by Dipl.-Ing. Adele Brandeis (mathematician / software development)