Logistics of the future
Priit Kull, owner of Inchworm Machines, represents the Mobile Smart Factory in Estonia. He holds a Master of Science in machine building technology, metal cutting machines and tools.
He started his first engineering company in 1991 and, after the merger with ABF Baltic in 1997, the business served 9 year as a tier 1 supplier for Daimler Chrysler and other car industry OEMs, realizing projects for SLK, LS Mercedes and Bentley Continental GT.
Since 2006 Priit Kull is partner in the consulting company SHG Estonia. The team carried out various technology transfer projects, production relocations, supply chain optimisation and other projects. SHG was obtained by Vestas, a global wind energy company with Danish roots. Priit headed a cost-down redesign program and debugged the technical supply chain problems in many countries. He also set up the supply chain for the largest wind turbine generator assembly line in Colorado US that was, at the time, the largest in the world. He also reorganised the whole purchasing and logistics operations for the nacelle production sites in China.
In 2010 Priit became the owner of Inchworm Machines and realized various engineering projects and process development for casting and machining. Also, participating in different research projects. A most relevant research project for the Mobile Smart Factory is the “Innomill” project aiming to reduce the machining cost of large cast items for wind industry radically by using relatively small portable machine tools and combining them with a decoupled large HiFi coordinate system.
Why do you believe in the success of the Mobile Smart Factory?
Priit Kull: I have witnessed during my lifetime how CNC machine tools changed the way we manufacture things. Additive Manufacturing has a big promise for the future. The promise is to free us from the constraints of what can, or cannot be produced. The future of engineering will look quite different from what we practice today. The designers will no longer be designing structures and shapes to make the functioning machines and then carry out the calculations to estimate if the structures are strong enough. The designers of the future will just compose the machine functions and define the load cases. The actual geometry of the components will be created by the computers using the methods of generative design and topology optimisation.
Likewise, the logistics of the future will be different. There is no reason to maintain stock, or set up long supply chains, if you can produce what you need on demand, on spot. Neither is there a reason for large factories where you cannot match the ever fluctuating demand. The manufacturing will be distributed, and you can always add a module if you need more capacity, or give up one if it is needed somewhere else.
It takes many steps to get there. The Mobile Smart Factory is a small step into this future. It takes many intermediate goals in this transition and only high-value use cases will be served at first. And then it becomes mainstream, and ubiquitous and it has always been like this. The Mobile Smart Factory itself will change and adapt in this process many times.
Visit www.inchwormmachines.com to find out more about our sales partner in Estonia!
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