Case study: IAI Industrial Systems

Outsourcing the engineering and production of the BookMaster Pro by  IAI Industrial Systems leads to an improvement of the production process, a cost price reduction and the desired end-result

Summary

For the development of the BookMaster Pro – an innovative machine that personalizes passports – IAI decided to collaborate with an external engineering consultancy firm. After this design phase, IAI turned to MTA for production of the BookMaster Pro. However, the start of the production phase revealed various challenges in de realm of manufacturability. These problems arised because the design phase barely considered needs and requirements in the field of manufacturability. Additionally, agreements with the external engineering firm were not carefully documented. It became clear re-engineering of the design was necessary to improve the project.  

This experience has learned IAI that the integration of both processes - engineering and production - leads to improved manufacturability and reproducibility, significant savings in cost and time and an end-product with increased quality levels. A production partner's timely involvement in the engineering process proved to be a wise decision.

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About IAI Industrial Systems

When it comes to machines for document personalization, IAI Industrial Systems has proven to be the market leader year after year. Laser technology optical technology and inkjet technology are the core competencies of the renowned company in Veldhoven, The Netherlands. 

Due to years of experience and extensive, unique knowledge, IAI has crafted an excellent reputation in the field of advanced industrial production systems in which laser, optics, precision mechanics and control software play key roles. 

IAI's versatile BookMaster Pro system personalizes passports automatically. The system delivers reliable passports that exceed quality standards. A modular design allows the customer to choose functionalities that suit the specific project. The inkjet printing, laser engraving and quality verification modules are particularly important:

  • An industrial inkjet module prints full-color personal data on the page. After printing, UV light dries the ink.
  • The laser engrave functionality ensures personal data is engraved into the laser sensitive page.
  • The visual data that is applied is checked by a camera and a chip reader assesses the electronic data to determine whether the information is applied correctly.

The challenge

In collaboration with an external engineering partner, IAI Industrial Systems added a new machine to the BookMaster series: The BookMaster Pro. This passport personalization machine enables easy, quick and save passport personalization with the help of laserengrave and inkjet technology. 

The serial production phase that follows after the machine's development was hardly considered; all efforts and focus was geared purely towards the engineering of the BookMaster Pro. After the engineering was finished, IAI explored the option of producing the machine in-house, but eventually the company decided it would be a better option to outsource the production process. At this moment, MTA entered the equation. This system supplier proved to be the suited candidate for production. 

MTA encountered some difficulties in the realm of manufacturability during the creation of a small production batch of brand new BookMaster Pro machines. Therefore, the system supplier decided to discuss the machine's manufacturability and reproducibility with IAI Industrial Systems to improve the BookMaster Pro. Main goals of this effort were to reduce the machine's cost price and to deliver the desired end-result.

''We have collaborated with an external engineering partner to design the BookMaster Pro. During the design phase, we barely considered the machine's manufacturability. Our goal at the time was to quickly develop a prototype. We treated engineering and production as two separate processes. Ultimately, this led to issues regarding manufacturability during the production phase. We are happy MTA helped us in solving these issues.''
- Han Verheijen
Director of Engineering
IAI Industrial Systems

The solution

When problems regarding manufacturability and reproducibility emerged during the assembly of the first production batch, MTA initiated a re-engineering process in collaboration with IAI Industrial Systems. MTA's Production Qualtiy Engineer assessed each and every module in the machine. IAI included the recommendations that resulted from this examination in the Technical Product Documentation (TPD). 

There was limited time available to complete this re-engineering process. An open collaboration enabled the two companies to constructively solve the production challenges through a robust re-engineering process. Costs associated with the production process reduced and assembly became less time-consuming. 

''We focused heavily on the creation of a prototype during the engineering phase. However, unexpected customer demand accelerated the development of production models. All of a sudden, manufacturability became highly important. This was a learning moment for us: already in the preliminary stages of a project it is vital to determine who is going to produce the machine. This company should be partly involved in engineering as well. It gives us early insight into the machine's cost price and manufacturability.''
- Han Verheijen
Director of Engineering
IAI Industrial Systems

The optimization efforts that were made through the re-engineering process resulted in many improvements regarding the manufacturability and reproducibility of the BookMaster pro. A few examples:

  • Various parts and constructions in the machine were simplified. In this, manufacturability was assessed in relation to its function. Adjustments were made to the machine's shapes, dimensions, engineering tolerances, material choices and follow-up material treatments.
  • Investments in tooling were made to improve the production process and reproducibility of certain parts.
  • Time-consuming adjustment tasks became easier and quicker to execute by simplifying certain parts and by making these tasks more repeatable.
  • Prefabricated cable sets were defined. Additionally, these cables were pre-assembled and tested by a specialized supplier. This ensures cables do not have to be fitted into the machine during MTA's production process. Doing this saves a lot of time and improves the machine's quality. 

With the benefit of hindsight, it can be said the complete development of the BookMaster Pro was a rather inefficient process. It has made IAI Industrial Systems realize the integration of engineering and production into one unified process significantly contributes to a positive business case. 

MTA is able to take care of the entire engineering process and production, enabling the OEM to focus on its core competencies. By outsourcing both phases under one roof, you create a context in which optimization efforts are most effective and efficient. When manufacturability and reproducibility are considered during the engineering phase, important cost- and time savings can be realized. This improves the OEM's competitiveness.

As a system supplier, MTA ensures added value is created through close collaboration with carefully selected suppliers who each have their own specializations and valuable insights. This ensures the entire trajectory provides insights into costs. In addition to this, MTA and its suppliers ensure the end-product is delivered according to quality standards and within the predetermined deadline. 

''Involvement of MTA into the process enabled us to improve the BookMaster Pro's manufacturability. Being able to make well-timed adjustments – not only after the production has started – saves a lot of time and costs.''
- Han Verheijen
Director of Engineering
IAI Industrial Systems

The results

By outsourcing the engineering and production of the BookMaster Pro as one integrated process, IAI Industrial Systens experiences four important advantages:

  • The certainty of a high-quality system that is tested completely and thoroughly, has optimal manufacturability and reproducibility and is perfectly suited for serial production.
  • The best integral cost price, as MTA is able to determine exactly which parts are critical to an optimal production process. Because of this, everyone is able to focus and actions can be defined to manage the risks that are associated with certain parts. Moreover, MTA makes use of its own, selected suppliers that think together with MTA during the development process.
  • A quick delivery time and thus a shorter time-to-market, resulting in improved competitiveness, because the integration and production ensures an effective process.
  • The system supplier takes care of the complete process and because of that, the OEM will have more resources available to develop new, innovative products. 

Treat the engineering and production of your module or system as one integrated process and realize the desired end-result by outsourcing the complete trajectory.

IAI Industrial Systems has experienced the importance of one integrated process for both the development and production of a system. Only in this way the desired end-result is achieved, the time-to-market can be reduced and cost price reductions will become a reality. By outsourcing the process, IAI freed up resources within its own organization. These resources may be used to create innovations. 

Would you like to discover the advantages of the outsourcing of the engineering and production of your module or system? 

Feel free to discuss your question or problem with one of MTA's experts.