PanelBuilding-1 Trends
08/15/19

The 4 Problems Every Panel Builder Faces, and How to Fix Them!

Author: Hannan Shaikh

The 4 Problems Every Panel Builder Faces

Let’s face It… last-minute modifications are every panel builder’s worst nightmare!

We’ve all been there, whether it’s the result of last minute modifications, bottlenecks during the testing stages, or delayed deliveries; it eliminates potential earnings and delays the builder’s time to market.
In fact, dozens of workshops across the country are having these setbacks happen constantly!

The average set up process of a panel builder includes:
1) Analyzing extra parts that need to be fitted into the panels which they’ve crafted
2) Components are placed against the semi-completed mounting plate
3) Panel Builders mark the approximate location of these components with either a sharpie or a felt-tip pen
4) Now, after a tedious process of confirming markings and layouts with a wobbly measuring tape and a plastic ruler, it is finally time to start cutting the already faded, (almost invisible) markings

If all goes well within two hours of the cutting process followed by profane vernacular, the new components can finally be fitted (insert sigh of relief). Although this process seems finished, it has countless setbacks which are usually overlooked. Due to this tedious process, our lovely shop floor heroes may forget to document all the exact steps, which could likely lead to setbacks during the onsite commissioning or panel maintenance – after all that, who could blame them?

Unfortunately, the scenario above was the positive alternative of what many panel builders face in the world of manufacturing. Due to human error, not every panel modification comes out accurate to their desired fittings. There are many trial and error phases before a panel builder can successfully begin the cutting stages. Not only is this confusing and quite frustrating, but it builds up scrap metal and reduces time to market. So, what exactly is the fix to these time consuming setbacks?

Thankfully, we live in a world full of technology and convenience. In recent years, the help of advanced CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) has helped eliminate pains that many panel builders face daily. Recently, a free tool called PAM (Panel Building Automation Matrix) bench-marked shop floors and calculated the average time spent by panel builders on a single project was over 58 hours! With the help of computer aided design software, such as EPLAN, this number was reduced to 34 hours with a semi-automated setup. What does this mean for panel builders? Manual cutting, for example, is no longer a requirement.

CAE tools can help a panel builder throughout their entire building journey. It is the ultimate virtual assistant. The system will generate a guide of where these components will be placed, along with notifying the builder of any errors regarding collisions with other components. Another great benefactor is the ability to generate accurate drawings, drilling layouts, as well as a digital documentation which properly records modifications for any future maintenance.

Overall, panel builders can avoid setbacks, reduce scrap metal, and have enough time to enjoy their coffee breaks. To learn more about how you could save money and eliminate delays, contact us for a free consultation with PAM.

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