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Discrete Manufacturing

The Value of VirtECS

Modern machinery and electronics-based products can involve hundreds to many hundreds of thousands of components or more.  A divide and conquer approach resulting in subassemblies that come together to ultimately make up the final product is essential to managing the complexity.  VirtECS has substantial support for complex processes. In addition to an underlying Resource Task Network modeling language that can be used to structure customer data from many sources for even the most complex process, VirtECS has built in capability for demand management and campaign optimization for subassemblies so that users may decrease inventory, increase throughput, efficiently utilize labor, and manage shortages of key components purchased from suppliers.  VirtECS has substantial capability for quickly incorporating new products, handling purchase component obsolescence, and generating schedules quickly which users can control to take into account rapid changes in the manufacturing environment. APCI has also adapted its technology to support the maintenance and repair of complex machinery in that disassembly, repair, and re-assembly has much in common with initial manufacturing. In such applications, VirtECS can be used to schedule maintenance, make the most of expert personnel, and expedite maintenance and repair so that the uptime of expensive assets is maximized.

Circuit Board Manufacture

Circuit Board Manufacturing

VirtECS is Designed to Holistically Support New Production Introduction and the Dynamics of a Modern Supply Chain

VirtECS is Designed to Holistically Support New Production Introduction and the Dynamics of a Modern Supply Chain

VirtECS Can Handle the Most Complex Products Manufactured Across Many Areas

VirtECS Can Handle the Most Complex Products Manufactured Across Many Areas

By necessity modern products are designed to be manufactured in sub-assemblies.  Sub-assemblies are designed to be stable, readily stored in inventory, and self-contained in that production of the sub-assembly is naturally done in a manufacturing module/plant that groups the needed machinery and expertise. Sub-assemblies are campaigned based upon the specific physics of the subassembly such as surface mount technology robotics, specialized testing, or availability/retrieval/preparation of input components.  For example, surface mount technology has specific considerations such as runs to do top and then bottom of boards, sequencing production to maximize the use of common component feed reels, and integrating rework when product complexity necessitates an unavoidable fraction of defects based upon results of real-world testing and the need not to scrap parts. Complex product assembly sometimes introduces a number of considerations not seen in other applications, such as scheduling to make sure subassemblies are available to come together at approximately the same time, controlling the time that sub-assemblies are in inventory, and scheduling so that products in like families are done in sequence when possible.

VirtECS in Action

The high-performance nature of VirtECS naturally supports the manufacture of subassemblies, and as a result, is capable of scheduling the manufacture of even the most complex products.  VirtECS allows users to identify sub-assemblies for which independent campaigning is possible based upon overall demand management, supply limitations of input components, and/or trading off run lengths and setup costs.  VirtECS Human-In-The-Loop (HITL) capability allows schedulers precise control to take into account unmodeled constraints based upon customer knowledge, changing floor conditions, and testing results. VirtECS provides a spectrum of capability from semi-automated mode supporting substantial human input to fully automated mode to support long range planning and strategy.  In real world applications, VirtECS implements a frozen schedule for the near future that allows coordination across a large facility, semi-automated mode for scheduling out a few days beyond the frozen schedule, and fully automated out scheduling to detect and manage manufacturing hot spots, support sales, and purchase of input components. VirtECS supports calendars for machines and labor pools that reflect different shift availabilities, machine maintenance, and changes in availability based due to a variety of factors.  VirtECS is capable of modeling the entire manufacturing network so that the output of one VirtECS model is designed to be the input of a downstream VirtECS model.


APCI will be happy to arrange for a demonstration and brainstorm how VirtECS can add value to your manufacturing process or any process where a realistic, physics-based model can add value for analysis, demand management, and scheduling.  Please send an email to