Virtual Factory and Costing EngineVirtual factory.PNG

The Virtual Factory 

The QuoteArchitect Virtual Factory replicates the real-life electronics manufacturing services in a virtual environment by means of an integrated software model that includes a variety of tools and methodologies. The “Virtual Factory” is the “Digital Twin” of the users production environment in all its details and dynamics.

The configuration of the QuoteArchitect “Virtual Factory” is unique for every manufacturing facility.

Although technologically spoken all electronics manufacturing facilities use the same processes, every individual EMS facility is different and unique. These differences can be significant. Differences in machine types and brand selections; differences in the level of automation and differences in the individual cost levels for factory location, taxes, employees and many other costs like IT and automation.

For a quote, not only the material costs of a product but also the manufacturing costs of a requested lot size (or multiple lot sizes) must be calculated. This is the “Job Costing” process.

In the accountancy world, the different job costing methodologies are mostly used for balance sheets and bottom line result calculations. These methodologies cannot be compared with the in QuoteArchitect used costing model. QuoteArchitect is a quoting system, not an accounting system.

Configuring the Virtual Factory

Configuring the Virtual Factory is a one-off operation, comfortably supported by the QuoteArchitect plant definition logic. The settings and data are easily maintained to keep the Virtual Factory synchronised with your real factory developments over time. The Virtual Factory is activated by filling the model with information about labour costs, overheads and production hours as well as your operations and processes and their individual variables, parameters, speeds, capacities and limitations.

The virtual factory model allows the integration of any process type within the configured operation.

  • - The SMT assembly operation calculations are highly automated. SMT part codes are auto-allocated and the calculation models typically use the shape and part-code definitions of the BOM items and the individual machine configurations to drive the automatic line balancing in multiple pick & place machine operations to get well-balanced machine loads and accurate production times.
  • - Automatic assembly for THT parts (Axial, radial and pin) is, although slowly disappearing, also supported in the virtual factory model.
  • - A robot assembly for any odd parts or modules is supported in the virtual factory model, anticipating contemporary and future trends.
  • - Manual assembly for both SMT and THT, as well as cable harnessing, mechanical assembly, box build and system build is extensively supported in the virtual factory model.

Manufacturing Flow definition

The production engineer defines the production flow based on the BOM and all other additional requirements for the product to be built (e.g. quantity, complexity, complications, technology).

QuoteArchitect allows a free flow definition to cover all possible production scenario’s. While running a product in the requested quantity and a selected manufacturing flow through the Virtual Factory, the cost analysis and calculation is executed and recorded in real-time.

Based on a selected production flow the rules-driven “Costing engine” generates a specified manufacturing cost overview for the job volume. A drill-down function allows analysing in detail the individual cost elements in the calculation.

The Costing Engine

The purpose of the QuoteArchitect costing engine is to calculate the expected manufacturing costs of a defined product for a certain amount of units and a chosen production flow. “Expected” because some variables in the virtual factory definition are based on historical data (last years results), assumptions (this year's expectations) and some uncertain values in production and test, like test error investigation and repair costs.

The QuoteArchitect costing engine is based on “Activity Based Costing” model (ABC), a well-known methodology. Here more details about the QuoteArchitect costing model.