Virtual Production Environments

A VPE is a model of a factory that is used by the aPriori application to produce cost assessments. It can be configured to represent a specific internal plant, a specific supplier (or class of suppliers), or a broader base of suppliers, depending on its intended use. Costing a part with a given VPE allows you to understand the cost of manufacturing the part at the “factory” that VPE represents.

What Information is Contained in a VPE?


A VPE contains both data and logic which describe the physical manufacturing capabilities and cost accounting methodology at a given “factory”. This includes:

  • Supported Manufacturing Process Groups, Processes and Routings – A VPE indicates which manufacturing process groups, processes, and sub-processes can be performed at the factory. Similarly, it specifies the allowable sequences of those process groups and processes within the factory.
  • Manufacturing Feasability Rules – A VPE contains rules that govern whether a given process, machine, or entire routing is applicable to a certain part or assembly. These rules generally leverage specific machine constraint information (see bullet 4 below).
  • Materials – A VPE contains tables listing the various material compositions which are present or available to the factory (e.g. 1020 cold-rolled steel, ABS 30% glass, etc.), in which forms (e.g. bar, sheet, billet, etc.), in which sizes (e.g. 2000mm x 1000mm sheet), and at what cost (e.g. $1.30/kg). These tables also describe material properties relevant to manufacturing such as density and hardness.
  • Machines, Machine Capabilities and Constraints – A VPE lists the machines available for each process and their various characteristics such as speeds, feeds, yields, material utilization, and so forth. This information is used by the aPriori Process Engine to calculate physical costs to manufacture a part or assembly (such as mass, cycle time, wear, etc.). The VPE also captures machine constraints such as maximum stock dimensions that can be accomodated by the machine.
  • Machine Time Standard Information – for each machine, a VPE captures values such as setup time, operator utilization ratios and other time standards that enable the aPriori Process Engine to compute labor time required from physical cycle times.
  • Machine and Tooling Accounting Rates – A VPE includes accounting rates (operator labor rates, direct overhead rates, indirect overhead rates, tool component costs, etc.) for each machine or tool shop. These accounting rates are used by the Cost Model Logic.
  • Process Model Logic – A VPE specifies equations and logic used by the aPriori Process Routing Engine. These equations are the actual transfer functions that take the Geometric Cost Drivers (such as part features, size, weight, tolerances, and surface finish) and Non-Geometric Cost Drivers (such as material, process group, factory, and production volumes) as inputs and output physical costs, i.e. mass needed, times required, tool characteristics needed and wear incurred. The process, machine, and material data described above are used in these computations.
  • Cost Model Logic – A VPE also specifies equations and logic used by the aPriori Costing Engine. These equations take the physical costs produced by the Process Model Logic as inputs and output economic costs (dollars and cents). The material costs and accounting rates described above are used in these computations. 
     

aPriori provides nine Baseline VPEs out-of-the-box. Each Baseline VPE represents an aggregate of plants and suppliers across its region, and contains:

  • A super-set of manufacturing process groups, processes, and machines
  • A super-set of material compositions and stocks and their corresponding rates (for a particular time period)
  • Accounting rates representative of the region (for a particular time period)
    aPriori’s industry-leading Process Logic for computing time standards and physical costs
  • A typical cost accounting methodology

Download a Detailed Data Sheet on aPriori Baseline VPEs

Baseline VPEs model broad and typical industry practices and capabilities, versus plant-specific optimizations or constraints. Baseline VPEs produce a theoretical cost which represents the average of costs that would be incurred by all plants and suppliers within the region to manufacture a given part or assembly. Effectively, this cost is what one would expect to see in an open efficient market, if one sent out many quotes and calculated a median of the results. Note that since Baseline VPEs produce costs, not profits, they do not account for explicit supplier markups.

 

Configuring VPEs for Your Environment

aPriori Baseline VPEs can also be configured to include a customer's own material types, material pricing, machine types and attributes.  Furthermore, the Cost Logic that is provided within aPriori VPEs can be configured to meet any specific requirements you may have in your manufacturing facility or supply chain environment.

To Learn More about how aPriori Customer-Specific VPEs can be quickly developed to suit your unique needs:  Download this Datasheet Now.

You can also find more information about how aPriori can custom Baseline VPEs to include your company's material types, material rates, machine types and cost logic by jumping to our Consulting Services web page.


 

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