2022-11-16

Making HVAC Manufacturing Cool

The seasons are changing for sure these days. Some call it climate change while others simply say it is the change in the seasons. Either way, HVAC manufacturers have their hands full in becoming more agile and efficient in making us all feel “comfortable”.

I am based in Florida where the weather is putting a little chill in the air these days and we still thrive on air conditioning to some degree. On the other hand, I have just returned from a trip to the world’s “greenest” country, Sweden, where the temperatures were at levels requiring the move from Air Conditioning to Heating on the thermostats. This simply highlights the seasonal and geographical demand swings for HVAC products in the industry.

Take The Chill Off Complex Product Configurations Changeovers

Whether it is residential or commercial usage, customer demands place unique product needs on HVAC manufacturers impacting the production floor for variants in materials, labor skills, and automation resources. Together these highlight the complexity of methods, work instructions, quality requirements, and scheduling the production lines for customer satisfaction require. An agile Manufacturing Execution System (MES) that understands the dynamics of the industry can help.

Taking a comprehensive process and methods-driven approach in handling the increasingly complex product variants is the most efficient and agile technique. Why? To address all the configuration combinations and permutations with customer demand fluctuations requires going beyond integrating sensors and equipment alone or evaluating material and work center capacity only to solve the problem.

A process and method-driven approach to a Manufacturing Execution System deployment integrate all the attributes needed for the optimization of variability. These include automation and sensors. It supports the labor AND skills needed. It delivers on the material and capacity requirements for optimum scheduling. Bottom Line: by supporting complete upward and downward OT/IT levels of integration with actual work and employee safety instructions, a complete picture for managing the variations in product are now available.

Turn Up the Heat by Optimizing Production Ramp-ups

A method and process-driven technique integrates automation with the materials and skills needed to support tailored work instructions, real-time takt attainment, buffer management, and traceability for both process and materials. Updating or replicating the processes enables HVAC manufacturers incredible scalability and the most rapid speed in coordinating changeovers. The scalability based on processes and methods is easily transferable to other manufacturing facilities for agile and quick ramp-up.

The ability to model a new piece of equipment into a process and then simulate a demand load prior to moving into production enables an HVAC manufacturer to visualize if the process and method changes impacts any buffer or creates any new bottlenecks. So, relax from some stress and cool down as you effectively compete for on time delivery performance, higher quality, wallet share, & customizability driving revenue and customer service levels to new highs.

Improving the “Green” Factor Through an Innovation Culture

It is nothing new that HVAC manufacturers are continually looking at ways to become more energy efficient in how they store and generate energy for our comforts. These new “green” initiatives are driving new innovations for production. The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) measures the annual energy consumption and efficiency of a HVAC unit’s cooling ability. The higher the the rating, the less energy it uses.

An example of an innovation in HVAC is the new cold climate heat pumps that are electric and safer for the environment. Moving from design to full production of these units requires continual iterative process integration and updates from first piece inspection to complete production roll-out. In any ideation to execution process, an agile approach vs a waterfall approach will bring a new solution to market much faster with continuous improvements.

This additional speed from a process and method-centric MES solution drives greater speed to market while maintaining the high-quality standards necessary for the customer. The agility created through the process iterations with complete production integration produces higher prices and margins to a HVAC manufacturer as they gain first to market advantage

Take Control of the Thermostat

There are many MES solutions in the market that have taken common approaches for HVAC manufacturing into a cadre of solving some unique business needs. Most deployments fail for many reasons according to analysts. These days there is ever increasing need for innovation and green initiatives. Why not check how to get green from a green MES solution from the greenest country in the world? Contact us or schedule a demo and get comfortable no matter the temperature.

David Cahn

Head of Growth @ MTEK

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