Bright AM™ has some excellent features, functions and benefits, and we can talk about those all day; but if you don’t see positive RESULTS within your own business and production operations, then what’s the point? So, let’s focus on RESULTS. The following list delineates some of the Key Results that
Bright AM™ users have communicated back to us.
Additive Manufacturing Requirements: “After looking at different software solutions for months we were introduced to the Bluestreak Bright AM system and it was the only MES/QMS package that could handle the requirements of our AM production flow. We needed extensive serialization functions for printing multiple Parts on the same Build Plate with different serial numbers; and it needed to be able to process our various Build Plate IDs. Another added benefit of Bright AM is the flexibility for validation of dynamic Part quantities moving on to the next step in processing; to track the real-time splitting and combining of Parts in various operation steps within the work order. This helped us to optimize the routing of work on the production floor."
Raw Material Usage and Advanced Dispositioning: “As an additive manufacturer for multiple regulated industries, one of our requirements was to be able to manage the raw material usage that goes into each part. Some part builds require virgin powder while others can have 1x or 2x used material or combining 1x with virgin material to print the part based on its ultimate application and end use. We also needed better management of nonconformance and scrap parts, and Bright AM gave us the advanced dispositioning and real time control of 3D printed parts that we were looking for."
Mobility: “Since we have a mobile workforce, we needed our software system to also be mobile. What sealed the deal for us is that all of the Bright AM modules and our key information is accessible anytime, anywhere and on any device, 24x7x365; and we don’t need to manage software on all those devices. We now have interdepartmental real time control over all aspects of the business. We are also using 2-factor authentication for better security on all our devices, which includes windows machines, Apple Mac, Android devices or iPhones.” (iMobile Module)
Intelligent Part Planning: “As part of our QMS we needed to manage to various industry specifications and guidelines in the Part Planning Process, while also providing detailed auditability. The Bluestreak system allows us to build a sophisticated process for a new work order on the fly and be able to update a customer part process directly from the work order, which saves us an enormous amount of time. We are also able to have embedded processes so we can easily manage a single mini process that is used in hundreds of other processes, which was a nightmare for us before. Thank you Bluestreak!” (intelliPlan Module)
Disconnected Silos of Data: “We had multiple disjointed systems that didn’t communicate with each other, double or triple data entry, many errors that needed to be fixed and a lot of wasted time spent. With the baseline Bright AM package we can now manage customer data and contacts better, quote and price orders, enter work orders and create job travelers, generate Certs, cut Shippers, invoice and manage A/R, and we are almost running completely paperless now. We can email quotes and invoices directly out of the system, and automatically attach pricing to every order so that it flows through to invoicing.”
(Quote to Invoice – Q2I base Module)
Scheduling: “Our planners and supervisors were in desperate need of an intuitive scheduling tool that makes load planning easier and much more dynamic. We added the Bright AM Schedule module to our current package to resolve this issue. Our planners can view all open orders, combine like jobs for more efficient processing, specify equipment load utilization, prioritize jobs, and make changes as needed. It was familiar to us because it worked similar to MS Outlook and uses drag-and-drop. We have full schedule visibility by day, week or month; it handles multiple pieces of equipment, and they are color coded to easily distinguish between the schedules.” (Schedule Module)
Job Tracking: “We were losing customer parts, didn’t know what order a skid of parts belonged to, and were not able to track each Part in the work order through all of the required steps of processing. Now, with Bright AM I am happy to say that we have a handle on this. We can now monitor all work in progress, at every stage of processing, from order entry and contract review all the way through to shipment. We now have a prioritized job list to give our production floor staff a quick view of all the work available to them in their particular work center, processing notes, pictures, videos, and any other media we want to attach to make sure the job is done right. It has improved our overall quality and reduced our re-work because we can now tie quality management initiatives directly to individual equipment operators on the production floor.” (Production Pathway Module)
Integrated Quality: “We needed our QA/QC procedures enforced in our production plants. Bright AM lets us set up quality control plans that can be attached to an Order that defines the necessary quality and processing requirements. We can include operating instructions, inspection and testing requirements for our Lab, and collect quality data in real-time. We now are able to generate CAPA’s and have them automatically connected to future orders. We can also ‘freeze’ processes to prevent changes to the process, and can enforce regularly scheduled equipment calibration checks, and we can now generate formal Certification statements for specific customers.” (Quality Hub)
Risk Analysis: “When we upgraded from ISO 9001:2008 to 2015 one of the new requirements was to be able to complete a Risk Analysis, so we were pleasantly surprised that Bluestreak had already added that functionality to the system. They have user defined risk templates with scorable risk questions and answers to help us determine the overall risk associated with processing a particular Part, and then require one or two people to sign off. We can also require every customer part quoted to have a risk analysis completed before the quote can be printed or emailed to the customer. An added benefit is that if a ‘risky’ part is added to a work order, permanent note and automatic notification to a supervisor is generated.” (Risk Analysis Module)
Safety and Compliance: “We didn’t plan on this originally, but we found out that we could use the features and functions already in the Bluestreak software to help us with our Safety Management Program, OSHA and EPA compliance requirements, and employee training records. One of the key things we needed to solve for all of these things was keeping better records, collecting relevant data, tracking related events and have them easily available within one system. For example, when an OSHA Audit takes place, the auditor wants to see evidence of how safety issues are tracked and how violations have been addressed. With Bluestreak we can store employee information, including their picture and individual training requirements for both safety and production training. A Concern can be entered along with a CAPA (corrective and preventive action) and we can also use the system for incident reporting. And, all safety program documents or OSHA/EPA requirements can be stored right in the system for quick access.”
Underwriters Laboratories, the global safety consulting and certification firm responsible for studies into the safety of desktop 3D printing, has opened online access to all of its library of UL Safety Standards.
SPC: “Our Quality Manager was so excited when he found that the Statistical Process Control feature in Bluestreak Bright AM was able to take Control Plan Characteristics to the next level. We found that any Control Plan Characteristic could be configured for SPC, and that when test results are added, the SPC chart is updated in real-time allowing us to see and be notified at the time of test entry if there are any issues with our process. It also supports statistical rules like the Westinghouse run rules to help us spot trends before our process gets out of control. This has simplified root cause analysis when non-conformances occur by providing data from key operating systems.” (Statistical Process Control Module)
Inventory Control: “Here are some of the problems we solved by implementing the Bluestreak Bright AM solution; we can now link inventory items to a specific Vendor and/or vendor part; we now more easily manage multiple suppliers and multiple inventory locations; we can set reorder levels and be notified automatically when it’s reorder time; we can create a P.O. and have it emailed right out of the system to the appropriate vendor; we can link inventory items to a specific piece of equipment or to an individual customer part; and we can quickly view all inventory transactions. I know there are more but these are the main ones.”
(Inventory & P.O. Module)
Shipping and Delivery: “Our shipping department and delivery drivers needed a faster and more accurate way to manage delivering completed parts to our customers, and Bluestreak™ has given us this capability, and we even use smart phones and tablets. Deliveries are automatically grouped by customer and delivery address to help our drivers deliver the correct parts to the correct address. And, they can get a signature with a time and date stamp so we have proof of delivery.” (iDeliver Module)
Maintenance: “We wanted to have a quality management system that would include equipment maintenance, both out in the shop and in the office, as well as vehicles, building and grounds maintenance. There just wasn’t anything out there, until we found Bright AM by Bluestreak™. Now we have a better way to manage, plan and schedule the maintenance and use of production equipment and other company assets as an effective preventive maintenance tool. Also, we can now track up/down time, labor hours and repair costs. A huge benefit is that now our maintenance can be tied directly to production, equipment specifications and job scheduling.” (iMaintain Module)
User Viewing Restrictions: “We were thrilled to find out that Bluestreak Bright AM was a solution we could use that had the breadth and capability to manage all aspects of our compliance program, whether it was ITAR/EAR or our own company policy related to user viewing of sensitive business information. Since implementing this software, we can manage and control sensitive information, limit distribution to safe recipients, with traceable communication and easy-to-access audit trails. We can also more easily enforce Classification.” (ITAR/EAR – User Viewing Restrictions Module)
Managing to Industry & Customer Specifications: “In my business many of our customer orders require that we adhere to different types of Part processing Specifications, such as Nadcap, AS 9100, TS, MedAccred and others. Sometimes we have our own internal quality-related Specifications, and those of a Prime government contractor that we need to follow and have the documentation to prove it. Using the Bluestreak Bright AM software has enabled us to conform to Specification requirements every time, automatically creating and maintaining a fully documented audit trail, with specification documents, requirements, operating instructions and media attached within the various operating steps of an overall Part Process. Plus, the software automatically cross-references Specifications to everything they impact, such as processing steps, equipment, personnel and vendors through a Process Control Matrix. It really simplifies our job processing by linking Quotes and Work Orders to the current specification requirements.”
(Advanced Specifications Manager Module)
The Rounding and Converted Units Problem: “I now have the ability with this software to specify Measured Units in one UoM and Reported Units in a different UoM. For example, I can record the hardness of the Part in one scale and report the hardness in the scale that my customer requires. Prior to Bluestreak, the conversion from the Measured to the Reported was done manually, using the appropriate conversion table, and was filled with errors. Now, my Converted Units can be combined with pre-set Rounding Algorithms within the software for all my variable-type Control Plan Characteristics. The software stores all of the detailed quality test result data; Reported (Result), Measured, Converted, Rounded; so, there is full transparency of the data for verification of how test values were collected and reported.Trying to implement the Rounding and Converted units in a manual fashion by training individual inspectors is very difficult to do and is prone to numerous reporting errors and the only realistic option was to have it done automatically by our software system.” (Advanced Specifications Manager Module)
Charting Systems: “Our SCADA and data logging systems required us to log into a separate system to get the data or to see the chart. Now, with Bluestreak’s BlueCharts we have access to this information right within Bluesteak. We can define how the chart looks and when it is active; and we can specify a single Y axis or multiple Y axes, which is necessary when charted data scales vary. We can produce charts for a specific start and end time on a piece of equipment and then save the chart, along with notes and order information that may have been added to the chart.” (BlueCharts Module)
Document Management: “After having multiple versions of paper copy documents floating around the company with no real control, we needed the ability to quickly access, create, collaborate, approve and change documents within a single system that everyone had access to. With BlueDocs we can now track and show revision control with our key documents which is required by ISO and AS 9100. We now are able to see who had access to critical files, who approved the most recent changes, or who changed our Operating Procedures. We also use this for our Quality Manual, Employee Handbook, and Work Instructions.” (BlueDocs Module )
Control Plans / Sampling Plans: “We were looking for a software system for our shop floor that would allow us to have a work order or job traveler with part-specific control plans attached to it and are so glad we came across your software. An added plus was the additional functionality of attaching Sampling Plans to our specific Control Plan Characteristics, in order to have a valid sampling of the part processing we’ve done.” (Advanced Control Plans / Sampling Plans Module)
Customer Service: “I knew some of our customers were not happy with our level of customer service so we needed to fix this problem or risk losing customers to our competition. Since implementing the Bluestreak Customer Connector Portal™ we now have much happier customers and we have actually taken business away from our competitors because we gave them the ability to log into our system and see the status of their jobs, reprint shipping documents, quotes and certification statements. Our customers can now self-serve 24x7 and don’t need to call us and be put on hold while someone tracks down their information, and it saved our people about 4 hours a day of being on the phone to answer customer questions that they now can get for themselves quicker.”
ERP Integration: “We already had a corporate ERP system but needed better production control, real-time job processing visibility and better quality management, so we needed a production floor system that would “talk” to our ERP system to share data so we wouldn’t need to enter it twice. With Bluestreak™ we now have bidirectional communication between systems and we can capture any kind of production data during job tracking as well as let the ERP system know when a job is completed”.
Integration with Customer ERP System: Because Bluestreak™ can interface with your customer’s ERP system, you no longer need to enter work orders manually for that customer. When a job is entered into their ERP system it communicates with Bluestreak and generates a custom work order. This eliminates extra steps, human intervention and data entry errors. This helps to ‘lock in’ the best customers by providing a service to them that is not available with the other companies they deal with.
Real-Time Communications: “We needed better communications between the front office and the shop floor, as well as between the various departments. Bluestreak Bright AM™ pushes real-time notifications through text messaging or email of relevant job functions or triggering events that may occur from time to time. A customer can now be notified automatically when their parts are ready to pick up or a quote is expiring, or a supervisor can be notified when a job reaches a critical processing step, or if a nonconformance has occurred, or if changes were made to a job. We also use this for our truck drivers and sales people on the road. It helps us greatly to keep everyone in the loop on what is going on.” (Global Communications Hub)