Category "Product Lifecycle Management"

Embracing a true PLM platform and solution is not an easy endeavor for many companies, even with the reckoning of the potential value and ROI offered by a rightly architected PLM solution.  Success in any Enterprise software implementation like PLM often requires careful planning, dedicated resources , right technical expertise, executive sponsorship, and a receptive culture, among other things.  When done the right way the results of such efforts are transformational, producing significant business benefit which can be measured and validated.

One of the biggest challenges to adopting PLM is organizational change management given the breadth and scale of a true PLM solution . Many companies approaches it in phases and rightly so; but the key is how the phases are architected, tracked and measured.  PLM involves managing and linking Data, Processes  and People together as the product goes through it’s lifecycle from inception to design to manufacturing to support and eventually end of life.   The first step of this is often managing Data; specifically Engineering CAD data.  Most solutions start with a way to vault the CAD data along with some basic part numbering schemes and revision rules . Sometimes engineering documents are also vaulted along with the CAD data.   Yes data  vaulted in a central repository brings  lot of benefits like elimination of duplicates , basic check-in-checkout / access controls and  added search capabilities as opposed to it scattered across multiple locations.  But the measured value of this alone may not substantiate the heavy PLM IT investment companies needs to make for a true scalable PLM platform.   Sometimes there is an expectation misalignment on the full PLM value and just the data vaulting value . This at times sends companies to a long and lull “PLM assessment” period  after data vaulting.  Sometimes cultural resistance or organizational change overturns any momentum.  Maybe a technical glitch or integration shortfall previously overlooked becomes a deal breaker . Over-scoped and under supported initiative can also run out of money or time.

Companies make a considerable amount of IT investment on the PLM platform upfront, so that they have a scalable solution for all phases and not just CAD vaulting.  Most of the time they can add more capabilities and processes on the PLM platform without additional IT investments .  So it’s very important to get past the initial data vaulting phase and move to the next phases to maximize the utilization of existing IT investments.  Now the question is where do we go after CAD vaulting. This is where upfront PLM Roadmap definition is so important in terms of  how the phases are architected, tracked and measured.  For companies who have successfully completed data vaulting but do not have a formal PLM Roadmap defined yet, some of the next focus areas to consider can be Engineering process management, BOM Management,  Change management , Requirements management , Project and Program management , in no specific order.

Does your organization struggle to produce CAD and digital definitions of product? Is the CAD development of product a bottleneck in your process? If the answer is yes, you could benefit from a Digital Engineering Benchmark.

The Digital Engineering Benchmark assessment captures the opinions of senior and knowledgeable personnel in your organization on the current state and future Digital Engineering requirements for your business. In addition, a priority for improvement and an assessment of current effectiveness is recorded. It centers on 17 key Digital Engineering “Pillars” ranging from 3D CAD Standards, through to CAD Extensions. The pillars are listed below:

  1. 3D CAD Standards
  2. Drawing Standards
  3. CAD Templates
  4. 3D Standard Features
  5. Standard Parts Library
  6. Materials Library
  7. Automated Drawing Generation
  8. 3D Master
  9. Automated Designs
  10. Automation Scripts
  11. Digital Mockup
  12. Spatial Analysis
  13. Special CAD Extensions
  14. Design for Manufacturing
  15. CAD Checking Tools
  16. Intellectual Property Protection
  17. Publications

After the 17 pillars have been covered, senior and knowledgeable personnel are also invited to “spend” an assumed benefit in value areas within your business. The areas identified are improving time to market, increasing the portfolio of the company and improving product quality.

Finally, the tool produces a comprehensive report showing the customer’s current state of maturity and a benchmark comparison with the industry.

Participants have found this process to be very useful as it allows them to prioritize their initiatives, gives a high level view of their roadmap to success and provides them with industry benchmark information

Anyone who has dealt with Bill of Materials (BOM) knows about the challenges and complexities involved with it. Sometimes we get asked, managing a single BOM itself is cumbersome, then why do we even need another one in the form of a Manufacturing Bill of Material (mBOM)..?

What we have seen with our customers  is that, when there is only one BOM then it is usually owned by the engineering department (CAD BOM/ eBOM) and will be available for  the Manufacturing Department as  a “read only”. This is not good enough for the manufacturing teams as they need to author and add data specific to manufacturing , for example  manufacturing specific consumable parts like glue, oil or Tool Fixtures and such. Another key factor is how the BOM is structured; typically eBOM is structured around organization systems and functions and represent the product architecture, but for manufacturing team a mBOM needs to be  organized according to the manufacturing assembly order.

When customers need to work towards the industry 4.0 goal, they need to have  smarter manufacturing  solutions and systems that provide more ways to capture the manufacturing business intelligence and then suggest solutions based on the previous patterns. With this in mind they need to invest in  manufacturing BOM authoring and management area. During a mBOM adoption, the key is not to recreate the data that’s already in eBOM, but to reuse the eBOM and add additional information specific to manufacturing. That way there is both reuse and traceability of the data.

At a high level mBOM creation automation solutions exist in multiple flavors

  1.  Recipe based mBOM:  In a recipe based mBOM, customers can initiate the mBOM creation via pre-configured  templates pointing to eBOM. Based on the recipe stored with the template it will automatically fetch the engineering parts into mBOM. This kind of solution helps customers who have heavy standardization in their product offerings.
  2. Reusable Manufacturing Assembly: In such a solution, customers can leverage the same manufacturing assembly across multiple product lines to reduce the design, development and procurement costs
  3. New Offline Processing Solutions: This approach is to tailor the mBOM creation process and application to the customer need using customization. This standardizes and automates the process to capture the business intelligence and its reuse via customization.
  4. Smarter Validations: Such solutions suggests what’s next to the business users, that way users spends less time discovering the problem and more time solving it.

Over all value of such solutions is not just the flexibility it offers the manufacturing team, it also reduces manufacturing process planning and execution lead time with improved structure accuracy and significant reduction in change reconciliation processing time.

More often PLM starts as a CAD/Design data vault for many companies, later evolving to a design data exchange platform .  Most successful companies are taking PLM beyond just a design data exchange and access control platform; to a knowledge driven decision support system.  This means PLM not only needs to manage the multitude of information generated at various stages of the product lifecycle , but also capture the product development knowledge and feed it back to the product lifecyccle. For example, the requirements and design for a newer version of a product  needs to be also driven by the knowledge elements captured from the previous version’s lefecycle, from inception to design to manufacturing and service.

When PLM stays just in the Design Engineering world, it’s constrained to exchange information and capture knowledge from downstream stages managed by disconnected, silo based systems. This results in engineers spending huge amount of time in data acquisition tasks. Industry studies shows that information workers spend 30-40% of their time only for information gathering and analysis, thus wasting time in searching for nonexistent information, failing to find existing information, validating the information or recreating information that can’t be found.

Quality escapes is another challenge with such disconnected systems when product doesn’t confirm with the engineering definition. Non-conformances found on the shop floor  are costly to review and dispose and even more severe when the product is already on service. Reconciling change is also extremely challenging, especially its downstream propagation, resulting in significant productivity losses. Slow change processing along with quality escapes cause delays in new product introduction affecting the overall ability of the companies to compete.

The first step towards transforming PLM to a true knowledge driven decision support system is to extend it to the CAD/CAM/CNC process chain, thus taking it to the shopfloors. Such a solution helps to establish a  continuous loop from Engineering into the shop floor for operations management and manufacturing execution systems (MES). Such a continuous loop system provide more ways to capture the business intelligence and then suggest solutions based on the previous patterns. Then it’s much easier to capture information and use analytics to synthesize valuable knowledge elements compared to the fragmented solutions many companies have today.  It’s also a foundational element for establishing a Digital Twin per Industry 4.0 vision

 

Other key benefits of extending PLM to manufacturing include

Reducing the time to market

  • Enhanced collaboration between Product and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Enhanced Traceability and Faster Change Management

Enhancing Flexibility

  • Manufacturing plans comprehend product variability/complexity
  • “What if” scenarios for optimized decision making

Increasing Quality

  • Manufacturing Simulation and validation integrated in PLM
  • Up-to-date 3D work instructions delivered to the shop floor

Increasing Efficiency

  • Ongoing process optimization based on Closed loop feedback of utilization data
  • Reuse of common methods/tooling

You have probably heard about 3D EXPERIENCE. Or you may have heard about “The Platform”. But what does it actually do? How is it made? This article will explain, from the very beginning, what the 3D EXPERIENCE Platform is all about.

The Platform is created by Dassault Systemes and is their central product for the future. Here is a quote from the 3DS website:

“Dassault Systemes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations”

3D EXPERIENCE Platform is primarily a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system and is aimed at supporting the digital design and development of products that subsequently get manufactured. This explains the references to “virtual” and “innovations” in the quote. As a platform, it houses multiple capabilities (apps) in a single seamless piece of software. A user logs into one interface and is able to access all the installed and licensed capabilities of their 3D EXPERIENCE from there. The platform is based on a database, allowing for storage and indexing of data.

Dassault Systemes explain their platform in terms of a 3D compass illustrated below:

 

Let us look at the four quadrants, starting at the top and work around the quadrant in a clockwise direction:

  1. Collaboration apps include functionality that foster informal collaboration across extended teams (SWYM) and structured collaboration such as formal change management (ENOVIA)
  2. Information intelligence apps are designed to handle Big Data and drawing from multiple sources, present the user with concise summaries of the information they need (NETVIBES)
  3. Simulation apps are aimed at virtual digital validation and testing of designs. Traditionally this is known as CAE or FEA (SIMULIA). It can also be extended to virtual simulation of factories or retail store layouts.
  4. 3D Modeling apps are perhaps what Dassault Systemes is best known for and include CATIA and Solidworks

Finally, because all this functionality is in a single platform, this allows the user a realistic and immediate experience in a virtual world (Real time Experience).

A few more pertinent point regarding the 3D EXPERIENCE Platform:

  1. The platform is scalable to suit the requirements of each organization using the technology. Adopters can chose to start with basic functionality and then move to more advanced capabilities.
  2. The concept of a design platform grew out of the necessity to store and maintain all the digital data generated during product development after widespread adoption of CAD applications. It now has extensive capabilities beyond that.
  3. Dassault Systemes are constantly added new apps and functions to the platform, so the range of capability is expanding.
  4. More and more of the platform is moving to the cloud. Dassauly Systemes now offer a complete SAAS model for a lot of apps within the platform. This dramatically reduces implementation complexity.

Obviously, each application included in the platform is comprehensive enough to warrant a complete subject in and of itself, but I hope this breakdown has given you a useful high-level overview of what 3D EXPERIENCE can do for an organization, not just at initial implementation but in terms of adapting to its changing needs over time

 

 

Are you looking at investing in a MES (Manufacturing Execution System)? Do you need to improve the efficiency of your manufacturing operations with the latest technology? If you answered yes, then a MES benchmark may be exactly what is needed.

In order for you to realize the value from your current or future MES investments, you must first understand the maturity of your business and your current state. In addition, you must identify a pragmatic future state and plan a roadmap to achieve it. This may involve not only introducing new technologies and processes, but changes to your organization to support them.

Tata Technologies has developed a structured MES Analytics process with supporting tools and processes to help our customers understand the maturity of their MES, compare it to their peers and plan for the future.

The MES Benchmark assessment captures the opinions of senior and knowledgeable personnel in your organization on the current state and future MES requirements for your business, together with a priority for improvement and an assessment of current effectiveness. It centers on 17 key MES “Pillars” ranging from Scheduling Management, through to Shipping. These pillars are listed below:

  1. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Integration
  2. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Integration
  3. SCADA, Control and Interfaces
  4. Inventory Management
  5. Planning, Scheduling and Execution
  6. Resource Management
  7. Progress Tracking
  8. Track / Traceability / Genealogy
  9. Error Proofing
  10. Quality Management
  11. Recipe Management
  12. Work Instructions
  13. Shipping Management
  14. Shop floor Information
  15. Data Collection and Performance Analysis
  16. Maintenance Planning and execution
  17. Predictive Analytics

After the 17 pillars have been covered, senior and knowledgeable personnel are also invited to “spend” an assumed benefit in value areas within your business. The areas identified are improving time to market, increasing the portfolio of the company and improving product quality.

Finally, the tool produces a comprehensive report showing the customers current state of maturity and a benchmark comparison with the industry.

Participants have found this process to be very useful as it allows them to prioritize their initiatives, gives a high-level view of their roadmap to success and provides them with industry benchmark information

Multi-select for Project Security

Active Workspace 3.3 provides the capability to apply project security to multiple objects simultaneously in Teamcenter version 10.1.7 and 11.2.3, and higher .

This video showcases the new capability in detail.  Click here

Highlights include

  • Assign multiple objects to one or more projects
  • Remove multiple objects from one or more projects
  • Remove objects from projects that are common to all selections
  • Honor project membership and access while making assignments

Structure support 

The second new feature is the ability to assign content of a structure to a project.  While viewing structure content, users can assign the elements in the structure to projects.  Users  can multiply select elements, to assign them, or use the option to assign all of the content in a structure, or just to some level.  Users can also assign the specifically referenced revisions, or to all revisions, so that as the structure content revises, it is also assigned to the project by default.

This video showcases the new capability in detail.  Click here

Highlights include

  • Assign projects to content while working within the context of a structure
  • Assign projects to entire structure or up to a specific level of the structure
  • Optionally apply project security to the revision or all revisions
  • Multi-select to assign projects

Effectivity Authoring

With Active Workspace 3.3, users can assign existing effectivity criteria to elements of the structure to indicate when those elements are applicable.  Users can also define new effectivity criteria using dates or units.  For example, this element is effective for this date range or for this range of production units.

Users can also name the effective ranges, to enable sharing, or reuse, of that same range when applying effectivity to other elements in the structure.

This video showcases the new capability in detail.  Click here

Highlights include

Assign existing effectivity criteria to qualify what structured content will be configured  (Teamcenter 10.1.7 and 11.2.3 and upwards)

  • Search and filter for existing effectivities to apply
  • Apply effectivity to revision status
  • Apply effectivity to occurrences in structure

Define new effectivity configuration criteria (Planned for future release, Teamcenter 11.2.3 and upwards)

  • Set units or dates to specify or edit effectivity
  • Apply specified effectivity to occurrences
  • Optionally share named effectivity to apply to other content in structure or other structures

Baseline

Another complete the thought capability in the area of structures is creating a baseline.  Baselines are used to capture a view of that structure at a point in time.  Siemens chose to make this work in the background, asynchronously so that  users can continue to work in the client as the server generates the baseline.  When it completes, the Active Workspace notification center is used to alert users that the baseline has been created.  By default, the process applies a release status of baseline, but that is configurable.

This video showcases the new capability in detail.  Click here

While the example shows a requirement structure, baselining works with any type of structure. Highlights include

  • Executes asynchronously to allow the user to continue other work
  • Notification sent on completion – click notification to open the baseline
  • Applies a release status of “Baseline” by default, but is configurable
  • Creates a precise baseline
  • Works with any structure content, e.g. parts, designs, and requirements

Show all Results from Find in Context

Lastly in the area of completing a thought is a visualization related topic.  In previous releases of Active Workspace, the show only results in the viewer would only work for the results that had been loaded to the client.  Users no longer have to scroll through all of the results to load them in the client before selecting the show only results in the viewer.

This video showcases the new capability in detail.  Click here

 

Universal Viewer

One of the most exciting user productivity improvements in Active Workspace 3.3, is the new universal viewer.  It enables viewing and paging through multiple file attachments.  In prior releases, only one file could be viewed.  You could not easily view other file attachments. Siemens also enabled support to view additional types of files including image files, text files, and html files.  This viewer supports markup for many of those types as well.

This video showcases the new Universal Viewer capabilities in detail : Click here

Tab Overflow Direct Access

Previous versions of Active Workspace used a carousel approach and required multiple clicks to navigate to tabs that were hidden.  The new approach allows for direct access to any of the hidden tabs. Highlights include

  • Eliminates multiple clicks to access some tabs compared with prior carousel interaction
  • Dropdown allows direct access to any of multiple tabs that not shown
  • Preserves the order of tabs
  • Replaces last tab with newly selected tab

This video shows how the new tab overflow access works: Click here

Command Stack for Visual Analysis

Siemens introduced command stacks in Active Workspace 3.2.  This is an example of their usage in 3.3 to improve access to the 3D viewer’s analytics capabilities.  Instead of having to navigate tabs, users can now directly access any of the features using the command stack.  Highlights include

  • Directly access measure, query, section, and volume and proximity search commands
  • Administrators can configure alternative arrangements and visibility of commands for specific roles, e.g., commands can be unstacked or hidden for specific roles

This video shows how the command stack works for the viewer’s analytics capabilities: Click here

Drag and Drop in Structured Content

Active Workspace 3.2 supported cut/copy/paste to edit structures, including working across multiple browsers and across multiple structures. Active Workspace 3.3 builds on that capability to improve user productivity by enabling drag and drop for many cases as described below

Edit structures efficiently using drag and drop

  • Drag and drop between unstructured lists such as folders, search results, & favorites and structures
  • Drag within one window or across multiple windows
  • Drop action active only when dragged object is valid to be dropped on the target object

Predictable results based on context

  • Drag and drop between structures to copy content
  • Drag and drop content within a structure to move
  • Drag and drop different types of objects/elements to create relations – e.g. dropping a requirement on a part creates a tracelink

This video shows how drag and drop in structures works: Click here

Some of the other improvements include

  • Icons in the object header make it easy for users to clearly understand what object is open. For objects with thumbnails the thumbnail is displayed with the type icon overlaid
  • Newly created items show up in at the top of the list to ensure that they are immediately visible and easily accessed.Object is automatically selected in single create mode
  • Easily paste on a folder or in its contents .Select a target folder and user paste command from the command bar, Use paste command on table header to directly paste content into the table

 

Siemens PLM has introduced lots of new functionality and improvements in the  latest version of Active Workspace 3.3 , the key themes being

  1. User Productivity Improvements
  2. Reduce Information Overload
  3. Configure, Extend, and Deploy
  4. Process Execution and Other Application and Industry Template Exposure

The user productivity improvements are breakdown into three categories.

  1. Improved user efficiency

First focus area for user productivity is  improved user efficiency and proficiency, which is achieved through the use of accelerators such as drag and drop and multiple select to do bulk actions. Some key capabilities are

  • Universal viewer
  • Tab overflow
  • Command stack for analysis
  • Copy and paste hyperlink improvements
  • Drag and Drop Editing structure editing
  1. Enable “Completing a thought” with a single client

Second focus area for user productivity is to enable users to complete a thought with a single client.  Users are enabled to execute complete use cases with just the Active Workspace UI or with a native authoring application and Active Workspace hosted within it.  In the latest version core features and capabilities are extended for targeted use cases. Some key ones are

  • Manage Security in Single Level Projects Hierarchy – multi-select for project security
  • Achieve secure collaboration by applying project security to configured structure content
  • Effectively manage granular access to data in larger programs through hierarchical project level security
  • Assign existing effectivity criteria to qualify what structured content will be configured
  • Define new effectivity configuration criteria
  • Create a baseline of a structure to capture a view of that structure at a point in time
  • Enable showing only the results from a find in context to easily visualize them
  1. Responsive performance

Third focus area for improved user productivity is to make the client perform and respond as fast as possible to user gestures.  In the latest version server calls are minimized to reduce latency sensitivity.  Things like long running reports are run in the background to free up the client and to allow the user to do other work. Some key improvements are

  • Minimize bandwidth and memory usage through virtual paging and streaming of content
  • Minimize server communications and sensitivity to high latencies
  • Efficient execution through journaling, analysis, and tuning

I will introduce the new user productivity improvement features to you in detail through the subsequent blogs

 

With Teamcenter Active Workspace, Siemens PLM purposely chose to focus on specific use case/role support versus just duplicating every functionality of the Teamcenter Rich client.  The initial emphasis has been to provide a zero install client to the broader, and often less frequent users, in the enterprise.  These users require a zero install client that is easy to learn.

With every release of Active Workspace, Siemens PLM continues to broaden the use cases and roles supported in it.  The graphic from left to right shows the usecases/roles already delivered with complete use case support to the ones which are under the works to enable richer application exposure for authoring capabilities. Siemens has also exposed some administration capabilities in Active Workspace such as for user management and a new XRT editor, right inside of the Active Workspace user interface.  Again all with no client install.

Active Workspace User Experience
It’s all about the content .  Active Workspace shifts the focus from the Application to the Content – the User’s data is the most important thing.  The User Interface (UI) is simple, clean, light, and fast. Subdued colors let the user’s creation be the star of the show.

There is a simple top-down, left-to-right flow of information: Who I am and my role is first .What I’m working on is clear and obvious . Data brings with it the right capability for the context – Viewer, Where Used, Attachments, History etc.  One need not know how to open tools – just read the tabs to figure out what’s available. Each tab of content brings the right capability

This part has 3D content and so it has a viewer tab. That tab brings the right viewing commands to work with it. The user focuses on “What” he needs to work on, not the “Tools” to do work. Commands and tabs are smart – they don’t appear when they don’t work or don’t have content. This eliminates the visual clutter .

Active Workspace Framework
The Active Workspace Framework enables consistency and efficiency, both for the end user and the developer. It has established patterns that control where content and features go in the UI. Common elements and modules keep the UI consistent and simplify development. Users learn interaction patterns and see them behave consistently in new areas. 

The display is data driven – what you open to work on controls what information is presented. A jet engine has a 3D Viewer and Trace Links, but a Shampoo bottle has Trade Items and Vendors. The underlying data may be technically the same, but is always presented in terms appropriate for that industry, data, and even the user.

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