Category "Siemens PLM"

If you are in the business of designing and engineering product, then you have PLM. This is a statement of fact. The question then becomes: what is the technology underpinning the PLM process that is used to control your designs?

Because of the way that technology changes and matures, most organizations have a collection of software and processes that support their PLM processes. This can be called the Point Solution approach. Consider a hypothetical setup below:

The advantage of this approach is that point solutions can be individually optimized for a given process – so, in the example above, the change management system can be set up to exactly mirror the internal engineering change process.

However, this landscape also has numerous disadvantages:

  1. Data often has to be transferred between different solutions (e.. what is the precise CAD model tied to a specific engineering change?). These integrations are difficult to set up and maintain – sometimes to the point of being manual tasks.
  2. The organization has to deal with multiple vendors.
  3. Multiple PLM systems working together require significant internal support resource from an IT department.
  4. Training and onboarding of new staff is complicated

The alternative to this approach is a PLM Platform. Here, one technology solution includes all necessary PLM functionalities. The scenario is illustrated below:

It is clear that the PLM Platform does away with many of the disadvantages of the Point Solution; there is only one vendor to deal with, integrations are seamless, training is simplified, and support should be easier.

However, the PLM Platform may not provide the best solution for a given function when compared to the corresponding point solution. For example, a dedicated project management software may do a better job at Program Management than the functionality in the PLM Platform; this may require organizational compromise. You are also, to some extent, betting on a single technology vendor and hoping that they remain an industry leader.

Some of the major PLM solution vendors have placed such bets on the platform strategy. For example, Siemens PLM have positioned Teamcenter as a complete platform solution covering all aspects of the PLM process. (refer to my earlier blog post What is Teamcenter? or, Teamcenter Explained). All of the PLM processes that organizations need can be supported by Teamcenter.

Dassault Systèmes have pursued a similar approach with the launch of their 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which also contains all of the functions required for PLM. In addition, both are actively integrating additional functionality with every new release.

So what is your strategy – Point or Platform? This question deserves serious consideration when considering PLM processes in your organization.

My last post outlined on deriving more value out of PLM data through reports. The complexity of data in the engineering environment is skyrocketing, and Teamcenter as a PLM system provides advanced reporting capabilities for enterprise data, including the data managed in external systems like MRP & ERP.

The Teamcenter Report Builder application provides basic reporting capabilities for data managed inside Teamcenter. It supports two kinds of reports:

  1. Summary Reports
  • Reports that summarize similar information – forreportbuilder example, reports that show all the employees, all the items belonging to a user, or the release status of items
  • Context Independent reports – no object selection required
  • Generated from Teamcenter saved queries
  1. Item Reports
  • Reports that can be run on a particular object – for example, BOM or workflow information for a given object
  • Executed in the context of one or more objects

Behind the scenes, Report Builder uses Teamcenter queries based data dump and supports output to common formats like Excel, XML, Text and HTML.  It’s easy to build these simple reports based on Teamcenter queries, and they can be run from both rich client and Active Workspace client.  Excel can be further leveraged for complex processing, charting, and aggregation of the output.

tcraThe Teamcenter Reporting & Analytics module provides additional advanced reporting capabilities. It can summarize information and present data from many sources in a single report using an easy to build, configurable, drag and drop layout.

It can leverage standard formatting tools like headers/footers, dates, page numbers, report names, filters, tables, charts, and elements. Reports can be run from both Active Workspace or Teamcenter Reporting & Analytics client. It has business intelligence designed for Teamcenter and to understand the relationships and associations of PLM information.tcra1 It comes with over 100 out-of-the-box reports in areas like Change Management, BOM Reports, Substance compliance, Workflow, Administrator Reports, Verification Management, PMM, Schedule Manager, Requirements Manager. It supports powerful and fast BOM reporting, project planning and status reporting and dashboards, process and change reporting.

It has direct access to Teamcenter data through APIs and has connectors to standard enterprise applications. It can also enforce data security based on the Teamcenter access model.  Additional capabilities include:

  • Customized Analytics
    • Organization-specific process status metrics and KPIs
    • Multi-level root-cause analysis
    • Mean time between failure / to failure (MTBF, MTTF) analysis
    • Historical Performance Analysis
  • Reporting Control
    • Save Snapshots of pre-defined reports
    • Group/Role based Access to report data
    • User Controlled Conditional Formatting
  • Resource Management
    • Automated Report Scheduler and Delivery
    • Submit Analysis to queue for load management
    • Caching Techniques to reuse data cubes

Teamcenter Reporting & Analytics benefits include:

  • Analytics, Dashboards and Traditional Reporting – understand your data to improve your products and processes
  • Time to Value – start with pre-configured reports and enable custom reports for your business in a couple of weeks, not months or years
  • Designed for Teamcenter – enable your entire enterprise to easily understand the information they require to make better decisions
  • Self Service Analytics – enable data discovery through self service analytics designed for Teamcenter and optimized to your needs

Enterprise-wide PLMdata systems hold huge amounts of business data that can potentially be used to drive business decisions and effect process changes to generate added value for the organization.  Several PLM users are unaware of the existence of such valuable data, while for others, advanced data search and retrieval can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack due to their unfamiliarity with the PLM data model. Hence it is important to process the data into meaningful information and model it into actionable engineering knowledge that can drive business decisions for normal users. Reporting plays a key role in summarizing that large amount of data into a simple, usable format for the purpose of easy understanding.

Reporting starts with capturing the right data – the most important step and, many a time, the least stressed one. When data is not captured in the right format, it results in inconsistent or non-standard data.

Let’s take a simple Workflow process example: Workflow rejection comments are valuable information for companies to understand the repeated reasons for workflow rejection and to improve FTY (First time yield) by developing training plans to address them.  Users might not enter rejection comments unless they are made mandatory, so it’s important to have data-model checks and balances to capture the right data and standardize it through categorization and LOVs (List of values).

reportThe next step is to filter and present the right information to the right people. End Users typically want to run pre-designed reports and maybe slice or dice the data to understand it better. Business Intelligence Designers and Business analysts who understand the PLM Schema and their business relationships are the ones who design the report templates. Report design is sometimes perceived as an IT or software function, and as a result, enough business participation is not ensured, which can have an impact on the effectiveness of the reports for end users. It is important to have business participation from report identification to report design to report usage. Business process knowledge is the key in this area, not the PLM tool expertise alone.

Since business processes get improved/modified based on different market and performance trends derived from PLM reports, it’s important to have continuous improvement initiatives to fine-tune reporting based on these improved processes and new baselines, from data capture to presentation. That makes it a continuous cycle – business processes need to be designed to support reporting and reports need to help improve the process.

Properly designed reports provide increased visibility into shifting enterprise wide status, reduce time and cost for data analysis, ensure quicker response times and faster product launch cycles and improve product quality and integrity.

How do your reports measure up? Do you have any questions or thoughts? Leave a comment here or contact us if you’re feeling shy.

It always amazes me, the sheer complexity of the task.  We must take a detailed engineering design, start with a simple block of metal, and through the application of pressure and process, whittle that block down to a functional product, accurate to within microns.

cam_isv_3

In order to accomplish this feat more efficiently and bring the cost/part down, CNC Machine Tools have added more of everything in recent years. They have become more powerful, allowing for higher cutting speeds that require advanced feed-rate controls to make effective.  They have also become more dynamic, with 5-Axis Mills and multi-spindle, multi-turret Mill-turn machines offering opportunities to minimize part setups, increase accuracy, and reduce overall machining time.

They have, in short, become more complex.  And with that complexity comes additional expense.  With machines that routinely cost multiple hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, the reality of the situation is that a machine collision is just not an option.

There are so many capabilities and options available on a modern NC Machine tool that ensuring that the machine is properly programmed to do what is expected becomes a monumental task.  You need a powerful programming tool to help you create the paths, controlling the cutting tool axis, speeds, engagements and retracts so as to efficiently and accurately machine the product.

Those paths, when initially reviewed by the CAM software, may look feasible from the context of the tool, but upon generating the code and loading it into the controller, often there are motions that are either positional in nature (rotating the part to align the tool), or controller specific (ex. Go home moves) that create collisions with objects such as fixtures or the part, or that require movement beyond the machine’s axis limitations. […]

Siemens PLM Software OfferHere is our latest and final post in our savings series!  Check out these offers from Siemens PLM Software and Tata Technologies, which expire December 28th.  It truly is the best time of year to purchase software for all of your manufacturing and design needs!

Siemens PLM Software Promotions

  • Add  a new product family license to your existing portfolio and receive an additional 15% discount on software and maintenance. For example, if you have an existing NX CAD license, you’ll receive 15% off a license of Teamcenter, CAM, CAE, Solid Edge or Tecnomatix.  This offer is only valid to existing Siemens customers.
  • Get 25% off Teamcenter Rapid Start and maintenance including a single CAD integration with either Autodesk, Solidworks, or Solid Edge. Rapid Start is an easy and cost effective solution that allows companies of any size to get their data under control and enforce common processes.

Terms and conditions apply. Please contact us here or email me at carol.hansen@tatatechnologies.com to inquire about an offer.

Tata Technologies SpecialsTraining and i GET IT promotions

  • Get a free Kindle Fire HD Tablet or a 3D Connexion Space Navigator mouse when you attend the the open enrollment class for NX Essentials for New Users or NX Advanced User.  Click here for more details and to have a sales representative contact you.
  • Our self-paced online learning platform, i GET IT, is now more affordable than ever.  Get 30% off annual subscriptions and learn the latest features and enhancements of Siemens PLM Software and more. Explore what package is right for you and purchase your subscription right online.  Make sure you use the
    coupon code CYBER2016 – valid through Dec. 31st.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later! Take delivery of your software, and let it generate revenue before making any payments.  We’ve partnered with Complete Capital Services to offer clients 12 – 60 month terms on financing products as well as training, maintenance, and implementation services. Don’t forget that IRS Section 179 tax savings can also help.  Let us know you’re interested here.

Predictive Engineering Analytics is a must in current product design and is required to integrate all the multi disciplinary inputs present in today’s complicated products. In the words of Siemens:

“Predictive Engineering Analytics (PEA) is the application of multi-discipline simulation and test, combined with intelligent reporting and data analytics, to develop digital twins that can predict the behavior of products across all performance attributes, throughout the product lifecycle.”

In the above quote, the concept of a digital twin is important; this is the goal of having a complete digital representation of a physical product throughout its design, manufacturing and in-service lifecycle. Such a digital twin can accurately predict all behaviors of the physical product.

There are five key ways that Simcenter(TM) helps achieve a digital twin.

  1. Simcenter(TM) has an integrated Engineering Desktop environment, which allows all pre- and post-processing operations to be carried out. This environment has best-in-class geometry editing tools, comprehensive meshing, and an ability to associate the analysis model to design data.
  2. The environment is completely extendable and can be scaled from simple to complex problems. The benefits include a common user interface and the capability to create automated routines for common simulation problems.
  3. Simcenter(TM) can be linked into other integrated products and engineering systems. This enables simulation data management and allows links to be established to test data, 1D simulations, and 3D CAD. Engineers now have confidence that the behaviors predicted by the digital twin correlate with real life.
  4. The solution produces a common environment across all engineering departments. This allows knowledge to be captured, automated, and then used by a broader team. Specific solutions and best practices become entrenched in the organization, allowing for more consistent design processes. Training requirements are also reduced.
  5. Simcenter(TM) leverages the extensive industry knowledge and capabilities of the Siemens PLM broader portfolio.

If we look at the specific functions that Simcenter(TM) can cover, here is a quote and graphic from a Siemens presentation:

picture2picture1picture4

Another unique feature of the Simcenter(TM) solution is its open platform capability. The solution can be used as the primary pre- and postprocessor for Siemens PLM Solvers, NX Nastran and LMS Samcef, or for popular third party solvers, such as Abaqus, ANSYS, LS-DYNA, and MSC Nastran. This is illustrated in another graphic from a Siemens presentation: […]

Managing and tracking Teamcenter administrative data across multiple environments was never easy. Companies have relied on a wide variety of solutions for this – from manual process-based solutions like cheat sheets to automated custom build scripts to wrap numerous Siemens administrative utilities together. Some companies had a great deal of success in establishing a corporate standard Teamcenter environment from scratch using custom solutions; even for them, however, tracking the changes to admin data inside their Teamcenter environments or comparing admin data between different environments was a very tedious process. Not anymore, with the new set of admin data management capabilities Siemens introduced with Teamcenter 11.2

Now, we can easily perform the following four broad scenarios on nine types of administrative data (Access Manager rules, Organization data, Preferences, Projects, Revision rules, Saved queries, Style sheets, Subscriptions and Workflows), both in UI-based Teamcenter Environment Manager (TEM) and command line utilities modes.

1.      Analyzing how administration data is configured in any environment

A detailed administrative data report can be generated for any Teamcenter environment with all nine admin categories or with a few selected categories, or even a partial set from a specific category based on the filter set. These reports are static HTML reports and don’t have a live connection to the Teamcenter environment. These reports can be used to:

  • Document and review admin data configurations of any environment
  • Troubleshoot issues with any configuration
  • Include with IR for GTAC analysis of problems
  • Use for periodic reviews of production environments
  • Use as environment hand-off document
  • Use as a training document
  • Use to capture snapshots of admin data configurations at specific points in time

2.      Copying entire administration data or a subset from one environment to another

We can export administration data from one site and import it to another. This is very useful when we must ensure that one environment is configured the same as another, such as a test or training environment. We can also set up teams to work on specific parts of the administrative data in different test environments and then export only the administration data that changed from that environment. We can then consolidate the changes made by different teams by importing all of the administration data from multiple export packages into one environment. During the import, a dry run mode is also available, and it generates a detailed Java doc style report after import describing what changed. The tool also provides five broad categories for conflict resolution and merge during the import, but there is no graphical interface yet for manually overriding specific admin data.

3.      Comparing administration data between two sites

We can generate a report that compares the administration data from a source site to a target site. This can help us to determine the cause of differences in site behavior, determine the differences between customer environment and out of the box Teamcenter environment, quickly check if a new environment established using custom scripts is configured the same as a reference environment, or to see what is common and what is different between sites during a site consolidation effort.

4.      Tracking the impacts to an environment as administration data is imported over time

We can quickly determine when a particular change was introduced using a site’s administration data import history report. This report is automatically generated and maintained upon each successful import to a site.

These new capabilities are part of Siemens’ efforts to reduce the Teamcenter cost of ownership and help companies reduce IT costs through:

  • Setup environments becoming faster by automation instead of manual steps
  • Quicker learning curves by standardized and automated documentation
  • Easier bundling of admin data with software bundles
  • Faster troubleshooting

Siemens hasn’t deprecated any existing admin data utilities with the introduction of these new tools. All custom solutions using existing utilities should continue to work as is. The new tools use TCXML and closure rules behind the scenes, so it brings all related business objects used with admin data as a complete package as defined in the closure rules.

Do you have any questions about the new Teamcenter capabilities? Leave a comment and we’ll help you.

It’s that time of year in the Siemens PLM world.  Siemens NX 11 was released in late August, and new functionality and streamlined tools always gets me excited. This year marks the 10th year I’ve been using Siemens products, which I realize is a short time in our industries, but it does make me feel a bit nostalgic about my introduction to them.design_1

10 years ago, I graduated college with my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and gained my first job as a Project Engineer with a company that produced high-end carbon fiber performance parts.  A friend of mine, with whom I had gone to college, was also starting there at around the same time, and when I asked him which design software we would be using, he informed me it would be a product called NX. At that time, not being overly well-versed on all the options for CAD in the marketplace, I was not familiar with Siemens NX and worried that I was about to become experienced in a piece of software that wasn’t widely used.  As I said, I was not very well aware of the true marketplace!

We started on NX 2, and it would be new software for the company so, as the young engineers, we were to prove out what it was really capable of.  From the very beginning, I took to the software much quicker than I ever had when using PTC or Works while in school. NX offered not only ease of use but powerful design tools I had never had access to before. Since we were a manufacturing shop as well, we picked up NX CAM to program our NC Mills and Lathes to produce fixtures and tooling used to create our parts.  Once again, new software, new capability, but nobody knew it, so it fell again to us to learn another part of the software. Eventually, we also procured Femap to do Static and dynamic load analyses on our composite layups to ensure part strength and durability (we were creating carbon fiber prosthetic ankles at that time that had to cycle through millions of steps over the course of a month to pass quality requirements).  So within a year, I had come to know the CAD, CAM, and CAE side of Siemens applications quite well, and I continued to learn and grow with the software during my years there.

design_2

Fast forward 10 years, a few jobs, and countless projects and experiences with Siemens products, and I still find myself impressed.  I remember when Synchronous Technology was first released, and the impact it had on the industry.  I remember year after year of functionality improvement, GUI improvement, dialog improvement, system stability and capability improvements.  I remember the advancement of freeform tools, and the “wows” as users and prospective users found ways to do their jobs they had never seen before.  The Siemens product line itself has continued to grow and become more diverse over that time, delving into every aspect of modern product design, from industrial styling to noise and vibration analyses. Siemens’ acquisitions of industry-leading software companies, and the integration of those technologies into their flagship products, have positioned them as a world leader in digital engineering, digital manufacturing, and Product Lifecycle Management.

I feel lucky that I have been able to touch so many different aspects of the software over the last 10 years, and I am always amazed at the improvements that come with each and every release.

Siemens PLM continues their long history of creating the most powerful and flexible design software in the world today. And as for NX 11, I covered some of the most exciting new features and functionalities in a webinar we hosted just last month. Missed my presentation the first time around? Click here to watch it on demand.

With globalization and distributed product development, adhering to a single CAD tool for the globally dispersed design teams and suppliers has become practically difficult. Business dynamics like mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, and flexible supplier selections based on direct material sourcing processes can also present a multi-CAD scenario to companies. In such scenarios, if the PLM tool isn’t capable of supporting multi-CAD, that can limit the overall engineering business flexibility of companies. It can either force them to take up costly, error-prone, risky, and time-consuming CAD platform migrations OR the global teams continue to work in isolation using a variety of different CAD tools, data, and processes. During that period, each design group generates and stores design data independently, lacking mechanisms to work as an integrated whole. Time-consuming and error-prone processes for finding and managing CAD data and assembling release packages cause design decisions to be often based on incorrect/out-of-date information. This results in design delays, as users can’t see each other’s design changes immediately, and inconsistent adherence to changes and approval processes.

Teamcenter, with its ability to manage more than one CAD system on the same platform, helps companies to mitigate both present and future multi-CAD challenges. It has out of the box integration to all major commercial MCAD tools like NX, Solid Edge, CATIA, SolidWorks, ProEngineer/Creo, Inventor and AutoCAD. Teamcenter’s CAD integration and data management capabilities are very rich, including embedded TC ribbon, standalone TC integrated CAD tool launch, advanced search, update/save to TC, update/synchronize data being worked on by others, change impact analysis, initiate changes, and save revisions – all directly from CAD without the need to open the Teamcenter application. Along with these functionalities, Teamcenter’s 4-tier architecture, optimized for high latency environments, multi-site, security and supplier integration solutions, helps global engineering teams to operate and collaborate at different levels of business integration, from a tightly integrated process mode to a loosely coupled on demand mode.multi_cad

In a multi-CAD environment, design groups receive designs from other teams and/or suppliers, created using different CAD tools. They have difficulty in aggregating CAD data from multiple CAD sources to visualize and analyze assemblies. Also, BOM structures aren’t adequately connected to visual content for Digital Mock-Up. This lack of connection undermines the timeliness and quality of decision making, and forces them to spend time and cost to aggregate, review, and validate designs and design changes. So it is key to enable designers to visualize and analyze product data from different CAD systems and conduct design collaboration reviews across geographically distributed sites. Teamcenter, with its industry leading visualization capabilities, provides the ability to visualize multi-CAD in a neutral JT format and then simulate various assembly modes for downstream engineering, manufacturing and service processes.

All of this leads to:

  • Improved productivity: Enable design teams and suppliers to use the tools they are most familiar with and use/reuse component designs created by other teams/suppliers on other MCAD systems
  • Accelerated product development: Find the right design information quickly; structured workflows enable development groups to work together as a single entity irrespective of location.
  • Increased quality: Find the right data and understand the dependencies to intelligently assess the impact of changes
  • Reduced costs: Modify and share component designs created by other teams/suppliers on your preferred CAD systems and incorporate it into multi-CAD assemblies or product design

Do you have any thoughts to add? Questions on how Teamcenter might apply to your design environment? Leave a comment and let’s chat.

Here is a classic scenario associated with developing medium to large complexity products: A team of people (say, 50 to 100) have to be coordinated. Each member has deliverables and deadlines that must be executed in a specific order. You apply well-known project management techniques.

Now the question is – what technology do you use to support your project management? An informal survey shows that most organizations use a standalone project management tool for this purpose. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, it is disconnected from the PLM system supporting the product development.

This leads to the following scenario:

  1. X, the project manager, identifies that Y, a CAD designer has to complete a 3D CAD model by the end of the month.
  2. This is laid out in the gantt chart as a task with start and finish dates by X and sent to Y.
  3. Y starts working on the 3D CAD model but gets distracted by other priorities and starts running late.
  4. X, seeing that the task is due, calls Y and asked him if it is finished. Y, being human and under pressure to perform, misleads X and tells him it is complete.
  5. X updates his gantt chart to show that the CAD is complete and reports this to his upper management.
  6. A week later it emerges that the CAD is not complete, leading to delays, interventions, etc.

So what is the crucial disconnect in this scenario? The PLM system (where the CAD resides) is completely separate from the project management tool (where the gantt chart resides). Imagine the advantages if these two were connected.

Never fear, there is a solution – Teamcenter Program and Project Management tools allow you to do this. A fully integrated PLM solution that is part of the industry-leading Teamcenter platform, it allows complete connection between project management and design deliverables such as 3D CAD. You can manage your projects in one place and with one system, no matter how simple or complex they are.

Here are the features of the solution:

  1. Robust project management capabilities fully integrated in PLM.
  2. Full program and project management capabilities within the platform.
  3. Project tasks and deliverables linked to PLM data.
  4. Automatic task, deliverable, and project status updates as users store and release product data.
  5. Program and project reporting with standard reports, along with easy to configure dashboards.
  6. Tasks can be tied directly to other PLM data such as 3D CAD.
  7. A task can point to all the reference information required for that task. This means that a participant always has complete information to complete the task.
  8. Tasks can be tied to a workflow for more rigorous management of their execution.
  9. Project managers can access and check deliverables directly from the project timeline.
  10. Program and project reporting using standard reports or easy to configure dashboards.
  11. Project status automatically updates as tasks are completed.

Gantt Chart Workflow
Gantt Chart in Teamcenter                             Workflow in Teamcenter
So let’s replay the previous scenario:

  1. X, the project manager, identifies that Y, a CAD designer has to complete a 3D CAD model by the end of the month.
  2. This is laid out in the gantt chart within Teamcenter and a task deliverable is assigned to Y, who gets immediate email notification.
  3. Y starts working on the 3D CAD model but gets distracted by other priorities and starts running late.
  4. X, who has immediate visibility into the deliverable, sees that Y is running late without having to talk with them.
  5. X and Y work together to get back on track and the 3D CAD is completed on time.
  6. The gantt chart is immediately updated and visible to management.
  7. Everybody is happy!

Connecting project management to your product design activities in Teamcenter has huge advantages – what’s holding you back?

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