In our previous blog post Does PLM Pay? Part 1, we set the stage for calculating PLM return on investment and defined the hierarchy of Strategic Objectives, Business Targets and Business Costs.

Lets look at an example of this hierarchy:

The strategic objective is reducing time to market. The example shows two ways this can be done:

  1. Improving your bid response process will allow you to get back to potential customers quicker and speed up the overall time of enquiry to delivered product. PLM can certainly help with the bid response process by automating approval workflows, having all documents in one place and producing accurate BOM’s.
  2. Once a customer order is received, the delivery of product will have to be managed by some sort of project management team. PLM can help here by providing a inclusive project management environment that coordinates a large team. Poor project management will result in overruns and increase time to market.

Given these business targets, we need to put actual costs against them. The example gives four savings to which we can attach costs:

  1. Effort to process bids – it takes a time to respond to a bid request or query. In organizations that are dealing with complex products, this effort can be spread across multiple people (engineering, finance, manufacturing etc.) and can take a large amount of cumulative time. A cost can be attached to this. Any reduction in this cost as a result of implementing a PLM system will be a saving. Note this is an example of a efficiency gain (see Part 1).
  2. Profit from additional bids – Assuming that a PLM system allows bids to be turned around more quickly and with greater accuracy, the organization can expect to be more successful with winning business. More bids can translate into additional revenue and profits. Profits can be viewed as negative costs and would contribute to an ROI as a subtraction from costs. Note that this is an example of cost savings (see Part 1).
  3. Effort to manage programs – Often a product producing organization will have a separate function which focuses on managing programs and projects. (office of program management, Director of Programs etc.). If the process of managing programs could be improved by a PLM system, then the potential exists to have less program managers and save personnel costs. Note this is an example of a efficiency gain (see Part 1).
  4. Late Penalties – Product delivered late to a customer can result in contractual late penalties, which are a direct expense to an organization. If we can improve project management by implementing PLM, this can prevent project overruns and late penalties. Note this is an example of a cost savings (see Part 1).

These four examples represent the 43 total business costs that can be impacted by a successful PLM implementation.

In Part 3 we will look at some examples of calculating actual costs.  For more information, email us at Info.Americas@tatatechnologies.com

Here is a scenario familiar to many PLM professionals:- a project is initiated to implement or enhance a PLM system within an organization. All the participants are excited and everybody can clearly see the benefits to processes, collaboration and data security. All the pieces are in place; pricing, implementation schedule, software requirements, training plan – down to the last detail.

The champion starts getting all the signatures required to issue the purchase order. VP of engineering – done. CIO – done. CAD manager – done.

Then the fateful moment arrives and the champion walks into the CFO’s office. The first question out of his mouth is “You want to spend this money! What’s the return on investment?” And there it stops.

So, how do you calculate an ROI for a PLM initiative? The remainder of this post and the follow on articles will give an answer to the question. Here are the various reasons why you would want to calculate an ROI for PLM:

  1.  To justify the project to a Finance department (scenario above)
  2. For presentation to a Board of Directors. If the project is substantial enough, this is a possibility
  3. The object of the CFO is correct – a PLM project should result in real, quantifiable savings
  4. Savings from the investment over a period of time will improve the organization’s competitiveness
  5. Savings will allow for company expansion as improved cash flow can be invested in other areas

The approach relies on breaking down PLM impact areas into categories that align with business targets. Consider the following hierarchy:

The strategic objectives at the top of the pyramid are common to all companies and can be supported by PLM systems in one way or another. Of course, PLM is not the only contributor to these objectives as other business initiatives can help meet these goals. Supporting these strategic initiatives are 22 business targets (more on this in Part 2) which are further divided into 43 business cost (more on this in Part 3).

Before we start describing the targets and costs, a definition of the types of costs used in ROI calculations is needed. There are two categories of costs – referred to as efficiency gains and cost saving. The illustration below gives examples of this division

We will start looking at some specific targets in Part 2.   For more information, email us at Info.Americas@tatatechnologies.com

In the last several years, there hasn’t been a lot of ground-breaking additions to most 3D CAD software.  One of the more recent Autodesk Inventor developments in the last couple years has been the addition of the “Direct Edit” tool.  This recent addition can be used to edit models independently of any feature history.  This means you can edit models that were developed natively in Inventor, or imported as basic solid geometry from another CAD system.  The Direct Edit tool has a variety of functions including:

  1. Moving faces or solid bodies
  2. Sizing faces
  3. Scaling solid bodies
  4. Rotating faces or solid bodies
  5. Deleting faces

The “move” function has a “snap to” option where you can select geometry or a plane to set the new face termination distance.  Of course the default “offset” distance” is also available.  The “size” function allows for offsetting geometry, but there is also a diameter option that works particularly well with cylindrical shapes like hole or shaft sizes.  There are also functions within the tool to re-align the “triad” which allows for movement or rotation to be aligned with any edge or face in the model.

Once a model has been edited with the direct edit tool, you will notice that it will be documented in the model browser where it can be editing like any other feature in the Inventor model browser.  Each of the direct edit sessions will be listed as separate features in the browser, and each feature can be expanded out to modify any of the functions applied.

Overall, this is a tool within Autodesk Inventor that is well worth learning.  For more information, email us at Info.Americas@tatatechnologies.com

Digitalization is a digital process that ties all phases (ideation, realization and utilization) together through a digital thread that has the intelligence of the products and its lifecycle processes and connects to smart devices which can interpret and react to the information. This digitalized innovation environment is what will provide todays’ and the future manufacturers with sustainable competitive advantage.

Siemens PLM offers a suite of technology solutions to create Model Based Definition (MBD) and to consume it in the downstream processes to support Model Based Manufacturing (MBM). MBD is a complete digital definition of the product within the 3D model. One of the key element that contributes to MBD is PMI or “Product and Manufacturing Information”.  It Conveys information such as geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), 3D annotation (text), surface finish , material specifications etc.  NX PMI has an advanced toolset for creating rich PMI content that enables product development companies to capture and associate this design & manufacturing requirements directly with the 3D model, and share this information with other development applications . This enables the manufacture and inspection of the product without need for traditional 2D drawings.

NX PMI Objectives include

  • Capture and communicate design and manufacturing intent
  • Streamline the PMI authoring process
  • Facilitate and maximize downstream reuse
  • Remove the effort and cost of manually producing drawings
  • Support MBD and MBM initiatives

The solution capability highlights include

Dimensioning 

  • Smart dimensioning commands infer method based on selection
  • Dimensions are created in model views based on a defined annotation plane
  • Simplify authoring of dimensions by defining Feature Dimensions and Sketch Dimensions as PMI with “Display as PMI”
  • NX supports the import and export of semantically rich PMI from JT

Annotation 

  • Various types of PMI annotations allow users to specify important manufacturing requirements in the forms of
    • Note, Datum Feature Symbol, Datum Target, Feature Control Frame, Surface Finish, Weld (including Weld Assistant) , Balloon, Custom Symbols

Specialized Notes 

  • A variety of specialized PMI notes that allow users to extract or display specific information
  • Targeted at specific/specialized uses like
    • Coordinate, General & Specific Notes, Enterprise Identification, Material Specification, Part Identification, Fabrication Labels, Process Specification, URL Note, User Defined , String, Number and Integer Notes

Supplemental Geometry 

  • Per 3D Annotation Standards
  • Support for PMI Centerlines and Center Marks. Interactive control over extensions
  • PMI Regions are used to indicate or designate areas of a model for special purposes
    • Limited application of a tolerance
    • Show the area affected by a datum target
    • Designate a standalone region not referenced by other PMI annotations

Sectioning, Mirroring & WAVE 

  • PMI (Lightweight) Section and Legacy PMI Section
    • Options for Single Plane, Parallel Planes and Box Type
    • Can be inherited onto a drawing
    • Crosshatch derived from material
    • Cutting Plane Symbol Support
  • Support for Mirror PMI and Model Views & Support for reposition, delete and hide the mirrored PMI objects
  • WAVE PMI Linker: Include Body and Topology

Search & Reports 

  • PMI Search locates PMI display instances based on specific criteria
    • Specify PMI Type , Define Range ,Designate Output Preference
  • PMI Report generates a spreadsheet detailing specific PMI content
  • Find PMI Associated To Geometry displays a summary of PMI associated with selected geometry

Security Markings 

  • Per 3D Annotation Standards
  • PMI Security Markings can be applied and appear in an Information window when the part file is opened
  • Markings provide an acknowledgement mechanism before the part is loaded
  • Customizable Messages for
    • Government Security Information
    • Company Proprietary Information
    • Export Control

GD&T Validation

  • Verification that PMI GD&T on a part is compliant with the GD&T standards (ISO and ASME)
  • Syntactic and Semantic checks
    • Validation for FCFs and Datum Feature symbols
  • Results are presented in HD3D for improved visual feedback

 

 

 

One of the more common issues that come accross our helpdesk is the failed Vault log in attempt.  We try not insult the intelligence of anyone calling in, so we forego the typical first response of “Did you type your user name and password correctly?” or “Is the server on?” (I wish other technology providers would do this to…)

The first thing I will do in this situation is to see if the list of Vaults is accessible.  This will tell me that we have valid connection to the server.  The list of Vaults can be accessed by the button with the ellipses as shown below.

login

Clicking this button should then show you the list of enabled Vaults on that server, as seen here.

vaults

If you get an error message here, then I will try a couple things.  There may be a proxy server in your environment, or some other kind of IP route settings.  We can try using the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) or the IP Address, as seen in the two images below.  The FQDN should be pretty easy to decipher.  The pattern is server name and the domain name (typically the part after the @ symbol in you work email address).  An example is server.domain.com; server is the server name (a.k.a. host name, third-level domain), followed by a period, domain is the name of the domain (a.k.a. second-level domain), and .com at the end, which could also be .org, or .net (a.k.a. top-level domain).

fqdn2

The IP address may not be as readily known.  You may try PING‘ing the server, which, if successful, responds with the IP address.  Some smart IT folks will disable the ICMP protocol (which PING is a part of), so you may just have to ask your network administrator for the IP.

ip

There may be one more thing to try, and that is to append a port number.  Adding a port number is valid on any of the three methods above; server only, FQDN, and IP address.  To specify a port number, just add a colon and the port number to the end.  If your Vault requires a port, you will have to contact your administrator to determine which port to use.

port

If, after all of this, there is still trouble logging into Vault, then it may be time to seek helpdesk support.

Do you currently have a problem with migrating data from one system to another? Do you wish that the current manual method could be automated? Do your qualified staff spend time on the mundane activity of transferring data from one system to another?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then Tata Technologies may have a tool available to solve these probelms – i Migrate It.

Picture2

This tool is an on-demand solution for any mannner of migrations and translations. It is configured for a given situation and allows for a user specify on demand what data he needs migrated and in what format.

From a user perspective, a typical workflow would be as follows:

  1. User logs into the tool. Configuration of the tool would determine what that specifc user is allowed to do (examine only, examine and migrate etc.)
  2. The user searches for the data that needs migration. Based on the search result, user chooses the exact data set required and specifies what must be preserved during the migration (full geometrical feature definition, brep only, metadata only etc.)
  3. Once all this is completed, the user would submit the job for processing. At this point, i Migrate It would take over and run the necessary background tasks required to complete the request. Depending on the nature of the systems, the job could take some time to complete (e.g. overnight batch process). The user has access to a dahboard that shows the status of the pending jobs and historical jobs.
  4. If the job fails (for example the requested data has already been migrated), the user is alerted with an error message which can be used to determine a future course of action.

This tool has several advantages for migration and translation problems:

  1. Only data that is really required by the users is migrated. This can reduce the cost of a complete migration.
  2. By providing options, the most efficent process is applied as determined by those who really know.
  3. After a period of time, usage will drop and the tool can be eventually phased out.
  4. Data remains secure during the process.

Consider this option when next you are faced with a migration problem!

Autodesk Vault is a robust PDM system with sundry nuances and features.  In this post, I will be showing various links to websites that have a ton of great information.  These links will be useful for seasoned administrators to the first time end user.

First, help docs.  These online help docs from Autodesk are the definitive resource for anything and everything Vault.

Vault 2018 – http://help.autodesk.com/view/VAULT/2018/ENU/

Vault 2017 – http://help.autodesk.com/view/VAULT/2017/ENU/

Vault 2016 – http://help.autodesk.com/view/VAULT/2016/ENU/

Next we have some community sites from Autodesk, where you can get assistance, offer advice, and even contribute ideas that may be implemented in a future release.

Autodesk Vault Forum – http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/vault/ct-p/2004

Autodesk Vault Ideas – https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/vault-ideas/idb-p/2/tab/most-recent

Autodesk Knowledge Network Screencast – https://knowledge.autodesk.com/community/screencasts/VAULTPRODUCTS

This site is like a YouTube channel designed and built by Autodesk, specifically for Autodesk Products.  What makes it different is the recording software will actually tracks which commands you are using, which product is currently being shown, dialog boxes, and files in use.  This gives the viewer a much more meaningful learning experience.  These features are only implemented in Inventor, Revit, and AutoCAD at the time of this post, however, I expect Autodesk to be adding this functionality for Vault as well.

Next we have some blogs from Autodesk.

Cracking the Vault – http://autodesk.com/crackingthevault

Just Ones and Zeros – http://justonesandzeros.typepad.com/

This is a great site for the coders out there, looking to get more out of their Vault experience.

Under the Hood – http://underthehood-autodesk.typepad.com/

This last one is a shared product blog with Fusion Lifecycle (formerly PLM 360).

Now for some more administrator type content; system requirements and readme’s

Vault 2017 System requirements – https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/vault-products/getting-started/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2017/ENU/Vault-Install/files/GUID-B64117E4-FA07-4145-8B5F-86973B13EB11-htm.html

Vault 2016 System Requirements – https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/vault-products/getting-started/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2016/ENU/Vault-Install/files/GUID-B64117E4-FA07-4145-8B5F-86973B13EB11-htm.html

Vault 2017 Readme – http://download.autodesk.com/us/support/files/vault_2017/readme_autodesk_vault.html

Vault 2016 Readme – http://download.autodesk.com/SWDLDDLM/Updates/Vault/2016/readme_autodesk_vault.html

Does your organization build mutiple prototypes for physical testing and verification? Do you feel that you could leverage more CAE and simulation technology? Is getting simulation results a bottleneck in your engineering process? If the answer is yes, you could benefit from a Simulation Benchmark.

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

  1. Simulation Tools and Technology
  2. Physical Prototypes and Testing
  3. Complexity of Physical Prototyping
  4. Regulatory Requirements
  5. Materials Library
  6. Simulation Automation
  7. Management of Simulation Data
  8. Simulation Process
  9. Simulation organization
  10. Optimization Tools
  11. Stiffness and Deflection
  12. Durability and Fatigue
  13. Crash or Drop
  14. Fluid Dynamics
  15. Thermal
  16. Simulation demand
  17. Best Practices

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.

Does your organization rely on creating and using CAM (Computer Aided Machining) programs? Do you have difficulty keeping track of all your CAM data? Do you struggle with quality issues in your machining operation? If the answer is yes, you could benefit from a Machining Benchmark.

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

  1. CAM Programming Capabilities
  2. CAM Maturity
  3. CAD/CAM/CNC/CMM Integration
  4. Tooling and Fixture Design
  5. CAM Best Practices
  6. CAM Validation and Simulation
  7. CAM Efficiency
  8. Version and Revision control of CAM data
  9. Supplier Collaboration
  10. Shop floor Documentation
  11. Model based Definition
  12. Quality Management
  13. Dimensional Control
  14. CAM User Support
  15. CAM Application Maintenance
  16. On boarding for CAM systems
  17. Ongoing training for CAM systems

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.

Does your organization struggle launch a product into manufacturing? Do you have costly launch cycles that overrun both budget and time? If the answer is yes, you could benefit from a Digital Factory Benchmark.

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

  1. Factory As-built
  2. Digital Factory
  3. MBOM
  4. Process Planning
  5. Assembly Simulation
  6. Work Instructions
  7. Ergonomics Task Definition
  8. Ergonomic Analysis
  9. Manufacturing time library
  10. Resource Modeling
  11. Production Line Simulation
  12. Materials flow
  13. Factory infrastructure optimization
  14. Robotic offline programming
  15. Robotic Simulation
  16. Robotic Arc Welding
  17. Robotic Spot Welding

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.

© Tata Technologies 2009-2015. All rights reserved.