When I think of the countless customers I have consulted with over the years, it amazes me how many don’t use parameters to control the design and capture design intent! What is a parameter, you ask?  A parameter can be thought of in two ways when it comes to CATIA V5. Parameters are built the moment you start a new part – as you can see in the image below, we already have parameters for the Part Number, Nomenclature, Revision, Product Description, and Definition created automatically. Parameters are being created each time you build any feature.  These types of parameters are known as system parameters.

new_part_parameters

You can and should build your own parameters to define your design intent. It’s every bit as important during the initial stages of a design to define your intent this way as it is to make sure sketches are constrained properly. In fact, it helps you in your sketch constraints (every constraint is a feature that has parameters associated to it). In this simple example of a piece of standard rectangular tubing shown below, there are constraints defining the height, width, wall thickness, and radii. Even though this is very easy to create, if I am a designer I would want to design it in such a way that I never have to waste any time designing a piece of rectangular tubing again. If I am a design leader, I feel the same and don’t want any of my designers doing this again in any design that involves any piece of rectangular tubing. The use of parameters will get us there!

RECTANGLUAR TUBING SKETCH

 

The parameters I am talking about are user defined parameters. Simple to create but very, very powerful in their functionality.  The simplest way to create a user defined parameter in CATIA V5 is through the fx icon found on the Knowledge toolbar.

knowledge_toolbar

You might be thinking, where have I seen that icon before? Oh yeah, in Excel when I need to create a formula for my cell. That is the point we are making here! In Excel, I use this function to compute things for me and make it easy to come up with a desired result.  In CATIA, we will create some parameters and then, when necessary, assign formulas to them to come up with our desired result.  When you click on the icon, you get the Formulas dialog and when you click on the drop down list next to the New Parameter of Type button, you can see you have many, many options.

new_parameters_types

[…]

A Bill of Material (BOM) at its core is a very simple concept: a list of components needed to manufacture a finished product. So if one was making a pair of spectacles, the BOM may look as follows:

Finished Product Spectacles Quantity
Item 1 Right Lens 1
Item 2 Left Lens 1
Item 3 Frame 1
Item 4 Hinge 2

It must be said that understanding how a BOM functions is fundamental to understanding how PLM systems work. This simple list is really at the core of the PLM system. However, simple concepts have a tendency to escalate into very complex subjects. And so it is with a BOM.

One of the complexities associated with a BOM is that an organization usually has a requirement for different types of a BOM in order to define a single product. Most manufacturing companies have at least three types:

  1. EBOM (Engineering BOM) is the list of parts that engineers are responsible for and comprises all the components that require some sort of design input.
  2. MBOM (Manufacturing BOM) is the list of parts that are required to actually make the product. This is typically different from EBOM by components that engineering do not specifically design (glue strips, liquid fills etc.). It may also be plant specific.
  3. XBOM (Service BOM) is an as built list of parts used in a product that actually made it off the factory floor. This may be different from what was originally specified by the MBOM because of crisis during manufacture. It is important from a customer service perspective.

So the question is: how are your three BOMs authored, edited, maintained, and released? Whatever the answer to this question, the outcome is always the same:

  1. No BOM – No product
  2. Wrong BOM – Factory rework or customer dissatisfaction.

An informal survey of small to medium size companies yields surprising results: Excel is the predominant BOM management tool in an engineering environment. Manufacturing BOMs are normally handled by some sort of ERP system and service BOMs are poorly tracked, if at all. This situation is fraught with potential for disaster because of all the manual processes that have to occur before an actual product gets made.

Hence the analogy in the title. BOM management may be a hidden problem that is set to explode in an organization, especially as the products being made become more complex. PLM systems can offer a single organized BOM that represents all the different types in a consistent, controlled manner. Given the potential consequences of the bomb exploding, BOM in PLM should be a priority.

Do you have a BOM management disaster of your own to share? How about a BOM management triumph?

For those companies struggling to create a 3D Digital Factory, the process can be daunting. NOT modeling the entire factory is the key to achieving your goal. Companies are now adopting the use of a hybrid file with both scanned data and vector objects. “Model what you need, leave the rest in the point cloud.” Although not commonplace yet, it is the direction industry is taking.

Hybrid models offer many advantages. Get the plant on your screen in 3D now! Right now the fastest and most economical way is to scan all of it. From there you can model what needs to be in CAD for other analytic solutions such as ergonomics, robot fit & function, process simulation, and material flow.

chemie22Starting with the laser scan provides a “single point of truth.” Improve overall layout processes by creating drawings and models where none previously existed. Engineers can analyze plant designs, check for clashes between existing conditions, and new design elements by evaluating scanned and vector data together.

Most importantly, the hybrid file democratizes the space in a “single point of truth.”

I regularly go on-site to scan facilities for our customers. Need help developing a plan for your hybrid factory? Leave a comment and let me know.

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?

There is a phrase among finite element analyst user community. Those who have been in the industry since a while must have heard of it at some point in their career.

     GARBAGE IN….GARBAGE OUT

It means that if the data being fed into the input deck is not correct or appropriate, the solver is very likely to give incorrect results, and that’s if it does not fail with errors. Many of us believe that getting some sort of result is better than getting fatal errors, which is not correct. Fatal errors give clear diagnostic messages to the user that allow him to correct the input deck. However, getting erroneous results sometimes makes a user feel that the simulation has been successful even though the results may be far from reality. Such situations are hard to predict and correct, as the underlying cause is not clearly visible.

One such situation arises when the user inadvertently chooses an element type that is not capable of capturing the actual physical behavior of the part or assembly with which the element is associated. The incompatibility may lie with respect to element material, element topology, element dimension, or the type of output associated with the element. The objective of this post is to highlight the capabilities and limitations of some lesser known element types available in the Abaqus element library to promote their proper usage.

Planar elements

These elements are further classified as either plane stress (CPS) or plane strain elements (CPE). The plane stress elements are used to model thin structures such as composite plate. These elements must be defined and can deform only in X-Y plane. For these types of elements:

szz = t xz = t yz = 0

Image1

The plane strain elements are used to model thick structures such as rubber gaskets. These types of elements must be defined and can deform only in X-Y plane. For these types of elements:

ezz = gxz = gyz = 0

Image2

Generalized plane strain elements

[…]

Fundamental to any PLM system is the idea of Access Control and data security. Only authorized personnel can access a PLM system and view or manipulate its contents. This is controlled via a login procedure that includes a user password. Personnel are added to the list of authorized users by the PLM administrator after someone has approved of their specific access rights.

Once access has been granted to users, it must then be determined what operations they can carry out on the PLM system. The simplest (and default) security model which allows all users to carry out any operation is very undesirable and could lead to actions that can destroy or leak vital data.

This scenario requires the development of a Security model which determines which user can carry out which operations. Security models are normally based on two concepts:

  1. Roles
  2. Organizations

A role in the database would define what the user who is assigned that role is allowed to do. Typical roles are as follows:

  1. Viewer – this role would be allowed to view data but not make any alterations or modifications
  2. Team Member – this role would be allowed to alter and update a limited subset of the data along with being able to carry out certain operations (e.g. initiate a workflow)
  3. Team Leader – this role would be able to do everything that a Team Member could do along with the ability to operate on a larger subset of data and carry out more operations (e.g. progress a workflow, change ownership)
  4. Approver – this role would be able to approve certain operations on the data (e.g. approve a release of information)
  5. Database Admin – normally limited to a handful of technically qualified people

Once roles in a database have been defined, the organizations are put in place. These normally mirror actual organizational structure, although this is not a necessity. Organizations in a PLM system usually work on specific projects or programs. Once the organization is defined, users are allocated to various organizations and are assigned specific roles.

The final result can be represented in a table as follows:

Within Organization Outside Organization
User Role View Modify Approve View Modify  
John Doe Team Leader Y Y N Y N
Paul Revere Team Member Y Y N N N
David Earp Approver Y N Y Y N

So how is security set up in your PLM system? Are all the security capabilities been used to ensure that no intellectual property is destroyed or leaked?

People are wondering about their workflows now that Product product-design-collection-badge-256Design Suite and Factory Design Suite have been combined into the new “Product Design Collection.” Many of my customer visits in the last three weeks have included the same question: “How is upgrading to Product Design Collection going to affect us?” All of my customer visits the last three weeks were also factory layout users. They have moved from AutoCAD to Factory Design Suite, or FDS. Having made the transition once already, they find themselves faced with the same task: move again.

The discontinuation of FDS and the new subscription model by Autodesk can be daunting for managers and IT departments – not to mention hardware requirements, OS support, developing new workflows, and retraining users. It’s no wonder that some of our customers feel the best course of action is to do nothing for right now.

In actuality, the best strategy at this point is to get informed. Establish three basic realities for your company.

  • What operating system will my company be running in 2017, and on what hardware?
  • What will be the data requirements for transferring files between customers and suppliers 24 months from now?
  • What new technologies and standards will come into play, like 3D Laser Scanning, BIM requirements, cloud access, mobility, licensing models, industry requirements such as energy savings. The list can go on depending on your work environment.

Take back control: develop a three-year plan. It’s actually not as unnerving as many people think.

  • Take a look at Autodesk’s Product Design Collection and what’s included here.
  • Understand the difference between a perpetual license and a subscription
  • Get help from the people who live it: an Autodesk reseller like Tata Technologies. We recently ran a webinar for our Autodesk customers explaining the transition from Suites to PDS, and have since made it available to the general public in the i GET IT Live archives. CLICK HERE TO WATCH OUR PRODUCT DESIGN COLLECTION WEBINAR.

Getting someone like us involved to help clear things up is not the only way to avoid feeling alone or overwhelmed; there are great websites to get information. One of them is the Autodesk Community. I use it a lot, especially lately because of all the changes.

GOOD LUCK, EVERYONE! Please do not hesitate to call us at 877-668-8282.

Back in the day…

There it was, one of the first internet communities, Usenet, about to undergo a sea-change unlike any it had seen before. It was 1993, September, a month that would never end.

IT - Ethernet Cable outletIt started much like the years had before; an influx of new people coming into the universities, getting online for the first time. The community absorbed them in much the same manner as they had in the past. These first-timers were indoctrinated with the well-established etiquette and protocols that were required to thrive in this brave new world.

It seems archaic now, but back then, in the “before times”, there was no way for mass discussion; social media had not yet been born.

The plot twist

And then it happened. AOL, then a name synonymous with the internet, decided to grant access to Usenet for all of its customers. Picture the mobs that gather outside department stores the morning after Thanksgiving: the unlocking of the door let loose a mass of people that overwhelmed the community. There were just not enough graceful souls able to help coach these new users in “civilized” net behavior. Social norms were thrashed; standards went out the window. It was the equivalent of the wild, wild west. In a word, it was chaos.

Future looking

Misc-Walking-peopleNow think of how you on-board new designers or engineers. You show them who’s helpful and who to avoid. You show them around, pointing out places of interest, teach them company standards, design methodologies, workflow processes, etc. Over the coming decade (to be exact, 2014 through 2024), according to stats provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Architecture and Engineering field will grow an average of 3.4%, or about 710,000 jobs.

The biggest (projected) job gainers:

  • Civil – 106,700
  • Mechanical – 102,500
  • Industrial – 72,800
  • Electrical – 41,100

Manufacturing - SuspensionCouple this with the BLS projection of labor force participation over the same time period where we’ll see a 1:1.3 ratio of people leaving the work force to people entering. That will be a lot of churn, meaning a lot of people to on-board. The products will be ever more complicated, and the enabling technology will be as well. Technology is cited as one of the reasons the field isn’t growing as fast as other areas.  The productivity gains in PLM are making companies more efficient, even as the complexity grows.

Conclusion

Business - Chess pawn inverseCompanies will need a strategy for managing changes in their employee base as well as the technology evolution. We offer a series of benchmarking and analysis services called PLM Analytics, and there is one specifically aimed at this issue called PLM Support. Let us know if we can help solve your Eternal September.

Our SIMULIA user community has been using the conventional analysis and portfolio tokens for a while now. These tokens are primarily used to access the Abaqus CAE pre-processor, Abaqus solver, and the Abaqus viewer. The analysis configuration offers Abaqus solver licenses in the form of tokens, and Abaqus CAE as well as Abaqus viewer as interactive seats. The portfolio configuration offers all three components of Abaqus, i.e. the solver itself, Abaqus CAE as well as Abaqus viewer as tokens.

                                                                                                                                                      IS SIMULIA = only ABAQUS!

The new equation has been EXTENDED

                                                                                                                                   SIMULIA = ABAQUS + ISIGHT + TOSCA + FESAFE

The overall simulation offerings from Dassault Systèmes go way beyond Abaqus finite element simulations. The functionalities now include process automation, parametric optimizations, topology optimization, fatigue estimation, and many more. And starting from Abaqus release 6.13-2, all these additional capabilities are included in a single licensing scheme called extended tokens. Here is an overview of these additional SIMULIA products.extended-products

ISIGHT

ISight is an open desktop solution for creating flexible simulation process flows, consisting of a variety of applications, to automate the exploration of design alternatives, identify optimal performance parameters, and integrate added-value systems. The simulation process flows created from ISight can include multiple third party simulation components such as Ansys, LS-DYNA, Nastran, Mathcad as well as general purpose components such as Matlab, excel, calculator, and many more. It offers advanced parametric optimization, Design of experiments and Six Sigma techniques. Moreover, the vast amount of Simulation output data generated by such techniques can be managed effectively using the post processing runtime gateways of ISight. It’s rightly called a Simulation Robot.

ISight-image

 

TOSCA

Tosca is a general purpose optimization solution for designing high performance light weighted structures. As fuel economy continues to be the most important design factor in the transportation and aviation industries, designing lightweighted components and assemblies will remain a top priority, and Tosca can really help to achieve those objectives. […]

When I first started in the Design and Engineering field, CAD was used primarily by large OEMs and some large suppliers. Most companies’ design work was done on drafting boards with vellum and pencils, or Mylar and ink.

paper

As the technology evolved, CAD became more affordable, and increasingly necessary if one wanted to do business with certain OEMs. But while the design work was being done in CAD, the official documents were still paper – actual paper, created in CAD, printed, signed off by hand and distributed through the purchasing departments.

2Dmaster

Eventually the paper gave way to PDF files for distribution, at least from the OEM; most companies still used paper (some still do!) internally to manufacture and inspect their products. They still create, release, and distribute 2D drawings and balloon the drawings for inspection purposes.

3d_process_current

Technology has reached the point where a 2D drawing is really no longer necessary for the manufacture of a part or assembly, yet many companies still create them, even if the OEM does not provide one. Typically, the 3D model is used for fabrication, unless it is being done by hand. The creation, release, storage, and distribution of 2D drawings is huge. I am sure if companies actually looked at what it is costing them they would be shocked.

Some OEMs and other companies have an electronic way to handle the storage and distribution portion which is huge but the creation unless automated is still quite costly. Then there is the interpretation of the 2D drawings which can lead to quality problems, which we know is very costly.
There is a better way. […]

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