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Siemens PLM software reinvents product lifecycle decision making

SIEMENS PLM Software has introduced the High Definition PLM (HD-PLM) technology framework which will enable decision makers throughout the product lifecycle to make better informed deci sions more efficiently and with a higher level of confidence.

“Using HD-PLM enabled tools like NX, Teamcenter and Tecnomatix allows companies to make sure everybody can get access to the right information they need to make decisions in a highly visual environment, without the need to manually interrogate and correlate data from multiple sources with the design and manufacturing data,” Rajiv Ghatikar, vice president and general manager, Siemens PLM Software, Asia Pacific/Australasia, told .

Ghatikar points to an example from the automotive market. During the spec ification of a vehicle, a decision is made about the level of comfort that is required, based on what class in which the vehicle is competing. This type of decision sets out expectations that can influence the designs of the systems inside the car.

At the highest level, these expecta tions are broken down into system requirements, and these requirements form that start of the process. Everything links back to meeting these requirements. Bringing these require ments into HD-PLM enabled products like Teamcenter allow companies to manage and track all of the require ments, and to combine customer requirements with regulatory rules and company standards to ensure that every body can see exactly what they need to know about the background to the car.

So, for example, if driver comfort is a top priority and our target markets include countries with extreme weather conditions having an upgraded climate control system may be a necessity. The climate control system then defines what we need in terms of capacity for things like heat removal from the cooling system. All of these requirements can be tracked and traced.

“Now let’s focus on the engi neering team designing the cooling system, what do they need to know,” asks Ghatikar. “They have a 3D model of the vehicle, and they have been designing their systems in the context of the whole product, but they have to understand the requirements that impact them, they don’t need to see the whole wide range of requirements that affect the car, they only need to know a subset of the requirements, but they also need to know them in the context of the parts of the vehicle that interest them.”

Using tools like Teamcenter and NX with the HD-PLM Technology Framework, the user can quickly find out the information they need to know in the context of the 3D design. This personalisation of the information is a key element in the use of HD-PLM.

With requirements flowing down into the product development, process engineers can constantly validate the design to ensure fitness of purpose.

“For our example, the first configura tion has been developed using a single fan to cool the radiator and the climate control system, during thermal analysis it is found that the heat transfer is below the requirements,” explains Ghatikar. “The analysis team raises an issue on the design. Traditionally this would then trigger email exchanges, a paper trail that would feedback the information to the design team. When a designer then looks to make changes they have to filter out the material that is of interest, and map this to the context of their design.”

However, using NX, with the HD- PLM technology framework, the engi neer can be in the context of his 3D vehicle model and ask the system to flag him for any parts with outstanding issues. In a typical vehicle development process, numerous parts may be flagged, but he can drill down to get clarity on the cooling system which is of interest to him and identify exactly what issues are outstanding.

Using interactive tagging he can investigate the issue from within the context of the 3D mock-up. The system will present the relevant information, maybe the results from the thermal analysis, maybe a proposed change request form, maybe spreadsheet data, anything that assists him to make the appropriate decisions.

“He can make the design changes with a level of confidence, knowing that he has seen all of the relevant material that supports his decision making process,” notes Ghatikar. “As he makes the change, for example moving from a single fan to a double fan, this may need extra validation.”

Thermal transfer isn’t the only requirement. Structural strength, manu facturability and many other decisions will be factored in. As the design evolves, the manufacturing teams can see key information that allows them to plan for the new product, without needing to filter out unnecessary information.

Traditionally, engineers working in each area would need to find the data that was important to them and then work in their domain producing even more material that adds to the informa tion mountain surrounding a product design. HD-PLM allows companies to ensure that each individual has a level of clarity on the information presenting what they need from the information in a way that is easy for them understand, and assisting the user to get the right information at the right time.

“A manufacturing engineer using Tecnomatix will be able to see exactly what he needs to consider for his production planning task, this concept of personalising the experience of getting information throughout the process is key to the use of HD-PLM enabled tools,” concludes Ghatikar.

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