“We need to manage data for an entire product all the way from the conceptual design to the end of its 45-year life cycle,” is how Mark Totten explains why Lockheed Martin’s Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems Div. (NE&SS) configured its new PDM (product data management) system to give subcontractors access to product data. As is the case with many companies coping with legacy PDM systems, NE&SS originally had no mechanism for sharing data with outside design partners.
Recognizing that subcontractors were producing up to 60% of its components, NE&SS realized that situation had to change. In fact, up to 30 outside companies have good reason to access data for a particular design—which raises important security issues because subcontractors both compete and cooperate, depending on the project. “Because the software organizes information by subsystems, we can allow access only to what each contractor needs for a specific job, masking proprietary parts of a design when necessary,” says Totten, who is IDE (Integrated Data Environment) unit manager for the division.
The move to Windchill from PTC (Needham, MA) has also helped to in-crease productivity and cut cycle times by allowing engineers to perform analyses on multiple iterations of a design without going back to CAD each time to obtain the model. “Engineers simply select the configuration they want to analyze and are able to optimize a design based on cost, reliability, and performance data using an existing model,” says Totten.
Facing a similar need to communicate product information to suppliers, as well as company locations outside the U.S., GM installed i-Man PDM software from UGS (Cypress, CA) two years ago. By year’s end, GM expects to have 23,000 seats in use worldwide. “Soon, everyone involved in vehicle design throughout the supply chain will have access to product data,” says Kirk Gutmann, global product develop information officer.
One of the key strengths of the software is that it makes configuration data available to everyone. “We can start with a two-wheel drive vehicle and change it to four-wheel drive, for example, by annotating the assemblies with instructions to the manufacturing engineers on what to do,” Gutmann says. He adds that it once took four to six weeks just to stage data for repeatable digital validation, largely because engineers had to keep changing CAD models. “By using UGS’ lightweight eVis math models instead, we’ve been able to lower that time to two hours.”
Two paths to PDM
Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems
Major changes are happening in the world of 3D printing and additive manufacturing materials, machines, and software. If the industry -- and the design engineers and OEMs it serves -- are to grow, all three areas must become much more tightly integrated.
Americans spent more than $60B on their pets in 2015. Folks are definitely spending their money on more than dog food. We’re spending on things like dog spas and fancy toys, and as you can imagine, the wearables market is becoming well represented here.
Time was when sports equipment was made only from common, everyday, low-tech materials. But now sports equipment has a new, high-tech ingredient that is helping players take their game to the next level.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.