Manage, find, and share multi-domain design data
When looking at the issues associated with managing design data, one of major hurtles is integration with multiple vendor’s tools across multiple domains. Very often the data is either stored in multiple standalone design systems, or as random files on some local server or FTP site, making it difficult for engineers to find the right information when needed. By integrating and managing all the tools across all domains (mechanical, electronic, and software) in a PLM environment, a set of disconnected tools and processes can be transformed into an integrated design solution that helps increase productivity.
Since there may be many MCAD tools used across the design chain, PLM systems support integrations with a host of MCAD design tools and multi-CAD based assemblies. Being able to quickly filter and establish the proper design reference, the PLM system supports “in-context” based design capabilities to help the engineer understand what product variant or configuration is being worked on.
In the electrical domain, PLM systems support integration with ECAD design and part library tools to manage all the design, fabrication, and assembly data enabling engineers to find, share, and assemble accurate manufacturing packages. Acting as a central repository for ECAD part data, the PLM environment can manage parts and all their attributes to help the manufacturer ensure compliance to environmental standards. Just as importantly, this can help reduce part duplication and prevent the use of obsolete or the use of unapproved parts.
Many PLM systems can manage embedded software as a “part” along with the associated calibration and configuration parameters. When software is treated as a “part” in the product structure, the complex dependencies between signals exchanged from one system to another, one binary to another, binaries to electronics, and multiple electronic processors can be managed. Defects can be traced from the binary to the original source code through to the product requirements.
To address the needs of the CAE analyst, PLM systems enable engineers to use the CAD structure to automatically create the CAE analysis structure for many of the analysis tools. Once simulated, all of models, input parameters, and simulation results are tracked and managed, making it easier for users to quickly find and confidently incorporate the correct version of the model need to revalidate the design.
Once all this mechatronic data is managed in a PLM environment, it can be classified into searchable libraries making it faster and easier to search and find and reuse proven designs and processes.
Link and trace cross-domain dependencies
Considering all the complex interactions of all the subsystems and domains across all the possible configurations of the product, it’s easy to understand the difficulty and challenges design teams face when developing a product and then incorporating the inevitable changes.
Leveraging the power of PLM, design teams can define all the dependencies and establish the traceability between things like signals, messages, wires, software, hardware, and models to one another so they can intelligently assess the impact of proposed changes to requirements or different parts of the design. When the changes do come, PLM can provide a variety of mechanisms that graphically display the relationships and help identify the critical dependencies that must be considered and what other parts of the system will be affected.
To help further visualize and navigate multi-domain/cross-domain relationships and dependencies, PLM systems support cross-probing features to help graphically investigate dependencies and relationships between different views of the system or product structure to requirements, models, or other design elements across domains.
Dennis George is Teamcenter marketing manager with Siemens PLM.