Product Lifecycle Management in Manufacturing: Part 2

In last week’s post I walked through a manufacturing use case without Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). I hope you noticed the possible issues and costs related to restricting Manufacturing direct access to PLM and engineering data.

If you missed last weeks post, you can read it here:

Product Lifecycle Management in Manufacturing: Part 1

This week I will use the same use case story. The only difference will be manufacturing has access to PLM. I have also included manufacturing specific modules, which are run through PLM as well. Manufacturing has access to these modules and uses them for all Manufacturing planning.

As before, Engineering completes a new product design and starts a release process of the product in PLM. One major difference now, is Manufacturing personnel are included at appropriate points in the new release process. There is a full integration between PLM and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems as well. This integration allows for automatic transfer of the Manufacturing Bill of Materials (BoM) to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) when appropriate based on processes managed in PLM.

One thing to note on the outline below; each system task, since it is in PLM, has links to all the required information engineering released as well as any supporting information. This is including manufacturing information, customer specification, and supplier specifications on purchased parts.

Part 1: Release Process

The lead Manufacturing Engineer receives a PLM task asking him to begin manufacturing planning for this associated new products design.

Part 2: Manufacturing Planning

The manufacturing engineer begins the layout of manufacturing processes in the PLM Manufacturing Planning System. This includes planning at each work cell. Each cell is linked to required resources, parts, CAD data, and manufacturing documents required to complete that cell action. With the correct system, this will have included all metrics required to properly and completely plan a manufacturing process.

If required, a Manufacturing BoM is based off of, and linked to, the Design BoM. This allows the Manufacturing Engineer to restructure the BoM as needed to allow for the most efficient manufacturing processes without losing ties to the design BoM and parts the manufacturing BoM was created from.

Once complete, work instructions can be created in web form or be printed to paper from this plan. The work instructions would include links to the correct Engineering data and required manufacturing documentation.

Part 3: Release Process Continues

Once the Manufacturing Engineer completes their planning tasks, all required parts and Manufacturing BoMs, are automatically added and/or updated into the ERP system via an integration to PLM.

During this same process, PLM system tasks are sent to purchasing to start the procurement process.

Tasks are also sent to the tooling designers to start tooling generation.

As mentioned, these tasks are automatically linked to all the required engineering and manufacturing information to appropriately complete each task.

Part 4: Tooling and Controls Tasks

Tooling designers access PLM to generate their tooling data and controlling programs directly from engineering 3D data.

The resulting CAD and other tooling data are also saved to the PLM system. This data is linked to Engineering data, Manufacturing data, and the Manufacturing process plan.

Machining paths and other controlling programs generated are also created and saved to PLM with the same functionality mentioned above.

Having these links from manufacturing to engineering data allows for full impact analyses of any potential changes being planned for the product by the company. As well as insures all downstream data is updated appropriately when an engineering change does occur.

Part 5: In-Process Change by Engineering

While ramp up is happening, Engineering makes a last-minute change. Once the change is complete in Engineering, they start a change process that includes all downstream departments. Each department receives a PLM system task with the all required information related to the change linked to the task. This includes purchasing, manufacturing, tooling, etc. Each department acts upon the change, completing all internal department actions required.

Once all of the departments have completed their tasks in PLM, the change has been completed. Manufacturing ramp up continues leading into the initial manufacturing process.

Part 6: Issue Tracking and Correction During Manufacturing

During the initial manufacturing process, a manufacturing team member notices there is a clearance issue with the design. The team member verbally notifies their cell leader of this issue. The cell leader creates a change request in the PLM System. During that process, he creates a digital markup that is saved with the change request. The change request is created referencing the engineering data the issue is related to.

The engineer responsible receives a PLM system task notifying of this problem. The engineer takes the needed corrective actions and updates the CAD data. This CAD data is then revised released and included in the problem report.

The cell leader receives the notification the problem report was approved and corrected. The updated CAD data is included, the cell leader and the manufacturing floor team member can now reference the new data directly from PLM and make the needed correction.

This happens many times during the initial manufacturing process. The necessary PLM processes are initiated based on the issues found during the initial manufacturing run.

Manufacturing uses PLM to gain access to engineering data because it always references the latest released information. This insures nothing is made from outdated information.

Part 7: Final Product Release

The final product is released to the customer.

All as-built information has been saved in PLM, meaning most of the related engineering data has been changed via the PLM process capturing changes. Anything that hasn’t been corrected yet is also saved via electronic markups to be processed later.

Part 8: Another Manufacturing Run

One year later, the company needs to do a manufacturing run on this same product. However, they have a large turnover with their manufacturing employees. Only a few people are there that worked on the first production run of this product. Without the use of PLM, this could be a disaster. However, all as-built changes where captured in PLM for the first production run of this product and manufacturing is still using PLM to access all build information. This allows manufacturing the ability to properly prepare for the next run. This resulted in very few, if any, issues during the next production run.

Hopefully it is easy to see the benefits of giving manufacturing direct access to PLM, even based on this limited use case example.

There are many benefits to utilizing PLM in manufacturing. Much more than is appropriate to list in a blog. If you’d like to take a deeper dive, please contact one of our experts here at EAC. We would love to talk you through all the benefits PLM utilized in manufacturing could offer you.

In the meantime, reading our eBook, “Designing an Effective Change Control Process” may be helpful. We walk you through how to design a change control process to improve productivity and reduce quality issues.

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