PLM Expands into Factory Automation

The expansion of PLM into factory automation provides a major point of integration between the traditional arena of PLM and the production planning arena of enterprise resource planning (ERP). Indeed, factory automation and product structure definition are areas of heavy overlap.

08/26/2009


Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) once focused almost exclusively on engineering design but now includes many other disciplines such as product planning, quality engineering, customer service and maintenance. One particular expansion of PLM strategies has been a push to become more closely integrated with factory automation systems such as MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems)and PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers).

This migration of PLM onto the shop floor provides an opportunity to share and leverage product-related information from both environments, enabling manufacturing information to be incorporated earlier into product development, while knowledge of production-related issues flows more readily back into the product design process.

Major initiatives are underway to expand PLM with digital manufacturing for developing production processes and simulating factory-floor workflow. Similarly, PLM has long been involved with NC programming for individual machine tools. Integrating PLM and factory automation takes this whole evolution a step further to control of entire workcells on the shop floor.

The expansion of PLM into factory automation provides a major point of integration between the traditional arena of PLM and the production planning arena of enterprise resource planning (ERP). Indeed, factory automation and product structure definition are areas of heavy overlap between PLM and ERP. Integration provides the opportunity to share and leverage key product-related information from both environments, and it offers excellent opportunities to better integrate the entire manufacturing enterprise.

Serious moves forward

Both ERP and PLM suppliers have an opportunity to seriously move toward meeting this need. In fact, more emphasis on this area can be seen from major ERP suppliers with more substantive programs for ERP-MES integration. Clearly, there also will be a significant impact on suppliers of factory automation solutions as well as PLM suppliers.

The availability of more integrated PLM-factory automation capabilities should raise the competitive pressure on traditional suppliers of factory automation solutions and increase industry attention on such solutions. Movement of the PLM market toward greater integration with production systems will undoubtedly impact the competitive landscape for suppliers of broad-based comprehensive PLM solutions as well as suppliers of more limited-scope offerings.

Commercial availability of integrated PLM-factory automation solutions notwithstanding, companies must absolutely find ways to justify and fund these investments - especially in today's economic slump. Organizations wanting to take advantage of the value offered by broad PLM solutions integrated with factory automation must raise the level of the investment discussions to include the full executive team—including managers on the VP level as well as CEOs, CIOs, and CTOs—and consider these investments as critical enterprise-wide initiatives. Integration with factory automation ensures manufacturing's key role in PLM strategies, and significantly enhances the overall business value of these solutions as design, manufacturing, and information management are more fully integrated.

The expanding scope of an integrated PLM and factory automation vision and strategy requires re-thinking and solid effort to be effective. The potential business value is too significant to ignore, however, and forward-thinking companies will be leading this movement as PLM's footprint takes a big step onto the factory floor.

Significant technical challenges and organizational barriers notwithstanding, early adopters that put in the time and effort into integrating PLM and factory automation have a tremendous opportunity to highly differentiate themselves on an otherwise level playing field and emerge as clear business winners in the coming years.

Ed Miller is president of CIMdata Inc. , an independent, global consulting firm specializing in PLM technologies and services.

 

Siemens bets ERP/PLM integration will continue apace

 





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me