PLM is vital for today’s systems engineering

Developing highly complex products requires contributions from specialists in multiple technical disciplines. This report tells how state-of-the-art product life-cycle management (PLM) software helps diverse engineering teams focus on the single goal of developing the best possible product in the shortest amount of time.

03/24/2009


Developing highly complex products often requires contributions from diverse technical disciplines including mechanical engineering, electronics, software-based control, fluid mechanics, hydraulics, and pneumatics. In aircraft design, for example, engine designers concentrate on the propulsion system while aerodynamicists work on flight surfaces, mechanical engineers on landing gears, and other specialists on seating, lighting and acoustics.
Ensuring the overall product design is complete and that the various subsystems all work together properly is the objective of systems engineering, a traditional holistic approach to product development that is receiving much more attention recently due to the increasing complexity of many products.
Systems engineering is closely tied to customer requirements management in meeting the many user, business, technical, and functional requirements in product development. So systems engineering solutions from various suppliers often include requirements management as a fundamental capability. Requirements management is all about ensuring that the “voice of the customer” is captured and managed throughout the product life cycle. Consequently, well-documented requirements must be managed from the customer’s point of view, shared with diverse groups, tightly linked to product deliverables, and strictly controlled to analyze the impact of changes.
Systems engineering is certainly not a new concept. Indeed, the approach has been used for decades in the aerospace, defense and automotive industries–mostly with in-house database management programs, spreadsheets, file folders, PERT charts, requirements listings, and other manual methods. These were slow, cumbersome, and often barely adequate in handling myriad details in highly complex product development programs that can last for years andinvolve hundreds–sometimes thousands–of individual groups, facilities, departments, and suppliers in global extended enterprises.
Today such limitations can be overcome by performing systems engineering with the help of product life-cycle management (PLM) solutions that support the collaborative creation, management, dissemination, and use of product definition information across the product lifecycle and throughout the extended enterprise.
Systems engineering solutions are offered by several PLM suppliers. Using a combination of technologies, the approach is much faster than manual methods and better able to manage the complex multitude of details for multidisciplinary relationships, product configurations, workflows, information-sharing, and decision-making. This radically increases the efficiency and effectiveness of systems engineering programs and helps avoid noncompliance issues and other problems by meeting these requirements with balanced designs early in the development cycle instead of spending time and resources hurriedly making changes later in the cycle.
Because of the size and growth potential of this market, systems engineering solutions are receiving higher priority from PLM providers, with solutions especially targeted at automotive, aerospace, defense, and other industries.
The good news for the general user community is that the lessons learned and best practices developed for these systems can now be leveraged by companies of all sizes across a broad range of industries including consumer products, electronics, home appliances, ship building, heavy machinery, medical equipment and many others.
With the newer commercial solutions being made available, an expanding range of companies can implement systems engineering for balancing the numerous interrelated requirements that absolutely must be met for manufacturers to survive in today’s turbulent markets and economic downturns.
About the author:
Ed Miller is president of CIMdata, an independent worldwide firm providing strategic consulting to maximize an enterprise's ability





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.
Electric motor power measurement and analysis: Understand the basics to drive greater efficiency; Selecting the right control chart; Linear position sensors gain acceptance
Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

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.