One of my favorite parts of going to conferences is learning what cool projects, products, and other cool accomplishments manufacturers have leveraged PLM for. In addition to sharing some very positive news on the market (see PLM Keeping up Momentum: Siemens PLM Analyst Conference 2011) the recent Siemens PLM analyst event showcased a number of Siemens’ customers getting real business value from PLM. I thought I would share a few examples with you. And if you want, you can hear for yourself how excited I was in this interview with Dora Smith of Siemens PLM.
One of the great things about PLM is that it can solve a wide variety of problems. In Aerojet‘s case, PLM is helping improve product quality. I blogged about Siemens Dimensional Planning and Validation (DPV) solution in Circling Back on Quality with Siemens PLM and more generally about the significant benefits available from integrating Quality Lifecycle Management (QLM) in PLM. It was great to hear a first hand example of how a company is bringing quality and engineering together, or “closing the loop on quality.” One of the really cool things – which unfortunately we didn’t actually see an example of because Aerojet serves the defense industry – is that they now display quality information (SPC data) in the context of the product – in this case graphically displaying it against a JT model of the product. John Hodur, Principle Quality Engineer explained how Aerojet is integrating inspection results with tolerance results to develop tolerance stackups using actual data. A great example of how PLM is expanding into new areas, and integrating new people and processes into Engineering.
Sometimes at conferences you not only get to hear about cool projects, you get to hear from really cool people. Yes, this is a conference focused on the intersection of engineering and software and I said cool. Really cool. The presenter was not only an engineer that worked on a really cool project to design a ground-breaking, record setting light car, but also a race car driver. So we have gone from rocket scientists to race car drivers in one post. He explained how Edison2 won the Progressive Insurance X Prize contest to build the most fuel-efficient and safe car that can carry four passengers and luggage. The results were impressive. What was also impressive was how excited he was at the toolset he used, Solid Edge. He explained how the new Synchronous Technology in Solid Edge helped them rapidly design (and more importantly redesign) the car as they went through multiple design iterations.
Another great PLM facet highlighted at the conference was integration of PLM into other systems and the positive impact it has on quality. Gordon McKechnie expressed that Rolls Royce is critical to their customers and that its products “work in industries where if a product fails it is no OK.” What an understatement! He explained that to pursue high quality – yet still maintain a very competitive cost – Rolls Royce wants to have one system managing the product across the enterprise. He explained that they have lots of point systems, but are driving to a single source of data. This is not just for PLM as most people think of it – they believe in “totally integrated PLM” that expands from product design all the way into manufacturing. In his words, “integration is key, and integration is a problem today.” A problem that Rolls Royce is leading the charge to overcome. To that end, Rolls Royce is on the leading edge of ERP-MES integration and uses both Siemens’ Teamcenter PLM and Simatic IT MES solutions. Oh and just so you don’t think we went from rockets to cars and didn’t include anything else cool, Rolls Royce makes aircraft engines – another pretty cool (and highly complex) product. Just in case you thought they made cars…
So that’s what I hear from Siemens PLM’s customers. There were other stories as well, but these were the ones that I decided to share. What do you think? Pretty cool stuff? What have you done with PLM?