Tightly integrated PLM solutions provide a competitive advantage
Electronics company accelerates its delivery of new products to market by adding Teamcenter to a development process based on NX
Protection from power surges
Saltek s.r.o. (Saltek) is the leading Czech producer of surge protection devices (SPD) and lightning current arresters, offering its customers an extensive portfolio of these products. Established in 1995, the company is not only the leading producer of this equipment in the Czech market; it is also an important player in the overall European market. Saltek’s equipment has been implemented in accordance with important international standards; it has also been certified by some of the prestigious auditors.
Saltek uses NX™ software from Siemens PLM Software to develop its products. “NX is used in engineering, which is the basis for the entire development process,” says Jaroslav Červík, the Teamcenter implementation external manager at Saltek. “After the electronic components are designed, plastic and metal parts are modeled in 3D using NX.”
The need to continuously innovate across its product portfolio was rapidly increasing product and process complexity. Saltek management decided it was time to augment its product development process with product lifecycle management (PLM) technology, as they needed to store and share documentation in a single data warehouse as well as automate document processing for purposes of approvals, meeting schedules, etc. Therefore, management outlined a significant, long-term proposal for submission to the European Union (EU). It was well-received; Saltek was granted an EU subsidy to implement PLM.
Improving product development with PLM
Saltek issued a request for proposals, and ultimately chose Teamcenter® software from Siemens PLM Software. “It was the best offer,” says Červík. “Teamcenter met not only our technical criteria, which involved integration with our existing applications, including the company’s information system, but importantly, our financial requirements as well.”
Teamcenter enables Saltek to monitor the entire product development process, from the very beginning when the tasks are created to tracking approvals at the end. “Our next step is to complete the integration of Teamcenter with our SAP ERP application,” says Červík.
One location for all product data
The use of Teamcenter significantly benefits users by allowing them to store and manage all product data using a single application. This is not the only significant benefit, however. “We also value the ability to create versions of documentation,” explains Červík. “This is something that directly benefits the product development team. Using Teamcenter, we create versions of documents automatically by employing set rules. The first draft of a document, created using NX, which is tightly integrated with Teamcenter, progresses into the approval phase via defined processes. The document therefore passes through the whole company, enabling every participant in the process to add comments. Engineering implements any required changes and new version of the document is created automatically. This cycle is repeated until the design process is finished. The original drafts remain in Teamcenter and can be used for the next designs.”
Červík adds, “Using Teamcenter, we can track processes as they move between business units; this is an important advantage for managers, because they are sharing processes within a system. The system is implemented company-wide; therefore all the stakeholders can comment on the design.” Červík notes that this functionality reduces development costs by 15 to 20 percent as well as speeds the development cycle, both representing major competitive advantages.
The use of Teamcenter helps to ensure that documents are updated as they move through the product development process, providing the options of monitoring and approving documents from the perspective of the business requirements. In addition, it allows for the release of documentation for production purposes.
Since installing Teamcenter, Saltek’s product development process has accelerated; it is also more transparent. “We no longer search manually for documents now that we have Teamcenter, which allows us to quickly find existing designs,” says Červík. “The result is that we can re-use existing data significantly more efficiently than we could in the past. Also, the paperwork related to manufacturing has been simplified. Another benefit is in the planning process, where it is now possible to identify those engineers and resources that are overburdened. Thanks to Teamcenter, overall, a higher level of efficiency – about a 40 percent increase – has been achieved.”
With these product and process gains, the company has measurably improved it competitive advantage, as well as has attained a stronger position in its market.