Manufacturer increases productivity by about 20 percent with the help of NX and Teamcenter
Using Siemens PLM Software solutions enables SAMS to significantly enhance competitiveness
Capturing competitive advantage
Systems and Manufacturing Spain (SAMS) designs and manufactures components, subassemblies and high-precision tooling primarily for the automotive, agricultural machinery and heavy equipment industries. It was founded over three decades ago in Manzanares, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, and has been part of multinational companies Santana and Suzuki. Eight years ago, SAMS became an independently owned Spanish organization.
The company has a staff of 120 employees working at its headquarters. In addition, SAMS has a production center with 100 employees in Torreón, Mexico. The organization serves leading worldwide manufacturers, such as John Deere, Valeo, Suzuki, Bosch, JCB, Nissan Cantabria, AGCO, BRP, and Nemak.
In addition to producing components, SAMS designs and manufactures tooling for automotive parts suppliers of well-known multinational companies, such as Lamborghini and BMW. For three years, SAMS has also participated in the alternative energy sector, including the development of state-of-the-art solar tracking equipment.
“R&D (research and development) is critical to these kind of projects,” says Juan José Caballero, head of R&D at SAMS. To meet these new business challenges, improve the productivity of the design department and increase overall operational efficiency, SAMS relies on technology from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software.
“When you mention to customers and prospects that you’re working with tools from Siemens PLM Software, they tend to be keener to grant you a project. By using NX and Teamcenter, it shows that we embrace consistent working processes, and that provides a competitive edge that translates into increased profits.”
SAMS estimates that using Siemens PLM Software solutions has enhanced the productivity of the design department of its Spanish headquarters by about 20 percent, while promoting a collaborative, flexible and single digitally-based working environment.
One of the key factors in the company’s success has been its commitment to innovation: “The machining evolves daily with new materials, tools and techniques,” says Caballero. “If you’re in this industry, you have to continuously update your processes.”
Four years ago, SAMS decided to change its 3D computer-aided design (CAD) solution to facilitate the work of its designers. “The software we used was purely associative; it didn’t enable using files in the absence of a real structure for assembly and it was difficult to use,” says María Dolores Bautistacerro, a designer at SAMS. “At the time, every designer was working separately with their own tools and parts. It wasn’t really collaborative, with one server shared and a library of parts.”
Selecting the new CAD tool didn’t take long. After analyzing the market and evaluating several suppliers, it became clear that NX™ software from Siemens PLM Software was the best choice for SAMS.
“The use of NX is widespread in our industry,” says Caballero. “Not only did we value NX because it covered all our needs, but also because our customers were using it too. For example, Suzuki uses NX, which facilitates our exchange of information for proposed models and solutions.”
NX was implemented at SAMS under the guidance of Avantek, a consulting partner of Siemens PLM Software. The staff of designers was trained in one week.
Delivering a flexible PLM solution
A year after adopting NX, SAMS identified the need to implement a PLM system to deal with more complex technical projects, such as solar equipment components. “The toolmaking projects have an important advantage in that they don’t have a long lifecycle in terms of changes and revisions,” says Caballero. “However, if you have to manufacture a car or another product that the consumer will use for a long time, you need a management system like PLM to help control the information.”
In this case, it was clear from the beginning that Teamcenter® software from Siemens PLM Software was the best choice for SAMS. “Since we were using NX, choosing a native solution like Teamcenter made a lot of sense,” says Caballero. “In addition, our customer, John Deere, is also using it, so the decision was easy. Teamcenter is a flexible tool; rather than adapting to it, the tool can be adapted to your processes.”
“Synchronous technology can save your day”
NX has become indispensable in the design department at SAMS.
“The NX tool with synchronous technology can save your day,” says Caballero. “We routinely receive 3D designs from different customers that have geometrical and topological problems, such as poorly drawn corners or a broken rounding. In order to work and collaborate effectively with our customers, we clean up the 3D with the synchronous modeler. This type of modeling saves us time, money and unnecessary angst.”
“NX enables designers to perform their task through standardized processes and powerful program features,” says Bautistacerro. “It allows us to create independent files that can be re-used, assemblies in which motion can be added, or displays in which sets can be shown in their various stages of development. And it is great for managing materials. You can tell the system which characteristics of each material you are using, instantly calculating any kind of data.”
The Teamcenter system is primarily used in SAMS’ design department, although it is also employed in the quality control and engineering departments for items such as bills of materials (BOMs) and conceptual sketches.
Caballero notes, “Working with Teamcenter enables any department to be confident that it is accessing the latest version of a project. That prevents errors.”
“One of the biggest advantages of Teamcenter is that it enables the standardization of parts and small assemblies that are used on a regular basis. Having well-documented, customized and available components for all designers represents a significant reduction in the time that we need to devote to the design process.”
Thanks to Teamcenter, several designers can work simultaneously on the same set. “When there is an emergency and you need to take a project forward in a short time, you can draw plans in real time on parts that your partner hasn’t finished; that shortens the time to complete the project,” says Caballero.
The use of Teamcenter at SAMS has significantly improved the organization of the company’s documents, and has enabled the traceability of information throughout the product development process. For example, when a client requests a replacement document, SAMS can readily access the right version. “Without a PLM system, that would be very difficult,” says Caballero. “With Teamcenter, you can organize everything efficiently by creating a library that will be useful to everyone. This is a tool that is easy-to-use and enables you to work quickly.”
Another highlight of Teamcenter is it supports various file formats, such as spreadsheets, PDFs, dimensional reports and files created through NX.
The Teamcenter digital signature and workflows are also used at SAMS. “We have workflows for tooling and for mechanical equipment,” says Caballero. “We use these tools mostly for external projects in which supporting documentation is required. That way, we save on bureaucracy and paperwork.”
Fully digitized and looking to the future
The use of Siemens PLM software solutions has not only enabled the digitization of the business processes at SAMS, but it also enabled an optimized process that is intuitive.
SAMS is thinking about implementing NX and Teamcenter at its production center in Mexico. “In competitive and demanding industries such as automotive, the use of NX and Teamcenter deliver added value that can be crucial to securing new projects,” notes Caballero.