Design cycle reduced by nearly 50 percent
Integrated product development based on NX and Teamcenter fosters design re-use, eliminates previous sources of error and increases competitive edge
Oil bit leader
Kingdream Public Limited Company (Kingdream) is a Chinese Class-I high-tech enterprise specializing in oil bits. With 3,500 employees, Kingdream is the largest oil bit manufacturer in Asia. The company stresses innovation in the design of its products and has so far received 110 Chinese patents, as well as 11 patents in other countries, including the USA, Russia and Iran. Kingdream has also developed 115 proprietary technologies.
The oil roller bit, Kingdream’s main product, has a market share of more than 60 percent in China and 10 percent internationally. The company’s products are sold in 31 countries and regions, including the USA, Canada, Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Sudan. In addition, Kingdream has built a service network that covers major oil fields in China and on five continents, with 18 Chinese service stations and 6 international offices.
Lack of integration posed problems
Kingdream originally used a manual 2D design process, along with product data management (PDM) software for managing design documents.
As a consequence, design data could not be extracted and managed effectively during the design process. In addition to being unable to communicate this information to the process engineers in an accurate and timely manner, the original PDM system only managed design results. Therefore, the designers could not effectively use prior design experience and data in developing new products. As market demands dictated more complex solutions and shorter lead times, the inefficiency of these processes became apparent. Because data could not be transferred between the product design platform and the process engineering platform, designers had to enter data repeatedly, decreasing efficiency and introducing the potential for error.
The company’s original PDM system was limited to management at the document level, rather than at the data level; thus, 3D data could not be transferred automatically, nor could product data be managed in a unified manner. As a result, the company recreated designs rather than re-using existing ones, increasing product development costs.
The lack of integration between the systems reduced design efficiency, extended the design cycle, opened the door to errors, and increased product development costs. Market demands could not be met, and this restricted the growth of Kingdream’s roller bit business.
Kingdream solved these problems by implementing NX™ software and Teamcenter® software from Siemens PLM Software as a unified product lifecycle management (PLM) platform for product research and development (R&D). The company developed a roller bit design system (RBDS) using NX, with data and process management handled with Teamcenter. This system works in conjunction with the upstream sales system and downstream enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
Features of a roller, such as the roller bearing, roller tip, plug hole and long oil hole, have been modeled as parameters using NX. Changes to an existing roller can be made easily by varying one or more parameters. When one is changed, the rest of the design is updated automatically to accommodate the change. “This significantly improves the efficiency of roller design,” says Guo Zhongzhi, director of design at Kingdream. The parameters are stored as properties in Teamcenter, making it possible to query the database to find existing parts that can be re-used. In comparison with previous manual database searches, searching with Teamcenter is much faster.
Design data is also re-used for simulated bit inspections and machine programming. The data that results from these operations is also stored in the Teamcenter database, facilitating subsequent bit improvement. “The system integrates design, inspection and NC programming. Such a tightly integrated solution gives us a definite competitive advantage in the roller bits market,” says Guo Chengfu, PLM director at Kingdream.
Manufacturing resources, such as lists, fixtures, cutters and measuring devices, have been classified and this information is also stored in Teamcenter, reducing the repeated manual work and significantly shortening process design time.
Enter once, use many times
Compared with cycle times under the company’s previous process, the current design cycle is significantly faster. “Through the seamless integration of design with data management, design efficiency is improved, and importantly, the design cycle has been reduced by nearly 50 percent,” says Zhongzhi. “And our goal to ‘enter once, use many times’ has become a reality,” he adds.
Because design principles have been incorporated into Kingdream’s processes by using NX, approximately 80 percent of the design process can now take place automatically, reducing the possibility of human errors and increasing design accuracy.
Excellent cost benefits, and more
According to statistical data from the China Machinery Association, design costs account for 70 percent of a product’s cost. Kingdream has been able to reduce design costs by leveraging a seamlessly integrated platform – NX and Teamcenter. “Product functionality is assessed virtually, using simulation and finite element analysis, which reduces an important aspect of design costs,” explains Wu, Peng, head of process department. “Through seamless integration of design with the fixture system, the design period for fixtures has been reduced as well, lowering the cost of fixtures.”
He notes, “Siemens’ PLM technology not only helped us shorten the design cycle by almost 50 percent, but it also contributed to measurable across-the-board improvements in quality.”
Finally, the integration of design with manufacturing has enabled the company to optimize production processes, increasing production efficiency and reducing manufacturing costs. Improved design quality has reduced the amount of scrap. All of these changes attributed to the use of NX and Teamcenter are helping Kingdream compete in the dynamic roller bit market.