Case Study

Transition to 3D yields huge cost and time savings


Internal suppliers of Samsung's production machinery upgraded to NX and saved months of development time and more than $1 million in the first year


Facing strong external competition, Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Samsung Electronics Co. needed to develop complex, highly specific production machines more efficiently.

Facing external competition

Korean electronics giant, Samsung, has many divisions. Two of them, Samsung Electro-Mechanics (SEMCO) and Samsung Electronics Co. (SEC) supply the parent company with the electronic components used in Samsung’s products. The two divisions also develop their own production machinery. The machines are large and complex, and highly task-specific.When Samsung requires a new light emitting diode (LED), for example, SEMCO or SEC creates the LED as well as the machine that produces that particular component.

SEMCO and SEC had been using a 2D design process for many years.When external companies began competing for Samsung’s component business, SEMCO and SEC management realized they needed to work more efficiently.One of the most important requirements needed was a faster design process for the machinery, in particular one that was better suited to the complexity of these machines than 2D drawings. Also, because these machines are so large, many different people design them in a collaborative process. Facilitating collaboration among team members was another critical need. A third requirement was electronic integration between design and production so that information from design can be automatically transferred to applications such as purchasing.

Customizing the upgrade

SEMCO and SEC replaced their 2D software with NX™ I-deas™ from Siemens PLM Software. But the divisions didn’t just install a new solution and leave it at that. They took advantage of Siemens’ services to optimize the system for their unique needs. For example, Siemens helped refine a previous 21-step product development process down to five steps. A custom-made wizard, called S-Design, walks users through the five steps, automating many of the tasks that previously were done manually. S-Design also converts legacy 2D drawings that are needed in a new design into 3D NX models. In the first year of operation, the divisions converted more than 30,000 2D drawings to NX models.

As part of this implementation, Siemens helped the divisions train people to use the new software. The divisions employ a strategy where key individuals receive extensive training and are then able to assist and teach their colleagues. Siemens also helped configure the NX data management system (an NX managed development environment) so that it facilitates communication among designers. In addition, Siemens integrated NX with the division’s ERP system, further optimizing the design process. Now when a design is complete, a designer simply hits one button and the necessary information is extracted from the NX model and sent to Purchasing.

Seeing the results

Since the transition to NX, the design process for production machinery has been greatly streamlined, eliminating considerable waste and resulting in a more lean design approach to product development.With many of the original 2D drawings now available as 3D models in a standard parts library, 60 percent of new modeling work has been eliminated. Any new modeling required is completed very quickly. The Siemens-generated S-Design wizard speeds the process by at least 20 percent, compared to unassisted 3D modeling. Since machines are now modeled in 3D, the quality is better and fewer design changes are required. These improvements have led to an overall decrease in the time needed to design a new machine. In the past it took five weeks. Now it takes only four.

Saving one week per machine adds up when you consider that the two divisions produce many machines each year. They estimate that the time they save by using NX, combined with fewer design modifications because of enhanced design quality, results in a $30,000 savings per machine. Last year, SEMCO realized a $300,000 savings in design costs while SEC saw a $900,000 reduction. That’s more than $1 million improvement to the bottom line, made possible by a customized application of NX technology to the design of production machinery.

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