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Enhanced collaboration and better dissemination of information permits more employees’ input into new product development
ABB Cewe Control needed a more flexible and efficient solution for information dissemination and collaboration during product design and development. ABB Cewe Control, with 550 employees, is part of ABB Sweden, a global leader in power and automation technologies. ABB Cewe Control is a division of ABB Automation Technologies, which delivers solutions for control, motion, protection and plant integration across the full range of process and utility industries.
Previously, ABB Cewe Control used Team Data Manager (TDM), a component of NX™ I-deas™ Series, to manage its CAD data. However, the process of managing actual physical drawings remained a highly inefficient, multi-stage process. After a designer made a 2D drawing of a 3D I-deas model, the drawing was sent to the archives. From there, a hard copy was sent to the plant to be stored in a binder. It was no wonder that design changes were not implemented quickly on the shop floor. The drawing publication process was similarly inefficient. It involved aperture cards, which often took four or five business days to produce. During this time, designers felt locked in, and often had to wait to incorporate changes or corrections until the drawing had been published. The company needed a more flexible solution to ensure information dissemination and greater participation in the product development process.
The company is now using the Teamcenter® digital lifecycle management solution to address these issues. Teamcenter now manages all product-related information throughout the product lifecycle. This way everyone, regardless of job description, always has access to the latest versions of drawings and other documents. Teamcenter delivers a new level of process management as well.
“We used to have to do a great deal of printing, red-penciling, sending things back to the designer, making changes in CAD, etc.,” explains Stefan Kjellnäs, Teamcenter project manager at ABB Cewe Control. “This has been replaced with a flow of intermediate PDF files.” The reviewer can then click on “approve” or “reject” and add a comment. An electronic flow is created instead of having people running down the hallways with printouts and holding meetings. The previous five-day process for drawing approval offers a good example. “A drawing can now be approved with just a click of a mouse, even if the manual review work still always takes the same amount of time,” Kjellnäs adds. “There is little doubt that a comprehensive improvement in terms in efficiency has been achieved.”
The ability to work as a team, with rapid exchanges between various departments, was an important driving force for the Teamcenter implementation. The following capabilities were important requirements for ABB Cewe Control: tracing product lifecycles, generating PDF files of drawings, creating JT™ data format files from solid models for virtual mockups in a lightweight format, working with many simultaneous users, and support for multi-site operations. Teamcenter delivered all these capabilities, making true team collaboration possible.
“Because all product descriptions, manuals, service documentation, marketing materials, product modifications and so on are located in one place in the system, it is possible to work in parallel to a greater extent,” says Bo Helgesson, key account manager for Siemens. “Other units in the company, or retailers and partners, can already be creating their documents during the design phase.” If a variant of a product is to be produced, all material from the earlier version is available, and much of it can be re-used. Hard-copy management and binders are a thing of the past, since everything resides in the system and can be visualized on any desktop computer. A concrete example is the employee at the plant who wants to know how an object will look in order to see how it will be assembled or installed. Using Teamcenter, he can bring up a JT image of the design on his own computer. The alternative was to go to a designer and ask him to open the drawing in I-deas, a process that took up valuable time.
ABB Cewe Control considers the Teamcenter implementation a success based mainly on the huge time savings and considerable improvement in information dissemination that Teamcenter has enabled. The company is already thinking about expanding the Teamcenter implementation to include the electrical design department and its products, and about incorporating links to SAP, the company’s MRP system. There are also plans to migrate older AutoCAD data to the new system, and to convert the aperture cards into PDF files. Kjellnäs notes that there are many possibilities to explore.
Keys To Success:
Client's Primary Business:
ABB Cewe Control is part of ABB Automation Technologies, one of the ABB Group’s core areas – automation technology.
"There is little doubt that a comprehensive improvement in terms in efficiency has been achieved."
Teamcenter Project Manager
ABB Cewe Control
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