Ground-breaking PLM practices improve ability to compete
NX and Teamcenter boost quality and efficiency, enabling a 30 percent increase in equipment designs without a corresponding increase in staff
Ground breaking for 150+ years
Founded in 1857, Kleemann produces large stationary and mobile crushing and screening machines. Kleemann’s “quarry line” equipment processes all sorts of natural stone into highquality aggregates used for the production of concrete and asphalt. To recycle reinforced concrete, rubble and asphalt, Kleemann’s “contractor line” is especially designed to face the needs of a growing branch. After introducing an international quality management system, the company found it necessary to optimize its product information management practices. Previously there had been problems related to drawing quality, the change process and the validity of the releases and documentation.
Designers in the company’s technical office, as well as in the two project engineering departments (one for stationary systems and one for mobile systems), had been using a 2D CAD system with integrated data management. However, a preliminary investigation revealed that the problems they were experiencing with their product data could not be eliminated if they stayed with this system. “As a result, when we were looking for new software, we only considered the more comprehensive product description made possible by 3D, in a system with corresponding PDM functions,” says Ulrich Mang, Kleemann’s quality assurance manager at the time.
Kleemann’s experienced employees have extensive product knowledge at their disposal – not just in project engineering and design, but also regarding production and assembly. As the enterprise was growing, and there was increased outsourcing of engineering and production tasks, it became important to systematically compile and centrally document more and more of this knowledge. Individual product components for a mobile impact crusher and jaw crusher, for example, or for screening or secondary crushing equipment, were redrawn over and over again to meet each new set of operating conditions. In this process, not all existing knowledge was leveraged.
Successful selection process
Mang headed a team that developed a product lifecycle management (PLM) concept designed to be implemented with a single partner. This partner had to migrate the existing ME10 data and create an interface to the company’s production planning system (PPS), ITfocus (today proAlpha), with master data from both systems bidirectionally exchanged. After an extensive selection process that included test installations, Siemens PLM Software was awarded the contract.
Kleemann implemented the Teamcenter® digital lifecycle management system at 20 workstations, along with ten seats of NX™ digital product development software. These were supplemented by two programs from BCT Technology: Easyplot and ME10 Manager.
Since then, Kleemann has been profiting from its decision to go with the Siemens solution, particularly in the design of mobile machinery. For example, one of the company’s leading machines, the mobile jaw crusher MC 110, was designed completely in 3D. This machine processes up to 240 tons per hour depending on the composition of the material, in a temperature spectrum of -20 to +50 degrees Celsius. A physical prototype was not built. Instead a virtual assembly was created in NX. It was approximately 500 megabytes in size and contained around 3,000 components.
“Due to the perfect visualization of 3D, we settled many problems in design conferences that may not have been detected using a 2D design process,” reports Mang, now head of the technical department. “As a result, both in the installation as well as after the delivery, no additional significant errors occurred.” Not only was the first machine of a new product line installed without problems, it also was able to withstand the enormous stresses caused by vibration, abrasion and loading during use at the customer’s site.
Controlling product variants
The individual components (the feed unit, jaw crushers and impact crushers) of the Kleemann crushing machines, as well as its screening machines, are designed according to the material that will be processed, but the basic structure remains the same. Mobile systems must also conform to certain height and size restrictions. “Parametric design facilitates this considerably,” says Mang. There are approximately 150 individual components available from the Kleemann machine library that can be used for the preparation of client-specific project variants built in process-specific combinations.
To control product variation, basic models are now being developed to record the most important process knowledge. If functional interrelationships and the permissible value ranges of processdeterminant parameters are recorded in models, they can be controlled in the future using NX WAVE technology.
Similar advantages have been seen already in the redesign of the running gears for mobile equipment. The number of the necessary ribbings in the mobile beam is now determined via parameters that are related to the length and wheel diameters, with the necessary individual parts of the weldment automatically generated. Likewise the switch cabinet and its enclosure are derived from a basic model and not reinvented every time. “In this way we accelerated our projects and eliminated countless sources of error,” says Mang.
The Teamcenter project management functionality provides a chronological overview of the design. “With the help of a few milestones we check whether our components are finished on schedule,” Mang adds. “In the process we are experiencing a higher adherence to delivery dates in spite of increasing workloads.”
Better information access
Master part data is optionally created and automatically synchronized in the PPS system or in the Teamcenter navigator. Parts lists are still transferred manually. And drawings remain integral to operations. However, the new method of working has led to significant improvements.
“Earlier, many modules were not represented or their submodules were not updated,” reports Horst Kirschmann, a designer in Kleemann’s technical department. “This resulted in surprises and separate decisions during the installation. Today all of the modules are documented significantly better and more clearly. Through the use of 3D models, changes are automatically included.”
In addition, the physical creation of drawings has significantly improved through the use of plot management software. Now all desired documents can be output individually or in whole sets – a fact that significantly facilitates a systematic way of working. Employees in production and assembly use Teamcenter via the web to access drawings, radically decreasing inquiries, delays and uncertainties. In the future, external suppliers and service providers will also have access to the projects they are processing via VPN or Citrix. Likewise technical documentation is also being improved. With a new tool, exploded drawings for showing replacement part scenarios are prepared more efficiently.