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Reichle & De-Massari AG (R&M) is a leading supplier of passive cabling solutions for high quality communication networks. Its copper and fiber optic systems make a significant contribution worldwide toward ensuring maximum network availability. With excellent products and forward-looking system design, the family-run R&M ensures that networks are sustainable and that investments are safeguarded in the long term.
R&M has doubled its revenue in the last five years and improved earnings before interest and tax to around 10 percent of revenue. Worldwide, almost 700 people work for the company, one-third of them outside of the company’s base in Switzerland, with significant revenue generated internationally. R&M has an aggressive growth strategy, operating in 110 countries on all continents. The goal is continued strong revenue growth and increased market share in the next five years.
Innovative products and solutions are the tradition at R&M and the foundation for the company’s future. For this reason the cabling specialist has always worked with the most powerful software. It adopted the I-deas™ solution in 1995, starting with 2D and later upgrading to 3D and integrated data management with Team Data Manager. After careful deliberation, the company decided to follow the migration path suggested by Siemens PLM Software and switch to the NX™ digital product development solution.
“The procurement of a new CAD system is an important process and the decision must bear up for many years,” says Andreas Birrer, manager of material lifecycle management. “It’s not just about being able to draw as simply and efficiently as possible. We also have to prepare ourselves for future demands and conditions.We took part in courses, bought test licenses, spoke to providers and compared leading software packages.”
Andreas Ryser, head of the development department in Wetzikon, adds: “Although the functions of other CAD systems would have been adequate for us at first glance, it was mainly the ability to leverage all of our legacy data, the license neutrality and the completely integrated modules that spoke in favor of migration to NX at that time.”
A further argument was the simplicity of data exchange with suppliers; many tool manufacturers and plastic injection molders were already working with NX. “Besides that, we are positioning ourselves as a high-end provider of cabling solutions, so we also want to work with a state-of-the-art tool, that is, with a high-end system,” Ryser adds.
“We could not immediately grasp the changes and influences in converting to the so-called master model concept by NX, and Siemens PLM Software’s broad experience was very helpful to us,” says Rolf Heusser, the CAD administrator. “Siemens PLM Software assisted us even before the system decision... in searching for solutions to the inconsistencies of the old database, in the preparation for the conversion and in providing us with contacts of other customers in Switzerland who had already performed the migration.”
R&M followed Siemens PLM Software’s recommendation and performed the migration in several steps. First, Team Data Manager was converted to NX Manager, the Teamcenter® software basic module for the administration of design data. I-deas was subsequently replaced by NX. “Hundreds of drawings were checked, adapted and converted to a uniform structure. We didn’t want to compromise at all and we were sure that only this procedure could be successful and provide the basis for the greatest possible benefit. Following very good, extensive correction of the data, we converted to NX overnight – the migration was very successful,” says Heusser proudly.
Siemens PLM Software has proved once again that data can be excellently migrated from another CAD system to NX. The exchange of data has become even simpler thanks to the new Synchronous Technology in NX. Imported components can be parameterized, facilitating the work of tool and mold makers. Existing data can be transferred to the new environment and changed using Synchronous Technology. “This work is finished at R&M, but all companies that want to change from I-deas or another system to NX can look forward to it,” says Ryser. “Synchronous Technology is a milestone in digital product development.”
The conversion to NX was completed very quickly. All new product development is now done exclusively with NX, and I-deas is used only for migration work. R&M is well equipped for the future. In addition to NX for product development, the company uses the integrated analysis and simulation tools, NX Nastran and NX Advanced FEM. “Demand is increasing to bring products onto the market faster; this is vital in order to survive,” says Heusser. “Thanks to simulations we save time and money, because we use only virtual prototypes for as long as possible before building physical prototypes.”
R&M management had originally planned to introduce a new ERP system first and then evaluate product data management (PDM) systems. However the question of whether product data should be administered at the ERP level or near CAD with the Teamcenter digital lifecycle management system was decided in Teamcenter’s favor.
Other factors in Teamcenter’s favor included the fact that developers could use it to increase the modularity of R&M’s products. In addition, Siemens PLM Software fulfilled R&M’s demand for flexibility, and Teamcenter integrated with NX with no interfacing problems. Management decided to introduce Teamcenter before the ERP system to take full advantage of its functionality one year earlier than planned. Since then R&M has decided on SAP as the new ERP solution for the administration of capital, operating resources and staff.
The introduction of Teamcenter changed the way R&M views product data, shifting the focus away from drawings. “We haven’t just changed the system,” says Ryser, “First and foremost, we have introduced a new data model.”
R&M had high expectations for the new software and Birrer is convinced that the implementation has paid off. “Teamcenter is important for our future because we can standardize processes worldwide across production sites, access a central source of information and reuse both product and process knowledge to a greater extent,” he says. “We save a great deal of time and money as a result.”
Next, R&M wants to implement the link between Teamcenter and SAP with Teamcenter Gateway for SAP from Siemens partner, TESIS PLMware. This way all of the data from both systems can be synchronized and work sequences can be realized seamlessly across systems. Ryser cannot yet put into figures the added value gained by the migration to NX and Teamcenter. “We only started to work with it recently; it is still too early for concrete numbers or results,” he explains. “What is clear, however, is that we now possess uniform data and the view of this data is integral and transparent. That is important for us, because we want to expand our business internationally.
“The effort appears to be large at the start of the conversion, particularly with regard to the legacy data, but the work pays off later,” Ryser continues. He has three good tips for companies that want to change to NX and Teamcenter. “The most important point is to correct the legacy data, without compromise,” he says. “Then it pays you to migrate in two steps – first to NX Manager, then to NX. The schedule should not be too ambitious. New processes and structures must be introduced and the employees have to be trained.”
Besides linking to SAP, Ryser is planning one more large project – to introduce NX and Teamcenter worldwide. “The migration went extremely well,” says Birrer in summary. “Not least thanks to the professional support from Siemens PLM Software. We spoke to the right people at Siemens at every level. The cooperation was very much goal-oriented. We speak the same language and our cultures are similar.”
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Reichle & De-Massari is a leading supplier of passive cabling solutions for high-quality communication networks using copper or glass fibers.
"Synchronous Technology is a milestone in digital product development."
Head of Development
Reichle & De-Massari
"Teamcenter is important for our future because we can standardize processes worldwide across production sites, access a central source of information and re-use both product and process knowledge to a greater extent."
Head of Development
Reichle & De-Massari
"Data can be used throughout the company. Downstream we have far fewer uncertainties than before and we work far more efficiently."
Head of Development
Reichle & De-Massari
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