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NX-Teamcenter combination enables knowledge sharing across a geographically distributed environment to deliver product innovation and technical excellence
Leitner-Technologies has always optimized and leveraged company knowledge throughout different industries, using insightful intuition to deliver innovation. Founded more than a century ago, the company focused first on the production of farm machines and turbines. Passion for research resulted in several patents and in a broadening of interests that led the company to assert itself as a solutions supplier featuring advanced global technologies in the sectors of rope rising systems, snow cats, urban transport and wind power systems.
A series of acquisitions transformed the company into an international group with more than 50 companies and 80 assistance centers.
Even before moving to 3D development, the company integrated design data with the company’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This enabled design revision statements to be automatically updated within its ERP system. When the managers of Leitner-Technologies decided to assess a move to 3D design, complete and accurate tests on four product development solutions were performed. The tests were conducted by employees throughout the company’s technical offices.
“We had a clear picture of our needs as well as of our expectations in the passage to 3D CAD,” says Alois Sparber, CIO of Leitner SpA. “For sure, we were aiming to optimize productivity within our research and development sector, as well as to reduce design, development and production costs; but for our organization, the keywords were two: cooperation and re-use.”
As for the geographical distribution of the Leitner-Technologies technical offices, Sparber states: “It is a key element. So, besides CAD, we needed a product lifecycle management (PLM) system in order to manage the information among the various offices.” Managing to carefully classify all the parts and groups used in the projects, Leitner-Technologies aimed to not only upgrade data re-use on behalf of the designers across the whole group; but also to simplify and speed up the work flow in all countries where Leitner-Technologies is present. This required implementation in different languages.
At the end of the assessment process (end of 2002), Leitner-Technologies found the NX™-Teamcenter® software combination to be the most suitable solution to its design and product lifecycle management needs. “We chose the highly advanced NX system, which proved to respond in full to the targets we had established with the transition to 3D design,” notes Sparber. “We completed the passage from uniquely 2D design to advanced 3D modeling, thus implementing a distributed environment with cross-country and cross-company design, in line with the multinational structure of the group.”
The use of NX allowed the company to achieve important successes, including winning a competition for the implementation of a new product. “The three-rope systems for this project have been completely developed with NX,” explains Christian Allegrini, Research and Development, Rope Systems, Leitner-Technologies. “The Siemens software is the primary reason we won the competition, because among the various advantages, it allowed us to submit the project to the client in a virtual way. We were able to deliver a very sophisticated rendering in the final environmental context accompanied by extremely detailed process information.”
Siemens PLM Software’s consultants worked side by side with Leitner-Technologies’ people, moving in accord with step-by-step plans to optimize and customize the software according to the company’s specific needs. “Classification and re-use of all the parts were crucial for us,” says Klaus Erharter, Research and Development division manager, Leitner-Technologies. “Siemens PLM Software developed a sophisticated classifier specific to our requirements, which we then implemented across our distributed environment to achieve maximum data re-use. In order for the classifier to be really efficient in our organization, it needed to be customized to manage drawings and design revision statements with a preset multilanguage capability. For each new component created, the capability needed to automatically create a definition in five languages – one that could be verified and approved by the appropriate experts in the various countries.”
Erharter points out that all of the company’s document management and technical specifications are now available across languages and countries. “Among the important advantages we gained from the use of the classifier is the availability of the information for re-use by all worker categories, not just for designers,” he says. “The classifier has become a centralized environment, where knowledge is stored and shared by everyone.”
Data availability across an organization is particularly important, especially as the number of CAD users is often substantially less than the number of total system users. Such is the case at Leitner-Technologies, where there are about 85 NX licenses and more than 160 stations of Teamcenter.
To cooperate effectively with external engineering offices, data security is essential; therefore information access must be regulated. “All of our drawings can be consulted directly from the ERP system on behalf of users, who can view the design drawings directly in non-editable .tif format,” explains Sparber. “On the other hand, our technologies are often patented and strategic to our operations, therefore they must be properly preserved.” He notes, “Together with Siemens PLM Software technicians, we conceived a solution that allows us to regulate information access without jeopardizing the efficiency of data re-use. It is an innovative management tool organized for product typologies and not for project groups. The tool changes the safety levels between standard parts accessible for all and other specifications reserved only for appropriate users.”
Another key element for companies providing offerings destined to remain in service for decades, such as is the case with the Leitner-Technologies portfolio, is the traceability of the product throughout its lifecycle. This includes explicit tracking of changes made to projects, product updates and installed elements. “Using Teamcenter, all revisions are clear and traced; we keep perfect historical records of all projects,” Sparber says. “Owing to the advanced document management of Teamcenter, we can attach key information to every object, including renderings, technical data, calculations, quality information, instructions and various prescriptions.”
Working with Siemens PLM Software, Leitner-Technologies plans on further improvements to its product development environment through an evolutionary approach. As an extension to the implemented PLM System, the company is now ready to explore digital manufacturing solutions. “We are ready to work on further increasing design performance by changing some methods,” says Sparber. “We are interested in seeing the possibilities that digital manufacturing has to offer. This is one of the natural discovery areas for a company like Leitner-Technologies, which designs as well as produces from within.”
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Client's Primary Business:
Leitner-Technologies’ global solutions feature advanced technologies in the sectors of rope lifting systems, snow cats, urban transport and wind power systems.
"Using Teamcenter, all revisions are clear and traced, so we keep perfect historical records of all projects."
"Siemens PLM Software developed a sophisticated classifier specific to our requirements, which we then implemented across our distributed environment to achieve maximum data re-use. The classifier has become a centralized environment, where knowledge is stored and shared by everyone."
Research and Development Division Manager
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