Achieving a strategic edge
China Gas Turbine Establishment
China Gas Turbine Establishment integrates digital product data and processes to improve production management and business efficiency
Providing core research and product development technology
Founded in 1965, China Gas Turbine Establishment (CGTE) is one of the most important institutes that perform core scientific research, product development and system qualification testing for China’s aero engine industry. As a member of AVIC Aviation Engine Co., Ltd., CGTE has significantly contributed to the development of gas turbine technology. During the past 20 years, CGTE has leveraged and extended its aerospace experience to develop civil machinery for the electronics, automotive, light-industrial and computer software industries. Many of CGTE’s technology initiatives have facilitated the development of advanced machinery products – many of which had never been manufactured in China before.
Breaking the business development bottleneck
As CGTE’s product development tasks increased and its use of CAD technology advanced, the institute was faced with an increasing demand for new product development tools and product data management (PDM) capabilities. Traditional 2D design technology had become insufficient to fully meet CGTE’s product information needs, especially with respect to providing the solid models needed for CAE and CAM or the more sophisticated functionality required for virtual assembly, interference checking and digital mockup analysis. In addition, manual data management techniques had become unsustainable as the volume of CGTE’s electronic product data increased. The issues resulting from the manual approach were particularly noticeable within CGTE’s engineering teams, where unwieldy data searches, excessive part design duplication and serious revision- and release-level inconsistencies between electronic documents and paper-based drawings negatively impacted both design and production efficiency.
With these issues in mind during the early months of 2006, CGTE decided to launch a PDM initiative at the same time it selected and initiated a new 3D design system. CGTE had a very clear objective in mind: the institute wanted to establish an advanced digital product development solution that was capable of delivering enhanced design tools as well as meeting the design collaboration requirements of its engineering organization, particularly with respect to file query, version management, security, confidentiality and data sharing.
Implementing processes according to industry needs
“We decided to implement our new product lifecycle management (PLM) system so that we could manage our own product data,” says Fu Yu, overall structure director, PDM, China Gas Turbine Establishment. To ensure optimal integration of 3D and PDM technologies and to facilitate seamless cooperation with companies in the same industry, CGTE selected NX™ software and Teamcenter® software, both from Siemens PLM Software, as the foundation for its PLM approach.
In 2006, CGTE implemented phase one of this initiative by migrating its design system to NX and implementing key capabilities such as product design data management, design data version control, process management, authority management and organization structure management. Users quickly became fully engaged in solid modeling, virtual assembly and digital prototyping.
Phase two was initiated in 2007 with CGTE establishing an enterprise-level PDM database in two separate locations so that different sets of local users could access the same design data. This enabled the company to realize multi-site collaboration, common workflow processes and faster data transmission. Just as importantly, phase two enabled CGTE to establish both global and local versions of various parts and components so that some parts could be shared globally and others only locally. At this time, CGTE also implemented powerful revision and change management controls.
Siemens PLM Software experts worked closely with CGTE during phase two to help create industry-specific templates, organization structures, application-specific workflows, business rules, classifications and other functionality for a testing system environment, as well as for the entire product development system.
Realizing a strategic operational advantage
With the successful completion of the first two phases of its PLM implementation, CGTE has achieved what management feels is a strategic process edge. All of the improvements resulting from the NX and Teamcenter PLM implementation are crucial to CGTE’s plan for automating the whole product development cycle. “By implementing NX and Teamcenter, we have achieved significant advantages in terms of our product development, product data management and even workflow control,” says Yu. “We are very impressed with the results.”
Using NX as the foundation for its top-down development approach, CGTE is realizing tangible gains across processes. 3D data is now being fully leveraged, resulting in significantly reduced work across the engineering design stage, production of innovative, high-value designs and tight control over all product development operations.
With Teamcenter, CGTE teams are exchanging product data instantaneously, re-using more designs and documents, and dramatically reducing the number of duplicate parts and components produced. Management is now in sync with overall project status, including the execution of individual work tasks. This is resulting in substantially reduced development costs. Teamcenter is also facilitating online electronic design/document approval, revision control and version management, as well as automatic BOM generation.
In addition, the ability of Teamcenter to execute CGTE’s technical standards and specifications is an important benefit. Strict execution of these standards is crucially important to the company’s goal of delivering the highest quality products to CGTE’s customers and management’s goal of capturing a leading position among the industry’s best.