Aerospace & Defense
Innovation and collaborative, synchronized program management for new programs
AO AEM Technologies manufactures large reactors, heat exchangers, containments, vessels, boilers, oil refinery, hydrocarbon processing, and nuclear power plant equipment.
AO AEM Technologies, also called Atommash, is one of the leading Russian energy engineering companies. The company was established in 2007 as a subsidiary of AO Atomenergomash, a Rosatom Corporation company. AO AEM Technologies manages its main engineering office in St. Petersburg, a Petrozavodskmash facility in Petrozavodsk, and an Atommash site in Volgodonsk. Atommash has been built to manufacture the entire range of nuclear power plant (NPP) equipment: reactors, steam generators, handling machinery, pressure compensators, and bioshields. In the 1990s, the company began making oil and gas and thermal power equipment and pipeline fittings.
The company needed to upgrade its manufacturing facilities, train personnel, streamline in-house business processes and, at the same time, shorten the NPP equipment’s production cycles while maintaining high quality and reliability. Information technologies such as the product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions from Siemens PLM Software play a crucial role in solving these tasks. The company has been using NX™ software and Teamcenter® software as a design tool for 10 years and has mastered 3D modeling. Atommash has become one of the key customers in the manufacturing industry in Russia. Quite logically, the company decided to preserve and further develop the well-known NX and Teamcenter solutions as a platform for computer-aided design, engineering and manufacturing (CAD/CAM/CAE) and PLM. Borlas Consulting Group, a major Siemens PLM Software partner in Russia, was chosen as the system integrator and contractor to perform the Teamcenter customization and functionality enhancement project.
“NX has been used long and successfully together with Teamcenter,” says Anton Dumin, CIO, AO AEM Technologies. “But we had to use in-house solutions for process planning. So we wanted to switch the process planning from the legacy systems to Teamcenter. We needed an end-to-end process related to product structure, and separate design and engineering BOMs. All this is available in Teamcenter.”
The company had a patchwork automation infrastructure consisting of both in-house and off-the-shelf systems. The process planning strategy was unacceptable: two systems were used to manage product structure, and three systems stored the regulatory information. It was no longer possible to improve and maintain the legacy solutions; it was hard to predict the process planning timeframes and there was no real integration with the SAP® solution for enterprise resource planning (ERP).
As the number of orders grew dramatically, the process planning insufficiency became obvious and some appropriate steps had to be taken. One of the primary steps was launching a project to switch the process planning completely to the solutions from Siemens PLM Software. The project’s key objectives included the following.
Under the new production planning project, the Borlas team and the company’s information technology (IT) staff have developed and implemented the following capabilities within the Teamcenter environment.
The IT department had to establish a concurrent process planning approach: the machining, welding, and heat treatment planners work on the same product simultaneously. Within the project this task has been solved by developing nested processes. In addition, the IT staff developed a single source of process planning data and process consistency checking tools. “Today, I’m confident that the Teamcenter process planning solutions we have implemented are unparalleled for the Russian manufacturing industry,” notes Oleg Apanasik, CIO, Atommash.
Today, the product portfolio includes more than 1,000 different products consisting of 50,000 assemblies and 150,000 parts. In 2015, the company implemented 61 major projects (equipment sets) including 24 for NPPs, 11 for hydrocarbon processing, 26 pipeline fitting sets, and more than 200 customized tooling sets.
The company uses Teamcenter to manage all the corporate data and projects. NX is used for 3D design. “All the product drawings are associated with 3D models,” Apanasik says. “As the model changes, the drawing is updated automatically. We have estimated that 3D modeling has accelerated the drawing editing efforts by more than 250 percent while quality has improved through removing interference errors typical of 2D design.”
There is a corporate SharePoint team services web portal to access the design, manufacturing, and regulatory data repository. All drawings, processes and ECOs are stored in a digital database accessible to any Atommash employee with the required access rights. The company has drastically reduced document search time and eliminated any errors caused by releasing the wrong drawing or process version to manufacturing.
NX CAM is used for numerical control (NC) code development from 3D models of parts to be machined and for tooling design and manufacturing. In 2015, the company developed and introduced more than 250 NC programs, 43 of which were very complex.
At Atommash the geometry created with NX is subsequently applied to seven types of analysis: structural, seismic, thermal, stability, cyclic strength, low-cycle fatigue, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Both ANSYS® software and NX CAE are used, and the results perfectly match. “In 2015, we completed 315 analyses of oil and gas and NPP equipment,” Apanasik says. “For example, we performed a steam generator structural analysis for Rostov NPP, a structural analysis of the articulated trailer to ship the generator, and many others.”
The IT department at Atommash independently provided NX and Teamcenter training, and established a dedicated computer lab. Ninety designers and 60 process planners have been taught. “We entered into an agreement with Siemens PLM Software and opened a certified training center in Volgodonsk equipped with fully functional academic versions of Teamcenter and NX,” Apanasik explains. “I’m proud to say that Atommash has gained excellent competency with Siemens PLM Software solutions. We are able to train both our personnel and teams from other Rosatom companies.”
One of the key drivers that has contributed to the successful Atommash PLM project completion is the commitment and support of AO AEM Technologies’ senior management. “The leader’s contribution cannot be overestimated,” Dumin notes. “I’m positive we would never have reached such results without the director general’s ongoing and extensive support. He has closely supervised all the projects.”
Another important success driver is the perfect 3D modeling competency with the world’s most advanced technologies and solutions from Siemens PLM Software that Atommash has developed over a decade prior to project launch. The right choice of a software vendor and a system integrator is as important as the software itself. “We are thankful to the Borlas team for their professional approach, respectful attitude towards our requirements and suggestions, and their endless patience and understanding,” Apanasik says.
Finally, every Atommash employee has contributed to the success, including the eight IT department experts who were involved with the process planning automation project.
The deployment of NX and Teamcenter represent a key factor in reaching one of Atommash’s strategic objectives: improving quality and shortening production cycles. The deployed solutions have dramatically improved manageability, which is extremely important for both Atommash and AO AEM Technologies.