Tofaş is one of the three world-wide strategic manufacturing centers of Fiat Auto, producing both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles for Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen, Opel and Vauxhall.
Founded in1968, the Turkish automotive company Tofaş is among three worldwide strategic manufacturing and research and development (R&D) centers of Fiat. With 6,500 employees, Tofaş has a manufacturing capacity of 400,000 automobiles and light commercial vehicles annually. The company produces vehicles for Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, and Vauxhall at its world-class Bursa manufacturing sites, which have achieved a “Gold” level among 175 Fiat Chrysler and 350 supplier plants. The company has invested more than 35 million euros in R&D, and continues to invest at rates that exceed the national average.
Since 2005, the company has been using Teamcenter® software for complete product lifecycle management (PLM) and NX™ software for computer-aided design (CAD). The company credits the successful implementation and transparent operation of these solutions to the proactive approach and strong technical services of Siemens Digital Industries Software partner Boğaziçi Yazilim.
Tofaş operates globally, collaborating with design centers at multiple locations worldwide, including the United States, Italy and Brazil. Siemens Digital Industries Software’s solutions help Tofaş collaborate with designers at different locations, keeping product data secure and up-to-date. “Since we started using Teamcenter, we have been able to monitor the design work performed at multiple locations from a single source, and to make necessary changes via a single solution,” says Volkan Algün, who is responsible for management of engineering documents at Tofaş. “We have been able to productively share data with engineers all over the world as if we were in the same office.
“Our engineering and R&D units can now share work, thanks to Teamcenter and NX CAD,” Algün adds. “We can design car parts in groups, utilizing a common structure. We can immediately detect any changes in the structure, and synchronize with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ networks and servers daily or weekly.”
Tofaş attributes much of it collaborative success to Teamcenter, which eliminates the communication gap between networks and servers, and enables concurrent design at different locations using a single, unified database. Security is of particularly vital importance in data sharing at Tofaş. Here, Teamcenter provides especially strong protection via restricted networks. Algün notes that the ability of Teamcenter to provide secure data distribution was a great advantage for the company during its ISO 27001 information security audits.
The company also appreciates a user interface that serves a wide range of user roles and profiles. For example, when attempting to view data without being connected to a specific workstation, users may instantly access information from any computer. A user-friendly web interface makes it possible to readily navigate the product structure and to open, view and explore it with the visualization/mockup capabilities. Tofaş management notes that greater access to information via Teamcenter enables significantly more users to substantially improve their utilization of data.
Emre Ülgen, a user system and service management specialist at Tofaş, notes, “Experts in our other business units may need product data from time-to-time, even though are not directly involved in the design process. They can use the infrastructure that we call ‘virtual workstation’ to safely access Teamcenter from any location. Since all of these functions do not require powerful hardware, we realize significant cost savings.“
In the past, the company had experienced serious problems in assembly design, especially relative to its application of 3D. Thanks to NX CAD, Tofaş engineers are now significantly more productive, handling many more designs within the same time frame. NX enables the engineers to focus on single parts during tooling and mold design. When an engineering change is needed, an engineer can return to the main part within seconds using the assembly structure capabilities of NX, make the necessary amendment and update the entire structure automatically.
NX modeling capabilities are especially useful to Tofaş as they allow the company to work to its customer’s processes, methods and standards. “NX CAD makes a great contribution with its high-performance modeling. It gives us the freedom and flexibility to easily rotate and convert model features,” notes Algün.
Utilizing legacy data is another advantage resulting from the use of NX, one that is especially important to Tofaş. “Using NX, we can fully exploit our design and manufacturing legacy data,” says Algün. “We realized that, with NX, we can quickly make changes to old data. To effectively manage the repurposing of huge models, we did the work in-house, sometimes redesigning and sometimes converting data, depending on the situation. We worked in harmony, synchronizing with each other through the product structure. Thanks to macros developed with NX, we are saving substantial time as well as increasing model quality.”
“Being able to work on a fully integrated platform with Fiat throughout the process is not only convenient, it provides us with exceptional flexibility,” says İlknur Arca, who manages User Systems and Services at Tofaş. “This integrated approach is possible because of our engagement of Siemens Digital Industries Software technology. NX provides tools that accelerate modeling. Teamcenter fosters collaboration.”
Arca concludes, “Siemens Digital Industries Software technology meets the needs of our many different users, resulting in markedly increased productivity, quality and cost savings in terms of both product and operations.”