Incredible, but true. Engineers spend up to 25% of their time simply trying to identify and locate parts to use in their designs, according to Gartner Group. The reason is clear: searching for parts and components has traditionally been ad-hoc and disorganized.
The inefficiency snowballs. With parts difficult to find, members of an organization are building the same parts for different products with different levels of quality and reliability. If introducing a part can cost $10,000 to $15,000 (USD), and maintaining it can cost up to $6,000 (USD) per year, it’s easy to see that the difficulty in locating parts translates to a lot of wasted money. In a business environment where engineers are increasingly under pressure to be more efficient, this isn’t just problematic, it’s patently unacceptable.
Introducing the library. Windchill PDMLink is the answer to this counterproductive waste you may be accustomed to. Its highly effective parts classification and search capabilities help create an organized, productive library of projects and parts, so you can:
· Design and manage classification schemas
· Control and optimize the creation and classification of parts
· Easily find parts and designs through searches that use graphical navigation, parametric data, natural language, and part numbers
Closing the manual. Let’s say engineer Charlie is developing a drawer assembly that requires a certain type of bearing, and another engineer, Diana, is developing a cell phone keypad. Both are using Pro/ENGINEER to do their modeling. Now it’s time to search for parts.
Charlie is looking for an engine mount in his company’s parts library. Traditionally, it’s a crapshoot. He opens a several-hundred-page parts manual and attempts to find an existing engine mount with the desired design specifications. Frustrated and under deadline, he abandons the manual and creates a new part — and a new expense item.
But the Windchill PDMLink electronic classification and search system eliminates this scenario. Charlie enters his specs and finds the required engine mount, all its associated specifications, and where it’s been used in other projects.
Now he gets creative, and begins playing “what if.” What if he changes the engine mount’s material? What if he modifies the parameters of the product design? What if the engine mount’s diameter is increased or decreased by 10 percent? What if its load rating is raised or lowered by 5 percent? He conducts a “fuzzy search” to find engine mounts that approximate this range of specs. Now Charlie is looking at a larger universe of matches — and product solution options.
Time for a change. Meanwhile, in the next office, Diana has to make changes to a keypad component. But to gain approval for a change request, she needs to justify the change to management by quantifying actual cost benefits of the improvement.
She recalls a spec change on a similar project earlier in the year and wants to find the track record on how the design performed and the advantages it offered. She needs to find the file with the cost benefit information, but she can’t remember the name of the project.
Fortunately, her company uses Windchill PDMLink, enabling her to take full advantage of its text-based search technology. Diana searches the database under the keywords “product improvement and cost benefit.” Up pops a list of the organization’s product improvements with the cost benefits from the last 24 months. And there’s the project she remembers. She clicks on it, and the entire project appears on her screen, including costing, business/cost justifications, and technical data.
Now, instead of recreating an entire file and duplicating information from just a few months back, Diana can reuse this information to cost-justify her own improvement of the keypad component.
Recalling entire concepts. Windchill PDMLink isn’t just a boon to locating parts. It can help in nearly every phase of a design project. Let’s say that yet another engineer, Hank, has just discussed a design concept with a client — a concept that, he recalls, is similar to one his colleague worked on last year for another client. Instead of starting from scratch and redoing all that proposal work, he uses Windchill PDMLink to search for the prior design proposal.
Also, since Windchill PDMLink is integral with other PTC PDS (Product Development System) solutions like Windchill ProjectLink (PTC’s collaborative project management solution), Hank locates not only CAD objects from the Windchill ProjectLink project, but also project plans, purchase agreements, and all other supporting documentation – with one search. Instantly, he has a giant leg up on the project while controlling its costs.
You can’t use what you can’t find. With Windchill PDMLink, you can find the parts you require…and also find time and costs that would otherwise be lost.