Windchill 9.0 is on the way, and, in addition to many new design engineering features, now manufacturing engineers can utilize Windchill to develop manufacturing processes. Windchill 9.0 also offers powerful, new user interface configuration capabilities, dramatic visualization performance improvements, and all-new Windchill business reporting capabilities.
Delivering manufacturing excellence with Windchill 9.0. Early access to reliable product-design data is a critical need for many manufacturing engineers. Product-design schedules continue to collapse, while supply chains and product development teams grow more complex. The more the manufacturing engineer can learn about a design-in-progress, and the sooner, the greater the likelihood that the new product will be produced on time and within budget.
To accelerate Manufacturing Process Management (MPM), Windchill 9.0 introduces a new optional module, called Windchill MPMLink, that gives the manufacturing engineer a direct, integral window to all engineering designs — and new manufacturing-oriented development tools — as the model is being built. As the design engineer creates the product, the manufacturing engineer can use the same designs to create manufacturing process plans, build up the manufacturing Bill of Material (mBOM), and put together the graphical work instructions to guide the shop-floor assembly.
As an integral part of Windchill, Windchill MPMLink forms associative links between the engineering and manufacturing Bills of Materials (eBOM and mBOM). That way, whenever the engineer makes a BOM change, the change is automatically reflected in the mBOM. By gaining access to the detailed product model, the manufacturing engineer gains an in-depth understanding of exactly what fixtures, molds, and other supporting production tools or services will be needed.
“Windchill MPMLink gives the manufacturing engineer concurrent access to the same tools as the design engineer,” says Michael Distler, Windchill Product Marketing director for PTC. “An example is change management. Windchill has a robust change management system for automating the change-request and notification process. With Windchill MPMLink, the manufacturing engineer can not only be immediately aware of any design changes, but the associative nature of Windchill allows these changes to be automatically reflected in their process plans. They no longer have to send emails, make extra phone calls, or download new models to find out about product modifications.”
New change management functions. Engineers will see many new features in Windchill 9.0. For example, the design engineer can now use Windchill to deal with product deviations and waivers, which fall within the scope of manufacturing variances.
A variance would occur if, for example, it was discovered that a bicycle wheel was going to be built using non-standard spokes. If the manufacturing engineer catches the mistake before the wheel has been put into production, he or she would request a deviation. But if instead this non-standard wheel made it into production and a quality inspector caught the error, then the inspector would call for a waiver.
Windchill 9.0 now gives engineers the specific functions — the review and approval workflows — to perform and document the corrections necessary for such deviations and waivers.
Additional Pro/ENGINEER Data Management capabilities – The next generation of Pro/ENGINEER data management on a modern Windchill architecture, has matured since it was first introduced with Pro/INTRALINK 8.0. New functionality includes Workspace Save-As (with “replace” and “update parent”), Object import/export from the workspace, improved baseline capabilities and non file-based attributes. These capabilities are expected to be very widely utilized. For example, it is not atypical for a new design to be based upon an existing model. This requires the ability to easily create copies of CAD models, all while maintaining their necessary associativity. Windchill 9.0 allows the design engineer to copy as many designs as they want within their workspace without having to commit unwanted data to the database. The engineer also has the ability to replace components when creating the copy, and optionally update the parent copy.
Easily handle product variations. Windchill 9.0 also gives designers some new tools that make it easier to deal with many different customer demands.
For manufacturers who individualize products for large customers, Windchill 9.0 now lets the engineer declare “generic” and “variant” parts within the product configuration database. They then define the rules about how particular components can be combined together. This lets the engineer build a base of generic products that can then serve as the foundation to develop an entire line of variant configurations — if only by varying a single component — for the customer.
“It’s a tremendous time saver,” Distler says, “because it eliminates the need to verify whether a particular configuration is possible and cost-efficient.”
User Interface improvements. Windchill 9.0 has powerful, role-based user interface configuration capabilities that include form and table enhancements, workflow improvements, and support for Adobe forms. System administrators can expect to see streamlined installation procedures and additional system monitoring tools that utilize industry standard Java extensions and frameworks.
“These improvements are good for engineers already using Windchill,” Distler says. “But they’re especially good for those who might not have previous experience with Windchill because user interaction is now so much simpler.”
ProductView Lite. Embedded in Windchill 9.0 is a new version of ProductView Lite that has dramatic performance improvements in loading, interacting and distributing visualization data. To do this, ProductView Lite calls on new compression techniques that yield huge improvements in delivery speed, as well as increases in storage capacity.
“ProductView Lite is a valuable tool for all types of collaboration,” Distler says. “It’s used in design-team meetings, for executive review and sign-off, and for other departments to get a sense of what the product is gong to look like. It’s especially important for teams that are dispersed geographically — for outsourcing product manufacturing, for instance. In applications like this, team members frequently need to send lots of information to one another. It’s good to have the ability visualize very large product representations, and to do it with high performance.”
Business reporting. Completely new in Windchill 9.0 is a reporting framework based on Cognos 8 Business Intelligence technology. Cognos 8 features a range of self-service report types, support for numerous report-distribution methods, and robust multi-lingual capabilities. The new Windchill reporting functions include pre-built reports as standard within Windchill PDMLink. Companies interested in creating their own reports will be interested in an optional report authoring package called Windchill Business Report Author for creating more advanced reports.
Big-picture solutions. Distler notes that Windchill 9.0 is designed to help design and manufacturing engineers as well as project planners, company managers and executives.
“In many ways, Windchill 9.0 fits well with companies’ needs to improve their overall product development processes in areas like change and configuration management, detailed design, variant design and generation, design outsourcing, and technical publications,” he says, “these are big-picture needs, and Windchill delivers big-picture solutions.”
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