CAD-BOM Missing Links

One of the interesting trends in PLM is growing amount of vertical integrations between components of PLM portfolio. The following Razorleaf blog cough my attention earlier this week- Dassault Published V6R2011. Here is the quote from Razorleaf blog pointing on the specific feature that, in my view, requires additional discussion:

Generative Drafting Associative EBOM – The BOM on the face of the CATIA drawing may now be configured to reflect the EBOM in ENOVIA. It seems the tight coupling of CAD and PDM are bringing interesting features to the table.

You can find full CATIA V6R2011 facts sheet navigating your browser on the following location. This CATIA V6R11 BOM in CAD feature made me think about various aspects related to vertical integration between CAD and PDM components.

CAD-BOM missing links
Design and Bill of Materials are two entities that are representing important dependencies in product development. If you realize an importance of a link between CAD and Bill of Material managed by PLM or ERP system, you have a huge potential in optimization of your development processes. An appropriated access to engineering and manufacturing bill of materials from the designer standpoint and vice-versa can be used to synchronize multi-discipline design processes (i.e. Mechanical and electrical), development and manufacturing processes, etc. The value of this CAD-BOM link is hard to underestimate. However, this link needs to be established in multi-CAD environment too, which represent a next challenge to PLM software vendors and implementations.

CAD in BOM or BOM in CAD?
This is one of the questions on the working table of CAD, PDM and PLM developers already many years. Do we need to integrate CAD data into Bill of Material Management environment? Alternatively, maybe we need to integrated BOM environment and data into CAD system. This is kind of "eggs and chicken" problem. Both parts are equally important. However, to support integration balance between them is not a simple task. Many PLM systems stand-up and failed around this problem. My intuitive preference is to allow to the system managing Bill of Material to be connected to multiple CAD systems and absorb it under single BOM umbrella.

What is my conclusion? The integration of BOM and CAD components and data is old, but still un-resolved. At the same time, the potential of optimization of design, engineering and manufacturing processes around CAD-BOM missing link can be significant. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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  • Todd Ferguson

    One other problem in linking CAD to PDM / BOM is the fact that not all items which are included in the BOM are represented in the CAD model. In power and signal didtribution design for vehicles items such as solder and grease / sealants are part of the BOM but not the CAD model.


  • Todd, Thank you for your comment! You are right, the link between CAD and BOM is more ‘association’ rather than the one – to – one link. For example, phantom sub-assemblies cannot be linked to any BOM elements, and relationships will need to be shifted. I wasn’t able to see software behave. However, the capability is very promising. Best, Oleg

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