Design To Manufacturing Process: Bumpy Road?

by Oleg on June 11, 2011 · 547 comments

Integration between design and manufacturing is one of the topics that normally hits a lot of discussion in the product development and PLM space. To support this process becomes more and more important in a modern enterprise manufacturing organization. You can ask me why? Let me put is simple – this is one of the most important processes that can drive cost optimization in the companies. Everything a company is making need to be first designed and later manufacturing. If it breaks – nothing can help.

Design to Manufacturing Connection

One of the numbers that always amazed me is what percentage of product cost is defined actually early in the design process. Do you want to guess this number? Well, it is around 70%. I think, this is an amazing number. At the same time, the initial cost planning is something that poorly can be done without getting information about  manufacturing, supply and other related elements. Efficient transferring of the information between a design system (CAD, PLM) and manufacturing system (MRP/ERP) is an important element of streamlining of manufacturing processes.

Integration Challenges

Despite the high importance of the integration between design and manufacturing, the reality of many companies shows that few of them can show successfully implemented integrations. There are several reasons for that. The top three, in my view, are as following: 1/ high diversity of engineering and manufacturing processes; 2/dependencies on CAD, PLM, ERP and other home grown systems; and 3/ significant cost of implementation and changes. Each vendor develops his own strategies and relies on multiple technologies and partners to deliver that.

Design to Manufacturing Integration Examples

To illustrate the need and the level of complexity, I decided to pull together few videos that present some elements of integration solutions. The first one is the integration solution between Autodesk Inventor and SAP. The solution developed by Autodesk partner – CIDEON Software.

The next one is the solution developed by CORDYS, Holland based company, which focuses on the development of business process management middleware and tools. What is interesting in this solution is complete Independence of CORDYS from both software vendors manufacturing solution CORDYS integrates.

The following video presents TeamCenter 8 integration with Microsoft Dynamics AX developed by Microsoft’s partner To-Increase. This is another example of “a process like” integration between two packages – engineering and manufacturing.

The last examples show a different approach of integration. Dassault 3DLive solution is providing an interesting approach to access manufacturing information from ERP and other systems via the native 3DLive user interface.

What is my conclusion? The space of design to the manufacturing solution is complex and not covered well, in my view. The demand from customers is significant and the same time the requirements are complicated and solution in a most situation needs to be tailored for every customer.  Most of the software vendors are talking about design to manufacturing processes and, at the same time, moving integration to partners, service providers and 3rd parties. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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