Data Management & PLM
ALM Transitions to Digital Workflow with PTC Windchill
31 December 2018 | Team EACPDS
PTC Windchill saves ALM Positioners 4 hours per project
If you are trying to confidently make a smooth transition from paper files to digital files with a complete PLM solution, you should contact us to learn more about PTC Windchill. Read on to learn more about a business who succeeds in digital transformation to reduce time-to-market, decrease costs, and increase collaboration.
ALM Positioners, Inc. is a manufacturing and assembling facility for state-of-the-art positioner lifts located in Rock Island, Illinois. Myron Pundt, VP of Engineering at ALM said, “We build positioners that lift, rotate, and turn machinery in the manufacturing industry. The positioners allow our customers to put their parts at the right elevation and rotation for their operators to build things efficiently.” Their business eliminates the need for straps, chains, and slings and instead allows the operator to raise and position weldments and assemblies to the necessary height and working position.
ALM specializes in custom designs and manufacturing solutions for their customers who need positioners to meet specific requirements. Their unique selling proposition in the Industrial Automation Industry allows them to offer significant cost savings for equipment, improved safety for welders and operators, and increased manufacturing and assembly production efficiency to their customers.
ALM was challenged by an increasing number of custom design requests. These requests increased product design cycle times. Inaccurate and inefficient information was finding its way to engineers and technicians because product data was stored in paper documents throughout the manufacturing facility.
Pundt reported, “We would have a lot of problems with not having the right prints, so something would end up being built wrong – requiring rework or just extra time to disassemble or reassemble it.” Modifications were being made to designs that weren’t communicated to other departments. This created a bottleneck in operations causing stalls in production and higher costs due to rework. “We’re looking to streamline our processes and get rid of the paper on our shop floor.”
To keep up with the demand of their customers, ALM knew they had to be able to securely store and access product information, Bill of Materials (BOMs), and design requirements all in one place to eliminate the bottleneck and to operate at maximum speed and efficiency on the shop floor. Kevin Toft, President at ALM, proclaimed, “Our company is growing at a fast rate. Last year we saw a forty-six percent growth in our sales revenue and we expect that we are going to double sales by the end of 2019. We need to have systems that work for us so we can continue to see that kind of growth. We have to be as efficient as possible.”
ALM Positioners turned to EAC Product Development Solutions to help solve their bottleneck problem. EAC helps companies optimize their product development systems so they can succeed in the market place. EAC is a PTC value-added network partner, offering the latest advancements in technology utilized by companies around the world, including PTC Windchill. EAC’s Solution Architects proposed PTC Windchill, a product life cycle management (PLM) tool that allows organizations to consolidate and manage product information into digital form.
With the help of EAC’s implementation team, ALM incorporated Windchill throughout their organization so they could view, operate, and manage up-to-date CAD designs on computers throughout the shop floor. “Before we implemented Windchill we were running paper copies. Our ERP implementation was through exported BoMs in Microsoft Excel and we would import them back into the ERP system. It was very time consuming and inefficient,” Pundt explained. Windchill eliminated the obligation to use multiple systems to view product information, associated BoMs, and CAD designs.
Overall employee morale was up because there was less redundancy throughout the early design stages. Brydon Sanders, Product Design Engineer at ALM, reports, “Before Windchill we had an archive of data that was not necessarily 100% accurate. So, when we were sorting data that we thought was right, we’d find out there was a problem after we made changes to it. EAC helped us customize a life cycle specifically for how small of a company we are to help facilitate changes and make the correct revisions. Everything is much faster when designing and validating the product.”
EAC helped customize Windchill to optimize operational efficiencies specifically for ALM’s needs. Colten Brunenn, Product Manager at ALM, reported, “EAC’s implementation specialist was on site for several days at a time throughout the implementation process to help us customize the application to our needs. The specialist was giving us examples, walking us through the processes, showing us how it would work if we did it a certain way, and showed us how to make things easier. It opened our eyes to the capacity and abilities of what we could do with Windchill for our specific needs.”
Compared to previous processes, ALM is able to more quickly and accurately meet their customer’s needs because of their Windchill implementation. “We save about four hours per job with just the front-end BoM load and getting the information into the ERP system – which has been huge,” Pundt explained. “Customers tend to want what they want and a lot of times we can get their order over our competition because we’re willing to customize it for them. Windchill and our new ERP system make it very easy to manage those customizations and helps us to make sure that we have materials in-stock and on-time to meet those needs.”
“With the implementation of Windchill, our manufacturing efficiency is greatly improved. Everything is live on the shop floor now, there are no more paper copies, no more prints getting lost, and nobody building something off the wrong or unrevised print. It has really improved our efficiency through the manufacturing process,” Pundt said. Transitioning into a digital workflow with Windchill allows ALM to reduce time-to-market, decrease costs, and increase collaboration throughout the organization.