sustainability in manufacturing

The majority of businesses aspire to achieve sustainability but often lack clarity on where to begin. Many perceive adopting sustainable practices as a daunting task, believing it necessitates a complete overhaul of their production processes to make a significant impact. However, let me assure you that this is not the case.

So, where should you start your journey towards creating more sustainable product design and manufacturing processes?

To genuinely embrace sustainability, focus on making design decisions at the outset. Designing for repair, reducing material usage, refurbishment, remanufacturing, recovery, reuse, and recycling is crucial. It requires a holistic approach that considers a product’s environmental impact throughout its lifecycle.

Over 80% of a product’s environmental impact stems from design decisions made early on.

Here are three ways design changes can drive sustainability:

Sustainability in Design for Dematerialization

Dematerialization, or material usage reduction, emerges as a crucial strategy for sustainability, aiming to reduce material consumption and weight without sacrificing strength and durability. Leveraging cutting-edge technologies like Generative Design, engineers can optimize designs to use only the necessary amount of material, tailored to specific loads and constraints of each application.

Creo Simulation Live offers a seamless platform for quickly assessing how different materials or reduced material usage affect design performance, enabling adjustments earlier in the design process.

Moreover, with solutions like Creo AMX, designers leverage additive manufacturing capabilities to build structures in the most efficient direction, generating automated supports, and showcasing the potential of lattice structures.

These innovations not only allow for a material reduction but pave the way for lighter, more sustainable products that maintain the required level of performance. As we continue to prioritize dematerialization in manufacturing, we edge closer to a future where sustainability and efficiency are seamlessly integrated into every aspect of product development.

Sustainability in Design for Waste Reduction

Designing for manufacturability and minimizing material waste, such as through minimal stock allowance, ensures efficient use of resources from the outset. By leveraging die casting for near-net shape production throughout the manufacturing process, material waste is significantly reduced to maximize material utilization and minimize scrap generation.

Additionally, utilizing numerically controlled (NC) strategies optimized for fast machining and lower energy consumption, such as high-speed machining (HSM) roughing and finishing, contributes to waste reduction and energy efficiency.

Moreover, designing for ease of service and assembly extends product lifespan and reduces the demand for new products. While some parts of a product may wear faster than others, creating products for easy disassembly eliminates waste because you do not have to throw away the entire product to extend the lifespan.

Accurate documentation of assembly and disassembly instructions empowers users to maintain and repair products, minimizing waste and promoting a more sustainable approach to product lifecycle management.

Sustainability in Design for Energy Efficiency

Engineers globally actively address questions such as, “Can we reduce noise and unneeded energy consumption in design?” and “Can we make our design more thermally efficient?” to pave the way for eco-friendly innovation.

Their goal is to pinpoint areas where energy is wasted, but don’t have the most efficient tools to accomplish that task. Modal analysis and thermal analysis enable more streamlined and environmentally conscious designs. Additionally, tools like Creo Flow Analysis optimizes flow efficiency to ensure that products operate with maximum efficiency, minimizing energy requirements without sacrificing performance.

Furthermore, selecting materials that demand less energy to manufacture and recycle adds another layer of sustainability to the design process and reduces the overall environmental impact from production to end-of-life disposal. Through these proactive measures, energy-efficient product design becomes a tangible pathway towards a more sustainable future.

Sustainable Design Solutions

Our suite of Creo design tools supports sustainable practices:

  • Generative Design and Optimization: Refine and optimize designs for dematerialization and material reduction goals.
  • Simulation and Behavioral Modeling: Analyze environmental impacts and optimize designs based on real-life use cases.
  • Additive Manufacturing: Support lightweighting through lattice structures, reducing material consumption and energy requirements.
  • Disassembly and Remanufacturing: Design for repair, refurbishment, and remanufacture, enhancing product lifecycle and minimizing waste.

Designing for sustainability benefits both the environment and businesses. Companies can significantly reduce their environmental footprint by considering dematerialization, disassembly, and behavioral modeling.

By partnering with EAC for solution identification and utilizing PTC’s comprehensive Creo design tools, companies can pave the way for a sustainable future while improving their bottom line. Let’s talk about how EAC can help you identify solutions to help your company embrace sustainable design practices today!

Compliance, regulations and standards are all key factors of Codebeamer.

Codebeamer challenges the fast-paced and competitive business landscape for companies streamlining their software development processes. This innovative application lifecycle management (ALM) solution solves requirements, risk, and regulation compliance issues with ease.

This article explores Codebeamer, the challenges of current regulation operations, and the capabilities of Codebeamer to overcome those challenges.

Application Lifecycle Management

Before we dive into Codebeamer, let’s talk about the impact of application lifecycle management on your production process.

For industrial products, it is estimated that over 90% of product innovation today is driven by, connected to, or enabled by, software. That sort of dependency emphasizes the need for a seamless application lifecycle management system to ensure the production of quality products keep up with the pace of software development.

There are many ways that that industrial product implementations of software might be invisible to consumers, impacting the confidence consumers have on the innovation of the product. For example, the software that controls a vehicle’s braking system, or the software app that remotely starts the vehicle and provides engine oil live notifications are both systems directly affecting the consumer.

To put it simply, ALM drives the functional behavior of a product, enabling software-driven innovation for the life of the software, not only at the product’s initial release. Software updates, for example rolled out to update a vehicle’s braking system or to a mobile app, demonstrate how ALM continues to drive functional behavior innovation beyond production.

That’s why Codebeamer is such a key component to your production process as it regulates all of your requirements and risk factors to ensure your product is up to date and following necessary compliance markers.

What is Codebeamer?

In today’s competitive business landscape, companies need efficient and collaborative solutions to streamline their software development processes while ensuring regulatory compliance.

Enter PTC’s ALM solution – Codebeamer.

Codebeamer is a complete application lifecycle management (ALM) solution that focuses on governance, development, and maintenance of software applications within a product.

Think of it as your project’s central command center, where all the pieces of the product development puzzle come together. It’s a digital hub that fosters collaboration, tracks progress, and ensures that everyone is on the same page; from engineers and designers to project managers and stakeholders.

For companies operating in heavily regulated industries, maintaining compliance with safety-critical regulations, guidelines, and quality standards can be challenging. Fortunately, Codebeamer simplifies this process with preconfigured templates and best practices.

It enables companies to enforce the use of mature processes, enhance product quality, and streamline safety-critical audit preparations. With Codebeamer, you can achieve compliance with ease, providing a single source of truth for auditors and stakeholders.

Codebeamer’s robust ALM functionalities, such as analytics, requirements and risk management, validation, DevOps, software development and product line management capabilities set it apart from the rest of the competition.

Codebeamer takes all of your development tools and houses them in one central development hub. This makes for any easy access point for all engineering needs and allows your process to be automated for regulatory compliance control.

As a developer, project manager, or team lead, you understand the importance of efficient and collaborative solutions in today’s fast paced manufacturing industry. Without the right application lifecycle management platform, you may face difficulties in streamlining your development processes while ensuring regulatory compliance. That’s where Codebeamer, a powerful and user-friendly ALM solution, comes in.

Product engineering leaders rely on Codebeamer for its enterprise-grade scalability, high availability, top-notch performance, and configurable workflows. With Codebeamer as your ALM solution, EAC is here to partner with you to overcome operational challenges and drive success in your software development efforts.

Overcoming Operational Hurdles

When companies do not utilize the advanced capabilities of ALM software like Codebeamer, they face a multitude of challenges that hinder their efficiency and productivity. Some of the challenges that companies are facing today:

Siloed Departments

First, teams often work in isolated siloes, with different members using different versions of documents. This fragmented approach leads to miscommunications, delays, and inefficiencies. Relying on paper-based processes further slows down collaboration and increases the risk of errors.

No Traceability

Without the artifact and process traceability provided by Codebeamer, companies face difficulties in tracking the evolution of their projects. No clear visibility into changes and baselines makes it challenging to manage requirements, risks, and test activities effectively. This lack of traceability can lead to confusion, rework, and compromised product quality.

No Continuous Improvement

As many have come to realize, the absence of automated workflows and process reuse capabilities means that companies must resort to manual workarounds, resulting in increased effort and a higher potential for errors. Continuous improvement becomes more difficult to achieve, as the lack of standardized processes and tools hinders the identification and implementation of best practices.

Out-dated Documentation

The reliance on Excel, Word, and paper-based processes further exacerbates these challenges, as it hampers industry-specific process enforcement, impedes e-signatures, reviews, and manual validations, and limits collaboration and accountability.

Unscalable Tools

Finally, as companies grow and evolve, their tools often fail to scale with their business needs. This puts a strain on IT resources, as they struggle to address security, performance, and high-availability concerns. The complex web of disjointed tools and broken integrations results in time-consuming and error-prone tool validations, further impeding progress and hindering collaboration.

Without Codebeamer software, companies face a multitude of challenges that limit their ability to optimize their processes, collaborate effectively, and achieve sustainable growth.

Codebeamer Capabilities

Let’s talk about how Codebeamer embraces the challenges of current processes and transforms the way companies manage requirements and risks throughout a product lifecycle. This software offers a range of powerful capabilities that empower businesses to achieve greater efficiency and collaboration.

Comprehensive Lifecycle Management

Codebeamer offers a complete suite of ALM features, including requirements management, risk management, and test management capabilities. By centralizing these processes within a single platform, teams can achieve better visibility and control over the entire development lifecycle. With Codebeamer, your company can effectively manage the flow of requirements, assess and mitigate risks, and ensure comprehensive test coverage – all within an integrated and intuitive environment.

Regulatory Compliance Made Easy

For companies operating in heavily regulated industries, maintaining compliance with safety-critical regulations, guidelines, and quality standards can be challenging.

Fortunately, Codebeamer has a variety of pre-built regulatory process management packages available to meet specific compliance needs by industry. Some of those packages are listed below:

  • Agile medical ALM for the development of medical technology & compliance with IEC 62304, IEC 60601, ISO 14971, FDA Title 21 CFR Part 11
  • Agile automotive ALM for embedded automotive systems development & compliance with IEC 61508, ISO 26262, Automotive SPICE, CMMI
  • Avionics ALM for the development of next-generation aircrafts, airborne equipment, aviation and defense systems. Compliance support for DO-178C and DO-254

These pre-built compliance “templates” make for quick deployment of a system to manage any compliance issues that your company may be facing.

Collaboration & Organization

With its wiki knowledge base, holistic search, and document management features, Codebeamer provides a comprehensive platform for organizing and accessing critical project information. Moreover, secure collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders is facilitated, ensuring seamless cooperation throughout the development process.

Process Traceability

Codebeamer goes beyond simple traceability by offering granular artifact, process, historical, and code traceability. This comprehensive traceability allows businesses to track the evolution of their projects with precision, enabling better decision-making and risk management. Additionally, the software enables the reuse of requirements, test cases, processes, and even code, promoting efficiency and reducing time and effort.

Seemless Integrations

With built-in integrations, Codebeamer seamlessly connects with popular tools, enabling smooth data exchange with MS Office and ReqIf formats. The software is also extendable through plugins and APIs, ensuring flexibility and adaptability to meet specific business needs. Furthermore, Codebeamer provides industry-specific workflow templates, along with features like e-signatures, review systems, automated audit trails, and validation. These capabilities streamline processes, drive compliance, and enhance project quality.

Integrating PLM and ALM systems enhances visibility across the engineering digital thread, provides agility to quickly react to changing needs, and guarantees the ability to capture and manage evolving requirements – all while allowing for complete end-to-end traceability.

Being under the PTC umbrella of solutions, Codebeamer now seamlessly connects with Windchill via OSLC, allowing engineers to link and trace between Windchill PLM parts to Codebeamer items like requirements or tests. A smooth overall user experience is ensured by Single-Sign On, links viewable in both directions, and automatic link suspecting following changes.

The graph below shows the different ways Windchill connects with Codebeamer and streamlines the process even more.

Enterprise Scalability

Whether your business is a small team or a large enterprise, Codebeamer scales to accommodate your needs. It offers a secure and agile platform, ensuring high-availability for uninterrupted operations. Codebeamer can be deployed as a SaaS solution, hosted in the cloud, or implemented on-premise, providing the flexibility and control required for various business environments. Regardless of the size of your company, Codebeamer can support your Agile delivery, reduce risks and costs, and accelerate cycle times.

Taking Advantage of Codebeamer

Codebeamer is a powerful ALM solution that offers numerous benefits to companies in industrial manufacturing and automotive engineering. Its unique digital workflows, regulatory compliance capabilities, and flexibility make it a standout ALM platform for any development team.

By leveraging its comprehensive lifecycle management capabilities, promoting collaboration and efficiency, simplifying regulatory compliance, and providing a scalable and intuitive platform, Codebeamer empowers teams to optimize their software development processes.

With Codebeamer’s robust capabilities, EAC is here to support your business in achieving greater success, efficiency, and collaboration throughout your development projects.

If your company aims to enhance collaboration, streamline workflows, and achieve higher product quality, Codebeamer is the solution you’ve been looking for.

Our team at EAC is committed to understanding your unique challenges and providing tailored solutions for your business. Let us showcase the expertise we have in manufacturing processes, as we partner with you to achieve success through technology and strategic thinking.

Reach out to us today or watch the webinar replay to discover the value that Codebeamer can bring to your organization.

Business, Technology, Internet and network concept. ROI Return on Investment Profit Success.

 

JR Automation, a Hitachi Group Company, leveraged EAC Productivity Apps to solve Windchill PLM frustrations, scale their business operations and improve the shop floor experiences of their engineers. Discover how JR Automation implemented PLM Apps to gain ROI, bring efficiency and clarity for builders on the manufacturing floor, and achieved scalable digital transformation.

 

Business Initiatives

JR Automation knew the company needed to update operational processes in order to meet and exceed customer expectations. Their goal was to reduce the time it was taking builders and engineers to manage print packages by 80%. 

Additionally, they wanted to increase efficiency by 5% or more during the assembly phase. Including enhanced communication on the shop floor. As well as saving time on machine assembly and tactical coordination. As such, was estimated to be taking up 30% of a builder’s day.

 

Business Challenges

With an increase of workers on the shop floor, builders had no choice but to walk back and forth to shared kiosks in order to visualize and assemble designs. These complications only intensified as products became more complex. With manual error-prone operations, redline quality, and accuracy were at stake.

Similar to many other manufacturing organizations, challenges arose when it came to searching for the correct prints, managing paper booklets, and updating print designs. 

Rework stemming from incorrect designs, and file management complications were growing. Also, misplaced product information (needed for closed-loop change processes) had never been greater. JR Automation was seeking a simple way for low-tech machine builders to get last-minute design changes to engineering. Ross Walters, Director of Engineering, knew that builders required a solution that was highly intuitive.

 

The Solution: EAC Apps

JR Automation looked at PTC ThingWorx Navigate. ThingWorx Navigate does offer a single view to multiple enterprise systems like ALM, MRP, ERP, SLM, CRM, Accounting, and PLM (Windchill). It also gives users universal access to the latest most accurate product information when they need it. 

However, it was clear to JR Automation that what they really needed was a customized app that made things easier. EAC’s experts knew the solution and streamlined processes that allow builders to get drawings, CAD files, and other related documents in a single portal. With EAC Apps they could also see role-based reports and make redlines. 

By providing all the information needed on a single screen, with user-friendly workflows and easy-to-submit redlines, EAC apps improved operational efficiency as well as customer satisfaction.

 

A Custom Solution with Major Impact

After evaluating cost, functionality, implementation time, training, and other considerations, JR Automation unveiled they would gain an ROI of $1.4 million from EAC Productivity Apps.

EAC Apps benefited JR Automation with:

  • 80% efficiency increase in print management for mechanical engineers
  • 60% efficiency increase in builder print management
  • 60% increase in digital efficiency gains

In conclusion, JR Automation’s builders no longer need to share a kiosk. Working with EAC enabled efficiencies for more than 200 workers who use Redline Apps today. They have eliminated the need for paper, print supplies, and additional booklets saving them additional costs. EAC Apps have continued to provide benefits such as improved accuracy with customer shipment orders, product designs, onboarding, and training efficiencies.

Learn more about EAC Productivity Apps here.

 

Read the JR Automation Case Study blog banner

 

I’m sure at least once in your life you’ve heard the saying, ‘Work smarter, not harder.’ But what a cliche, right?! Well, for those of you managing your Bill of Materials (BOMs) in Excel, it’s time to step away from the cell block prison (pun intended).

In this article, we’re going to break down what it actually means to revitalize your BOM strategy with the Digital Thread to start seeing the results you want.

 

What Is The Digital Thread?

 

First of all, let’s start with the basics. The Digital Thread is a term used to describe the seamless flow of information throughout the manufacturing process. From design and engineering to production and after-sales support. It provides a way to connect all the data and information generated at different stages and from systems of the product lifecycle.

 

Generally, the Digital Thread provides value by enabling better visibility and control of any processes that require or produce product data. It enables manufacturers to collaborate more effectively, automate and optimize workflows, and quickly respond to changes. All while adjusting quickly to customer needs. 

 

Bill of Materials (BOM)

 

Next, let’s break down the concept of a Bill of Materials. A complete Bill of Materials (BoM) list usually contains all of the parts and components needed to create or manufacture an end product. You might think of a BoM as a recipe ingredient list. The information about each part can include details such as part names, part numbers, quantity required, and cost per unit. Not to mention, BoMs contain other relevant part details such as material type, color, or size if applicable; supplier information; serial numbers, etc.

By consolidating and organizing all the pertinent information product information, the BoM becomes a centralized resource. A critical resource that facilitates the manufacturing processes of specified products.

 

Ultimately, the goal of the BoM is to help track inventory and verify missing parts during assembly. Equally as important, BoMs are critical to support a healthy supply chain, as well as help with purchasing decisions and more.

 

The Digital Thread and Bill of Materials Working Together

 

Balancing a plethora of product information – it’s no surprise, the best BoM management strategy used within the industry does not leverage solely Microsoft Excel. Nor does it rely upon one Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Instead it works to unite data from multiple systems into a single source of truth. 

 

Sounds great doesn’t it? But, if you’re like most – your product data lives all over the place in different systems from different departments. This situation tends to create data siloes resulting in time-consuming manual tasks using outdated operational processes. Generally, these are some of the biggest problems that inhibit manufacturers from achieving their business initiatives. 

 

Oftentimes, during our EAC Assessments, we hear multiple teams across the enterprise and different management levels are frustrated by broken processes. In short, there is a lack of key information employees need to do their jobs right, at the time they need it most.

 

Meanwhile, the digital thread uses advanced technology (such as product lifecycle management systems as well as the Internet of Things) to connect critical disparate processes. This, in turn, helps minimize manual tasks, and breaks down data siloes. Implementing the digital thread to your BoM strategy creates a major impact for all stakeholders involved. For instance, design teams, engineers, manufacturing, assembly, operations, finance, purchasing, and even marketing. 

 

How The Digital Thread Supports Engineering

 

Furthermore, the Digital Thread plays a crucial role in supporting engineering and bill of materials (BOM) management by providing seamless connectivity and accessibility to relevant data throughout the product lifecycle. Here’s how the digital thread benefits these areas:

 

1. Engineering Collaboration

Firstly, the digital thread allows engineers to collaborate effectively by providing a centralized platform for sharing and accessing engineering data. This facilitates cross-functional collaboration, enables real-time communication, and reduces errors or miscommunications during the design and development process.

 

2. Design Consistency

Secondly, the digital thread ensures design consistency by maintaining a single source of truth for engineering data. Changes made in the design phase are automatically propagated throughout the digital thread, ensuring that all related documents, models, and specifications remain synchronized.

 

3. BOM Accuracy and Visibility

The digital thread integrates BOM management, configuration management, and BoM transformation capabilities. This enables accurate and up-to-date BOMs, as the data will automatically reflect changes. Additionally, it provides real-time visibility into the BoM status, including component availability, sourcing information, and cost implications.

 

4. Change Management

Next, the digital thread streamlines change management processes. By automating change notifications, approvals, and tracking. Essentially, it ensures that engineering changes are effectively communicated, documented, and implemented across the relevant stages of the product lifecycle, minimizing errors and delays.

 

5. Manufacturing Process Optimization

By connecting engineering data with manufacturing process management, the digital thread enables better coordination and optimization of production processes. By in large, system and data integration allows for improved manufacturing planning, efficient resource allocation, and reduced lead times.

 

6. Enhanced Visualization and Analysis

Another example includes leveraging augmented reality (AR) design sharing to provide visual representations of designs. In detail, enabling stakeholders to view and analyze products in a virtual environment. It’s recommended to use AR to enhance design reviews, simplify communication, and facilitate better decision-making.

 

Overall, the digital thread improves engineering and BoM management. Markedly, by streamlining processes, enhancing collaboration, ensuring data consistency, and providing visibility across the product lifecycle. It promotes efficiency, accuracy, and agility in engineering and BoM-related activities. Leading to improved product quality and faster time to market in the long run.

 

How A Digital Thread BoM Strategy Streamlines Manufacturing

 

Simultaneously, the digital thread plays a significant role in enhancing the bill of materials (BoM) management for manufacturing, assembly, and quality control processes. In sum, here’s how the digital thread benefits these areas:

 

1. Manufacturing and Assembly Planning

The digital thread enables seamless integration between the BoM and manufacturing planning systems. It provides real-time visibility into the BoM, ensuring accurate and up-to-date information for manufacturing and assembly operations. This allows for efficient production planning, optimized resource allocation, and improved scheduling in all.

 

2. Supply Chain Integration

By connecting the BoM with supply chain management systems, the digital thread enhances supply chain visibility and collaboration. It enables better coordination with suppliers, accurate tracking of component availability, and improved procurement processes. As a result, it minimizes the risk of production delays and ensures timely delivery of materials.

 

3. Work Instructions and Assembly Guidance

Thirdly, the digital thread facilitates the creation and dissemination of detailed work instructions and assembly guidance based on the BoM data. This ensures that assembly operators have access to accurate and step-by-step instructions, reducing errors and improving productivity on the shop floor.

 

4. Quality Control and Traceability

The digital thread enables better quality control and traceability throughout the manufacturing process. By integrating the BoM with quality management systems, it ensures that quality requirements and specifications are adhered to during production. It also enables traceability of components and materials, making it easier to identify and address any quality issues or recalls.

 

5. Continuous Improvement and Feedback Loop

Additionally, the digital thread supports continuous improvement initiatives by capturing data and feedback from manufacturing and quality control processes. It enables the analysis of production data, identifies areas for improvement, and facilitates data-driven decision-making to enhance manufacturing efficiency and product quality.

 

6. Post-Market Monitoring

Finally, the digital thread extends beyond the manufacturing phase to support post-market monitoring and quality assurance. Integrating BoM data with field service management systems and customer feedback enables organizations to identify and address product issues, initiate product improvements, and provide timely support and maintenance.

 

All in all, the digital thread enhances BoM management for manufacturing and assembly processes by ensuring accurate and up-to-date information, facilitating supply chain integration, enabling effective work instructions, improving quality control, supporting continuous improvement efforts, and enabling post-market monitoring. Concurrently, it streamlines operations, improves product quality, and enhances customer satisfaction.

 

The Polaris Story

 

Polaris utilized PTC Windchill, an advanced product lifecycle management system, to transform their Bill of Materials into a reliable new business model backbone. As a result, it allowed them to create a connected enterprise.

 

Windchill PLM combines the digital thread framework with a maximized BoM and change management strategy. This powerful product lifecycle management platform organizes all information associated with the development of its products, allowing every stakeholder to access the latest up-to-date information in a dynamic format.

 

Once it was clear to Polaris that they had outgrown certain tools and processes, they coordinated and synchronized a digital thread of data throughout the enterprise by leveraging PTC Windchill.

 

As of today, Polaris’ Windchill PLM system enables them to manage and organize the bill of materials (BoM) and implemented configuration management practices. This helped transform their BoMs as needed, effectively managing changes, overseeing manufacturing processes, and utilizing augmented reality (AR) design-sharing capabilities.

 

By orchestrating these elements, the digital thread ensured seamless connectivity and flow of information across different stages and departments within Polaris. This enabled improved collaboration, streamlined workflows, effective change control, and enhanced manufacturing processes. On top of giving the ability to share and visualize designs using AR technology.

 

Read the Polaris BoM Digital Thread Case Study

Conclusion

To sum it up, it’s time to put Excel away and start working smarter, not harder. Successful BoM management derives from a single source of truth throughout the enterprise in regard to all the data contained in the Bill of Materials. The Digital Thread allows for the seamless automated flow of the BoM information to create a truly connected enterprise, working in sync along every step of the manufacturing process.

Not sure where to get started? We created our EAC Assessments to help. Click here to learn more or have a conversation with our experts.