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.
You can reduce time to market and cut costs by advancing your digital thread with PTC Windchill, the industry-leading Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution. Windchill consolidates data so that your team can work faster and more accurately so you can focus on product innovation.
See how Virnig Manufacturing uses PTC Windchill to change the way their data is delivered within their organization.
Located in Rice, Minnesota, Virnig Manufacturing has been designing and producing skid steer attachments for over 27 years. This family owned one-stop shop does all steps of the manufacturing process in-house: engineering, cutting raw materials, machining, welding, and painting the finished product. Virnig dominates the industry by offering high-quality skid steer attachments and continually innovates to maintain a strong competitive advantage in a challenging and competitive market.
Virnig has grown exponentially in the last decade, prompting the on-boarding of more employees to keep up with the growth. The expanding workforce introduced a new challenge of organizing critical work documents. The process of finding documents every day began to inhibit productivity. The need for a file management system became obvious and critical.
Finding a solution became a top priority as Darin Virnig, Engineering and Production Manager, and his team found themselves taking on projects that required “more time in a day” to complete. Darin stated, “When there were just a few of us looking at files we weren’t quite as concerned about file management and having things get overwritten. But as we had more and more people working we all looked at each other and decided it was time to implement a file management system so that we didn’t start losing data or have it changed accidentally.” Prior to implementing a system, Darin and his team kept product content and design data in large red binders throughout the manufacturing facility. Engineers would leave their workstations to access folders in designated areas – sometimes on the other side of the manufacturing floor. Virnig was losing precious time to their paper-based processes. Darin needed to find a quicker way for his team to access data if he wanted to achieve maximum productivity on the shop floor.
EAC Product Development Solutions (EAC) is an engineering and technology services company headquartered in Burnsville, MN. They provide product development solutions that transform the way small to medium sized companies design, manufacture, connect, and service their products. Virnig had partnered with EAC to implement PTC’s simulation software and trusted them with this new file management challenge. PTC is a global technology provider and the maker of tools such as Creo Parametric CAD software and the Windchill line of product lifecycle management solutions. “It was only logical to go with PTC products since we have been doing all of our modeling with their products,” says Darin.
The benefits of going paperless exceeded Virnig’s accuracy and collaboration goals, and provide an ancillary benefit of reducing the cost of paper and printing. The decision was made to implement Windchill, PTC’s product lifecycle management software to streamline operations and control files.
The Paperless Movement
Windchill PDM Essentials, PTC’s Product Data Management tool empowers companies to organize and manage their product content to improve access to accurate, timely product data. Darin and his team have implemented Windchill across their engineering and manufacturing facility with 10 different access points for each department on the shop floor. Darin chuckles as he talks about removing the now-unnecessary red binders, “we took away their file cabinets.” The new process didn’t require any paper documents on the floor – everything was now digitally stored in their workstation computers throughout the facility. The implementation prevented wasted time that was previously used to sort through red binders, and avoided the use of old, irrelevant information.
Darin talks about the success of the new data management system, “Paperless provides access on the floor which has increased accuracy and quality that will give us the competitive advantage we were looking for.” He describes how his team members used to take over 30 minutes a day searching for the data needed to complete a specific task. “It was a company initiative to go paperless in all areas to increase accuracy – the accuracy is where the cost savings would come in for us.” Going paperless has allowed Virnig to take advantage of that 30 minutes a day to add over 325 productive hours to their operation each year.
We tend to operate our businesses like we’re playing a game of telephone…and it’s costing us all money.
You don’t have to be a genius to know that within many companies’ sales, marketing, and R&D teams serve separate functions. With different goals, targets and initiatives these teams tend to collaborate among themselves using the same system of record.
For example, within the same company, a department may rely on Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems while others may depend on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Execution System data (MES), and Quality Management Systems (QMS).
Marketing, Management, Purchasing, Engineering, Technical Publications and manufacturing all need to operate off product designs and Bill of Materials (BOM), but while doing so people are likely to interrupt engineering to get information.
With this information they ask different questions, have different intentions, and speak different departmental languages.
The reality is; this inaccessible data is about the same product that happens to be housed in a system you can’t normally access.
By resorting to these misaligned processes, we end up operating on data without its entire context, therefore we lose productivity to requests for data and the switching costs of changing tasks.
Besides, these interruptions are generally counterproductive, especially when you’re working on one task and you’re interrupted regarding a completely different topic.
Without a single means to bridge these systems, your company is missing out on valuable information, time savings, and productivity.
We live in a world where siloed departmental communication doesn’t need to be the norm, after all technology is just about everywhere!
By integrating your critical data into a centralized location, your organization will increase visibility, and achieve better, more informed business decisions.
With technology that exists today, your separate departments can pull data from multiple systems into easy role-based dashboards, providing greater visibility and enhanced analysis.
The result is a rapid way for your team to get data from the vast data pool within your organization, and access it in an easy to consume space.
One of the ways we transform the way companies design, manufacture, connect, and service their products is by value stream mapping ‘Product Development Systems’ and looking for ways to ensure people have access to the information they need when they need it.
Tools like Thingworx Navigate, for companies invested in PTC’s Windchill solution, or the standard Thingworx platform and PLM Apps for those that aren’t, are helping companies pull information from different departments, systems, vendors, etc. to make sure every role has a simplified view of the information they need, when they need it, without slowing down any other departments.
Manufacturers always try to find a ways to streamline processes and ‘do more with less.’ It drives success in a world full of competition. One way organizations do this is by reducing process complexity with powerful product life cycle management (PLM) or change management software. Connecting your team directly to live operational data increases efficiency in all departments and allows your organization to save money and manufacture products faster.
EAC Product Development Solutions has partnered with PTC, the world’s product development technology leader, to bring organizations the products and services that they need to succeed in their industry. As a PTC Solutions Provider, we provide the maintenance, support, configuration, and training you need to implement change management software as easily as possible.
PTC Windchill Data Management
If you’re looking to do things like keeping better track of files, create and store Bill of Materials (BoMs), put CAD models and drawings in one place, eliminate the risk of two individuals working on a file at the same time, or secure your data without burdening IT – you’re looking for PTC Windchill.
PTC software – specifically Windchill – is a complete PLM solution that provides capabilities such as:
- Bill of Materials (BoM) Management (EBoM, SBoM, MBoM)
- Configuration and Change Management
- Requirements Capture Management
- Early insight into product quality, reliability, and risk
- Efficiently making product variations with a structured platform
- Product Data Management
- Collaboration across all departments with accurate, up-to-date information
- Seamless software integration and defining standards
PTC Windchill is a PLM solution that provides a smooth transition from design to manufacturing with universal access to all critical product data information so that the process isn’t fatigued with delays.
PTC Windchill, Change Management, eBoM Case Study
ALM Positioners, a leading manufacturer of positioner lifts located in Rock Island Illinois, needed PTC Windchill. The company offers unique, customizable weldments and assemblies that require a lot of CAD models and other product information from engineering before manufacturing even begins. Due to extensive product customization and configuration depending on the needs of their customers, ALM needed a better solution to manage product data. They were drowning in paper files – a lot of which had outdated information.
EAC’s implementation team helped ALM Positioners transition to a digital workflow using PTC’s Windchill software. Windchill helped ALM save up to 4 hours per project by integrating EBoMs and MBoMs into their ERP system.
Watch the ALM Case Study on PTC Windchill to see how it has consistently proven to be a leader in the industry and outperformed competitors when it came to product lifecycle management.
Windchill is a mission-critical enterprise system with multiple components and touch points across an entire enterprise. Because of this complexity, you might recognize the need for Windchill Managed Services.
EAC has created a managed services program for your Windchill system – The EAC Alliance Program. The Alliance Program provides PTC Windchill managed services such as Windchill administration and support.
Our team of expert system administrators help improve system performance, optimize server and license configurations, and maintain a stable PLM environment for your organization.
Windchill Managed Services Percent of Uptime
95.1% of our EAC Alliance Program customers achieve 100% Windchill uptime. Our customers that do not have 100% Windchill uptime still maintain over 99% availability. This is an overall average of 99.95% or more uptime.
Windchill Managed Services Predictive Maintenance
Our Alliance program executes planned (weekly, monthly, etc) Windchill maintenance. Predictive maintenance is more efficient and the preferred approach to system maintenance. Roughly 1/4 of Alliance customers choose to implement PTC System Monitor (PSM) as a way to bolster EAC’s already rigorous proactive maintenance.
Speed/Performance of Windchill with Managed Services
100% of EAC’s Alliance Program customers see an improvement in the speed and performance of their Windchill system. Out of the box, Windchill leaves a lot of room for performance tuning and server optimization. Our EAC Alliance Program Team are skilled in analyzing and optimizing system resources to suit your individual needs
Windchill Managed Services Security/Patches
100% of our EAC Alliance customers receive (or are notified) of patches. This way you can be assured that your system is running with maximum security at all times.
Want to learn more about what our EAC Alliance Program has to offer? Download our Alliance Program Brochure and check out the top 10 questions we get about our Windchill Managed Services.