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System Connectors

Why Connectors?

At its simplest, the manufacturing activity involve fabricating parts, assembling final products and performing quality inspections. However, the product manufacturing process is complex, as it must satisfy 3 sets of distinct requirements coming from the customers, from the market and from the company itself. To solve this problem, each company has built up complex process in trying to establish the better manufacturing system. In a typical manufacturing environment, engineering team, manufacturing team and other functional teams operate almost independently, focusing exclusively on their function. This can lead to teams working "in silo" with disjointed way of doing things.

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Effective collaboration between Engineering team and other business units inside the company is a critical step to remain competitive in the era of Industry 4.0. A successful Digital Transformation for Manufacturing company also hinges on its ability to streamline processes, and stay aligned with the engineering team and other downstream functional teams.

To become fully agile, a seamless flow of information must exist between the teams working on the planning for manufacturing products. That means teams must to have access to the most up-to-date and most accurate product information in the timely fashion.

With the use of IT systems alone, company can hardly achieve the data continuity necessary to build up the required seamless flow of information:

  • Engineering team usually uses a CAD system to define the product, and uses a PDM/PLM system to manage those definitions in the form of an engineering bill-of-material (EBOM).

  • Meanwhile, other teams often rely on ERP for manufacturing bill-of-material (MBOM), purchasing bill-of-material (PBOM) along with the processes and elements associated with the physical products, this include materials, inventory and part suppliers/sourcing.

The software (CAD-PDM-ERP) is different, the data may be not compatible (engineering data versus manufacturing data), the data models are not the same (2D/3D model versus organizational/planning model); all these reasons will create tremendous gaps between collaborators by generating a lot of opportunities for human errors, redundant tasks and communication inefficiency. It even happen to companies that already heavily invested on digital tools such as expensive CAD systems, ERP....  

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To enable the power of Digitalization, the systems need to be connected, to enable the digital thread of information throughout the enterprise, it should bring information from engineering to manufacturing and beyond, in a way that make the most senses to each of the stakeholders. This connectivity is done via sets of connectors realizing the seamless communication between two enterprise systems.

 

Based on our expertise and industry know-how, using some of the best-in-class connectivity technologies such as Restful API, SOAP XML and specific APIs, we have developed some common connectors necessary to realizing a connected manufacturing enterprise.  

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SolidWorks Connector

The SolidWorks Connector is your conduit to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) from your SolidWorks desktop.  The SolidWorks Connector is fine-tuned to manage CAD Documents for each SolidWorks drawing, assembly or part represented in the CAD hierarchy.  In addition, the SolidWorks Connector enables you to manage Parts for each of your SolidWorks assemblies and part configurations as they relate to your CAD Documents, and also provides the ability to manage your Bill of Materials (BOM) as the complete as-designed CAD hierarchy

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Functionalities

The SolidWorks connector provide the following functionalities:

  • Manage CAD files by conserving all their rich engineering data on a centralized server (product structure, material, dimensions, tolerances...).

  • Allow connection by users and roles.

  • Modification history for audit trail/track & trace. 

  • Provide automatic workflow to manage collaborative engineering tasks.

  • Automatically transform and feed data to downstream platforms for re-use.

Advantages

The SolidWorks connector will provide the following advantages:

  • Add new PDM/PLM advantages to the traditional 3D CAD of SolidWorks.

  • Automatically connect CAD data to downstream applications such as ERP, MES. Data is input just once and re-use after that.

  • Avoid most of human errors due to manual data input and email communication. 

  • Modern architecture allowing to extend to future improvements and technologies such as data lake, AI... 

Custom Serial Number in SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional

In essence, a part number is simply a unique identifier for an item approved for a specific application. It’s formatting should be consistent, and remain unambiguous throughout that items lifecycle. This is essential for correct product assembly, testing and maintenance. A good part number therefore simply allows us to clearly distinguishing one part from other.

Although we would advocate the use of a Simple or Semi-Significant number within PDM; with metadata being used to describe the component in a much more ‘user friendly’ and sustainable way. We appreciate that Customers will in some cases not be able to shake off a legacy numbering scheme or will require a small degree of intelligence that is not possible ‘Out of the box’ in SOLIDWORKS PDM. For this reason we have developed the PdmNumber add-in for SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional.

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Functionalities

The SolidWorks PDM connector provide the following functionalities:

  • Link engineering data in CAD files (product structure, material, dimensions, tolerances...) to downstream applications.

  • Provide automatic numbering (PDM number) more fit to the needs of engineering users.

  • Automatically transform and feed data to downstream platforms for re-use.

Advantages

The SolidWorks PDM connector will provide the following advantages:

  • Add new PLM advantages to the traditional  PDM of SolidWorks.

  • Automatically connect CAD data to downstream applications such as ERP, MES. Data is input just once and re-use after that.

  • Avoid most of human errors due to manual data input and email communication. 

  • Modern architecture allowing to extend to future improvements and technologies such as data lake, AI... 

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