Instant and perfect product variants through Smart Engineering
In the coming years, robots will take over routine tasks that used to be done by humans. But don’t worry – the cognitive and social skills of humans will, of course, continue to be needed. In fact, their role will become even more important in the wake of the digital transformation, as they will serve as interdisciplinary coordinators of value-added chains by interacting with machines and computer-aided systems, which will in turn enable them to build, control and maintain more intelligent machines. It’s safe to say that the field of Smart Engineering will play an increasingly prominent role in the future.
What makes Smart Engineering indispensable?
- Tougher competition for product highlights and service quality
- Necessity to choose wisely from the global multitude of resources
- Transition from traditional products to electronic or software systems
- Greater variety of variants and increasing product complexity
- Shorter validity of products and increasing demands for updates
- PLM/PDM for storing and retrieving digital information about all stages of a product life cycle
As a result of the constant verification of implemented prototypes by means of modern information and communication technologies in Smart Engineering, planners are enabled to receive prompt answers to questions that may arise in early project stages, such as:
Which product variant can be assembled as quickly and easily as possible and without any errors?
Until a perfect solution is found, the constant exchange of information between Engineering and Production will facilitate and speed up the final product assembly by highlighting the required product modifications and their effects: For instance, if the shortening of a small corner on a product sample , or the adding of a unique connecting point is communicated among the involved staff in a transparent manner – e.g. by a redlining on a production drawing – this will reduce material waste and avoid unnecessary manual rework such as the grinding or cutting off of edges or corners.
Of course, the drafting stage with Smart Engineering will take some time. Also, production times for individual sample parts may increase. However, such investments will soon pay off thanks to a faster final assembly in conjunction with significantly reduced material consumption and error rates. Furthermore, Smart Engineering ensures that the corporate know-how will be implemented in a company on a sustained basis: Processes which used to be known only to a small group of employees can now be clearly outlined and even automated with Smart Engineering.
The role of PLM/PDM in Smart Engineering
The IT systems in the service of what is summarized under the umbrella term of “Product Lifecycle Management” (short: PLM) play a key role in the field of Product, Process and Peripherals Management. Pioneering current PLM technologies include role-based functionalities, interdisciplinary variant, configuration and modification management, or cloud and platform technologies. The consistent, guaranteed availability of information on a particular product is one of the key factors in Industry 4.0.