We talk to Masaki Konno, managing director, Asia Pacific South, Dassault Systèmes, on how PLM software can help manufacturers have better control and visibility of the various moving parts during the manufacturing process.
Manufacturers looking to accelerate the production process consider product lifecycle management (PLM) software as an essential tool. Recent developments such as 3D simulation capabilities and analytics provide benefits such as greater control and the identification of trending issues in product development. We speak to Masaki Konno, managing director, Asia Pacific South, Dassault Systèmes to learn more.
Q: Please describe what PLM software is and how it can help manufacturers improve their processes?
Masaki Konno (MK): Product lifecycle management (PLM) software helps users manage product development and costs throughout their entire lifecycle efficiently, from ideation to delivery.
Using PLM software, manufacturers have better control and visibility of the various moving parts during the manufacturing process. This accelerates the production process, enables greater visibility, and allows for changes to be made easily and rapidly. Additionally, PLM software allows for the consolidation of various systems further facilitating team work within manufacturers’ organisations as engineers and other business functions now have easy access at every stage of the product lifecycle.
By augmenting PLM software with 3D simulation capabilities, manufacturers gain greater visibility of their prototypes for improved collaboration. Simulations from 3D platforms can further boost the manufacturing process by enabling virtual testing of products without having to repeatedly create physical prototypes for tests. This only occurs through proper collaboration. Platforms such as Dassault Systèmes’ 3DExperience are able to bring together data into a single source to enable reporting, analysis, and the breaking down of disparate silos in an organisation.
Q: How does implementing PLM software impact a business?
MK: PLM software helps businesses to innovate better: the software streamlines various data streams, ensuring that right people see the right information at the right time, and in the right context. With a more efficient manufacturing process, businesses have a shorter factory-to-shelf lead time, potentially providing them first mover advantage with new products. PLM software can also be used to track the purchase lifecycle of a product, with this data further analysed to evaluate how it fared and how future products can be improved.
3D technology further complements the post-sales product tracking process by taking data from consumer feedback to instantly simulate changes, speeding up the improvement process. The visual nature of the 3D product simulations makes it easier for manufacturers to see the progress.
Q: Please share examples of how PLM software has helped manufacturers in the aerospace or automotive machining sectors.
MK: While PLM software has its obvious benefits in project management, advanced capabilities can be used to uncover product issues and improvements that are not immediately apparent. PLM analytics software such as Exalead, for example, have been used to consume public feedback data and help identify trending issues that affect product development in the automotive sector.
Previously, public recall data from the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration database was used to uncover an issue in the automotive sector called “dash melting”, where product issues were causing the dashboards of cars to warp when subjected to heat.
The software’s clustering algorithms identified the same trend across 46 similar issues in the data, and although the issue was described in different ways, machine learning capabilities allowed it to extract the semantic meaning in each case. The resulting data was then used to proactively identify and mitigate issues and risk.
Q: How does the Internet of Things (IoT) tie in PLM software in improving manufacturing processes?
MK: IoT could be a great complement to PLM software as it can potentially provide a consistent stream of feedback from customers once products are rolled out. This data can be rapidly stored and analysed with PLM software, allowing manufacturers to evaluate product performance and look for areas of improvement. IoT device connectivity will result in copious amounts of data stored in a centralised PLM system —3D envisioning systems will help to visually classify all these different amounts of data for better relationship discovery. However, PLM software must take advantage of the influx of data by having in-built analytics functions to further boost relationship discovery and data insights.
IoT also sees significant use in production environments, where the data is used to instantaneously tune and optimise processes in response to the environment they are used in. This allows businesses to understand issues, or potentially roll out new innovative ways of doing things, once they have the ability to see how their production systems respond in real-time.
Q: As PLM software involves the management of a large amount of data, how can this data be managed securely?
MK: Rather than storing and managing data across several disparate systems, each needing their own updates and patches, a single collaborative platform built for the cloud allows data to be managed securely. This is the approach of platforms such as 3DExperience, which aims to centralise data through the cloud. This enables security measures to be applied across all data in a cohesive manner, rather than multiple times across different data repositories with their own requirements.
Q: Would you like to share any other thoughts with our readers?
MK: PLM software provides the means for manufacturers and businesses to improve their products. For further improved performance, 3D technology is the next frontier in helping engineers to visualise the various product processes, and is the key for businesses to shape the future.
The industry has much to benefit from 3D technology in engineering. Real-time simulation will allow businesses to design ideal products limited only by their imagination, with little to no prototyping costs and wastage. The costs savings and lead time gained from real-time simulation will provide limitless opportunities for businesses to innovate and go to market efficiently.
Finally, with a single, collaborative platform where all knowledge and information is shared across the business, every part of an organisation can be revolutionised whether that is manufacturing, analysis, engineering design, marketing, or sales.