How the mechatronic bill of materials simplifies engineering.
Or: How GAIN Collaboration brings together parts lists from two worlds.
More and more electromechanical devices or machines are being created in many assembly and production halls in various industries around the world. Typical here is the presence of 2 parts lists required for the construction: one from mechanical engineering, another from electrical engineering. In order to avoid the not inconsiderable sources of error resulting from this, the PDM system GAIN Collaboration combines native CAD and ECAD BOMs in a singular item-based electromechanical BOM. And fully automated.
When mechanics and electrical engineering meet
Information from bills of materials is indispensable for many departments: they are used to determine requirements, control purchasing, and are the basis for assembly in production. Finally, they form the basis for calculations and are used to determine material costs. However, it becomes problematic if two bills of materials are available for the construction of a plant or machine. One from mechanics, another from electrical engineering. This is the case in many assembly and production halls in a wide range of industries. Where on one side developers design and model with CAD tools. While on the electrical engineering side software for electrical engineering is applied.
In this way, 2 parts lists are created virtually next to each other, which partly complement each other and partly overlap. Which makes clear specifications from all the departments involved, such as purchasing, work preparation or production, impossible.
Further problems arise, for example, in special machine construction. For example, when the customer orders and 20% of the plant is still in design status. Here, article numbers or parts lists only come about gradually. Moreover, the parts referring to an article number may change during the development period. A clear-looking scenario.
Under these circumstances, in order to generate a single, error-free BOM from two BOMs that meets the requirements, the process of merging them must be performed manually. Besides personnel costs and necessary expertise, this is an error-prone procedure.
The call for good coordination between development and production or simultaneous product development is becoming louder and louder.
Preliminary considerations for the mechatronic parts list
Mechatronic BOMs require some thought up front. The article master must be structured in such a way that its article numbers are suitable for all different development environments connected to the PDM system. Or more exemplarily: How must an article number regulation be structured so that it can be managed by a PDM system as a connecting link between CAD, ECAD and also ERP?
Rules for merging
In addition to the notation of article numbers, the PDM system needs a set of rules: How should the system react if, for example, three identical articles are set in an ECAD circuit diagram and the same mechanical article is used four times in the CAD design? Or if partially native changes are overwritten in the mechanical CAD, then again in the PDM BOM?
GAIN Collaboration provides enterprise-wide support
The PDM system GAIN Collaboration combines native CAD and ECAD BOMs into a singular item-based electromechanical BOM. And fully automated. If desired, GAIN Collaboration will automatically feed the information of this new BOM to an ERP system. In order for this process to succeed, part numbers must logically be assigned by the PDM system from the outset.
For real-time communication of the latest information throughout the company, article numbers can also be equipped with information on their development status. In this way, connected departments, such as purchasing, are immediately informed whether an item has been released or not. Specifically, if an item changes, it is reset to “development” in GAIN Collaboration and flagged in the ERP system. In this way, manufacturers or purchasers are immediately informed that – for example – a change still needs to be incorporated.
Conclusion: Change engineering that pays off several times over
Both for companies themselves and in fast-paced competition, the mechatronic bill of materials brings significant advantages company-wide. The initial effort, the change engineering process, is worth it. Once implemented in the company, nothing stands in the way of effective simultaneous engineering.