PDM Success Story: Budde Fördertechnik
The flexibility of GAIN Collaboration was decisive.
Mastered: Extensive PDM migration and cross-branch deployment
Whenever it comes to optimizing material flow and just-in-time operating logistics, the experts at BUDDE Fördertechnik are in demand. The globally active full-service provider with over 50 years of experience offers both individual standard conveyor elements and individual system solutions.
The company also supplies the electrical controls and the matching steel construction platforms. From telescopic, belt or roller conveyors to sorter systems such as automatic or tilt switch sorters, which are used in parcel logistics: The conveyor elements of the Bielefeld company can be found everywhere where just-in-time and reliable conveying and sorting is required: for example at Esprit, Zalando, DPD, GLS, DHL, UPS or Amazon.
Numerous parts in over 30,000 documents
Individual parts or assemblies are correspondingly numerous and varied: From small holders or flat steel parts to finished components such as a telescopic conveyor. Around 25 design engineers at the Bielefeld site design and model what moves their customers’ conveyors forward.
At present, the Bielefeld company manages around 30,000 documents in the PDM system. These are for example 3D overview plans, office documents, PDFs and photos, and also DWGs and XREFs. Or external data, such as floor plans from architects, which are entered as references in drawings. The lion’s share of CAD data is currently still determined by AutoCAD data. Due to partner companies and from the BUDDE conveyor technology history, the conveyor experts today also work with CAD systems such as AutoCAD Mechanical, SolidWorks, Solid Edge and Autodesk Inventor.
Now the replacement of the product data management system (PDMS) Autodesk Productstream Professional (PSP) was imminent. A PDM system that BUDDE Fördertechnik trusted for 17 years.
Decision for GAIN Collaboration
Roman Mazurek-Bäumer, Head of Strategic Planning: “The successor product Autodesk Vault recommended by Autodesk did not convince us. In this respect, we have been looking for a suitable PSP successor for a longer time. And obtained many quotes from different areas. GAIN Collaboration caught our eye right away because it is very similar to the PSP environment and retains the structures. I found it remarkable that probably many years ago a merger of the products GAIN Collaboration and PSP, at that time still under the name Compass, was under discussion.
GAIN Software gave us a comprehensive presentation of the product, which gradually led us into more and more detail. In the end, GAIN Collaboration convinced us both in terms of the overall concept, the features and also the price: our employees find themselves in it very well and quickly in the usual way. Self-sufficient data is managed by GAIN Collaboration in a structured environment. It is also very advantageous that physical data in GAIN Collaboration is not encrypted somewhere without any possibility of access. Rather, they are found at a certain predefined location in a predefined structure. This means that even if the GAIN Collaboration environment were to become unavailable, you can still access the data and continue working in the form of a backup scenario.”
Always up to date with multiple locations
The Bielefeld company has outsourced a large part of its production to the Hanseatic city of Kamen in North Rhine-Westphalia and to Schmalkalden in Thuringia. Mazurek: “Working across locations with GAIN Collaboration is very practical: In the bidirectional full replications we primarily use, GAIN Collaboration imperceptibly synchronizes physical documents and metadata in the background with our location in Schmalkalden. The rights system leaves it up to us at which time we replicate document changes to Schmalkalden. This way, we are always up-to-date on both sides.”
CAD PDM Migration: Transfer of data from different eras
Mazurek: “First, we had to switch from AutoCAD 2008 to AutoCAD 2017 with the CAD system. In addition, we had many data that was still created with AutoCAD 2000, among other things. In addition, drawings which were created with AutoCAD Architecture and MDT. To make matters worse, the migration to PSP 2009 at the time had already generated many errors. All in all, data that should not be a challenge until migration.
For the PDM implementation we first tested GAIN Collaboration extensively in a test environment. The system was optimized in such a way that all our workflows could be carried out cleanly. As a next step, we migrated a complete PSP database to the GAIN Collaboration database. Now we could start working with some physical data on the test server. Unfortunately, because we had only tested with a few pieces of data, we didn’t discover many problems until later in the actual migration. At this point, we received great support from GAIN Software. With a special add-on program, missing references in drawings that had crept in under PSP could be corrected.
It turned out to be an advantage that GAIN Software had extended their migration program so much that all CAD documents from different eras could be migrated, i.e. transferred from PSP to GAIN Collaboration. Due to the different data and the resulting issues, the changeover from PSP to GAIN Collaboration naturally took some time. Once the migration was complete, everything else was peanuts – cosmetic surgery, so to speak,” smiles Mazurek.
And he emphasizes: “I can only recommend migrating the complete database including all physical data first. And then to work in a separate test environment before actually going online. Even if this means a higher investment.
GAIN Collaboration supports in several departments
In addition to the GAIN Collaboration Professional variant for managing product data at design workstations, Purchasing and Sales use the Office variant for searching and editing non-CAD documents.
For a quick check in the workflow, the work preparation, purchasing and ordering departments are equipped with GAIN Collaboration View.
Working with GAIN Collaboration – looking back at PSP
Mazurek: “The usability and performance of PSP and GAIN Collaboration are very similar. And that was and is one of the strongest criteria for GAIN Collaboration. Also, that with so many documents we can reach our goal with few clicks via a global search, directly and, moreover, quickly. GAIN Collaboration offers us the possibility to continue using the filters we are familiar with from PSP. Drawings and models can be filed by drag & drop – as we are used to in PSP. Or even by new entry using an individual template predefined by us.”
Uncomplicated cooperation and support with and from GAIN Software
Mazurek: “We at BUDDE Fördertechnik are very flexible on the road and ideally want a similar philosophy from our partners. This flexibility was a big factor in us choosing GAIN Software. Communication and handling with GAIN Software are quite uncomplicated.
GAIN Software’s phone and email support is fast and good. In cases of need, we don’t have to take a number. Instead of a ticket system, you have a competent contact person on the phone. A very relaxed working relationship.”