PDM Success Story: Kroeplin Längenmesstechnik
We are sure – with GAIN Collaboration we have made the best possible decision.
How GAIN Collaboration supports the manufacturing of length measurement devices
When Heinrich Carl Kröplin set up his own business as a master watchmaker in 1883, he probably had no idea that he was laying the foundations for a highly specialized company with a global reputation: More than 125 years later, Kroeplin probes are the right solution wherever conventional measuring instruments such as calipers or internal micrometers cannot be used due to their geometry. Numerous industries, such as the metalworking industry or timber construction, rely on the mechanical and electronic lever measuring devices from the experts in Schlüchtern, Hesse.
PDM alternative wanted
For product data management (PDM), the specialists have trusted the PDM system Autodesk Productstream Professional (PSP) for many years. Since this PDM solution was replaced in October 2017 and is no longer supported, users will have to switch to an alternative system. Alexander Schirmer, Head of Product Design / Construction: “We postponed the decision for a PSP successor as far as possible so that we could take full advantage of our time with PSP. Parallel to a presentation of Autodesk’s recommended successor product Autodesk Vault, we looked at other PDM software. In the process, we really liked GAIN Collaboration from the start. It is very similar to the PSP. Once from the visual appearance – but also in terms of functionality and customization of the system. The differences to other products, which are not as flexible, seemed to us to be much higher. So we saw GAIN Collaboration as the biggest intersection.”
The CAD PDM infrastructure at Kroeplin
For the development and design of their measuring instruments, the 6 designers at Kroeplin work with AutoCAD, AutoCAD Mechanical and Autodesk Inventor. The assembly of a mechanical probe comprises on average 100 – 120 parts. Currently, around 60,000 CAD documents are managed in Gain Collaboration. For the management of drawing and design data, the designers now use GAIN Collaboration Professional for full access to the PDM system. The quality management and production departments work with the research variant GAIN Collaboration View in order to look up or print out one or the other via the PDM system for control purposes.
PDM Migration: Well prepared
Schirmer: “Together with GAIN Software, we first analysed our data to see if any problems could arise that would have been a hindrance to the PDM implementation.
We have prepared one or the other case accordingly. This is why the actual PDM migration or changeover went almost without a hitch. We started on Friday afternoon and finished on Sunday. GAIN Software was very involved in this process and monitored the migration in detail over the weekend. We also found the attention to our shift work very accommodating: GAIN Software perfectly adapted to our times. Because some things couldn’t be adjusted and updated until everyone was logged out of the system.”
Training: Introduction in only one day
“Then on the Monday after the migration, GAIN Software gave us an introduction to the system at our office. The training for the variants of GAIN Collaboration we use was completed in one day. So we were able to start using it fully right away that week. And because of the similarity of GAIN Collaboration to PSP, this was really not difficult for any of us. Of course, we already knew the new system a bit. Moreover, GAIN Collaboration is very intuitive to use”, Schirmer remarks.
Remained: The status management
Schirmer: “One of the main reasons for GAIN Collaboration is the design of the status management. This is very similar to that of PSP.
With other PDM products, we would have had to adapt a lot more.”
Pleasing: Job server included
The measurement specialists were also very positive about the job server integrated in GAIN Collaboration, which they use relatively often. Schirmer: “When we release a document, for example, the inspection date and the inspector must be entered in the title block of the drawing. This is now automatically done by the GAIN Collaboration job server at the appropriate moment. Or the printout of 100 – 200 drawings: Simply mark and send for printing. Sure, other PDM systems also offer a job server. Only, with GAIN Collaboration, it’s included. If you start your computer in the morning, the job server also starts in the background. With other systems you would have had to buy it separately. Or you would have needed a separate computer. Possibly with an additional license. And another CAD license that we would have had to purchase just for the job server.
With GAIN Collaboration, we have it all included. This great advantage is of course also reflected financially and in terms of expenditure in general. You don’t have to pay for and maintain separate licenses.”
CAD PDM handling today: safer, faster and always up to date
“GAIN Collaboration has improved our work on and with the PDM system in many ways,” notes Schirmer proudly.
“For example, GAIN Collaboration works with the check-in check-out process, which makes our work more secure. This is a big difference to PSP, where some overlaps caused us problems from time to time. With Check-Out, on the other hand, I can immediately see that the document is being processed by a colleague. This way I know that I can’t work on it right now and need to consult with them or perhaps request an interim status. It is also helpful that the desired file is first copied to your own computer during check-out. Local editing is much faster for change processes and saving. The file is safely transferred back to the archive via the check-in after editing. A real improvement compared to PSP. Here, you always had to work via the network, which could take longer depending on the data line,” says Schirmer.
PDM system updates are announced to probe manufacturers directly in GAIN Collaboration. Schirmer: “You can immediately see that updates are available for installation on the server. If we were to switch to Inventor 2018, for example, we would always have the latest interfaces on board with GAIN Collaboration. Very convenient.”
Adjusted: Message for new CAM data
For many years now, the people of Schlüchtern have relied on a well-trusted warning system. If orders are sent to production, this prints out the drawing for the order and checks whether it still corresponds to the status of the last programming. For this purpose, the production accesses original Inventor files, which are linked in GAIN Collaboration via a folder. Schirmer: “If a drawing is changed in the design department, this change is automatically stored as a file in a specific directory. Production, on the other hand, accesses the same directory. If an employee from production now opens the corresponding CAM data for a drawing, he automatically receives a warning from our Edgecam if something has changed in the model. Then the colleague in production can look up in GAIN Collaboration in the section “Changes” what exactly has been changed.
Based on this drawing model status and the link between GAIN Collaboration and our Edgecam programming system, the NC program is then created.”
GAIN Software: Pleasant cooperation
“We are sure that we have made the best possible decision. Also communication and cooperation with GAIN Software were very good and pleasant from day one. Starting with the presentation, where no question remained unanswered, through the personal contact to the communication via phone and email. From GAIN Software we always receive good, further answers or reactions to our questions or suggestions in a timely manner.”