Kitchen-equipment maker cooks up shorter design cycles
Engineers at Sub-Zero/Wolf have cooked up an implementation of 3D design and product-life-cycle management (PLM). The result, they say is better collaboration between departments, less time to exchange engineering data, and new-product-development cycles compressed by as much as 50%. The PLM effort came out of a strategy to reverse a loss of market share with productivity improvements. PLM's role has been to capture ideas and designs and quickly move accurate and up-to-date information through the organization.
Before the PLM system came online, engineers manually filed and retrieved design documents — time-consuming tasks. Data wasn't readily available to people who needed it and ECOs were often delayed as they snaked through departments waiting for support information and sign-offs. "We got work done but it was often slow-going, and close collaboration was difficult," says Paul Sikir, Sub-Zero director of design engineering.
Sikir says his company used Smarteam from Dassault Systemes for PLM because of its information-sharing and product collaboration features. Helpful as well was its ability to work well with Sub-Zero's 3D CAD system from SolidWorks Inc., Concord, Mass. Designers access PLM from within the CAD system, and need not exit the design package to enter or hunt for data.
A customized interface on Sub-Zero's PLM package gives fast access to only those portions of the product database needed to do a job. Grayed-out areas reduce the risk of using the wrong information. Production personnel see only the most current design versions, a feature that keeps out-dated revisions off the shop floor. In addition, the PDM effectively processes ECOs, each of which may impact hundreds of design files and must pass through dozens of people. "Using PLM for change management has shortened the ECO process from weeks to days," says Sikir.
|Designers at Sub-Zero and Wolf access Smarteam PLM from within SolidWorks. A menu tab built into the CAD toolbar calls up a product data tree showing assembly parts, relationships to one another, and design status.
|Sub-Zero Freezer and Wolf Appliance companies manufacture highend equipment for upscale kitchens.