Original Date: 10/27/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Electronic Data Management
With Electronic Data Manager, Auto-Valve, Inc. can locate any drawing in minutes. By providing quicker quote turn-around and reducing time to market, the company has improved supply chain responsiveness and won new business.
Since 1947, Auto-Valve, Inc. (AVI) has been designing and manufacturing quality valves and components required by military and commercial aircraft. Over time, the company accumulated more than 5,000 designs, of which 2,800 were qualified valve assemblies. Each year the company produced 400 to 500 different valve assemblies and introduced new valve assemblies. Early valve assemblies were designed and documented using 2-D board drawings. Later, AVI used AutoCAD 3-D drawings. Currently the company uses 3-D Solid Works Modeling for designs. As software evolved from 2-D drawings to 3-D Solid Modeling, the need for good model management became evident as designers struggled to retrieve design documentation. Considering that each part within an assembly undergoes change over time, the CAD designer must assign revision levels to the parts, and decide if the revision merits changing the parts list for upper level assembly. In some cases, the revisions force updates to multiple drawings in the documentation set. The updates to the revised part create challenges for the design team in modifying the part- naming scheme to include various part revisions. Revisions must be archived to keep track of the various revised parts. Revisions complicate the management of 3-D files and the thorough tracking of the revisions.
Prior to implementation of the Electronic Data Manager, AVI manually performed configuration management. No comprehensive search capability existed to retrieve drawings produced from three separate systems 2-D board drawings, 3-D AutoCAD, and 3-D Solid Works Models. The older drawings did not carry revision data; therefore, history was lost, or at least difficult to rebuild. As a result, the retrieval of specific drawings and their revisions from the vast repository of design documents was time consuming and costly. The introduction of new designs was often met with the inability to take advantage of reusing old designs and avoiding quality testing. AVI implemented the Electronic Data Manager in June 2001 and began organizing and consolidating the entire repository of valve assemblies and component drawings, regardless of which system was used to generate them over the years. AVI employed the SmarTeam File Manager, Version 4.0 Service Pack 6 software, which has a strong file management component with searchable attributes. This software allows automatic revision management, keeps the latest release version in tact, and allows more than one person to work on the same part, but informs the user if someone else is working on a design. This approach makes data easy to find and permits the reuse of models to avoid recreating what already exists.
As a result of the Electronic Data Manager, AVI’s design process has been streamlined, and the company has gained greater efficiency for future design projects. Drawings can be located in minutes, increasing responsiveness to customers in quoting and production start-up. The electronic search capability has optimized AVI’s re-use of parts for new designs, which has reduced design time and quick quote turn-around and has improved responsiveness to the customer. During the past year, AVI doubled the number of quotes from the previous year. AVI plans to integrate the Electronic Data Manager with the company’s Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) system.
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