Interdisciplinary Product Development With PLM

The interaction between their MCAD and ECAD systems is still a major challenge for development departments. By taking an IT approach and consistently managing their data in a PLM solution, they can better coordinate their efforts and increase cost efficiency.

Some 80 percent of development engineers are unhappy with the interfaces between MCAD and ECAD systems when it comes to mechatronics development, which is also backed by VDMA (German Engineering Federation) surveys. The reason for their complaints is obvious: Today, machines for the capital goods industry, vehicles, and even ordinary, everyday objects are mechatronics products. This means that they contain mechanical assemblies, electrical components, and frequently software-driven electronic components. This is topped off by the hydraulics and pneumatics parts found in many engineering products.
This creates a high level of complexity in mechatronics systems, which can only function properly if all individual aspects are perfectly in sync. This can, for example, mean that the correct software version is stored in the right EPROM, on the right PCB, and in the right body.

PLM solutions bridge the gap between the different disciplines of developing and maintaining mechatronics products. They

  • provide a single data storage system
  • integrate data and product structures
  • mitigate coordination problems through workflow and process management
  • help synchronize and document phased activities

Studies by Prof. Dr. Abramovici of Ruhr-Universität Bochum have shown that PLM solutions can help reduce iteration steps in the coordination of mechanical and electronic design by about 10 percent, allowing companies to cut down development times and cost.