Hello to all;
I wanted to start this blog to share the success we have had over the last year leveraging Windchill's product structures bill of materials functionality and some customizations with our drawing publishing to provide a single data set for our type design documentation that would be viewable in both the client web browser and the mobile application. December 12th we went live with WTParts, doesn't sound like a big success with just that said. Over the next weeks I will lay out our old documentation, configuration’s and the issues that surrounded that configuration.
How did the E-BOM help us transform into a single data entry point and single drawing artifact in Windchill? Thanks to the presentation in Boston, System Generated Drawings, I was able to use their concept and apply it to our drawings. Today in our production environment when a drawing is published at the end of the release workflow we are extracting the approver task name and date from the promotion request and the WTPart E-BOM and automatically appending it to the last page of the drawing PDF.
See Attached Drawing Example
One small thing that has an impact for the mobile applications is that we are also generating a PDF with watermarks along with the auto appended page and attaching it to the drawing object in Windchill as an attachment. Note: The mobile application does not allow you to view the Creo drawings, only 3-D Models, Microsoft files and PDFs. This was not acceptable for our use to justify the deployment of the mobile apps. With the appended PDF of the drawings the mobile apps become a viable piece of technology.
Hopefully the following paragraphs will keep you interested. I know there are other companies out there working on this and others that are ready to implement, hopefully people will comment, ask questions and provide lessons learned from their experiences. I am in no way the expert on this topic.
2008 implemented Windchill 8.0 as Data Warehouse for all of our CAD data; (Including: Creo, Microstation, MS Word and MS Excel). At that time our configuration management group set states of files as they were manually released with a paper copy of the ECO. This was a migration from PTC Intralink to Windchill 8.0.
Our drawing package consisted of Creo Parametric 3-D models, 2-D drawings and an Excel spreadsheet for the Parts List fully revision controlled in Windchill. One area of concern with this was anyone viewing the data, had at a minimum, 2 artifacts displaying in the search results that had to be opened and viewed in Creo View to see the whole drawing packet and then had to navigate to the promotion request process tab to view the release information. Also any time a drawing packet was delivered to a supplier multiple artifacts were required to be exported from Windchill for each drawing. In addition when the engineering staff Revised or Re-Numbered items, multiple artifacts needed to be updated and revisions keep in sync. This created an environment with multiple manual data entry of the same data into different software applications and Windchill UI's.
April of 2013 we worked jointly with the FAA to transition our CM manual paper ECO release processes into Windchill electronic workflows. Most of the workflows were re-configured from the out of the box standard promotion request workflow.
December 12th, 2014 we worked jointly with a consulting services organization and were able to implement WTParts for our 2nd conforming for flight test article aircraft, a new product offering planned for full production in 2015.
So what does this mean and who really cares?
Our aircraft products are world class and highly configurable at the point of sales. From a product structure architecture standpoint they are complex but not overwhelming. Over the next 6 months we will transform the Windchill E-BOM (WTParts) into a configurable product leveraging Windchill’s Options and Variants functionality to generate serialized E-BOMs for sold configurations from the overloaded E-BOM and manage serialized effectivity using Windchill’s Change Objects functionality. This is no longer a dream it will be a reality in a very short time.
The surprising thing is that my implementation team consisted of 1 full time individual (myself), 1 consultant 72 hours billed), 4-5 conference calls with a few of PTC's experts and a couple part time individuals (80 hours billed to project) and a management staff that allowed me to focus on this 100% of my time over the last year.
Below are bullet points of future blog additions I will cover. I will attempt to add these by the dates shown below.
(12-27-14) Project Overview, Planning & Actuals
Dissecting the System Generated-Appended Page
(01-06-15) Required Windchill Re-Configuration to implement WTParts (changes to existing Windchill configurations)
(01-06-15) Handling Standard Parts, Material Specifications and Reference Specifications
Bill of Materials Expectations - how do you get consistency in your data?
(01-09-15) Decisions and Why
How did we enter 10,000 object line for top level structure
(01-23-15) Options and Variant
Prodcut Structure Architecture
(02-13-15) Configuration Management, Change Objects & Serialized Effectivity
(03-06-15) Enterprise System (MES, ERP, CRM) Integration Expectations
I encourage you to interact and ask questions, this is just one method we used and I am sure there are many ways to accomplish this.
Project Overview, Planning & Actuals; the initial project began with a current state review with our consulting partners. During this review we asked ourselves the following questions:
Defining an implementation strategy, after evaluating our current systems configuration and understand where we wanted to be, we defined the following as phases or major milestone to reduce the impact on the end user and divide into manageable implementations and training sessions.
It was very interesting to see how complex of a change, a simple Excel spreadsheet defined Parts List that was manually labor intensive, and no one liked……………………..
Dissecting the System Generated-Appended Page (See Attached Drawing.jpg), The appended page is automatically created from 3 sources of Windchill data
In summary we had to think out the full extent of the project top down, then start dissecting each phase from the bottom up and test in our development environment to verify what we configured is what the end product would look like. This full dive included thinking through, researching and defining how Reporting, O&V and Change Objects would account for information that was originally shown on the Excel Spreadsheet Parts Lists. In future blog additions I will address the Reporting, O & V and Change Objects.