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A CASE STUDY ON

SCHULER - BOOSTING COLLABORATIVE ENGINEERING WITH CATIA V5 AND ENOVIA VPLM

BY KISHAN KINI

OVERVIEW

Founded in 1839 as a metal fitters shop, Germanys Schuler has become a leading global manufacturer of mechanical and hydraulic metal forming products, systems and services, with a workforce of 3,600. At the forefront of developing transfer and servo presses widely used across the automotive industry, Schuler pioneered hydro-forming technology for contouring tubes in the 1990s. Schuler has six forming system sites in Germany, and one each in Brazil and China, with advanced technology sites in Germany and the U.S. They have a joint world market share of approximately 35 percent, and are represented in over 20 countries, and generate combined sales revenues of over 900 million

Schuler Objectives Transforming the value chain into a virtual enterprise. Implementing standards-based solutions built to support global enterprise-wide deployments. Managing globally dispersed programs, project teams and connected activities Optimizing industry best practices and process excellence

BUSINESS NEEDS

Schuler's number one business challenge was to satisfy the everchanging requirements of its customers such as automotive manufacturers. These companies work in a volatile market where investments in new presses are closely related to winning new orders. The Schuler development organization needs to be extremely flexible and responsive to customization requirements, yet still meet very demanding lead times. To maintain its reputation as the undisputed leader in the metal forming sector, Schuler must constantly demonstrate its commitment to innovation, product quality, and customer service. This means reacting quickly to new market opportunities and delivering the technologically superior products its customers expect.

SOLUTION
To standardize engineering processes and streamline collaborative development, Schuler adopted a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) strategy providing its R&D department with the best solution to achieve these goals. The company rapidly and successfully rolled out a complete PLM solution, developed by Dassault Systems, deploying CATIA V5 and ENOVIA VPLM across its development organization. Started with one location and five users, PLM is now used globally at six sites by 250 users.

CATIA V5 FOR 3D PRODUCT MODELING

The company uses CATIA V5 to develop 3D digital models of new presses and V5 DMU (digital mockup) for rapid testing and validation. Each new press involves 10-15 in-house engineers and substantial development savings are realized by sharing part weld information. Designers are also more productive using CATIA V5 because Catalogues and Power Copy features allow them to store and reuse standard parts and best practices to avoid costly rework. Light geometric representations (mockups) are used to share design information seamlessly with suppliers and customers via the open standard 3D XML format.

ENOVIA VPLM FOR GLOBAL PRODUCT DATA MANAGEMENT

ENOVIA VPLM was selected because Schuler realized that the only way to achieve greater efficiency was to standardize processes for sharing product data, creating and modifying designs, and managing work-in process information. Having a single source of product data allowed Schuler stakeholders to collaborate across the multi-site enterprise and maximize the benefits of concurrent engineering. Schuler also needed a product lifecycle management solution that interfaced seamlessly with other enterprise applications, facilitating the flow of information and updates among 130 concurrent engineering and business end-users. For these reasons, ENOVIA VPLM was considered an absolute prerequisite to any PLM implementation.

BENEFITS

Using PLM, Schuler has reduced the design time of presses by 20% from five to four months. Different units can handle different parts and processes such as welding from anywhere concurrently. This accelerates operational and decision-making capabilities, and improves quality. The resulting flexibility has increased capacity to meet tighter deadlines.

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