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Factory and enterprise systems

Merging paradigms: engineering for a managed product life cycle (systems engineering) Göran Granholm

Running a successful business in a world of constant change is a great challenge for all enterprises, not least within the manufacturing industry. Globally networked organizations do their best to adjust to new situations in order to launch new products fast and efficiently to a global market with rapidly changing customer preferences and fierce competition. The required speed of product development and production together with continuously evolving enterprise networks and business mergers generates an environment in which long-term strategic planning and well-managed product processes are difficult to establish and maintain. The risk is that processes remain suboptimal, leading to decreased productivity, quality problems and, in the end, higher cost of ownership for the customer. In order to deal with these challenges, a holistic approach must be applied that considers all aspects of the product life cycle from concept to disposal. This must be based on a management system for dealing with product and process data throughout the life cycle.

Introduction A project called ‘Systems Engineering – PLM integration’ has been launched to deal with two seemingly different views of the product process. With a background in defence and aerospace sectors, Systems Engineering (SE) has a long tradition as a systematic approach to developing high complexity products. One of the cornerstones of SE is the focus on systematic verification and validation against a comprehensive set of requirements covering

all phases of the product’s life. PLM, or product life cycle management, on the other hand, has developed from the need to manage product- and process-related data throughout the product’s life. Essentially, SE focuses on the process whereas PLM focuses on the method and data. Consequently, Systems Engineering has remained more theoretical while the current understanding of PLM is still largely based on IT and PLM systems [1]. Recently, SE and PLM have both been developing towards a more holistic view of the product life cycle (Figure 1). Despite increasing overlaps of scope, SE and PLM have not frequently been studied together as synergistic approaches. This is now rapidly changing as an increasing number of PLM system providers have introduced support for SE-based processes in their products. A prerequisite for increased automation and efficiency is a harmonization of processes, data representations and supporting tools. One of the most significant developments relating to the interoperability of tools and the integration of different engineering disciplines is the increasing use of models [2]. The models range from conceptual representations to functional simulation models and virtual reality. The development and standardization of models has been treated in some recent publications, mainly from a technical point of view [3, 4]. In addition to the technical issues, the adoption of these emerging tools and methodologies throughout the networked enterprise remains a challenge.

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VTT Research Highlights 3  

Production matters. VTT in global trends. Kai Häkkinen (ed.)

VTT Research Highlights 3  

Production matters. VTT in global trends. Kai Häkkinen (ed.)