Management of Mechatronic Product Data in PLM Systems
Abstract: There are unique problems with mechatronic design. The increased amount of information available, and the need to manage this information from several and traditionally different engineering fields, have made it evident that it is no longer possible to design without solid knowledge about what is going on in related fields. With a different set of development tools, vocabulary and process traditions, the mechatronic field now has to be integrated. PLM systems and their PDM predecessors show promising signs of being able to do this. However, it is not (only) a matter of collecting and presenting information for designers. There must be found suitable means to categorise and identify the information that is needed. Not only CAD drawings, but also requirements, systems and functionalities, have to be managed. Performing these changes is not an easy task, and the end-user, that is, the designer, may or may not understand the underlying reasons for implementing PLM systems. It is important that designers can be motivated by the PLM approach, which makes it possible to increase efficiency by e.g. reducing the current information-management complexity of, for example, different application and system interfaces that confront the designer in the mechatronic field. The focus of this work has been on finding an applicable framework for how to manage mechatronic product data in PLM systems. The approach is based on interviews and workshops. Two demonstrators are presented (Paper A) that show the applicability of PLM for mechatronics. It is concluded that commercial PLM systems can be modified to support mechatronic product development. Architectural issues in PLM for mechatronics are also presented. Papers B and C discusses different architectures and a loose integration concept based on services is presented in Paper C. Three separate studies resulting in four published articles are reported on in this licentiate thesis. Business needs are seen as the predominant factor in order to achieve successful mechatronic integration in PLM systems. The major benefits of an integrated model from a business viewpoint are found in the information integration and data integrity. This would lead to better quality assurance and better products delivered to the customer. From the users perspective (Paper D), mechatronic integration could lead to that their work procedures dramatically has to be changed, however access to better management functionality would reduce the time
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