Fabricators – Integrate CAD & ERP Data or Pay for your Mistakes
Fabricators for engineered products relying heavily on 2D CAD drafts and annotated 3D CAD models for fabrication and final assembly, are well aware of what still can go wrong by using ‘only’ CAD. Fabricators know that once they have received CAD data for fabrication or the product is set to be launched in market, design changes cannot be made; no matter how critical they are.This affects the entire product data management (PDM). Even though the changes are transcribed in ERP, it will not be corrected in information throughput in CAD software like Autodesk AutoCAD or SolidWorks.
Changes of this magnitude will magnify the effects into unaffordable losses of cost overruns, materials waste and time delays. Most importantly it threatens the market reputation of fabricators and product design engineers, both; and ultimately hits sales.In most cases,such radical changes arisedue to wrong information fed to ERP systems that form a separate database or ERP and CAD data going out of sync.
Why doesn’t CAD and ERP integration go hand-in-hand?
For most companies, ERP data is usually not in sync with CAD designs prepared by product design engineers. The reasons being improperly communicated changes between ERP and CAD data. It is a common phenomenon that engineering change orders are not populated in ERP database which causes it to go out of sync with CAD files. Difference in information in Bill of Materials (BOMs) prepared by product design engineersfrom CAD models,and used by resource planning and management committee too causesthe discrepancies.
Data differences between CAD and ERP disrupt the defined workflow and reduce operational efficiency on fabrication shop floor. Such unsynchronized information causes to have unnecessary spending of time delays in launching the product in markets.
Live and Batch approach – Ways to integrate CAD and ERP data
Engineered product manufacturers seek solutionsto integrate their CAD data with ERP database so that they can finally get rid of paying for someone else’s mistakes.With two prominent ways of integrating this data, there seems a clear way out of long prevailing unsynchronized CAD and ERP data.
Live/bidirectional link between CAD and ERP platform offers real-time data synchronization. These bidirectional links take values from design changes in CAD model made by product design engineer and immediately updatesit in ERP database. Live approach synchronizes and processes a wide range of data needed for fabrication shop floor logistics and management such as routing instruction, BOMs etc.
Another line of attack to troubleshoot data synchronization of CAD and ERP is ‘batch approach’. It enables product designer engineer to extract metadata and export it [between CAD and ERP].Batch approach seeks a confirmation or approval from CAD design engineer to update ERP at specified interval. It surpasses the range of live approach for CAD data processing and includes cost production calculation systems, creates user activity reports as well as products and spare part reports.
CAD-ERP integration empowers engineered component fabricators
Live approach or Batch approach, both, serve equally well for manufacturers practicing Engineer-to-order [EOT] or Build-to-order [BOT]. The key takeaway for them is quick updates in ERP and hence correct preparation of BOMs and rightful management of supply chain for fabrication.
Upon adopting CAD and ERP integration solutions;duplication of data in ERP is completely eradicated which eliminates redundant data.This seamless data integration gives channelized flow of data between different disciplines of management, designs, manufacturing and across extended enterprise. It creates a bridge between designs and fabrication information silos and streamlines workflows.
Product data is the bible tofabricators for developing new products and launching in market. Engineered product manufacturers expect least possible glitches and fewer obstacles to strengthen their product development.
Fabricatorsadoption of CAD in distinctive ways has helpedall along and enabled them to develop PDM for the entire lifecycle of product. However, with moving pace of market volatility, they look of integrating this CAD engineered data with their planning committee through ERP. New approaches for ERP will set these manufacturers sail through the volatility and allow avoiding costly mistakes.
About Author: Jaydeep Chauhan is an Engineering Specialist working at Hi-Tech Engineering Services for the past 1 year. He caters critical engineering challenges with ease and performs exhaustive procedures to develop robust, well-engineered and high performance designs. He can always be found in the lab discussing, brainstorming and tweaking designs.