I know engineers,they LOVE to change things……Dr McCoy, Star Trek: The Motion Picture
In today’s blog, I’ll be covering the Teamcenter engineering change process and workflows. Specifically, we’ll take a look at how engineering change improves products as well as the administrative challenges that come with documenting and communicating changes throughout product development and manufacturing organizations.
What’s an Engineering Change Process?
The documentation of changes from problem identification, through definition of root cause and potential solutions, then through the planning and implementation of the change.
The change management process concludes with the closure of the issue(s).
What’s a Workflow?
To help organize your thoughts, let’s begin with understanding the conceptual differences between workflows and processes
- The purpose of a process is to achieve an organizational goal.
- The purpose of a workflow is to accomplish the tasks in a process.
An analogy for process and workflow is distribution of materials by railroad
- The process determines what materials are delivered from one station to another.
- Now envision the tracks for this railroad system.
- The tracks are a predetermined direction for the engine and cars to follow. The tracks might lead to different stations before getting to the final destinations.
- They also have some built-in flexibility to bypass certain stations or take an alternate path when needed.
- In the world of engineering processes, the tracks are workflows
- They’re the path the train must follow.
A workflow can be very long and include multiple stops.
Or it might twist and turn and go to different stations depending on what the predetermined path is. Conditions of the change drive the choice of routing
What is (a) Change (Process)?
The complete process is a series of procedures.
Change processes are executed with workflows.
A change may be a temporary or permanent alteration to a configuration, design requirement, or documentation.
The Engineering Order (EO) summarizes all parts of the change process
Problem Report (PR)
Documents a specific problem.
Change request (CR)
References the problem, proposed solutions, and related information. A CR contains sufficient information to allow a decision to proceed further with the change.
Change notification (CN)
Represents a notice to vendors, manufacturing, marketing, and/or other entities describing part of, or all of the implemented change to a single EO. A CN can also provide information about the effectivity of the EO.
Status associated with a workspace object when it is released through the workflow process. Think along the lines of started, in-review, signatures completed, waiting verification, and so on
End item effectivity
Date or unit number suggesting when the released configuration will be used for production of the specified end item.
Let’s look at aChange Request:
We may choose the workflow that best suits the conditions for the change.
The workflow may be detailed, such as this one.Note, it begins with replicate the problem, then define potential solutions
The best solution to meet needs is then determined – and either approved or rejected.The proposed solution could be more expensive than the problem it solves, or be ideally suited but hard to implement, as examples.
At any point, the process may stop.If the problem cannot be replicated, the workflow completes with no defined solution.Otherwise, each step of the solution process is defined and approved.
Other workflows could be used to execute this process.
Here is a simple version: detail reviews are held separately, and the outcome is signature approved.
Let’s look at an example in Teamcenter:
To give context, pretend our new Master Mover Product is in development.Within the height and pivot assembly, the clearance between the bracket and the actuator has been identified as too close.We will process an Engineering Order, a Change Request for a bracket change.
This is an Active Workspace, BOM View of Top-Level assembly:
And this is the Height and Pivot Assembly:
The visualizer files allow measurements between components, and we see we have a little over 6mm nominal clearance.We will proceed with a request for a revision change to this bracket (i.e: make more clearance).
In most engineering environments one person would make this change and implement it through a change process.To illustrate, Ed (our engineer) is going to define a change, then delegate the drawing change to a designer.Mary, our pretend quality verification person, will validate the changes to the model / drawing and where used assembly are complete.
Ed will find the Released Item Revision for the bracket:
Then, he creates a New Engineering OrderThis is Ed’s Home Folder.
Within his working space, he has created a Summary folder to contain all changes for this new product.The new EO will be linked/placed here for easy retrieval.
The new, empty form is created, and the next steps are to populate with required information.
- Ed will copy the PDF from the Bracket item revision, and attach it to the Engineering order
- The PDF will be marked up to define the requested change
- The Change Request form will be filled in, this summarizes the intent
- Much like redlining a BOM, Ed will add the existing bracket and where used item revisions into the EO into the Reference Data Tab. Then the existing bracket revision will be added to the obsolete tab. In other words, remove this revision and replace it with the one in the Revised Parts (which will be created during the workflow by Don, our designer)
- Ed will then submit the change to a simple workflow,
- When the process completes, Rev A will be obsolete and Rev B will be in the Assembly.
Steps, 1 and 2….This is the markup of the drawing, which is placed in the EO attachments.
For step 3, the change request form is filled out.
And as part of step 4, we add data to be changed to appropriate tabs.
Note: the Bracket is currently released.When the workflow completes, it will be obsolete, and Revision B will be active.
Steph 5: Submit to workflow
Step 6: all updates and approvals are summarized – and this is how the workflow has progressed…
Please note how the Engineering Order item incorporates all aspects of the process.
This is exactly why Ed made a link to his Engineering Order. After all, it’s so much easier to come back to.
Finally, the process is now complete. Note the status changes.
We all know how much time is wasted when you can’t execute your workflow effectively due to issues around your processes. A PLM tool like Teamcenter will dramatically reduce manual effort and process management costs as well as provide a user-friendly foundation for your modern-day team to efficiently collaborate – whether working from the office or home.
At Swoosh, we’ve helped a large number of companies reach their PLM objectives and set up plus develop Teamcenter software. If you’re wondering if your organization might be the right fit for this tool, feel free to reach out anytime. PS: we also offer a complimentary (yep, totally free!) 30-day trial so you can see for yourself how Teamcenter will transform your process.
What other PLM topics are you interested in seeing on our blog? Drop us a comment below!
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Hello, I’m Craig! With beginnings starting as an engineer/draftsman back in 1983, I was the first user of McAuto Unigraphics II Version 1.0. At that time, Teamcenter was not invented, however the need for file management was soon recognized. I am now an Application Engineer at Swoosh Technologies that specializes in Teamcenter, and has a background in new product development, working on a wide range of products such as the following: Copiers, Ink Jet Printers, Scanners, Satellites like Google Earth, Fusion Energy Research, and Industrial Compressor Design (HVAC).