Engineering Change Order Process with 3D PDF

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Globalized Manufacturing Needs an Effective Engineering Change Order (ECO) Process

Today’s manufacturing landscape consists of a distributed set of systems.  Siloed data across your supply chain results in poor collaboration.  Because your vendors and suppliers are globally dispersed, the challenge lies not only in efficiently communicating the right product data at the right time and in the right format, but also in managing product changes along the supply chain.

It’s no secret that each company has their own product development processes. You often see hundreds of ECOs when a new product is being developed. When faced with this kind of challenge, how do you effectively and efficiently:

  • propose and communicate changes so that all constituents understand the goal(s)?
  • exchange the associated data from different systems and databases?
  • approve changes to 3D models when your PMI data is in different formats and located in different systems

What are the challenges of ECO manufacturing?

Because your engineering change orders are linked to your engineering and manufacturing requirements, you need to manage the data to ensure consistency. Have you seen companies try to manage their ECOs with ‘home grown’ database solutions? This inevitably leads to production errors and costly rework. Additionally, how are you providing your team with the right feedback to improve their products? When you craft solutions to improve efficiency, you’ll want to address the following concerns:

  • Do you have a clearly defined ECO process?
  • Are there specific departments causing regular time delays?
  • Can you use an ERP to create a more effective workflow?
  • Is there a closed feedback loop between engineering and manufacturing?
  • Have you CLEARY defined the difference between an engineering change request and order?
  • Do you have an integrated solution between PLM and ERP?

Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list. Depending on your organization, a multitude of additional challenges may exist.

A Process for Engineering Change Management

ECO manufacturing is readily solved by a process that converts information into an easy to read, freely available format.  Your format must capture all kinds of product data, including native CAD files, BOMs and annotations. It must also support individual-access security with bi-directional communication so that when suppliers initiate change, the feedback is reflected in other systems. What can you use?

3D PDFs are the Solution for Engineering Change Management

How can 3D PDFs help Engineering Change Control?

3D PDF technology supports cross-enterprise change/release processes. Intelligent PDF creates ECO templates that provide automation to support proposals for change, change orders, and change notifications. All the information relevant to evaluating and implementing change orders can be embedded into a single PDF container. All data—3D models, 2D drawings, parts lists, and much more—can be extracted from this container and automatically fed back into the respective back-end information systems. In this way, automation integrates the cross-enterprise change/release processes seamlessly into the internal engineering change management systems at each partner site.

Download this Sample Engineering Change Order

You must save the document and open in Adobe Reader to view full 3D PDF.

3D PDFs Facilitate and Speed up the Engineering Change Order Process in Cross-Company Collaborations Through:

  • XML-based forms technology automates data import/export to/from 3D PDF documents and integrated back-end design, engineering, manufacturing, and enterprise management information systems.
  •  3D models, 2D drawings, parts lists annotations, and any other data relevant to changes in product development/design/manufacture can be included in a 3D PDF container, which acts as a standard format readable by all participants.
  • Recipients only need Adobe Reader to view data, add annotations, and use “red-lining” functions.
  • Comments can be collated in a document and extracted to document the change/release for backend information systems.
  • Using interactive 3D geometry in Adobe Reader facilitates understanding, evaluating, and coordinating proposed changes (e.g., highlighting the deviations between two model versions).
  • Password protection ensures that only authorized persons have access to change/release orders, and digital signatures simplify authorizations across multiple companies. Optional security measures (DRM) can control the contents of the 3D PDF container throughout the change/release cycle.

What’s the overall benefit when you use 3D PDFs?

  • Standardization of cross-enterprise, multi-company change/release processes, which ultimately facilitates and speeds the coordination, discussion, and decision-making related to change/release in cross-enterprise and multi-company collaborations.
  • Integration with internal change/release workflows, providing a high degree of automation in what would otherwise be manual change/release order processing.
  • Seamless documentation of change/release orders.
  • High level of access security to change/release information and authorizations.
  • Faster implementation and coordination of change/release order processing in cross-enterprise and multi-company collaborations.

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