Exploring featherweight industry PLM solutions for academic use
Editor: John Lawlor, Ger Reilly, Robert Simpson, Michael Ring, Ahmed Kovacevic, Mark McGrath, William Ion, David Tormey, Erik Bohemia, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson
Author: Barrie, Jeff; Owen, Geraint
Institution: University of Bath, United Kingdom
Section: Technology in Design Education
There is no doubt that PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) solutions are improving data sharing and decision making during product development in industry and beyond. CAD (Computer Aided Design) and document data are tied into product BOM (Bill of Material) structures, revision control is effective and change orders are well managed. This is appropriate for a professional environment with experienced design engineers, working on a project that often has a long life. However, undergraduate design engineers lack experience, working in many informal environments on projects with a short life. In many student group projects, data can be poorly controlled and decision making can be ad hoc. It can be suggested that students need PLM or PDM (Product Data Management) software to remedy this problem-many solutions, however, go beyond the scope and technical skill level of many student projects, with little benefit in short time scales. Even lightweight solutions are geared towards SMEâs (Small to Medium Enterprise) as opposed to a handful of students working on a 6 month project. There is a steep learning curve in effectively using current PLM/PDM software. For students, product data management needs to be intuitive and second nature; a featherweight solution is required. Students require the system to have an appropriate attitude and behaviour to CAD data storage, revision control and decision making in order to use advanced PLM systems effectively. This way of working can improve the quality of group design projects as well as giving graduates the basic skills to approach PLM themes professionally in their industrial careers. This paper explores the approaches and technologies available to give students the necessary skills for effective product data management.