Ocap-branded ball joints and other steering and suspension system parts are sold in 147 countries for use in cars, tractors, trucks and tractors. The company uses Solid Edge software, a hybrid 2D/3D CAD system that uses synchronous technology for accelerated design, faster change and improved imported re-use — as well as employed Femap software, an advanced simulation solution. Both solutions are from Siemens PLM Software.
Multiple CAD and PDM Systems: Rework and Duplication
A contract with agricultural equipment manufacturer John Deere required Ocap to develop CAD models using PTC’s Pro/ENGINEER software. A similar requirement came from automaker Lamborghini. “We used Pro/ENGINEER for OEM (original equipment manufacturer) product development, while continuing to use I-deas for aftermarket product design and simulation,” says Jean-Jacques Tomas, Ocap engineering manager. “So, we ended up with two CAD systems and two big product families developed in parallel using different systems. We had to manage product data that was partly stored using the I-deas Team Data Manager database and partly using PTC’s Pro/INTRALINK PDM (product data management) system, which led to rework and duplication issues.
“The situation was further complicated by a new site in India with its own engineering department developing designs for OEMs and the aftermarket using Pro/ENGINEER without a product data management system. So, we started to look for a system that could enable us to have a single, unified database for data generated using Solid Edge and Pro/ENGINEER throughout the world as well as provide the scalability to add a factory in China that was set to come online with its own data search and visualization needs. This unified database had to be accessible to all enterprise departments, including people working outside the engineering domain.”
Ocap conducted a software analysis and selection process that led to the adoption of Teamcenter, which has a large installed base in the automotive industry. “We considered different solutions and finally chose Teamcenter because it offered more reliable multi-CAD and multi-site capabilities,” Tomas says. “Our network connection with India was unstable, so we needed a system that could adapt to that condition. Teamcenter provides options for integrating remote sites as well as seamless interaction with CAD systems from different vendors. These multi-CAD capabilities represent a unified archive. You can open each unique item in both modeling systems, without any translation.”
Ocap engineers have adapted to using Teamcenter, as well as Solid Edge and Femap. “Solid Edge is more intuitive and faster than other CAD packages, so we use it extensively for aftermarket and OEM products,” Tomas says. “Using Femap, we can perform rapid simulations to check the stress values of our parts, to make sure that we are on the right track during the earliest stages of product development. Femap helps us quickly and intuitively validate our design choices and learn if any corrective action is required.”
Ocap has uploaded all design data to Teamcenter and has also launched the migration of documents, images, pictures and other materials from different departments. “The migration process required no customization. We simply used the standard features of Teamcenter,” Tomas says