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CAD/CAM/PDM/FRP/MRP/MES/PLM- and ERP-systems: methods of integration and feature of introduction in the design organisations
This article describes methods for integrating systems, their advantages and disadvantages are analyzed the main objectives and tasks involved in their implementation in engineering organizations.                               

At the first operational stage in the design organisations of an information technology (IT) solved problems can be divided on two groups:
- technological and industrial (industrial activity);
- economic, administrative and logistical (administrative activity).

Application IT, as a rule, goes in two directions:
- for designing and manufacture preparation establish CAD/CAM-systems. In the large design organisations one works not, and set of similar systems of various manufacturers;
- for management of economic activities instal the accounting program or ERP-system.

Thus both directions develop independently from each other, a consequence of that is local automation. As a result there is no uniform information field which could become a basis of system of technical training, the operative account and manufacture resource management at level under department and the design organisation as a whole so, functions are duplicated, the data is repeatedly entered manually, it is not possible to receive the interconnected reporting.

In addition to noted features of introduction IT, essential changes bring modern economic conditions in traditional process of preparation of manufacture. Feature of preparation of manufacture in such conditions is necessity of the decision of following problems:
- Carrying out of numerous variants of predesigns of products. Feature of such calculations is the minimum volume of the initial design and technological documentation (separate assembly drawings or sketches). At the same time results are necessary for acceptance of well-founded decisions with the assistance of the design organisation in tenders, the conclusion of contracts (contracts), etc.;
- Preparation of the design, technological and economical documentation on products in limiting deadlines;
- Carrying out of numerous changes under design notices and under certificates of the permission instead of logistics department;
- Maintenance with the design and technological documentation of industrial divisions of the organisation for advancing start of the unified and borrowed knots/components of products in procuring and completing manufacture;
- Refusal of product designing in connection with change of the plan of manufacture, the financing termination, poor quality of materials.

Unfortunately, CAD/CAM-systems frequently take root after or simultaneously with ERP-system. And meanwhile in the design organisations it is necessary to begin with introduction of CAD/CAM-systems as program modules of ERP-system as a whole will not function if they on an input will not have data about product structure, and also initial and resultants of the data of design/technological preparation of manufacture. Very often this data is defined and entered manually (for this purpose in the design organisations departments are specially created) that causes set of errors and reduces accuracy of work of system of the account and planning, increases a time of recovery of outlay of realised decisions.

Principal cause of difficulties of introduction in the design organisations of ERP-systems is the obvious list towards automation and information of business processes and putting off on then (or ignoring) the primary goals of automation of technical training and management of productions.

The risk reasons at introduction on discrete manufacture of ERP-systems can be divided into three basic groups: default of problems of technical training of manufacture and an operational administration the design organisation; wrong calculation of time of introduction and shortage of budgetary capacity; the full termination of investment of the project. The problems which decision will demand subsequently the big time expenses, energy and monetary resources as a result collect. In the worst case the introduced software of ERP-systems is inexact displays the basic business processes that interferes with growth of profit of all design organisation.

Functional and information rupture between levels of ERP-system and manufacture technical training

In drawing (in Russian) it is shown that the contours of ERP-system corresponding to classification APICS (American Production and Inventory Control Society), do not provide the decision of problems of technical training and an operational administration discrete manufacture, being limited to strategic planning that predetermines occurrence of considerable functional and information rupture between ERP-system and technical training contours and an operational administration manufacture. In it, the neosufficed IT Level of an operational administration the whole class of the vital productions for the design organisation, creating a surplus value of production and making essential impact on an overall performance of the design organisation as a whole is manufacture.

Now for the decision of the above-stated class of problems are intended PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) – the systems focused on automation of problems of technical training and an operational administration by discrete manufacture, optimisation of productions and resources, the control and scheduling of performance of plans of manufacture with minimisation of expenses. Thanks to automation of technical training of manufacture of PLM-system support all industrial activity of the design organisation in a mode of real time. The fast, productive response to changing conditions in a combination with orientation PLM to decrease in costs allows to operate industrial operations and processes effectively. Besides, PLM-systems form the data about the current industrial indicators, necessary for functioning of ERP-systems.

Thus, the PLM-system is a link between the ERP-system focused on financial and economic operations and operative industrial activity of the design organisation. The ERP-system realises operational planning and, using the exact information on productions, answers a question as in the set term and in the set quantity production is issued, and industrial activity of the design organisation is focused on volume planning, that is provides the answer to a question when and how many production should be made.

Now in the design organisations and at the enterprises the second stage of application IT begins. Growth of requirements of the design organisations and the enterprises and occurrence of additional possibilities for investments in IT lead to necessity of the decision of a problem of integration in uniform information field CAD/CAM/PDM/FRP/MRP/MES/PLM- and ERP-systems.

The strategic target of integration of systems – to achieve decrease in expenses and production cost price, to reduce terms of release of new products, to raise competitiveness of the design organisation, to make its more transparent and operated.

Integration tactical targets: management of manufacture technical training in branches of the large company, maintenance of integrity of the data and high efficiency at work with the big files of the information.

Only having connected systems in uniform information field, it is possible to solve these problems that will bring to the design organisations considerable advantage and becomes a source of reception of competitive advantage as the actual information is a timely and correct decision.

For the small design organisations working over small projects, integration between CAD/CAM/PDM/FRP/MRP/MES/PLM-system and the registration-inventory program is recommended.

For the large design organisations which are letting out a batch production, integration CAD/CAM/PDM/FRP/MRP/MES/PLM- and ERP-systems is recommended.

Information base CAD/CAM/PDM/FRP/MRP/MES/PLM-systems should be uniform. Technology “the client-server” allows to divide client parts of problems of management and manufacture planning into two levels: the design organisation and department. Now it is possible to use the general servers of a database and appendices, and client places to distribute on factory management (technical and industrial services) and to industrial divisions (shops, sites, warehouses).

The basic results of integration CAD/CAM/PDM/FRP/MRP/MES/PLM- and ERP-systems are:
- Reduction of terms, costs and number of the errors connected with manual carrying over of the information from one system in another;
- Reduction of costs because of errors in the design specifications created now once, and then in coordination operated. Absence of necessity to contain separate staff of the design organisation for data input of structure of a product in ERP-system;
- Depreciation of commodity-material stocks (work in progress) as employees of design and technological departments, knowing, what details is in a warehouse, include them in new versions of products and by that raise degree of repeated use of components;
- Reduction of surpluses of the basic and auxiliary materials which cannot be used in manufacture of that they or are for a long time in a warehouse, or have been ordered before the supply department has received the information on change of let out production.

To achieve such results, it is necessary to create conditions at which the consistent information on structure of a product and production would be accessible to all employees of the design organisation irrespective of a place of their work. Here the main word – “consistent”. If employees use not co-ordinated information at designing and product manufacturing inevitably there are errors. Expenses for correction of the errors revealed at late stages of life cycle of a product, 10 times more, than in case of their detection at early stages.

The ERP-system should be integrated not with CAD/CAM/PDM/FRP/MRP/MES-systems, and with PLM-system. All data about a product, created in CAD/CAM/PDM/FRP/MRP/MES-systems, should accumulate and cope in PLM-system which communicates with ERP-system. Thus, the major problems of PLM-system are creation, the organisation and storage of structure of the product which are meeting the requirements of technical training and an operational administration by manufacture, and also integration with ERP-system.

Remaining on a relational platform, it was necessary to take advantage of advantages of hierarchical and network approaches in processes of semantic modelling of structure of storehouse of the data and navigation on information objects being there. For the description of structure of a product with topological interrelations of components treelike structures are used. The concept of treelike structure is entered into theories of counts as a network of a private kind in which each top has only one entering branch. In the pure state the similar monocentrism of treelike structure imposes too rigid restrictions on the scenario of processing of the information containing in it as provides a unique input in its structure. The described technique allows to avoid such static character. The idea consists that each top (semantic attribute) can be declared as potentially root even if it is intermediate top of the basic tree. For each such top the alternative hierarchy of tops in which the subgraph located below top, remains without changes can be automatically received, and other part of a tree will be inverted.

The described technique of the description of treelike structures allows:
- t o exclude monocentrism of existing treelike structures;
- to define quantity of levels of structure not less than 20;
- to realise various topological occurrences of the same component in various assembly units of products;
- to carry out fast sample of all subtree from certain root top with quantity calculation on treelike structure (for example, calculation of quantity of a separate component taking into account the data of the plan of manufacture);
- to carry out process of technical training of manufacture on the basis of designing routeing of the factory floor and technological processes both for products, and for their separate components;
- to consider dependence routeing of workshop of the factory floor affiliated knot from routeing of workshop of parental knot;
- to process variants routeing of the factory floor, for example for a case when the same component of a product has various variants routeing of the factory floor;
- to realise advancing designing with transfer to manufacture of separate components of a product;
- to consider design notices and time replacements (for example, certificates of the permission of replacements), the organisations carried out by industrial departments;
- to store, operate and export planned (design and technological) and industrial structures of products.

In drawing examples of representation of treelike structure of a product and results of technical training of manufacture on the main form of system Stalker are shown.

Representation of treelike structures in system Stalker

Now overwhelming majority CAD/CAM/PDM/FRP/MRP/MES/PLM- and ERP-systems have those or other integration tools or, at least, means of their creation.

Let's consider technical aspects of integration PLM – and ERP-systems. The integration volume can change largely – from simple data transmission of structure of a product (order) and the given specifications, the technological data before creation of the uniform information environment, opening to users access to both systems. Fuller integration of systems as they have more difficult interaction of productions is necessary for the large design organisations. Besides, integration depends on number of information streams between systems and their orientations – in one or in both parties. So, in one cases of enough unilateral transfer – for example structure of a product from PLM – in ERP-system. In other cases the bilateral exchange, in particular for inquiries about change and the notice on their entering is required. Last way of an exchange is more difficult, as along with an integration problem there is a problem of synchronisation of the data in both systems. At once to realise bilateral data exchange difficult enough, therefore at the first stage it is possible to be limited to unilateral transfer.

To realise integration PLM – and ERP-systems it is possible various methods which are shown in drawing.

integration Methods PLM – and ERP-systems

The most simple from the point of view of realisation, but to more difficult in respect of support of synchronisation of the data is the exchange method through the structured files of import/export. In this case transfer is carried out according to in advance developed and co-ordinated formats. A source of the data (PLM-system) forms them, and then through the export mechanism transfers in files of the co-ordinated format which are considered as system-receiver (ERP-system). Thus it is necessary to realise the mechanism of synchronisation of the exported data. The data on product structure, results of technical training of manufacture and the basic directories is in PLM-system. In this connection uniform principles of formation of structure of a product taking into account unification requirements are provided, the data of uniform directories of preparations/materials, the all-Russian qualifier of materials and production (OKP), etc. are used The given way of transfer provides high enough flexibility and does not demand the big knowledge in programming.

Interfaces API (Application Programming Interface) provide closer interaction between systems, however this method has a number of restrictions. First of all the strong binding of the created interface to concrete versions of integrated products is realised. Even minor alterations in structure of the data of one of systems can demand alteration of interfaces. Besides, serious enough knowledge is necessary for their working out in programming.

In case of application of a method with full integration access to one system is carried out directly from another (for example, through the general reports). Thus both systems should be opened and capable to support interaction with each other.

For support of process of integration of systems the special group should be created. Employees of group should be simultaneously experts in technical training of manufacture and the organisation of productions in the design organisation, to own ideology PLM – and ERP-systems. To prepare such group of the employees any design organisation presumes to itself. Simultaneously with it the eternal conflict between the divisions working on the local purposes will be resolved, and efforts of technical services will be directed there where they and should be directed, – on manufacture.

It is necessary to underline that integration of the data and processes with which operate PLM – and ERP-systems, increases productivity in scales of all design organisation.

As well as at realisation of any initiative, administration support has crucial value for success achievement. Thus, main objectives and the problems arising at introduction in design organisations CAD/CAM/PDM/FRP/MRP/MES/PLM- and ERP-systems have been analysed. In article it is shown that the PLM-system is a link between level of the ERP-system focused on financial and economic operations, and level of technical training and an operational administration manufacture. The major problems of PLM-system are creation, the organisation and storage of structure of a product. The technique of the description of treelike structures of structure of a product and results of technical training of manufacture in PLM-system is described.

Methods of integration of systems are considered, their advantages and lacks are shown. At work through the API-interface it is possible to achieve more productivity, and use of intermediate files in some cases allows to create much more flexible decision of integration of systems. Full integration is more difficult in realisation, but other two methods are easier in respect of support, than, and besides possesses certain advantage as reduces to a minimum the period between modification and its synchronisation with other system.

1. Kulga K. Features introduction at the enterprises and methods of integration CAD/CAM/PDM/FRP/MRP/MES/PLM- both ERP-systems//CAD and a drawing, #3, 2008. – PP. 91-94 [ id=18851& iid=874]
2. Miller E., MacKrelln J. Integration PLM – and ERP-systems. A part I//CAD/CAM/CAE Observer #1 (25), 2006 []
2. Miller E., MacKrelln J. Integration PLM – and ERP-systems. A part II//CAD/CAM/CAE Observer #2 (26), 2006 []

The author: Челябэнергопроект
Date: 07/22/2009

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