Collaboration and consolidation/integration seem to be the new year’s keywords for manufacturing software. This solution appears to be more in the genealogy of Germany’s “Industry 4.0” digital manufacturing than the US “Smart Manufacturing” initiative. But either way, it’s a step forward for manufacturing.
Here, GE Intelligent Platforms have announced an acceleration in their joint effort to bring to market a solution that helps manufacturers close the loop between product design and production execution on the shop floor.
Beginning immediately, GE will resell the PTC Manufacturing Process Management software in combination with GE’s manufacturing execution system (MES) software. While manufacturing information can be passed directly from the PTC Windchill solution to the GE Proficy for Manufacturing Discrete product today, the companies expect to deliver an expanded closed-loop integrated solution in 2014.
PTC and GE share a common vision of an “Industrial Internet” where the future of manufacturing is transformed by the surge of smart, connected products. As a result, the two companies kicked off a series of joint sales, marketing, services, support, and product development initiatives designed to collaboratively meet this fast-growing market demand. GE and PTC are integrating offerings that are based on industry best practices for product lifecycle management (PLM) and MES business processes.
The joint solution will manage a closed loop of product information among engineering, manufacturing production and service. Product structures and 3D product representations defined by engineering become the basis for manufacturing routings and manufacturing bills of materials (mBOMs) which are then used to manage shop floor activity and coordinate with ERP systems. Shop floor information, such as the “as-built” BOM, can also be shared with PLM and ERP systems to complete the closed loop with engineering. The complete view of a finished product can also be shared with a company’s service organization to optimize service delivery and performance. Customers of the integrated offering could achieve faster time to deployment and lower total cost of ownership.
“Manufacturers place a premium on their ability to introduce products faster, keep production costs low, and keep product quality high,” said Jim Walsh, general manager, Software and Services, GE Intelligent Platforms. “Essential to meeting these goals is ensuring that products are built precisely as they were designed. PTC’s PLM solution is the best complement to our GE Proficy solution and our organization is energized by the opportunity to offer a truly differentiated solution to solve one of our customers’ most significant challenges.”
The “Industrial Internet” rapidly increases the complexity of creating ever smarter, connected products. By closing the loop between early-stage engineering design activities, production processes on the plant floor and the service organization, manufacturers can reduce errors, increase flexibility in how they manage late-stage engineering changes, reduce work-in-process, and, ultimately, accelerate new product introductions. “The seamless flow of information across a discrete manufacturing organization, from design to manufacturing to service, is the dream of all executives,” said Jim Heppelmann, president and CEO, PTC. “That dream becomes a reality with the GE-PTC solution and we are excited to be deepening our relationship with GE to address a real market need.”