We recently presented a webinar with S&C Electric Company’s IT Manager – Engineering Systems, Mike Lubin about the company’s shift from SmarTeam to 3DEXPERIENCE product lifecycle management system. The webinar focused on the need for a new system and about how xLM spearheaded the transfer of millions of items—including engineering change orders, bills of material, and engineering documents—to the company’s new 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
How it Started
Around five years ago, it became clear to the IT department at S&C Electric Company that their product lifecycle management (PLM) system, SmarTeam, from Dassault Systèmes, was becoming a “sunset product,” as Dassault was no longer updating the system.
S&C—a global provider of equipment and services for electric power systems—needed to look for a new PLM system. It chose 3DEXPERIENCE, also from Dassault Systèmes and brought us in to conduct the migration and to customize the PLM system to S&C’s requirements.
S&C makes customized electrical equipment, most of which generate multiple engineering change orders. About 50 to 60 new ECOs are entered into the system each day “with many of them undergoing multiple revisions from early requirements to the final build,” Lubin shared during the webinar.
The changes are communicated to the company’s manufacturing ERP system.
About 400 S&C employees in the manufacturing, engineering, and procurement departments use the PLM system across the company’s six global design centers.
How Does S&C Use PLM?
Much of the functionality of S&C’S PLM system is the management of manufacturing BOMs.
“That’s the core of what we do, that’s a big part of the engineering-to-order business,” Lubin said.
Staff members use PLM to convert designs created with the Solid Edge computer-aided design system into BOMs and manufacturing BOMs and to track ECOs.
“A single ECO may be transferred multiple times to the ERP system,” Lubin said. “It’s done with many of our products because they require special components.”
Because these components may need to be ordered or fabricated in-house before final assembly, they need to be entered into the ERP system well in advance of other items needed to create the product.
“We start with the initial design and add long lead times into Oracle for internal fabrication or procurement outside S&C. That happens long before the final design is ready to build.”
The company’s PLM system also manages 150% BOMs which the sales team uses to configure standard and custom orders. The manufacturing team requested this PLM function “because oftentimes something goes to the shop floor to be built and there’s an issue with engineering support requests and this allows the shop floor to communicate with engineering through PLM,” Lubin said.
PLM also applies business rules and validation to BOM management that wouldn’t be possible if the BOMs were maintained directly in Oracle.
The company selected 3DEXPERIENCE because it contains the connectors to its ERP that SmarTeam also featured. The new system also offers connectors for other CAD integrations that had not been a part of SmarTeam.
It Takes a Village to Implement PLM
With such a data-heavy migration, Lubin’s team brought us in for a smooth transition. xLM played a key role in project management and technical coordination for the move from SmarTeam to 3DEXPERIENCE, with solution architects, programmers, migration specialists, and database experts.
Beginning in 2017, we came to S&C headquarters every week to meet in the “war room.” We developed BOM structures on whiteboards to mimic how SmarTeam was working and how S&C wanted 3DEXPERIENCE to operate.
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut offices, the migration team transitioned to calls, emails, and video chats to continue its work.
In the first phase of data migration, we worked with S&C to move mBOM information to the new system. Migration happened in stages, with the smallest of the six sites going live, waiting a month to review and test results, and then moving to the next largest site.
We also developed specialized widgets and other tools for S&C’s unique needs.
There is an out-of-the-box widget in 3DEXPERIENCE to go from the engineering BOM to the manufacturing BOM, but that didn’t meet the requirements at S&C, so that’s where we decided to develop our own that would meet the requirements to handle eBOM to mBOM.
Solid Edge Migration and Future PLM Plans
S&C is now working with xLM Solutions to move its Solid Edge design data from SmartTeam to 3DEXPERIENCE. The team expects to move 1.15 million SmarTeam file objects and revisions to 3DEXPERIENCE. The final phase of the project should take about one-and-a-half months.
In the future, S&C plans to enrich eBOM capability—which will help the company update and maintain mBOMs—and to add printed circuit board (PCB) designs for the CAD tool.
Plans include implementing ECO processes using routes in ENOVIA, which is collaborative software on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
S&C will continue its relationship with xLM Solutions. “The company’s aid was invaluable,” Lubin said.
“The significance here is the relationships we’ve formed and maintained with xLM, who listened to us and advised us along the way and helped us through the technical hoops we had to jump through and the things we had to wrap our head around going from Solid Edge Design Central to 3DEXPERIENCE and how that all works together,” Lubin said.