Visibility into the details of an automotive program is one of the toughest challenges a program team faces. Teams typically consist of hundreds of engineers spread out over a conglomerate of brands and contributing suppliers. Parts developed in such an environment may not fit design or cost targets. Making sure the data is accurate—and compatible—is needed for sound decision making. To help tame the problem, Volkswagen selected Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter as the core technology for its K-PDM product data management system. The Volkswagen Group consists of eight brands from six European countries: Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, Skoda, and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. The project will take several years to implement and will eventually include up to 45,000 users. It is not bad news for Siemens PLM Software, either.
“Siemens PLM Software’s relentless drive to establish a comprehensive, fully integrated PLM system got another strong validation for their strategy,” said Vasco Drecun, PLM Research Director and Senior Analyst for Collaborative Product Development Associates LLC (CPDA), a firm specializing in PLM research. “This award also proves the value of Siemens acquiring UGS and an integrated PLM system to support global manufacturing value chains.”
A comprehensive selection process resulted in the award, according to Dave Taylor, Director, Automotive Marketing for Siemens PLM Software. “There were four elements in the selection process. First, a traditional written proposal and, second, a review of the company’s profile,” explained Taylor. “The third element was user feedback from over 400 VW Group engineers and designers. All bidders spent time with these users, demonstrating their software and answering detailed questions. The 400 VW users then provided evaluations which were used in the selection process.” He went on to describe the fourth element as a modified benchmark demonstration. “Instead of us demonstrating our software against a requested list of specific functions, they told us what processes they wanted and asked us to demonstrate how we would accomplish those processes. Not only did we show them our technology, we also showed them what we thought were best automotive practices.”
According to Taylor, VW’s K-PDM will be developed in phases, with the initial work concentrating on creating a single visualization tool centered on the Teamcenter Digital Mock-up (DMU) utility. VW’s CAD system in body is CATIA V5, whereas powertrain uses Pro/E. “Using JT technology at its core, combining data from these CATIA V5 and Pro/E and others is simple,” said Taylor. Although a single CAD visualization tool is a necessary foundation, geometric compatibility is one aspect of a program. VW also purchased Teamcenter modules for Program Management, Product Engineering, Product Simulation & Validation, Manufacturing Engineering, and Manufacturing Production, demonstrating where it is headed in future phases.
“Volkswagen sends a strong signal with this award that it wants to be a global automotive manufacturer. Standardizing on a PLM platform is a critical enabler for a global strategy,” said Drecun from CPDA. The Volkswagen Group plans on introducing more than 20 additional new models through 2010, according to information released through its website. The group plans to occupy segments such as SUVs, vans, and pickups more actively than before.
The VW Touran MPV and the Audi A6 will use the K-PDM system first, according to Taylor.