Randall S. Newton

Randall S. Newton is Managing Director of Consilia Vektor, a research and content development consultancy specializing in engineering and distributed ledger technology (DLT) industries. He has been a guest contributor to the Synergis Adept blog since 2014.
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Top Ten Blog Articles of 2019

Dec 20, 2019 5:12:00 PM / by Randall S. Newton posted in Uncategorized

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Throughout the year Synergis Software shares how Adept users find strategic value in the product, and to improve your existing Adept installation. Some of these articles seem to be more popular than others; we think of them as our Top Ten. In 2019, here are the blog posts that you found to be the most valuable:

#10: 3D Printing Dives into Serial Manufacturing Production

For a generation, 3D printing has gradually gained acceptance as a useful tool in product development and manufacturing. More recently manufacturers have begun creating end-use parts. Now companies are starting to look beyond prototyping toward serial production. Details: https://blog.synergissoftware.com/2019/01/09/3d-printing-takes-first-steps-into-serial-manufacturing-production/

#9: The Goldilocks Approach to Data Management

One size fits all? Not in the fairy tale and not in data management. Let Adept right-size how you control, access, and share engineering data. Details: https://blog.synergissoftware.com/2016/02/04/the-goldilocks-approach-to-data-management/

#8: The Top 11 Mistakes to Avoid During Engineering Document Management System Implementation, Part 2

Engineering document management system installation isn’t rocket science, but it also isn’t as simple as downloading a smartphone app. Successful implementation requires planning. In this part 2 of a series, the installation experts at Synergis Software share their ideas on what to avoid when implementing Adept. Details:  https://blog.synergissoftware.com/2019/03/21/the-top-11-mistakes-to-avoid-during-engineering-document-management-implementations-and-upgrades-part-2/

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Gaining New Workflow Efficiency at Fluid Components International

Dec 12, 2019 11:54:03 AM / by Randall S. Newton posted in Uncategorized

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When the senior management of Fluid Components International sent Karyn Dawes and her team on a quest to replace their manual document management with a computer system, their first choice was rejected for cost and complexity. They dug deeper into the marketplace and discovered Synergis Adept. Now they have more than document management, they have a complete engineering information management and workflow solution that serves multiple departments including manufacturing.

Fluid Components International is a world leader in flow and level measurement applications for industrial process and plant applications. They offer their customers a variety of patented thermal dispersion flow measurement technologies, and claim to have the world’s largest installed base of thermal flow meters, flow switches, and level switches. With offices and manufacturing facilities in California, The Netherlands, and China, engineering processes and production workflow were becoming too complicated

“At first everything was in paper,” says Karyn Dawes, Configuration Manager at Fluid Components headquarters in California. From drawings to procedure management with paper drawing logs, “it was all a manual process.”

They were using software for rudimentary document management, a flat file system Dawes says “was becoming obsolete.” They decided their new document management software needed to do more than control CAD files. “We use AutoCAD, Word, and Excel. We needed a program that could handle all these file types. Adept was it.”

Adept has proven to be more than up to the challenge, Dawes says. “I can put anything into Adept; it doesn’t matter what file format. Adept may not see it as a supported file type, but we can still maintain it and put a revision control on it, no matter the file extension.

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Calculating the Return on Investment for Adept Engineering Document Management

Dec 9, 2019 7:08:31 AM / by Randall S. Newton posted in Uncategorized

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Almost everyone seems to know a horror story about a big IT project that became the software equivalent of a Money Pit (a house that needs one expensive repair after another). Just as new products or projects must generate a good return on investment (ROI), so must IT projects.

Synergis has worked closely with several of its largest and most experienced customers to quantify the value of Adept in an engineering workgroup. The information provided, when combined with standard industry metrics on typical engineering activities, can become a powerful persuasive force.

Much of the value of Adept is in streamlining or eliminating existing practices, and in providing new more cost-effective work processes. Quite often, the inefficiencies of existing workflow is invisible, as in “but we’ve always done it that way.”

After the interviews with customers, Synergis took their information and created a spreadsheet that allows anyone interested in Adept to study how it can improve workflow and streamline processes. The results are available in a spreadsheet available for download. There is nothing like accurate, believable numbers — especially numbers with dollar signs — to persuade decision makers to invest in a good project like adopting Synergis Adept.

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Frost & Sullivan Honors Synergis Software with Global Customer Service Award for Engineering Information Management

Jun 12, 2019 12:18:19 PM / by Randall S. Newton posted in Uncategorized

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Over the years Synergis Adept users have been very loyal to the company. They expand their use of Adept as their company grows, and keep finding new ways to take advantage of Adept as their engineering information management requirements become more sophisticated. Three times Synergis has been recognized as a leader in customer support from Helpdesk International (HDI), and rated #5 in the HDI’s Global Elite 50. Now another independent evaluation company has noticed Synergis. Frost & Sullivan has awarded Synergis Software its 2018 Global Customer Service Leadership Award for Engineering Information Management, citing the company’s “strong overall performance, focus on customers, and long-standing commitment to the engineering information management solutions market.”

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How Adept Streamlines the Composites Business at Toray

Apr 4, 2019 4:38:07 PM / by Randall S. Newton posted in Adept, customer story, EDM, Engineering Docuement Management, case study, implementation, Synergis Adept, ROI, Toray Composites, Technologies

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Toray Composites is a world leader in a strong growth area, the manufacture of carbon fiber composites for industrial applications. The company has used Synergis Adept for years, helping it to streamline workflow and coordinate teams on three continents.

Toray has been producing carbon fiber composite materials in the USA for more than 20 years. It has become a leading producer of advanced materials for the aerospace industry and other industries including energy and sports equipment. Boeing is a leading client; carbon fiber composite makes up 50% of a Boeing 787 by weight.

Toray Composite's Journey to Selecting Adept

After years as a CAD and engineering manager for other companies, Phil Fitzgerald was hired by Toray as both document administrator and CAD manager. In 2006, Fitzgerald won approval to find a new document management system for engineering. After examining alternatives, Fitzgerald narrowed their focus to two products, Autodesk Vault and Synergis Adept. Fitzgerald shared his Adept journey at the Adept Experience user conference in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. You can watch a video of the presentation on the Synergis Software YouTube channel.

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3D Printing Takes First Steps Into Serial Manufacturing Production

Jan 9, 2019 1:04:27 PM / by Randall S. Newton posted in Trends, industrialization, innovation, 3D printing, manufacturing, Technologies

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[Editor’s note: Guest blogger Randall Newton continues his occasional series of articles on trends in engineering with this report from the recent FORMNEXT 3D printing conference in Germany.]

Automobile manufacturer Audi is using its A4 Limousine, a low-production model, as a proving ground for process innovation research. One large steel frame section of the A4 has always been difficult to manufacture, so the research team decided to try 3D printing. Audi engineers optimized the design for improved cooling and a 50% weight reduction, and then used Selective Laser Melting (SLM) to create 10,000 pieces.

For a generation, 3D printing has gradually gained acceptance as a useful adjunct to product engineering and manufacturing. In recent years, a few manufacturers have created end-use parts; GE Aviation recently celebrated the 3D printing of the 30,000th jet engine fuel nozzle. Now companies are looking beyond prototyping and limited editions and toward the day when 3D printing can produce final parts in the hundreds of thousands.

The Industrialization of 3D Printing Technology

In November, 3D printing vendors showed their newest products at Formnext, a fast-growing annual conference in Frankfurt, Germany. Martin Boch of Audi was a keynote speaker at the Formnext executive conference. “The main goal is the industrialization of 3D printing technology,” says Boch, the project lead for metal additive manufacturing at Audi. His company currently has three basic uses for 3D printing. R&D occupies about 20% of the company’s use of 3D printing; 60% is for prototyping; and another 20% is for creating spare small parts and tooling. Before Audi can move into serial production of small parts, Boch says it must define standard processes for sourcing both printers and materials.

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Pushing the Creative Buttons

Nov 29, 2018 10:36:29 AM / by Randall S. Newton posted in Adept Experience, Trends, Marketing, gamification, innovation, brainstorming, Gamestorming, Technologies

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Structural and mechanical engineering brings realization to design ideas. Just because engineering is grounded in physical processes and materials doesn’t make it less creative than any other design process. And therein lies the rub.

The research literature on creativity in engineering can be summarized simply: creativity is notoriously hard to objectify, quantify, qualify, and otherwise manage. There are various creative techniques organizations use to aid the creativity process, most notably brainstorming. Various role-playing scenarios are occasionally used, but most engineers are loathe to engage in such practices. Creativity at the requirements stage is considered particularly painful because engineers want to move on to what is perceived as the more useful and productive processes.

Yet the creative aspects are necessary. When a team suddenly sees a radically different way to achieve a goal, it challenges the organization to make sure the new idea is not just different, but better. Properly managed, creativity can become the catalyst to innovation.

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Need a Little Help Shopping for Engineering Document Management?

Jul 9, 2015 9:00:16 AM / by Randall S. Newton posted in vendor selection, Engineering document management, Trends, EDM, Product Data Managment, PDM, Whitepaper, Technologies

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At the risk of offending people who despise putting people into two groups, I have observed that when faced with a large problem possessing many variables and no certain solution, people fall into one of two groups. People in the first group get excited by the thrill of the challenge; people in the second group get a knot in their stomach and wish someone would ask them a simple one-dimensional question instead.

Most engineers fall into the first group, but the gung ho attitude often comes unglued when the topic turns from “increase the battery life” to “automate our engineering document management.” Let’s face it: nobody went to engineering school to learn how to streamline data and document management, that’s what business schools are for.

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