How Adept Streamlines the Composites Business at Toray

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. Read More

How Well Does Your Engineering-Driven Company Protect Intellectual Property?

There is a lot of talk these days about cybercrime. News of large-scale IT security breaches are not unusual. Blame is often assigned to the sinister motivations of rogue governments, terrorists, or anarchists. But those closest to the problem say the root cause behind most data breaches is lax internal security, not the skills of cunning hackers.

A recent survey by the Ponemon Institute claims 71% of employees have access to data they should not see, and more than half say this access is frequent or very frequent. Other findings from the survey point to lax internal security as a serious problem in organizations of all sizes:

  • 4 out of 5 IT practitioners (80%) say their organizations don’t enforce a strict least-privilege (or need-to-know) data model;
  • 73% of end users believe the growth of emails, presentations, multimedia files, and other types of company data has very significantly or significantly affected their ability to find and access data;
  • 76% of end users believe there are times when it is acceptable to transfer work documents to their personal devices, while only 13% of IT practitioners agree;
  • 67% of IT practitioners say their organization experienced the loss or theft of company data over the past two years, while only 44% of end users believe this has happened;
  • 43% of end users say it takes weeks, months or longer to be granted access to data they request access to in order to do their jobs, and only 22% report that access is typically granted within minutes or hours.

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Bending Space and Time: A New Way to Think about Collaboration

In most engineering organizations there is an uneasy truce between teamwork and solo endeavor. The contributions of many people are necessary and the interactive processes move ideas from concept to reality. But generally speaking, each team member works best not in a meeting but when he or she enters into their personal creative zone. Time seems to stand still; performance is at its peak. Alone with their ideas and their design tools, engineers and other team members create information that becomes products or assets.

And then the ethereal bubble gets popped by collaboration. Others need the engineering data, and they usually need it in bits and pieces that require searching, compiling, copying, and sending. The processes of sharing take precious time away from the creative. In this day and age of global connectivity the sharing happens not in one particular space but across ever-increasing distances. It can feel as if space and time are collaboration hobgoblins conspiring to steal the creative bliss of engineering. Read More

Greene, Tweed’s Winning Recipe for Synergis Adept/SAP Integration

Greene, Tweed & Co. may be a major player on the global stage, but for most of its history, its engineering data had a decidedly local footprint, tucked away in different file shares around the world and typically painstakingly difficult to find and share.

That is until the manufacturer of high-performance elastomeric and thermoplastic materials embarked on a journey to deploy Synergis’ Adept Product Data Management (PDM) system to centralize its critical engineering assets, including SOLIDWORKS CAD files, and to automate approval workflows on a global scale. But Greene, Tweed wasn’t content to stop there. Its vision was to integrate the Adept PDM platform with its core ERP system to make engineering data accessible to a much broader audience.

Greene, Tweed, like many companies, sees value in syncing its core enterprise systems rather than fostering silos that prevent groups like engineering and manufacturing from readily exchanging data and working off the same page. That’s according to Steven Danasko, SAP Solution Specialist in Greene, Tweed’s IT Center of Excellence, Product Lifecycle Management, who was the key orchestrator of the project. Danasko says that beyond a desire for more centralized data repositories and integrated workflows, the Adept/SAP integration made sense from a financial standpoint because it opened up access to critical engineering data to existing ERP users without requiring investment in additional software licenses. Read More

Making a Positive Impact on Time to Knowledge

It is easy to get bogged down in details when discussing topics like engineering data management (AKA product data management or PDM). Sometimes it is good to step back and look at the big picture. For me, the details of PDM are the bricks in a building; the building is Time to Knowledge.

I define “Time to Knowledge” as the time it takes someone to get the specific accurate information needed to answer a question. The typical day in engineering has hundreds of moments which trigger a Time to Knowledge event. Such questions as “What is the status of yesterday’s engineering change request?” or “Which document is the right revision, and where is it?” are specific questions that require specific answers available in your existing engineering data. If the answer is quickly accessible, productivity is enhanced. If the answer is an uncertain quest away, the human tendency too often is to find an imprecise workaround or to avoid the subject completely. Read More

What We Learned from You this Year

It’s the end of another year, and it gives us all pause to reflect on our accomplishments or lack of reaching our stated goals… and of cheering on the successes, and boo-hooing the experiments that utterly failed.

As writers, we can make educated guesses on what topics we think you’d like to read about. Some of our blog posts were clearly winners, others not so much. But in the end, it’s all about getting into your head. Trying to understand what attracts you, what engages you, and what you’re really seeking to understand about this messy world of engineering document management/PDM/PLM.

So looking back on the blog posts of 2015, we’ve put together a vague picture of you, our reader. And as the sibling of a psychotherapist and someone whose spent a lot of time trying to get your attention, I’m going to share what we have learned about you. Read More

Fighting Medical Regulatory Bureaucracy with PDM

MedicaMetrix is a US-based startup in the medical devices industry. It is an industry notorious for chewing up and spitting out small companies like a monster finding bad grapes in a vineyard. Founder-CEO Christopher LaFarge says investors in his industry look for leaders “who will run through brick walls head first” among other attributes. “Somehow, they are going to end up in the market with something that makes money,” no matter what it takes.

One of the frustrations in developing new medical devices is the “alphanumeric soup” of regulatory and compliance agencies. There is the FDA in the US, and an equivalent agency for European Union nations. Each agency wants an incredible amount of documentation, presented their way. While there is some overlap, they both want schematics and circuit board designs, CAD file prints of the product, and all the accompanying documentation generated in word processing, spreadsheets, accounting, and other software presented in a specific way. Read More

Measuring the ROI of Information Access

In my previous blog post for Synergis, I ended it by saying, “Don’t measure the ROI of having a place to put your CAD stuff; measure the ROI of creating digital business processes for product development.” So let’s take a look at an engineering company that has taken the time to figure it out.

Calculating Return on Investment is fairly simple when one buys a product wholesale and sells it retail. When the purchase is a software product that guides crucial operations, the calculations get more intricate. For example, if you don’t know how long it takes your team to work with information, you can’t measure the benefit of automation. In a report entitled “Validating the Possible” CIMdata calculates the potential for savings in specific processes, including:

  • Time to find information—75% to 90% time reduction;
  • Engineering changes process—10% to 70% time reduction;
  • Design review process—50% to 80% time reduction;

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Three Small Companies, Three Success Stories with Adept

Big companies seem to have all the advantages—more resources, better name recognition, and often lower buying and manufacturing costs. The good news is that small companies can still compete. Here are three that are outsmarting the competition with better agility, efficiency, and data leverage.

Thru Tubing Systems, Inc. (TTS)

Thru Tubing Systems, Inc (TTS) began providing specialized downhole services and equipment to oil and gas customers in 1997. Success came quickly to the small Oklahoma City-based company, and by 2002, TTS began expanding into new locations—Texas, North Dakota. Today, you can even find TTS facilities in Argentina and China.

But with all these dispersed teams, the company soon realized that it needed a more professional approach to managing documents. “We had numerous problems with files being stored in the wrong folders, causing manufacturing to order parts from the wrong revision, which cost lots of money,” says Glenn Walls, TTS mechanical designer & manufacturing supervisor.

Mis-ordered parts weren’t the only difficulty. A growing company needs central archiving and standardization so that important data is easy to reach  and use—no matter where you work and reside. And most of all, documents have to be safe! Read More

Moving Beyond the Mess: Five Ways Sussex Wire Rolls Past Competitors with Adept

When Sussex Wire, a company that designs and manufactures custom, cold-formed parts, deployed Adept software last year, the engineering team got more than a secure, centralized vault for product drawings. It got a significant edge on the competition. To understand how, it’s helpful to understand a little bit about Sussex and its business:

From Sole Proprietor to Private Equity Backed

Cold-forming is a manufacturing method in which fine gauges of metal and alloy wire are forged, upset, or rolled into complex, tight tolerance geometric parts at ambient temperature. You’ve probably seen cold-formed structural pieces in planes, automobiles and building technology (e.g., rivets, bolts, nuts).  But you’ll also find them making up the smallest manufactured products, like semiconductor leads, medical devices, relays, sensors and fasteners, and that’s where Sussex comes in.  The Easton, PA-based company specializes in designing and manufacturing micro-miniature metal components, producing parts with diameters as tiny as 0.0035 inches at rates of up to 300 parts per minute.  In a typical year Sussex Wire ships well in excess of one billion parts to dozens of Fortune 500 customers spanning four continents. Read More