Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Terminal Tango: Aerospace and Automotive PLM

Same procedure as every year: on May 9-10, 2012, more than 450 PLM experts met at the
ProSTEP-iViP Symposium in „Terminal Tango”, in order to exchange experiences regarding Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

As a former terminal of the Hamburg airport, this location was fitting the main sponsor Airbus. This year’s motto was „Managing Globalization - Processes and Systems“. The event provided plenty of information for this: more than 40 presentations in three parallel tracks.

Besides managing out NTT DATA booth, I was able to contribute a presentation together with Airbus’ „Head of PLM Architecture“. We presented our experiences in Enterprise Architecture Management for Airbus PLM.

Airbus PLM architecture in short
PLM architecture at Airbus is complex. After 12 years development time, an aircraft model is produced over 30 years and operated for another 40 years. The product data must be managed over this lifecycle of 70 years – including supplier data in the extended enterprise. The digital 3D model of an A380 (DMU: Digital MockUp) consists of more than one million parts. Different PLM suites for A380 + SA/LR, A400M and A350 are grown historically.

The challenge was to optimize this PLM landscape: current versions of standard software should be used; processes and systems should be harmonized; product data as the main asset should be protected over the lifecycle. On the PLM architecture level, these objectives are supported by using EAM methods and tools. We modeled for example processes, functions and business objects – next to the application architecture – in order to specify Airbus’ requirements for a target PLM landscape. Architecture principles were used to translate the Airbus PLM vision into concrete guidelines and decision criteria.

Aerospace and Automotive
This year was coined by a strong aerospace presence in the traditionally automotive-heavy ProSTEP-iViP association. Besides a dedicated Airbus booth there were 11 aerospace presentations, among them a keynote by the Airbus CIO Guus Dekkers.
There were more commonalities than differences between the two industries. Still, large DMU for an aircraft with more than one million parts has other performance challenges than a digital car mockup with 10.000 parts. On the other hand, aircraft cabin development can profit from customer-centric development methods in automotive.
Question: could you give an example of female-specific requirements in cabin design?
Answer (quote): “how do I know – I’m not female, either” J

The next ProSTEP-iViP-Symposium will be held on April 16-17, 2013 in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen and Siemens PLM will be the main sponsors.

Monday, February 13, 2012

PLM architecture at Airbus

The global business of Airbus with long product lifecycles poses specific challenges in the PLM domain. In a joint presentation with Airbus at the ProSTEP-iViP Symposium (May 9-10, 2012 in Hamburg, Germany), I will focus on solutions from the PLM architecture perspective, e.g.
-         using Enterprise Architecture Management to harmonize requirements and applications between different national companies and aircraft programs (“backbone approach”)
-         using commercial off-the-shelf software with an out-of-the-box approach to address obsolete components of the current PLM landscape in a sustainable way (“right use of COTS”)
-         modeling of the functional architecture in terms of generic functions and object model to decrease vendor dependence and to protect product data over 30+years (“product data as the main asset”)

The presentation continues to describe how these architecture principles are implemented at Airbus in terms of governance and roadmap planning. Using the example of DMU (digital mockup), the practical application of some architecture principles is discussed. The presentation concludes with lessons learned in shaping the Airbus PLM architecture.

I would love to meet with you at our booth - by then probably under the NTT DATA brand.