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.