Various definitions of product lifecycle management or PLM have been issued over the years but basically: product lifecycle management is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products.  PLM integrates people, data, processes and business systems and provides a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise.

“In recent years, great emphasis has been put on disposal of a product after its service life has been met.  How to get rid of a product or component is extremely important. Disposal methodology is covered by RoHS standards for the European Community.  If you sell into the EU, you will have to designate proper disposal.  Dumping in a landfill is no longer appropriate.

Since this course deals with the application of PLM to industry, we will now look at various industry definitions.

Industry Definitions

PLM is a strategic business approach that applies a consistent set of business solutions in support of the collaborative creation, management, dissemination, and use of product definition information across the extended enterprise, and spanning from product concept to end of life integrating people, processes, business systems, and information. PLM forms the product information backbone for a company and its extended enterprise.” Source:  CIMdata

“Product life cycle management or PLM is an all-encompassing approach for innovation, new product development and introduction (NPDI) and product information management from initial idea to the end of life.  PLM Systems is an enabling technology for PLM integrating people, data, processes, and business systems and providing a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise.” Source:  PLM Technology Guide

“The core of PLM (product life cycle management) is in the creation and central management of all product data and the technology used to access this information and knowledge. PLM as a discipline emerged from tools such as CAD, CAM and PDM, but can be viewed as the integration of these tools with methods, people and the processes through all stages of a product’s life.” Source:  Wikipedia article on Product Lifecycle Management

“Product life cycle management is the process of managing product-related design, production and maintenance information. PLM may also serve as the central repository for secondary information, such as vendor application notes, catalogs, customer feedback, marketing plans, archived project schedules, and other information acquired over the product’s life.” Source:  Product Lifecycle Management

“It is important to note that PLM is not a definition of a piece, or pieces, of technology. It is a definition of a business approach to solving the problem of managing the complete set of product definition information-creating that information, managing it through its life, and disseminating and using it throughout the lifecycle of the product. PLM is not just a technology, but is an approach in which processes are as important, or more important than data.” Source:  CIMdata

“PLM or Product Life Cycle Management is a process or system used to manage the data and design process associated with the life of a product from its conception and envisioning through its manufacture, to its retirement and disposal. PLM manages data, people, business processes, manufacturing processes, and anything else pertaining to a product. A PLM system acts as a central information hub for everyone associated with a given product, so a well-managed PLM system can streamline product development and facilitate easier communication among those working on/with a product. Source:  Aras

A pictorial representation of PLM may be seen as follows:

Hopefully, you can see that PLM deals with methodologies from “white napkin design to landfill disposal”.  Please note, documentation is critical to all aspects of PLM and good document production, storage and retrieval is extremely important to the overall process.  We are talking about CAD, CAM, CAE, DFSS, laboratory testing notes, etc.  In other words, “the whole nine yards of product life”.   If you work in a company with ISO certification, PLM is a great method to insure retaining that certification.

In looking at the four stages of a products lifecycle, we see the following:

Four Stages of Product Life Cycle—Marketing and Sales:

Introduction: When the product is brought into the market. In this stage, there’s heavy marketing activity, product promotion and the product is put into limited outlets in a few channels for distribution. Sales take off slowly in this stage. The need is to create awareness, not profits.

The second stage is growth. In this stage, sales take off, the market knows of the product; other companies are attracted, profits begin to come in and market shares stabilize.

The third stage is maturity, where sales grow at slowing rates and finally stabilize. In this stage, products get differentiated, price wars and sales promotion become common and a few weaker players exit.

The fourth stage is decline. Here, sales drop, as consumers may have changed, the product is no longer relevant or useful. Price wars continue, several products are withdrawn and cost control becomes the way out for most products in this stage.

Benefits of PLM Relative to the Four Stages of Product Life:

Considering the benefits of Product Lifecycle Management, we realize the following:

  • Reduced time to market
  • Increase full price sales
  • Improved product quality and reliability
  • Reduced prototypingcosts
  • More accurate and timely request for quote generation
  • Ability to quickly identify potential sales opportunities and revenue contributions
  • Savings through the re-use of original data
  • frameworkfor product optimization
  • Reduced waste
  • Savings through the complete integration of engineering workflows
  • Documentation that can assist in proving compliance for RoHSor Title 21 CFR Part 11
  • Ability to provide contract manufacturers with access to a centralized product record
  • Seasonal fluctuation management
  • Improved forecasting to reduce material costs
  • Maximize supply chain collaboration
  • Allowing for much better “troubleshooting” when field problems arise. This is accomplished by laboratory testing and reliability testing documentation.

PLM considers not only the four stages of a product’s lifecycle but all of the work prior to marketing and sales AND disposal after the product is removed from commercialization.   With this in mind, why is PLM a necessary business technique today?  Because increases in technology, manpower and specialization of departments, PLM was needed to integrate all activity toward the design, manufacturing and support of the product. Back in the late 1960s when the F-15 Eagle was conceived and developed, almost all manufacturing and design processes were done by hand.  Blueprints or drawings needed to make the parts for the F15 were created on a piece of paper. No electronics, no emails – all paper for documents. This caused a lack of efficiency in design and manufacturing compared to today’s technology.  OK, another example of today’s technology and the application of PLM.

If we look at the processes for Boeings DREAMLINER, we see the 787 Dreamliner has about 2.3 million parts per airplane.  Development and production of the 787 has involved a large-scale collaboration with numerous suppliers worldwide. They include everything from “fasten seatbelt” signs to jet engines and vary in size from small fasteners to large fuselage sections. Some parts are built by Boeing, and others are purchased from supplier partners around the world.  In 2012, Boeing purchased approximately seventy-five (75) percent of its supplier content from U.S. companies. On the 787 program, content from non-U.S. suppliers accounts for about thirty (30) percent of purchased parts and assemblies.  PLM or Boeing’s version of PLM was used to bring about commercialization of the 787 Dreamliner.

 

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 Data for this blog is derived from NASA TECH BRIEFS, “Changing How We Fly”, June 2012, Vol. 36, Number 6.

If you travel at all, you are more than familiar with domestic transportation in our country.     It is a given fact that commercial airlines have become “bus service” for millions of people in the United States.  I traveled from Atlanta to Bangor, Maine this past week for $309.00—round trip.  I’m not too sure I could have done that traveling by bus or train and it would have taken at least twenty-four hours one way.     Even more amazing are the facts concerning international travel from the United States.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that last year alone, U.S. and foreign air carriers transported an estimated 168.1 million passengers between the United States and the rest of the world.  The FAA also estimates there will be one billion passengers by 2024.  An amazing number considering rising fuel costs, much more crowded air space, outdated systems and increasing environmental concerns.  How will we handle these conditions?  The answer is technology!  Technology will address these areas in the following manner:

  • Green Aviation—Acceptance and use of biofuels
  •  Modification and design of wings and wing tips providing increased efficiencies
  •  A new generation of aircraft engines designed for noise abatement while running on biofuels
  • Lightweight composite structures reducing the need for “heavy metals”. (NOTE: One remarkable benefit for using composite materials is the ability to make needed repairs quickly.)
  • Better and more refined management systems to accommodate heightened safety and smoother flow of  passengers

 I would like to address only one area of investigation with this paper, “green aviation”.

GREEN AVIATION:

When we talk about green aviation, we address our responsibility for the impact of aviation on the environment, which includes carbon footprint, other emissions and last but certainly not least, noise.  Last year, ASTM International published new rules overseeing the specifications for jet fuel allowing the use of biofuels on all commercial flights.  The revision to standard D7566, “Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons”, includes requirements for synthetic fuel components manufactured from hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids ( HEFA ) produced from renewable sources.  This standard allows new components to be manufactured from jatropha camelina, and fats, combined with conventional aviation jet fuel.  These synthetic fuels must be able to function in desert heat or in cold temperatures up to 40,000 feet.  The Boeing Company has been leading the push for approval of synthetic paraffinic kerosene (Bio-SPK) jet fuel and is testing algae and camelina-based fuels.   France-based Airbus is helping to develop a second-generation of biofuels, known as biomass, which will avoid competing with food resources.  Boeing recently flew the world’s first commercial airplane from Everett, Washington to Paris using biologically derived fuel.  The 747-8 Freighter’s four GE GEnx-2B engines were powered by a blend of 15 % camelina-based biofuel mixed with 85% traditional kerosene fuel ( Jet-A).  There was no need to make changes to the airplane, its engines, or operating procedures to accommodate the biofuel.  I think this is truly fascinating.  There also were significant reductions in carbon dioxide and NoX emissions resulting in carbon footprint reduction for the aircraft.    A recent report indicated the carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft engines is approximately 20% more than previously thought.   These emissions could hit a whopping 1.5 million tons by 2025. Far more than the worst-case predictions of the International Panel on Climate Change.     If you’re looking to put that number in perspective, the European Union currently emits 3.1 billion tons of CO2 annually– that’s the entire 27-nation, 457 million person EU.   The report, “Trends in Global Aviation Noise and Emissions from Commercial Aviation for 2000 to 2025,” is among the most authoritative estimates of the industry’s growth in emissions.   It was produced by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Eurocontrol, the Manchester Metropolitan University and the technology company QinetiQ.   They used a variety of models to calculate current fuel use, then projected out to 2025 based on these findings and anticipated increases in air travel.  Their assessment, if correct, certainly indicates changes are necessary to bring about modifications bringing down CO2 and NoX emissions.  GE, Boeing, Airbus, Pratt & Whitney and other manufacturers of airframe and engines are definitely on the correct path to aid efforts in accomplishing this task.  In short—THIS PROBLEM WILL NOT GO AWAY AND BIOFUELS SEEM TO BE ONE ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM.  I mention this to indicate you will be hearing additional information in the upcoming weeks and months, so don’t be surprised when these remarkable advancements occur.

I would like to recommend you  access the following web site to learn more about the General Electric aircraft engine that accomplished the above-mentioned performance:   http://www.geaviation.com/engines/commercial/genx/

 


I really don’t know who said it first but—“sometimes the only way you know where you are going is to take a look at where you are right now”.   There is a great deal of truth in this statement so I thought we might take a look at where we are relative to S & E (science and engineering).  Since this is not a subject that can be covered quickly, I am writing the first in a series of documents that will cover the following:

  • Overview of science and engineering—where we are now with conclusions as to where we need to go.
  • Current labor force relative to S & E professions.  This is a fairly broad look, but an important indicator as to where we are falling behind.
  • R & D trends (Global)
  • Public Attitude towards S & E professions.
  • State indicators.  What states within our Unites States provide the majority of trained S & E professionals and offer the greatest number of jobs.

This first effort is a brief overview of where we are now.  The next publications will follow during the month of May.   All of the information for each segment comes from the following publication:

 National Science Board—National Science Foundation, “Science and Engineering Indicators–2012”, required by 42 USC, Paragraph 1863(j) (1)

It is very important to note that—“Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI)” is first and foremost a volume of record comprising the major high-quality quantitative data on the U.S. and international science and engineering enterprise. SEI is factual and policy neutral. It does not offer policy options, and it does not make policy recommendations.  The data are “indicators.” Indicators are quantitative representations that might reasonably be thought to provide summary information bearing on the scope, quality, and vitality of the science and engineering enterprise. The indicators reported in SEI are intended to contribute to an understanding of the current environment and to inform the development of future policies.  All we are after here is to present the basic facts as they exist, without embellishment or fanfare.  Just the facts!   The overview focuses on the trend in the United States and many other parts of the world toward the development of more knowledge-intensive economies in which research, its commercial exploitation, and other intellectual work are of growing importance. Industry and government play key roles in these changes.  We primarily will be looking at knowledge-based economies and other intellectual work of growing importance on a global basis.  There is absolutely no doubt; those economies that have and continue to develop technologies benefiting their populations will progress faster, maybe much faster, than those countries otherwise dormant relative to science and technology.  Even though manufacturing is critical to continued national sovereignty, science, technology and engineering in general drive manufacturing.   We will be looking at trends relative to the United States, China, the European Union, Japan and those eight countries; i.e. India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, etc. within the east Pacific theatre.  There are several generalities we can state relative to the global progression in question.  These are as follows:

  • We definitely live in an interconnected world with intertwining economies.  Those countries continuing to prosper economically offer open markets and willingness to participate in the transfer of technology.   No doubt about it.
  • Open markets exist in just about every country on our globe.  One exception is North Korea and even that potential trading partner is beginning to recognize the benefits of world-wide trade.
  • Most countries recognize the significant importance of education and dedicated R & D effort relative to global commerce.  It is imperative that a knowledge-based workforce exist to promote technology on a wide scale.
  • With Asia’s rapid ascent, China is a major player on a global scale.  A rising superstar on the world stage that must not be taken lightly.  China has made a commitment toward being a world force, thereby promoting science and engineering education.
  • The European Union is “holding it’s own” but much of the trade is between members of the “union”.
  • Brazil and South Africa show very high rates of growth relative to science, engineering and technology and recognize the great importance of an educated population.
  • Israel, Switzerland and Canada are examples of countries with mature growth relative to science and engineering- technology in general.  Continued progress is dependent upon a well-trained work force, and they recognize that fact.
  • Global R & D expenditures have grown faster than global GDP with significant efforts to make economies more knowledge and technology based.  An example of this—global R&D efforts in 1996 were $522 billion USD whereas in 2009, that number was $1.3 trillion USD.  This fact is demonstrated by the following graph.  There is a 69.23 percent increase in R & D expenditures in just thirteen (13) years.  A 5.325percent in R & D spending per year for thirteen years.  

 

  • The United States is the largest contributor to the R & D effort with $400 billion (2009) USD but with Asian countries, mostly China, a very close second.  Please note, the EU figure represents all expenditures for R & D by the seventeen (17) countries within the “Union”. This is a conglomerate number.

For many countries, there is an R & D target of 3% of GDP.  They recognize the great importance of technology and engineering relative to continued economic improvement.    It is also a recognized fact that industry is the mechanism that fuels this technology growth.  In the USA, industry funds 62% of the R & D effort.  70% for Germany, 45% for the United Kingdom and 60% for China, Singapore and Taiwan respectively.  The chart that follows gives the percentages of GDP for each region.   That percentage being on the ordinate (vertical) axis of the chart. The percentage in the USA is roughly flat over the last thirteen years.   China has grown consistenly.

 

If we look at the annual growth rates for selected countries, we see the following:    China has made significant efforts to invest in R & D whereas the EU, USA and Japan have reduced  R & D funding.   2008 and 2009 exhibit percentages that, in my opinion, are truly alarming.

 

 

There is no doubt that China and the Asia/Pacific countries are giving the US a real “run for the money”.  The chart below will demonstrate that fact quite well.

North America; i.e. USA, Canada and Mexico, etc. traditionally spend more than the rest of the world but Asia/Pacific is catching up.  Figure 0-6 is a fascinating look at how R & D expenditures “travel” across our globe.  This graphic represents the global transfer of technology and further demonstrates how intertwined global commerce is.

The relative importance of global technology is driven home by the following chart, showing graduation rates by region.  This chart represents the importance associated by each country as to what is expected of education.   It also is a very definite indicator as to where the jobs will continue to be in the twenty-first century.

Next, we will look at the current labor force and those professions participating in that labor force.  You may be surprised as to where scientists and engineers work.

 

 

 

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