The need for Large Assembly Management
Increasingly, in the engineering industry there is a thrust toward model-based engineering and the digital twin. This means engineers and project managers are representing every last little detail of their complex assemblies with actual CAD files. It is common for there to be separate CAD files for every fastener, cotter pin, O-ring, gasket etc. The level of detail is much greater than ever before. This means the assemblies are larger than ever. This all means the need for large assembly management is greater than ever.
Doing more with less:
You selected some of the smartest people you could find from the best engineering schools that you know, and you give them one of the best CAD tools that there has ever been and oddly enough they sit there for an amazing amount of wasted time while they wait for a large assembly to open. It has been reported by folks in the aerospace industry that there are assemblies that take up to two hours to open. The good news is this is totally avoidable. There are only three things that have to be in place to avoid this incredibly wasteful situation: you must have a great CAD tool like Siemens NX and Teamcenter, you must have a group of talented engineers, and perhaps most importantly, those engineers must have the proper training. There are a number of easy to learn techniques that will guarantee that your group of bad ass engineers, whom you are paying a king’s ransom for, will open the largest of assemblies in less than a minute and get right to work.
What are the techniques?
The techniques are functions like opening the assemblies in light weight mode, manipulating the assemblies in such a way so only the portions that are necessary open, mastering techniques that allow the BOM to be organized in ways that streamline the assembly process and many others. These techniques have been available for many years but in the case of Siemens NX and Teamcenter, there has been a recent thrust to enhance them and add new and powerful others. When engineers graduate from the top engineering schools they very rarely have been exposed to these essential techniques. Almost invariably the CAD courses that they attend in college use less powerful CAD software, or they are never taught by industry experts who’ve worked with truly large assemblies. Therefore, working with large assemblies is a bit of an art form that is in many cases only learned on the job. In many other cases not known at all.
Learning the techniques:
Learning large assembly management techniques is best done using assemblies that are actually large and resemble that actual work that is being done by the company that is to be trained. This is a great way for engineers to get used to the many techniques that will be pertinent to their industry. For example, engineers that work at a company that manufactures a rocket, need to know how the various stages and pressure tanks and tubes are best handled. These folks may also benefit from the methods that are available to represent fluids in a tank and keep track of the center of gravity of a complex system. Automotive customers have similar challenges but different enough such that the course material must be different. Any customer that is making a complex medical product such as a robot needs certain other skills. When these courses are taught, they must be customized and the material is best when it’s created by someone who has had many years of experience in the field. The training should also include the various workflows to the release process, order prototypes, test and so on.