Any good product design goes through many changes throughout the development process to get to the end result. Sometimes this process is very relaxed with changes occurring on the fly with no way to track the physical changes to the model. Fortunately for us, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform has a built-in formalized Engineering Change Process that not only helps us make changes to our existing models in an organized way, but also tracks those changes.
This part of our engineering change process is completely optional but carries some benefits to add in. Firstly, these issues can be raised on pretty much anything including the models we’re using, manufacturing processes, or even an issue with how we store raw materials. Less involved or mission critical issues can be resolved without having to kick off an entire engineering change. The Issue Management App allows everyone in the supply chain to get involved and let their voices be heard.
Let’s take the Yoke shown above as an example. At some point in our development process, we’ve found out that the holes to mount the yoke are way too big and need to be scaled down. We’re able to create an issue for that. When creating the issue you can assign titles, descriptions, recommend resolutions, and even a due date for when you want it fixed. The other tabs allow you to attach any relevant attachments, assign who you want to fix the issue, and even associate the affected items to link the issue to a specific CAD Model.
Creating a Change Action
For issues regarding a specific CAD Model or set of CAD Models, typically we need the formalized change process to introduce new revisions and keep track of the history. In this instance, the model for our yoke 012-542 is currently in a “Released” State meaning we can make changes to it without a new revision. From inside of our Issue Management app, we are able to resolve the issues by launching into a Change Action.
With the change action formally created we have a ton of control over how the change is carried out. Assignees, approvers, and informed users can be assigned from existing members of your 3DEXPERIENCE Tenant or even predefined routes (similar to how an approval workflow would work with SOLIDWORKS PDM) to include even more members in the approval process. We can also open up the affected documents directly in SOLIDWORKS from the change action and begin working on the proposed changes.
For this example, the proposed changes are fairly straightforward. In SOLIDWORKS I’ll make sure to lock the part, create a new revision, and begin updating the hole size. What we will notice is that while working in SOLIDWORKS, we are also working under the change action we opened the model from. This ensures that the changes being made to my yoke are being tracked and ultimately applied to the change action. When finished with the updates, we can save the file back to our collaborative space and move it to a frozen state so no further changes can occur.
Approvals and Completion
With the work on the change action done, we can switch back over to the Change Execution app. Since we were working under the change action in SOLIDWORKS, the new revision I created is already associated with the existing change action, so I won’t need to manually upload any files. An approver can open the new revision in any apps they have or even compare the two to easily see the differences caused by the change. The comparison will help the approver or informed user quickly see changes but they may need to fully open the model to see if the changes made are to the required specification.
If everything looks good, the assigned approver has the power to complete the change action. They can go and stamp approval on the changes that occurred. If for some reason the changes are not correct, the approver also has the ability to reject and push the change action back on the assigned user to make further changes. The approver will need to log in one more time to protect against someone accessing their machine while already logged in. With everything approved, both the Change Action and the Issue can be set to completed. Going through our formal change action not only tracks the changes that occur but also makes sure we have a secure process to release our parts.
With the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, we have a ton of tools that help us with almost any aspect of our engineering design process. One of the most important is being able to have a formal and secure engineering change process to not only keep track of changes but also to hold team members accountable for the changes needed to be made. The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform has an out of the box solution for our engineering change that can be modified for your specific approval workflows. Interested in learning more? Be sure to tune into our upcoming Live Webinar covering this topic on February 21st!