I recently sat on a CIMdata panel in Frankfurt, Germany. The discussion was geared toward industrial end users and focused on the integration of systems engineering into PLM practices.
One of the biggest questions posed to the panel: What are the benefits of integrating software development and systems engineering with mechanical design and PLM?
When a company’s main goal is to improve the way their products are developed and serviced, then this integration is a logical step.
Today, software enables all manner of smart, connected products and provides the control logic and user interface of each of those products. It also provides a window into how products are used, extending the after-market reach of companies. Software and the seamless interaction of systems is a huge value-add for both the end-user and the manufacturer.
But software-intensive products are complex and incorporating yet another layer of product development into existing PLM processes can be a challenge.
Many product development organizations have isolated and disconnected engineering departments. Mechanical, electrical, and software development engineering teams may not talk to one another, and even within a team—which might consist of requirements engineering, specification and verification, and test management—communication is often lacking.
The effects are well-known: inefficient communication leads to lack of traceability, and late integration leads to quality problems, inability to quickly adopt changes and long innovation cycles.
To remedy this, companies need a holistic systems engineering environment that combines PLM and ALM capabilities and provides an interface with development and simulation tools. Introducing systems engineering into the overall product development process helps to ensure seamless interaction between hardware and software components and thus better overall product quality and functionality.
With the onslaught of the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart, connected products, it’s vital that companies consider extending their systems engineering approach with an IoT platform to ensure that multiple connected systems can talk to each other.
In a world where innovation will be driven by smart, connected products, this integration is a must.
This article was coauthored by Christoph Bräuchle, business development director in PTC’s Automotive Center of Excellence in Europe.