Archive for the ‘General’ Category
As a heavy equipment manufacturer, you want to build exact iron that is high performing, quality, and easily serviceable. The only way to do this is by integrating manufacturing process planning with design and engineering so that downstream errors are avoided, and production is optimized; we call this collaborative manufacturing. Please see our Collaborative Manufacturing website for more detail on how Siemens PLM can help you deliver exact iron every time to your agriculture, construction, and mining customers.
Industrial machines are on a mission every day to manufacture the products that consumers enjoy. The machines that you build are complex, and need to be commissioned quickly so you can optimize your margins. Our platform for Advanced Machine Engineering enables you to rapidly develop and commission mission-driven machines that are high quality, high performing, and highly serviceable. Please see our Advanced Machine Engineering website for more detail on how Siemens PLM can help you deliver profitable mission-driven machines on time, every time to customers in any industry.
In the 1973 movie, Magnum Force, Harry Callahan (played by Clint Eastwood) battles a group of vigilante cops led by Inspector Briggs. It’s a classic action movie with Callahan eliminating the vigilante cops one by one until only their leader remains.
In the final scene, Callahan utters the iconic phrase “A man’s got to know his limitations” as he watches Inspector Briggs meet his end in a raging car fire. Briggs failed to kill Callahan just moments before when he had the chance. Callahan then outsmarted Briggs by setting off a car bomb and, well, the rest is cinematic history.
Briggs failure in judgment was one of “calibration”, a term that social scientists use to characterize how well people understand their own limitations. If you are as good as you think you are, then you are “well calibrated”; conversely if you are not as good as you think you are, you are “poorly calibrated”. A poorly calibrated person tends to be overconfident. In Magnum Force, Inspector Briggs was grossly overconfident in the last scene and made a fatal decision to let Callahan live. Generally, overconfidence doesn’t result in our immediate demise, but it can certainly lead to poor decisions.
Study after study shows that most of us, like Briggs, tend to be poorly calibrated especially when it comes to important skills that we need to do our jobs. For example, in one study, the U.S. Army found that 75% of soldiers were not as good at marksmanship as they predicted. In fact, in this study 25% failed to qualify at a minimum standard. What is surprising is that all of the soldiers in the study had predicted success. Their predictions were shown to be inaccurate after the marksmanship test; they were, in fact, poorly calibrated with respect to their marksmanship skills.
There are many other studies that show we tend to be poorly calibrated when it comes to assessing our own skills. It’s just part of being human. This inclination to exaggerate our talents stems from the fact that humans tend to take credit for events with positive outcomes and attribute negative outcomes to factors beyond their control… for example, when a stock pick doubles, it’s because we are amazing financial analysts and genius stock pickers… but when a favorite stock “tanks” it’s because the company ran into unforeseen and unpredictable bad circumstances…. We reiterate “it’s still a good company” and tend to hold a losing stock positions forever in the hope that the price will rebound. Most of us rarely take responsibility for the bad selection and cut our losses.
So how can we overcome our human tendency to exaggerate our abilities? In other words, how can we become better calibrated? Research shows that the best remedy for poor calibration is quick, corrective feedback. Feedback is a very effective way to become better calibrated… and research shows that the quicker the feedback, the better! Take the soldiers qualifying on the rifle range; either the targets fall or they don’t and the soldiers know at the end of the session if they’ve qualified or not. The nature of the task provides immediate feedback so the soldiers can recalibrate (and know if they are good shots or not).
However, as PLM workers, many of our decisions and actions are not well suited to immediate feedback, but we can always proactively solicit timely feedback. The important thing is to get feedback so we can get calibrated! Feedback takes many forms; it can be quantitative (e.g. reconciling sales actuals with forecasts or comparing CAE performance predictions with physical test results) or qualitative (e.g. measuring customer satisfaction with a new logo, product or service). Feedback can also be formal (e.g. Phase Gate Reviews) or informal (e.g. asking one or more of your colleagues for their opinion). All forms of feedback are valuable if we take them constructively and can help us improve our job performance. Formal feedback loops are usually mandatory so I am going to make some suggestions with regards to informal feedback.
Typically, informal feedback is only sought out if something goes wrong; I propose that you also solicit feedback when your decisions have the desired outcome. Even though the decision was a “success” we often get stuck in a “status quo” trap of doing business the same old way. It’s safe and it works, but it may not be the best! By asking for feedback regarding successes, we are looking for ways to truly innovate. Feedback can help us avoid the “status quo” trap.
It’s also important to ask for feedback from individuals who do not share your particular view or perspective; it’s this “outside” view that often leads to greater innovation and process improvement. Think about it; if you always get feedback from your friends and/or from people with similar values, education and job experience, it is less likely that they can provide insight into doing things another way. So, seek out the “Devil’s Advocate” in your company or someone from another department and ask them for feedback.
Remember to put your ego aside and listen to the comments objectively and don’t take them personally – always try to find a kernel of truth in any criticism. This will help you understand your limitations, spur some innovative thinking and (hopefully) lead to smarter decisions.
So, in the spirit of getting calibrated, let me know what you think of this article!
The phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” is generally attributed to a newspaper editor, Arthur Brisbane, who first used it in a 1911 article about journalism. At the time, photography was relatively new and Brisbane was conveying the notion that images (i.e. visualization) make it easy to communicate complex subjects compared to text. It was true then and it remains true today.
Visualization in the PLM domain is extremely beneficial because it increases clarity and understanding of complex products and processes. It leads to faster decision making1 and increases productivity. Siemens PLM is a leader in PLM visualization with viewers that take advantage of the ISO standard JT format for visualization. Our portfolio of viewers includes sophisticated Product Mockup tools (Teamcenter Visualization Mockup), free viewers (JT2GO), and everything in-between including embedded viewers ( Teamcenter Lifecycle Viewer) and a software development toolkit (PLM Vis).
In fact, there are so many viewers that I’d like to take this opportunity to give you a “picture” (well, ok, it’s a table) of all of our viewers so you can pick the one(s) that meets your needs.
Most of these products are self-explanatory, with the exception of PLM Vis, so I’ll elaborate a bit. The basic explanation is that PLM Vis enables our customers to enhance and create custom applications that include visualization based on our commercial technology and the JT standard.
Of course, some development effort is required, but our customers think it’s worth it because “a picture is worth a thousand words”…..
By enhancing existing applications, customers are able to continue to work using their existing processes while improving productivity through the addition of graphics; for example:
- An automotive company developed an in-house Issues Tracking application that referenced JT files. The company embedded PLM Vis into this application so that the 3D models are visible alongside the issue description. This increased clarity and improved the solution time.
- A consumer electronics company enhanced their in-house workflow application by using PLM Vis to visualize 2D and 3D data. This greatly enhanced the approval process by eliminating the need for a separate viewing application. Stakeholders benefited from greater clarity throughout the process.
Customers also use PLM Vis to create new sophisticated applications that include visualization using the same robust commercial technology we use in our own products. These custom applications increase productivity because they are company and data specific and have a focused, streamlined Ux. They may also enable sophisticated capabilities that are not available in “out of the box” solutions. For example:
- An aerospace company embedded controls in their drawing files to launch a 3D model view of the corresponding location. This reduced the time required to understand a complex drawing, identify potential problem areas and make modifications if required.
Hopefully, you now have a better “picture” of what can be done with PLM Vis. PLM Vis provides our customers with the ability to enhance or create custom visualization applications using the same technology that is the foundation for our entire visualization portfolio. It’s an important part of the Siemens PLM visualization portfolio and offers the ultimate in flexibility with respect to Ux and non Teamcenter data integration. PLM Vis based applications are robust, tailored to a company’s specific needs and enable faster, smarter decision making.
For more information, contact John Whetstone
1 Real Time Data Visualization, Aberdeen Group, August 2013
This guest blog post is by John Fox, VP of Marketing, Mainstream Engineering, Siemens PLM Software
What would you do if the demand for your product went from 100,000 units a day to almost nothing within a span of several months? That’s exactly what happened to Razor USA and their flagship kick scooter during the Christmas season of 2000. The market had become oversaturated and sales plummeted.
Razor bounced back from that early setback. And today, CEO and founder Carlton Calvin tells Bloomberg TV that Razor is having their best year ever.
What are the secrets to Razor’s success? I spoke with R&D Manager Bob Hadley, who’s been with Razor since the beginning, and found out.
The following critical success factors have enabled Razor USA to survive – and thrive – in a difficult and competitive market.
Clearly define your target market – then develop a portfolio of products
Although the kick scooter market eventually bounced back and now represents 25% or more of their business, Razor was not content to be a “one hit wonder” or produce endless variations of the original product. They defined their business more broadly – they were in “the wheels business.” And from that strategy came a string of successful products in various categories: the original scooter, the two-wheeled Rip Stick, the three-wheeled PowerWing, and their latest, the electric powered Crazy Cart, a wildly popular, viral product that was a big hit this holiday season (more on that later).
Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on April 8th, 2014. If your company is still running XP on ANY computers, you should act now.
Here are 3 reasons why you should act:
1. Your unsupported and unpatched environments could be vulnerable to new exploits that come out after April 2014.
2. XP may be working just fine, but it’s more than a decade old. You should upgrade to take advantage of new OS technology. Better memory management for NX, better file search, improved User Interface and more.
3. Your other business applications may no longer be supported after April 2014.
In 1999, there was the fear that key computers around the world would fail and cause a global “meltdown” as January 1, 2000 approached. While there wasn’t a massive “meltdown” of computer systems, many companies used this as an opportunity to upgrade their systems, re-evaluate and re-engineer their processes. I can’t think of a better excuse to modernize your PLM system than this.
Huntsville, Alabama is hosting a social media tourism symposium this week. When the Huntsville convention and visitors bureau asked if we could help with a center piece, we knew some of our students at the Huntsville center of Technology had created some nice space lander models (we would have done the Greenpower Car but that wouldn’t have left room on the table to eat ). All these designs were created with Solid Edge software which is developed in Huntsville as well.
Since these are social media people, we included some QR codes and NFC chips with the display. They point to this blog post. If you here in Huntsville visiting, welcome! We hope you enjoy our city.
What do people make with Siemens PLM software? A picture is worth 1000 words. Take a look as some of these images: http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/campaigns/image-gallery/
While this is expensive software used by engineers and designers for all types of engineering work the important point today is that it is FREE to students and educators.
If you know a student that might be interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, here is the URL to download it:
Personally, I recommend installing it on the laptop for that next family vacation. You may come home with a future engineer or rocket scientist.
P.S. Here are a few social media places we hang out if you feel like talking.
@SiemensPLM The company!
@SusanCinadr Director of Social Media
@burhop Solid Edge enthusiast living in Huntsville
On August 23rd, Elon Musk Musk of SpaceX posted a video of a “touch-less design system”. The demonstration consisted of NX plus some custom drivers for a Leap Motion Controller. The video quickly went viral. As of today, it has been viewed over 1,700,000 times.
At the recent PLM Europe event, we showed more about this Siemens PLM Labs project.
This is a technology preview and we don’t know if we will incorporate it into our production product.
What do you think we should do? Would you like to see this in your NX?
P.S. If you want to learn more about NX, check out our NX Design community site.
When Siemens PLM Software released the latest version of NX TM software (NX 9), it didn’t just modernize the user interface, introduce a deluge of new productivity enhancements and increase the version number.
Now and then: above: Running a machine tool simulation in NX CAM 9. Below: The part generation sequence using Uni-graphics (circa 1973). (Explore The Unigraphics Virtual Museum – PLM World to discover more “artifacts”.)
No, it released much more than that: an industrial-strength computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software built upon 50 years of working to maximize part manufacturing efficiency with the world’s leading manufacturers in nearly every industry.
The origins of the CAM capabilities in NX date back to 1963 when John Wright founded United Computing Corporation. Back then, United’s CAM product, UNIAPT, was used by aerospace companies to compute and post process tool paths that were punched onto a paper tape to program numerical control (NC) machines for cutting parts. UNIAPT was a minicomputer-based version of the Automatic Programmed Tool (APT). It was unique because it offered a lower cost alternative to the standard mainframe time-sharing services. Companies that used it were able to save on the costs of NC programming, debugging and program editing.
Ten years later, United purchased the ADAM software and UNIAPT received a graphical frontend that provided basic 2D modeling and drafting and became one of the first computer-aided design (CAD)/CAM products, called UNI-GRAPHICS.
Fast-forward a half-century, obsolete some of the hardware, invest countless man-years in development, obtain numerous patents and the result is a rich CAM legacy that amalgamates into NX 9.
Developing NX 9: industrial-strength CAM software
For manufacturers, NX 9 offers enhancements and upgrades aimed squarely at producing higher quality parts faster and delivering jobs more cost effectively. Customers in the automotive, machinery, aerospace, high tech electronics and general machining industries have all contributed to the development and testing of NX 9. As a result, beyond the general value that NX offers, the new CAM and coordinate measuring machine (CMM) capabilities provide additional benefits.
“NX 9 provides manufacturers with the necessary capabilities and the precise control needed to achieve their goals,” states Zvi Feuer, senior vice president of manufacturing engineering software at Siemens PLM Software. “NX 9 is more than a new version of software, it is a hallmark of our fifty years in the CAM business. It represents our longstanding dedication and commitment to work with our customers, large and small, and in all industries, to help transform their manufacturing operations into engines for profitable business growth.”
Lexmark’s prototype shop in Richmond, Kentucky uses NX CAM to manufacture prototypes for validating new printer designs.
“Part of our success depends on how quickly we’re able to turn-around new design concepts,” explains Ron Shrout, who is the prototype shop team leader at Lexmark and is an NX CAM 9 beta test participant. “The new cut region management capability will dramatically improve our CNC programming productivity and part quality. With NX CAM 9, we’ll be able to complete programs faster, and easily control cut patterns to achieve the surface finish that we need.”
Lexmark also depends on 5-axis machining to reduce setups and to machine hard-to-reach areas.
“The new tilt tool axis capability will save a lot of programming time and effort,” says Shrout. “We’ll be able to program a 3-axis cut, and have NX CAM 9 automatically transform it to 5-axis. Our programming input will be simplified.”
Providing more efficient die/mold manufacturing
In die/mold machining, huge productivity benefits can result from producing a high-quality surface finish right on the machine. With NX CAM 9, programmers can take precise control over machining strategies for a superior surface finish and faster finishing.
The new cut region management capability enables you to graphically specify cut patterns by region, resulting in as much as a 40 percent improvement in programming productivity and improved surface finish for some complex molds and dies. Watch a highlight video of cut region management (duration: 2:51).
Whenever possible, it’s best to machine with the shortest tool. Longer tools bend more easily, resulting in chatter and vibration. Machining efficiency suffers when feed rates are reduced, and poor surface quality results from the vibration. The upgraded divide tool path function enables you to discover where longer tools are needed and automatically splits the tool path, helping you save longer tools for the deep reaches.
More than just an optimized material removal rate is needed to get the most from high-speed machining. NX CAM 9 provides smooth optimized traverses, stepovers and region connections that minimize machine stress and maximize the ability of the controller to drive it at its highest feed rates. NX CAM 9 includes additional new capabilities and enhancements for die-mold machining. Read more about what’s new for die-mold machining.
Deliver production machining jobs faster
Significant productivity benefits can result from re-using programming work, especially for setups with multiple identical or similar parts. With NX CAM 9, jobs of this type can be programmed in almost the same time it takes to program a single part.
The new multiple-part programming capability assists you with reusing complete machining sequences. The tool paths are kept associative, so changes are kept up-to-date on dependent work pieces. Watch a highlight video of multiple-part programming (duration: 2:31).
To help save time and avoid mistakes, like accidentally missing a hole, NX CAM 9 provides a new level of programming automation for holes based on feature recognition. The complete process for finding holes is automated. Simply select a group of holes and drill. Learn more about what’s new for prismatic parts machining.
Make the transition to 5-axis machining
Five axis machining offers the benefits of reduced setup and machining time, and reduced hand-polishing. But 5-axis machines are typically more challenging and time-consuming to program. The enhanced tilt tool axis function in NX CAM 9 enables programmers to take advantage of 5-axis machining efficiencies without the challenges of traditional 5-axis programming.
You can create a 3-axis tool path and then use the tilt tool axis capability to look ahead for potential collisions and automatically avoid them by tilting the tool.
Complex turbines, impellers, and blisks can be challenging to program. NX CAM provides special turbomachinery milling operations that machine these components accurately and safely, with a minimum amount of programming input. In NX CAM 9, the turbomachinery milling operations are enhanced to provide more process options, such as the ability to swarf cut some blade surfaces, and support for flat and bull-nosed tools for roughing, resulting in more efficient machining and a better surface finish. Read more about what’s new for complex parts machining.
Automating CMM inspection programming for more types of parts
Inspect a wider range of part types, including sheet metal components, with the new CMM inspection programming capabilities in NX 9. Reduce inspection programming time by automating the creation of CMM programs and analyzing inspection results directly on the 3D solid mold inside NX. Learn more about what’s new for inspection programming.
In addition to 3D solid models, you can automate the programming of sheet metal parts in NX CMM 9. After the part is inspected, the CMM results can be read back into NX and graphically displayed in the context of the part model.
Back to home position
So what was achieved over the past 50 years? Quite a lot, as it turns out. The power, breadth of capabilities (beyond just what’s new) and value customers ultimately gain from NX 9 are proof of the technological progress. But I’m not going to plunge into all of this in this blog post. In upcoming blogs, I’ll explore what NX 9 and complementary products, such as Shop Floor Connect for Teamcenter software, can offer part manufacturers in their respective industries.
For more information about the capabilities in NX 9 for manufacturing, including blog posts, instructional videos, hands-on demos, online community discussion and more, visit the NX Manufacturing Forum.
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Watch NX experts demonstrate the latest capabilities in NX CAM 9.
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Lucas Shoults is a first-year graduate student engineer at Virginia Tech (VT). He is majoring in mechanical engineering and is the business manager of VT’s EcoCAR 2 team. I met Lucas at the EcoCAR 2 Fall Workshop where he, his team and teams from 14 other universities received training in preparation for the third and final year of this collegiate engineering competition.
His story highlights how critical real-world engineering competitions like EcoCAR are to developing passionate engineers. He says in our video interview below that EcoCAR changed his college career and made him care about engineering.
So let’s learn more about Lucas and meet “Mary the Malibu” seen below in all her EcoCAR sponsor sticker glory.
When did you know you wanted to be an engineer?
“I didn’t know I actually WANTED to be an engineer until my senior year of college when upon joining Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) I saw the knowledge I had gained throughout my undergrad actually be put to use in a very real and dynamic project. The reasons I joined HEVT was pretty simple. I didn’t know much about cars and figured I could take the opportunity to learn all the systems of a vehicle, specifically one that is a hybrid as that seems to be the direction that a lot of automotive manufacturers were headed. Secondly, I had a good friend who was team leader and I figured if I could get to hang out with him and grow some relationships with the people on the team, why not?”
Here more in this video interview where Lucas also shares how he became an NX and FEA expert for this team.
What lessons have you learned from EcoCAR 2?
“The last 10% takes 90% of the time. Allow ample time for the mistakes that you will make and the unforeseen circumstances that you cannot control such as a delay in the shipment of a critical component.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I made a rather expensive mistake my first year on the team when dealing with the half shafts and I had to make sure that it was finally done correctly. However, because of that mistake I have been able to show guys on the team this year the correct way to take measurements for half shafts, ensuring that there won’t be another mistake like last year.
If all you care about is taking 1st place, you are doing it wrong. As much as this is a competition, the goal is the universal growth of knowledge and skill among all teams involved. It is hard enough to get a car working in the first place, the support and help we received from our ‘competitors’ was and is much appreciated. Shout out to University of Tennessee, thanks again for the half shaft.”
What advice would you give students considering engineering as a career?
“Do it. It will challenge you in various aspects of your life. Do not expect to have a normal college experience, because engineering is setting you up for a unique after college experience. Even if you decide at the end of your undergraduate to do nothing within the engineering field, I am confident that the lessons you will have learned about yourself, your study habits, ability to work through countless problems for hours attempting to solve it correctly, and just the work ethic that I have personally experienced and seen among my friends is hard to duplicate. So if you want to be challenged, engineering is a great field. If you just have no idea about what you want to do, engineering is a great field. But if you know what you love, and it is not engineering, do not do engineering, do what you love. I am thanking God I can now, as a first-year graduate student in mechanical engineering, say I love what I do.”
It’s clear Lucas and his teammates love what they’re doing. Here’s a picture of them at the EcoCAR 2 Fall Workshop:
Good luck to all the EcoCAR 2 teams in this final year of the competition.
I wonder what other nicknames the teams have given their Malibus .
P.S. Stay tuned here and on our academic projects web page for the latest on great student competitions.