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PTC on the Product Development Side, Siemens in Manufacturing

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Sep 27,2022


Centrally within product development and design, SKF works in PTC's solutions. SKF has hundreds of seats of the CAD software Creo for the design pieces, and thousands of licenses of PTC's cPDm software Windchill to keep track of data, store it and collaborate around it during the development work. In addition to this, SKF uses software from other PLM developers as well as SKF’s own proprietary, domain-specific solutions within areas such as simulation and analysis.

SKF uses PTC Windchill to create the eBOM (engineering Bill of Materials), which essentially shows how a product is designed.

When it comes to the manufacturing side, SKF uses solutions from Siemens Digital Industries Software, all within the framework of what it calls the “World Class Manufacturing” concept.

The eBOM discussed above forms the basis for the mBOM (manufacturing Bill of Materials) created after the handover to production in the factory, and which is used as the basis for manufacturing.

The manufacturing BOMs are created from the eBOMs, but now this is done in the Siemens cPDm software Teamcenter, which compiles all the necessary information.

The manufacturing BOMs contain things such as a Bill of Process (BOP). A product-related BOP contains components, subassemblies and the "recipe" for operations and resources needed to build the product. This is because a plant BOP consists of stations, cells and the list of operations that can be performed at a particular station. This capability bridges the disconnect between the product-centric starting point of building a product—the product BOP—and the facility-centric starting point of building a product—the factory BOP—while maintaining the vital link to the manufacturing BOM, under audit control, throughout the manufacturing planning process.

That being said about the main digital arsenal, at the bottom line the basic elements of manufacturing will be the same, regardless of how the digital reality changes.

“Yes, that's how it is,” says Kent Viitanen. “The final product will require us to continue to buy steel, machine it, turn it, grind it, heat treat it, create a surface finish and finally assemble the parts into various ball bearing solutions. The digital system will not replace these elements. However, the digital will help us work smarter, but above all faster. Solutions for this exist in the PLM and automation world, but the question is: How do we make this fly? How do we make the connections with real physical manufacturing to the digital world?”

To accomplish this, speed in the manufacturing process is of utmost importance, says Viitanen.

“In fact, it is the single most important part and moreover it is what manufacturing in the future will be about. The industry will change, and it will go in the direction of connectivity, automation, AI, machine learning and others and the winners will be those who succeed in implementing this with the highest speed and certainly maintained or even better quality. In this, of course, PLM and automation technology is important, but even more important are the people. And not just one category of person, but everyone who is out there on the shop floor working together. It is here that one of the biggest challenges lies for anyone working with existing factory facilities in brownfield environments.”

For example, SKF's Gothenburg, Sweden, factory is considered to be a modern model site that the company regards as an inspiring example for other SKF facilities around the world. Here, the company manufactures spherical roller bearings (SRB). The environment is fully automated with Laser Guided Vehicles (LGVs), KUKA robots and otherwise digitally connected production at a high level. The ball bearings produced here are a result of the dubbed World Class Manufacturing project, which is about a completely new way of thinking about and carrying out production, maintenance, creating flexibility and service around spherical ball bearings in dimensions of 180 to 360 millimeters.

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