A professional CAE / Virtual Engineering solution needs also a PDM / PLM system to ensure a high-quality level of data management for engineering data | production data | change management data | simulation data and more.
When you lose the overview and the control of your data you will probably also lose your customers!
To avoid this situation we take this topic very seriously and start to speak with competent partners to develop a strategy for a minimal solution.
I myself got the chance to gain some useful experience with professional engineering development systems for many years when I worked for a global player in the car industry, at least from a user perspective, so I know less (or more) what we are speaking about. The system consisted of a 3D CAD system integrated into a Product Data Management system PDM which was coupled with the ERP from SAP.
Before we do a deep dive into the topic and start any activities, we need to investigate in detail which data can be integrated into such a system.
Here are some thoughts:
- which file formats and categories need to be included (3D data, drawings, docs, specs, …)
- a kind of a master system will be needed (database) to assign all the unique identification numbers within a big organization for the parts and additional ID’s for documents and other objects before someone can start some first engineering activities in the engineering systems
- data repositories, groups, and user strategies
- data backup solutions
- data check-in and check-out system
- meta-files need to be created for each data file (creator, ID, status, license, material, …) this might also be relevant and useful for Elasticsearch operations
- how to organize libraries with standard-parts? (an external server?)
- how to create and manage bill of materials (ERP solution?)
- how to manage engineering changes
- how to handle CAE simulation data and simulation configuration files (structured and unstructured)
- how to manage very large data, for example, CAE meshes or 3D models in STL format?