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White Paper for PDM Implementation of OEM and Supplier in the Automotive Industry

Format: PDF (77 pages)

Language: EN
Publication date: 3. 2003



Projectgroup: PDTnet

PDTnet Projekt, PDM-data exchange - use cases and scenarios, technical approaches and recommendations for PDM integration


Product Data Management (PDM) with the parts Geometry Management, Document Management, Product Management and Configuration is the platform for research & development (R&D) in the manufacturing industry.

In the world-wide automobile industry one of the goals is to reduce development time and costs. The complete development and simulation of a new product on a computer is the first step towards achieving this goal. The computer model of the "digital car" can be used to perform trials and calculations for which expensive prototypes are still needed today. This computer model is created by the combined effort of a number of developers using different Data Creation systems.

Due to the fact that each system defines its own data format the communication process along the computer-aided process chain today is tackled by duplicate data creation, redundant data management and expensive data conversion processes.

In order for the vision of “Digital Car” to become reality, a neutral representation of the digital car is needed, which can be processed by all the partners involved irrespective of data creation system used. This is why the car industry has been investing a great deal of time and money in the development and application of the neutral product data description in accordance with ISO 10303 (STEP) for several years. The parts of the STEP standard that are especially relevant for the automobile industry are the application protocols AP214 and AP212.

However, the standardized data model is only one precondition to allow data sharing, exchange and transfer in a heterogeneous data creation systems environment. A common understanding about processes and operations creating and processing product data as well as standardized implementation methods are required in addition.

In addition, an increasing portion of engineering development work is given out by OEMs to suppliers. This requires a stronger integration of processes, information and systems between OEM and supplier. In order to cope with this, various IT solutions were developed during the last years. They can be generally classified into four groups:

  • Asynchronous file-based data exchange
  • PDM integration based on Web-clients
  • Synchronous data sharing
  • Small-sized concepts and solutions, that are based on the techniques listed above.
  • The automotive companies gained experiences in the development, configuration and use of these technologies. This paper summarizes these experiences and tries to give recommendations and hints specifically for SME suppliers regarding the selection and implementation of the different technologies.


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