Automotive Viewpoint, Product Structure and EOL Engine Reman

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John Stark Associates                                                                                                                                               April 26, 2010 - Vol13 #2

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PLM Standards from an Automotive Viewpoint
by Jean-Jacques Urban-Galindo
Referring to the recent articles on PLM Standards I can add some thoughts from my own experience.

I spent many years in IT in the French automotive industry, in the PSA Peugeot Citroen group, working with CAE, BOM, procurement planning and material flows.

We faced most of the difficulties you mention (for example, in the "Challenge of Product Structure" article in the January 18, 2010 issue). The number of variants in these activities is astonishing. From this point of view, I see a similarity of definition between telecommunication and car "products".

The company participated in the definition of the ISO AP 214 standard in the mid 90's, and chose this model as a core model for all new application development. In the early 2000's, I managed the INGENUM Program with this data model to ease the integration of systems (ENOVIA, SAP, DELMIA, TECNOMATIX). Today PSA has a complete and coherent description of "product" from marketing to after sales through engineering, manufacturing and commercial distribution.

From my experience, there is no way to collaborate without standards.

Jean-Jacques Urban-Galindo, previously with PSA, is now a consultant in Logistics & PLM.

The Product Structure Standard
by Roger Tempest
Product Structure is an area of massive complexity for many companies, and it may be hard to imagine how a single standard could apply throughout PLM.

The INGENUM project was a landmark PLM initiative of its time. Many people watched its progress and could only admire its success - quite literally, because its results were not transportable. People could admire its success, but not learn from it, because their own product structure seemed to be different.

Other companies have invested similar amounts of effort to establish a clear product structure, and are still doing so. The telecomms company whose views we published on January 18 is one of many who have given their input in support of PLM standards. And yet, underneath it all, there is a similarity of definition between telecommunication and car "products".

The key to finding a standard is to set aside the "product shape" or "product configuration" viewpoint and to focus instead on the fundamental rules that apply to products in an industrial or commercial environment. These rules apply to every product type, in every industry.

For example, you may have a complex array of product families, or you may sell 'solutions', but the product details that are written within a Customer sales contract are incontrovertible. These become 'Customer Products'. Within these, there are some products that absolutely must be sold to specification, and others (such as training, installation, and ad-hoc project work) that may be carried out based on the skills and expertise of your staff. These become 'Controlled Products' and 'Uncontrolled Products'.

The logical rules continue seamlessly through the lifecycle configurations, so (for example) it is not permissible to sell a Controlled Product that does not conform to the designed configuration. This ties the As-Designed, As-Built and As-Delivered configurations together and, in turn, fixes the PLM-ERP relationship.

There are also configuration rules, which match the theory of PLCS. When the logical and configuration rules are applied to the natural design structure created by the Product Design team, the result is a standard framework that applies whatever the product or service of a company.

The Product Structure Standard is neutral, accurate and robust. Because it follows the natural rules of PDM it is easy for large corporations to align with their own in-house structures. This provides a valuable cross-reference and shows clearly, for example, where telecomms and automotive products are the same and where they differ.

Because the Product Structure Standard is simple and concise, it provides an effective template for SMEs to set up their PDM architecture. It therefore allows companies that are relatively new to PLM to go straight to the most effective structure for their product and industry environment.

Full details of the Product Structure Standard are contained in the Q1 2010 issue of the PLM Journal.


Roger Tempest is co-founder of the PLMIG. You can comment or request more information via


CL2M Case Study 2 : End of Life Engine Remanufacturing
by David Potter
The global remanufacturing industry is a $100 billion business with an estimated compound annual growth rate of 5-7%. Several factors are positioning remanufactured products as the repair option of choice. They include a shortage of qualified technicians, take-back regulations that require manufacturers to accept products when consumers no longer want them, new product designs and advanced materials.

Remanufacturing conserves a large portion of the "value add" - the labour, energy and manufacturing added to the original raw materials. According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, when components are remanufactured, about 85% of the energy expended during the original manufacturing process is preserved.

This case study is based on one of the 10 commercial applications developed during the EU PROMISE Project. The objective of this application was to combine engine part tracking with collection of Middle-of-Life (MOL) information from the engine regarding the conditions under which it had been used. More informed decision-making can then be made at End-of-Life (EOL). This will improve the efficiency of the remanufacturing process, and increase the useful life of core engine components.

At Beginning-of-Life (BOL), engine components are manufactured, or received from suppliers, and then assembled into the engine core, or complete engine. Preliminary data is written onto PEIDs (Product Embedded Information Devices) that are placed on selected engine components. This data includes build date, location, and the Bill of Materials (BOM) for that engine. This data is also stored on the back-end system, the PROMISE PDKM (Product Data Knowledge Management) system.

Each engine is then sent to an assembly facility to be installed in one of a variety of heavy machines. Data about the type of machine is written to the PEID. The complete machine is then shipped to a dealer who will sell the machine to the final customer.

During its working life (MOL), the customer will return the machine to a dealership for service or repair. Each time a machine is brought in, and engine work is done, the dealer will record what has been done and the date of the event. That data will be written to the back-end system (PDKM) for later retrieval.

When the End-of-Life of a tagged engine component is reached (e.g. a crankshaft is replaced), this component will be up-dated with its EOL data. The PEID located on the engine block will be up-dated with the unique serial number and the date that the part was changed. The removed component will have its tag up-dated with type of failure and totalised historical data at this time (number of running hours of the component on the engine).

The whole engine core might be eligible for a complete exchange and remanufacturing. Once the engine reaches the remanufacturing facility, the BOM is used to schedule future engine builds based on the parts in the engine. It is dismantled, cleaned, repaired, and "new" engines will be assembled using either remanufactured or new purchased components. To provide information that will reduce costs and time for the remanufacturing processes, PEID information is retrieved. This is done using the RFID reader/writer for the PEID and/or the PROMISE PDKM system. Its associated PROMISE Decision Support System (DSS) is used for end of life decision-making on each component, such as which parts can not be remanufactured, or what work will be required.

At the end of these processes, the remanufactured engines will be given new identities. BOL data will be written on PEIDs (with history of their previous life), and the cycle will begin again.

The primary business benefits of this application are:

  • Reduced remanufacturing costs due to elimination of wasted energy/resources in the remanufacturing process
  • Improved reliability of remanufactured engines
  • Commercial impact of marketing sustainable products
  • Reduced inventory due to improved core visibility
  • Reduced new parts usage due to improved core visibility
  • Increased number of cores to be remanufactured

The design and implementation of this application was carried out in accordance with the PROMISE Architecture. The existing engine ECM (Electronic Control Module), which collects real time sensor data and records totalised data, was exploited and enhanced as the top-level PEID. Engine components such as block, cylinder heads, crankshaft, camshaft, turbocharger and pumps were enabled with local PEIDs in the form of RFID tags with re-writable memory. PROMISE Data Services (middleware) was used to link the PEIDs with the back-end PDKM and DSS systems.

Registered users who are logged in to will be able to access the full public text of this PROMISE demonstrator case study by following this link: Case Study 2: End of Life Engine Remanufacturing. There is no charge for registration.

In the next issue of the 2PLM newsletter, I will present the third in this series of case studies, dealing with the application of PROMISE technologies to diagnosis and maintenance of telecommunications equipment.


David Potter is Chief Technical Officer, Promise Innovation International Oy, and former Chairman of the Project Steering Board of the EU PROMISE Project.


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