CAD Collaboration at Euro Defense Firm

EADS Defence Electronics using Proficiency collaboration solution in initiative to standardize CAD environment

Marlborough, MA — March 16, 2004 — Defence Electronics, a business unit of European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) Company, has deployed a collaboration solution from Proficiency as part of an initiative to maintain a homogeneous CAD environment, standardize on a single hardware platform and collaborate with partners who use different CAD systems.

EADS is the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world, with revenues of $36.9 billion in the year 2002 and a workforce of more than 100,000.

The company's Defence Electronics division will be using Proficiency's Collaboration Gateway feature-based CAD interoperability solution in its Ulm, Germany facility.

Bernhard Schraff, the engineer responsible for CAD technology at EADS Defence Electronics, explained the company's plan for using the solution to maintain a homogeneous CAD environment: "We have standardized on I-DEAS from UGS PLM Solutions, and do not want to add or change CAD systems. To begin with, we have made a significant investment in training. It takes 15 days to train a designer on a new CAD system, and six months before they are proficient in that CAD system, so changing is a very expensive process. Secondly, we have made an investment to adopt design best practices and design rules specifically related to I-DEAS. Adding a second CAD system would greatly complicate our ability to enforce these rules and practices. Furthermore, we have adapted I-DEAS to our business, tied it to our manufacturing processes, and linked it to supply chain, PDM, and other applications. This is much more achievable with a single CAD tool, and will be increasingly important as we migrate from our current PDM system to SAP PLM, implement UGNX CAM, and continue our technical initiatives to achieve paperless manufacturing."

Schraff also discussed the company's initiative to standardize on a single hardware platform: "We have a major project underway to upgrade our hardware, with the goal of standardizing on a single platform and vendor. Benchmarks and evaluations are easier, faster, and less expensive when they are run with a single CAD system."

Regarding the company's efforts to step up collaboration with its partners, Schraff said: "Our suppliers and customers have different CAD systems than we do; they always have, and always will. For example, suppliers EADS Military Aircraft in Munich and the Thales Group in France use CATIA V4. Our partner, British Aerospace uses Pro/ENGINEER. The customer, Airbus, requires the data be delivered to them in CATIA V5. It is not practical or possible for us to buy their CAD systems, or to require them to buy our CAD system."

Proficiency said its Collaboration Gateway will enable Defence Electronics to achieve all these goals, by enabling them to retain a core CAD design system and hardware platform in-house, yet leverage the data they share with their partners in the CAD formats preferred by those partners.

Defence Electronics first started evaluating Proficiency's Collaboration Gateway in September 2003 and has since doubled the staff trained on the Collaboration Gateway. Elapsed time from first evaluation to full deployment was four months.