Magneti Marelli Tackles CAD Interoperability

Tier-one Italian auto supplier deploys Proficiency solution to facilitate design collaboration among plants, with OEM customers

Marlborough, MA — March 10, 2004 — Top-tier automotive supplier Magneti Marelli is using a CAD interoperability solution from Proficiency in its power train business to facilitate design collaboration between its operations and with its automotive customers.

Magneti Marelli Powertrain develops and produces integrated engine control systems and integrated driveline systems for cars, commercial vehicles and motorcycles. The company has 20,000 employees working at industrial and research facilities around the world, and it has revenues north of $3.6 billion. Its customers include many of the major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the auto industry.

The company has long faced the computer-aided design (CAD) interoperability challenges found at most tier-one automotive suppliers: collaboratively designing products with one or more CAD systems in-house, yet being required to deliver these models in different CAD formats to customers.

In the case of Magneti Marelli, the Venaria Reale operation primarily uses Pro/ENGINEER, but receives data from its tier-two suppliers in a variety of formats, including Unigraphics. The Bologna operation primarily uses CATIA V4 and Unigraphics, yet must deliver the final models to its automotive OEMs in a variety of formats, including CATIA V4, CATIA V5, and I-DEAS NX Series.

Now the company is using Proficiency's Collaboration Gateway solution for design collaboration between its operations in Bologna and Venaria Reale, as well as for delivering model data to its automotive OEM customers in their required formats. The intranet-based Collaboration Gateway is accessible by all divisions of Magneti Marelli worldwide.

The Collaboration Gateway directly addresses Magneti Marelli's need to streamline collaboration and share feature-based design data across these various formats. By Magneti Marelli's calculations, use of the Collaboration Gateway should significantly shorten each product delivery cycle to OEMs from an average of six weeks to two weeks, saving between 700 and 1,200 person-hours per project.

In addition, Magneti Marelli anticipates reducing library part maintenance time and cost by 67 percent and library part development by 79 percent.

"We conducted an in-depth evaluation of Proficiency's Collaboration Gateway in order to understand what is and what is not possible in the current state of CAD interoperability," said Ferruccio Bondesan, vice president of purchasing at the power train division. "Our conclusion is that this feature-based exchange technology works, it will pay for itself quickly and it will help us maintain our competitive position in the global automotive industry."

Magneti Marelli Powertrain has further extended the use of the Collaboration Gateway by using it as a model quality checking application, to ensure that data received from its suppliers is acceptable. The company, with Proficiency's guidance, has identified the feature set that provides optimal data exchange results and has mandated that suppliers adhere to those feature sets.

When models are received from suppliers, they are processed through the Collaboration Gateway to the target CAD system, and the model content is checked using the built-in functionality of the gateway. Models whose quality is judged unacceptable (resulting from the use of embargoed features) are rejected and returned to the supplier, and the supplier must improve the models for re-delivery.

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