Edscha Holding GmbH is headquartered in Remscheid, Germany and has a workforce of approximately 5,200 employees at 21 locations in 14 countries who generated 836 million euros in revenues in 2015. The products are developed at eight sites in what are often cross-site development projects. This means that in the early phase of a project in particular – a phase in which the CAD data has not yet been checked into the PLM system – the data also needs to be exchanged between the sites. Edscha uses SAP PLM as the enterprise-wide data backbone.
The company has been trying for several years to standardize its products and components to a greater extent with the aim of reducing the amount of time and effort spent on developing and manufacturing customer-specific configurations. The product models, however, have to be delivered in the CAD format used by the respective customer, which complicates standardization. Like many other automotive suppliers, Edscha has a heterogeneous CAD landscape: The design engineers use the programs CATIA V5 and NX, which are connected to the PLM system via the CATIA Direct Interface (CDI) or the SAP Engineering Control Center (ECTR).
Many partners have no suitable data transfer solution
Edscha has been using PROSTEP's data exchange solution OpenDXM for many years to exchange CAD data with OEMs and suppliers, who for example manufacture cast, forged or sheet metal parts for hinges and the tools needed to do this. But the problem was that many of the smaller partners did not have a data transfer solution that supported the exchange of CAD data via OFTP or ENGDAT. It was impossible to exchange data with these partners using a logged, secure and encrypted process. The provision of data within the company via FTP server also no longer satisfied current data security requirements. "Another reason for the search for a more flexible solution was the fact that non-engineering departments sometimes had to exchange files that exceeded the limit permitted for e-mail attachments and made do with cloud services from third-party providers," says Arnz.
Edscha decided to replace the existing data exchange solution with OpenDXM GlobalX in order to stem the uncontrolled and unregulated exchange of data. PROSTEP's web-based data exchange platform supports conventional OFTP-based data exchange and also allows data to be made available in encrypted form via the Internet. This meant, on the one hand, that Edscha was able to meet the new requirements and, on the other, incorporate the existing data exchange processes, with ENGDAT packaging and OFTP logging for recipients that do not expect data to be made available via the portal, in one environment.