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Automotive supplier Continental migrates PLM data via OpenPDM

By Bernd Döbel

Continental AG, one of the world's largest automotive suppliers, has been using PROSTEP's OpenPDM suite for a year now. Our platform for PLM integration, migration and collaboration not only reduces the data migration effort for the carve-out of the subsidiary Vitesco, but also supports Continental in harmonizing its heterogeneous PLM landscape.

With more than 241,000 employees and a turnover of 44.5 billion euros in the financial year 2019, Continental is one of the largest automotive suppliers in the world. The company has transferred the entire powertrain sector, including electrical drive technology, to an independent subsidiary, which is to be floated on the stock exchange under the name Vitesco Technologies. In order not to delay the carve-out by a long system selection, Continental decided to use the same systems and configurations as before at Vitesco as far as possible. However, Continental's PLM system landscape is not yet uniform throughout the group. Although PTC Windchill is the most widely used PLM system, some group divisions still work with SAP PLM in conjunction with CATIA integration SC5.

PROSTEP's initial task was to export the product data relevant to drive technology from the existing Windchill installation at Continental and migrate it to the separate instance of Vitesco. With the help of OpenPDM and the standard connectors to PTC Windchill, this process could be automated. The logging of all exchange processes also ensured that the data arrived in the target system in controlled quality.

Continental also intends to use our PLM integration platform to harmonize the historically grown PLM landscape, gradually replacing the SAP PLM installation by PTC Windchill. Although the company has already had the majority of its inventory data migrated by an engineering service provider in the context of a bulk migration, the processing sovereignty was not always transferred to Windchill. There is still the requirement to use SAP PLM and to leave it to the users to decide when to transfer the data with data sovereignty to Windchill. For this purpose, we have created an integration between SAP PLM and Windchill on the basis of OpenPDM, which provides users with the necessary functions for ad-hoc transfer.

OpenPDM is used at Continental in two different scenarios, which show how flexibly the integration platform can be adapted and used to meet different requirements. The Windchill-Windchill migration prior to the Vitesco carve-out is a highly automated solution, while the SAP PLM-Windchill transfer is controlled by the users. In both cases, however, the actual data transfer is fully automated as an asynchronous process in the background.