Connecting Top Floor to Shop Floor for Aerospace


Written by Maci Fletcher on 1/5/2017

About the Customer

Hyla Soft is working with a leader in Aerospace & Defense on a project at their large aircraft repair facility based in North Carolina. The customer specializes in the manufacturing and support of cutting-edge aircraft, engines, and components for all branches of the U.S. armed forces as well as other foreign nations. They currently repair more than 18,000 components, which support 200 different aircraft models.

Customer Challenges Before the Project:

  • Poor management of their extensive review processes
  • Engineering data and manufacturing data stored in separate locations
  • Multiple NC programs or duplicates for the same part number
  • Poor communication during information transfer
  • Paper routings with numerous unnecessary attributes
  • Unorganized paperwork orders with little to no traceability throughout department transfers
  • Lost money and time during the creation of routings and operations for quoting process

Project Overview

The customer wanted to replace their existing DNC (Direct Numerical Control) system with Shop Floor Connect for Siemens Teamcenter. In addition, the customer was interested in implementing Siemens Teamcenter for Manufacturing to be able to digitally manage both their engineering and manufacturing data in one place. The customer also wanted to replace their current manual review processes with more efficient digitized workflows. Most importantly, the two systems had to be integrated so that data was consistent and the solution created a complete and seamless digital thread throughout the customer’s entire manufacturing process, from design to delivery.

Our Services

Known in the industry for our proven success leveraging the Teamcenter PLM offering to bridge the gap between the top and shop floor for manufacturing companies of all sizes, Hyla Soft’s team of experts was brought in to configure the customer’s Teamcenter solution to manage their DNC data and processes supporting Shop Floor Connect. The purpose of an effective DNC system is to provide a central repository for manufacturing and NC data, and to make this data automatically available to the shop floor. With the integration between Teamcenter for Manufacturing and Shop Floor Connect, operators on the customer's shop floor are able to easily access CNC programs, drawings, images, 3D models and other data sources whenever they need.

Before touching the software, our team conducted extensive analyses at the customer site to collect all the information needed to fully understand the customer’s specific processes and then create a solution to best suit their desired output.

While speaking with the customer’s Production Planners, NC Programmers and Operators, many pain points were exposed related to the creation and movement of work order packages. The customer’s existing process involved all routes, work instructions, process specifications, engineering drawings and work orders being printed, placed in a bag, and then being physically transferred to and from departments. The customer was experiencing major productions delays as a result of little to no traceability on these work orders.

Next, due to the high regulation and strict military standards of the U.S. government’s Aerospace & Defense manufacturing industry, the customer is required to follow an extremely detailed review procedure to release routings for critical safety items. The customer hoped to replace their current manual system with a digitized workflow process so that reviewers could easily access the data package and quickly push it forward to the next signee, expediting the approval process and providing full traceability. Thanks to their new system, the customer’s Program Management, Quality Assurance, Technical Authority, and Manufacturing Engineering departments and personnel will be individually tasked for their approval, with required items and datasets placed as targets. They will also be able to digitally approve the data package and its associated sequence of operations.

After the analysis and requirements gathering phases, Hyla Soft's team developed detailed workflows, item types and custom attributes to establish a foundation for the creation of routings and operations to support the customer’s specific manufacturing process and needs. To date, Hyla Soft has completed the configuration and testing of Teamcenter for Manufacturing and Shop Floor Connect, as well as established the connection between the customer’s CNC machines and Shop Floor Connect at the customer site. After finalizing the integration between engineering and manufacturing data within Teamcenter, Hyla Soft’s experts will train essential customer personnel for the project implementation. 

The Hyla Soft Advantage

Hyla Soft’s vision of the future-state solution is to further leverage world-class, industry-leading software to enhance the existing capabilities and meet all the customer’s future business goals. Shop Floor Connect will serve as the sole DNC management client for passing CNC program files from Teamcenter directly onto the machine controller. Shop Floor Connect will support drip feeding and split programming in order to fully support the customer’s prove-out cycle process. The manufacturing data design intent accounted for a future-state integration with Siemens SIMATIC IT MES Suite to bridge the gap between planning and execution on the shop floor. MES will also become the primary location for the customer’s signature review process once a work order has been completed. With the use of Teamcenter for Manufacturing PLM, Shop Floor Connect for DNC, and SIMATIC IT for MES, the customer will experience seamless data flow between engineering and manufacturing to enhance production agility and increase the speed and accuracy of the delivery of products.

Results After the Project:

  • Single centralized environment for both engineering and manufacturing data providing capabilities to easily create, control, share and utilize data 
  • Customized workflows to manage product data processes to promote effective communication and information transfers
  • Digital signature approvals, decreasing the effort for release process by 30%
  • Classification to store standard manufacturing routings and save time by making data easy to find, retrieve and reuse for all relevant personnel
  • Revision management to ensure that only up-to-date and correct manufacturing data is used on the shop floor
  • DNC system that connects directly to the centralized database, avoiding data duplication

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