CAD to Manufacturing Integration

At EMIT we take pride in our ability to design, engineer, manufacture, sell, install, and support our products – all using in-house resources.  On the engineering side, one major resource that we have chosen to utilize is SolidWorks 3D CAD modeling software.  SolidWorks is a very capable program that is not only used for mechanical design and modeling, but also offers a suite of peripheral products that go beyond just 3D modeling.  Using SolidWorks EMIT has the ability to perform finite element analysis (FEA) that allows the user to analyze their designs for stress, deflection, frequency (vibration), fatigue, thermal, and fluid dynamics (CFD).  We also use an electrical package that allows us to define electrical circuits and integrate them with the 3D mechanical world within SolidWorks by automatically routing wires through electrical enclosures (ie. annunciator panels).

All of these SolidWorks products are of great value to EMIT, but perhaps the most important part of the process is one that you don’t see – it all happens behind the scenes.  In a manufacturing environment like EMIT’s that uses automated scheduling and routing, workcenters with automatically generated reports of each component to be built at that workcenter, and who’s functionality hinges on its ERP system, it is critical that the designs that originate in SolidWorks get pushed into the ERP system that is the backbone of the manufacturing environment.

EMIT has chosen to accomplish this using two things; SolidWorks Enterprise PDM (Product Data Management) and a piece of software developed internally to integrate SolidWorks and EMIT’s ERP system.  Enterprise PDM (EPDM) is a data management software that maintains permissions to properly protect documents and also maintains versions and revisions of documents.  It also allows EMIT to create workflows for approval and change processes, and is even a platform for exporting and importing information into and out of the CAD environment.  The second tool is software that EMIT developed using software developers in-house that reads the data that is exported from EPDM and translates it into a language that the ERP system understands.  These two tools work together to allow EMIT products to be imported into the ERP system with bills of materials (BOMs) generated and workcenter routings created…all automatically.

Without integrating SolidWorks into the ERP system EMIT would not be able to offer the wide variety of products and the customizability with short lead times that it does today.

Tommy Stypula, Product Line Manager, Exhaust                6/30/2016