DISCUS Software can Eliminate Redundancy and Simplify the Complexity of Processes that use the Technical Data Package.

Typical Software Tools to Address Business Demands

  • Design Engineering – PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) Examples include CAD and PDM.
  • Supply Chain – SCM (Supply Chain Management) Examples include ERP/SRM Scorecards.
  • Quality Assurance – QMS (Quality Management Systems) Examples include FAI and Non conformance Tracking.

The problem with these software tools is that they are focused on specific organizations and their specific work groups.

The TDP is the key enabler to making improvements since it impacts all of the functional areas.

TDP Components, Formats, & Composition

The TDP consists of many documents that define expectations for a part of assembly.

  • Purchase Order
  • Part Model or Drawing
  • Supplemental Requirements
  • Process Specifications
  • Material Specifications

Furthermore, accessing the TDP often requires the use of multiple tools such as CAD, PowerPoint, etc.

Source Documents for the TDP are in Various Formats

  • Drawings:  PDF, TIF, etc
  • Models: CATIA, NX, Pro/E, etc
  • Specifications: PDF, XML, etc

The Evolving Approach for TDP “Document of Record”

  • Legacy parts primarily drawing based
  • 3D model and Limited Dimension Drawing
  • Full MBE with Annotated 3D model

Moreover, the TDP files communicate all types of requirements in different structures including:

  • Model or Drawing
    • Nominal/Basic Dimensions & Tolerances, Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerances (GD&T), Surface Finish, Symbols, Notes
  • Material Specifications
    • Metals, Composites, Chemical Composition, Mechanical Properties, etc.
  • Process Specifications
    • Special Processes: Welding, Brazing, Inspection, Testing, Other: X-Ray, Marking, etc.
  • Supplemental
    • Approval Status & Change Control, Parts Lists, Defaults

The TDP: Sharing and Usage

There is a lot of time and labor that goes into “creating” and “consuming” design intent in the TDP. Many manufacturing and quality-related business processes are dependent upon the TDP, including:

  • Producibility (Design for Manufacturing)
  • CMM (Coordinate Measuring Machines)
  • FAI (First Article Inspection)
  • CAPP (Computer-Aided Process Planning)

One of the most important tasks concerning the TDP is Characteristic Identification, which typically involves tagging, decoding, and transposing information. Characteristic identification is not a trivial process. It can be another source of quality escapes.

Furthermore, when the different organizations collaborate on the TDP, there is often redundant labor effort to review the documents and to identify characteristics. In fact, users often review the TDP and create multiple sets of characteristics for one part.

Improvement Initiatives & TDP

The following are three typical initiatives that require or enable improvement. Each of these initiatives has the use of characteristics as an integral part of the effort.

  • MBE-Model Based  Enterprise
    • Identify characteristics more efficiently and earlier in  life cycle
    • Create more versatile characteristic views for downstream usage
  • ESV-Enhanced Supplier Visibility
    • Collaborate up-front on characteristic requirements
    • Track key characteristics as parts are being produces
  • PPAP-Production Part Approval Process
    • Associate characteristics with the manufacturing processes
    • Manage risk from the detailed analysis of characteristics

Bringing Intelligence to the TDP

As you can see, characteristic identification is an integral part of this collaboration.  To create an intelligent TDP one must tackle the following issues:

  • Address Complexity – extract and manage the complete set of characteristics and requirements from models, drawings, and specifications
  • Eliminate Redundancy – enable creation of information once that can be shared with engineering, manufacturing/suppliers, and quality
  • Accommodate Variety – enable the usage of information regardless of the file formats and the approach for the ‘document of record’

iTDP Approach

In effect, an intelligent approach will bring all of the TDP components together to better define common expectations for each part. This iTDP approach will adhere to the following core principles:

  • Create a Bill of Characteristics (BoC) as early as possible in the lifecycle
  • Use the BoC as the core for collaboration with the suppliers
  • Leverage the common BoC to reduce redundant analysis and planning efforts
  • Manage the characteristics in a centralized server to close the loop with design

DISCUS provides a complete platform for iTDP and characteristic management, which:

  1. Reduces labor by identifying characteristics in the TDP once.
  2. Leverages the data that already exists in the company information systems.
  3. Greatly reduces the labor and errors by creating a collaborative iTDP.

Benefits of DISCUS for iTDP

  1. Focused Tools – DISCUS was specifically created for manufacturing and quality engineers and the tasks they perform.  It focuses on the labor-intensive and error-prone work involved in using a TDP.
  2. Cost Effective – DISCUS doesn’t require the cost or complexity of learning a CAD tool or consuming a CAD license for ballooning and characteristic identification.
  3. Modular Licensing – DISCUS is based on an architecture that enables a company to get only what is needed, and then add functionality later when ready.
  4. Market Leader – DISCUS is the most used tool for characteristic identification in the aerospace industry, where companies have actually acquired the suite of tools for their own use and experienced tangible business benefits.
  5. Comprehensive Requirements – DISCUS addresses and consolidates the requirements of the entire TDP, including material and process specifications.
  6. Consistent Operation – DISCUS provides a common user interface and operation for both 2D and 3D, and it works with many different 3D CAD formats, allowing support for multiple customers with one tool.
  7. Complete Solution – DISCUS provides a software suite with a shared database, from ballooning and illustrations to reporting and dashboards.  DISCUS provides a single source of the truth.
  8. Integration Capability – DISCUS enables integration of the characteristic management system with other internal computer systems such as ERP and PDM.
  9. Flexible Deployment – DISCUS is based on a technology infrastructure that allows the solution to be externally hosted or installed behind a firewall.