Gaining control over engineering data
The company was using a component management database that was initially sufficient for its needs, but as Nujira grew, it became inadequate to control information such as Engineering Change Orders (ECOs) and product documentation.
For example, when checking an ECO, engineers would have to compare the previous Parts List with the new Parts List line by line in a spreadsheet or on paper. This process was open to error and often took up to a day complete, as they would always double check it for accuracy. In addition, Nujira had to address concerns associated with silos of information that were a consequence of their manual processes.
Fig. 1: Power Modulator for LTE Cellular Base Stations and Remote Radio Heads enables energy efficient 4G base stations.
Once a product is in production and a company commits to volume and money any mistake in a Bill of Material propagates throughout. We had silos of information that were the result of people creating and saving documents locally and we continuously ran the risk of someone using outdated information. An error from sending the wrong data to a Contract Manufacturer could potentially cost tens of thousands of pounds. Nujira needed a central location to manage and access engineering information in order to eliminate tedious searches for information on the network or losing information all together. Ensuring accuracy of the data was also a critical requirement.
Fig. 2: The Coolteq Envelope Tracking Power Amplifier characterization system is a high performance instrument developed for use by PA vendors, OEMs, and chipset manufacturers.
Nujira wanted a solution that would easily integrate with its existing Engineering Design Automation (EDA) tools from Mentor Graphics. Their EDA product sales and support partner, Saros, introduced Omnify Software as a solution that would perfectly meet their needs. Omnify Empower PLM could provide Nujira with a central location to manage and access product information, automate their ECO, BOM (Bill of Material) and document management processes, as well as integrate with their PCB design environment, Mentor Graphics Expedition PCB.
Nujira implemented the Empower PLM solution within its Engineering department (initially Design Engineering and Production Engineering). Working very closely with Saros and the direct Omnify Software Application Engineer, the company converted its existing component database and all testing was complete, including the integration to Mentor Graphics Expedition PCB, within a month. The product was then rolled out to the Test Engineers.
Accurate data, huge time savings
By eliminating manual editing of information Nujira has been able to narrow the window of opportunity to make mistakes, which saves the company a great deal of time and ultimately a great deal of money.
Design engineers are now able to utilize the power of the database by selecting components directly from Empower PLM and placing them onto schematics. This creates a closed-loop, error-free process that eliminates the need for any manual editing where a BOM is then generated from the final schematic and loaded directly into Empower PLM.
Our previous process to import a Parts List from a schematic took well over an hour to complete (for every Parts List) and now it takes only a few minutes. In addition, checking an ECO has been reduced from a full day to only a matter of seconds with Empower PLM’s redlining capability.
The Empower PLM system provides better change control, revision control, and documentation control.
About the author
Richard Sharples is CAD Engineering Manager at Nujira and responsible for the company’s CAD database, component and parts library, and all EDA tools.