October 06, 2003
Delphi Makes A Huge Statement And A Bold Claim
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor


by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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This week Delphi Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of Delphi Corp., made a potentially monumental proclamation - it
boldly stated that it was single-handedly going to redefine CAD/CAM design for manufacturers. It announced two new
structured CAD/CAM methodologies for manufacturing companies - Horizontal Modeling (HM) and Digital Process Design
(DPD).


These methodologies have been developed over the last six years at Delphi's Steering Manufacturing Development
Center, and, according to the company, represent an entirely new way of executing manufacturing design. The main
benefits of Delphi's methodologies minimize or eliminate design change redundancies throughout design,
engineering, and production. The company claims that their methodologies have boosted the productivity of CAD/CAM
designers by as much as 70 percent. Even for the automotive industry's largest supplier (formerly a General Motors
Corp. parts unit, but now a spin-off), these are some pretty heady claims.


The crux of the methodologies' value is enabling designers to use their existing CAD systems to create higher
quality CAD data that is easier to change downstream, theoretically resulting in greater production in less time.


Ideally, Horizontal Modeling lets designers eliminate the need for re-creating CAD data throughout the product and
manufacturing design cycle. Designers can work from fewer CAD models, streamlining the product design process,
improving productivity, enabling faster updates and changes, and automating the downstream flow of documentation
onto the manufacturing floor.


Digital Process Design optimizes design-change cycles as manufacturing process designers develop process models
and associated process drawings. Drawings are automatically created, updated and deployed with minimal rework or
design redundancy. Design teams can realize significant efficiencies, as the entire design-to-manufacture process
becomes faster, more accurate and more reliable, yielding greater productivity and lower cost.


These methodologies can be performed using existing CAD systems, which means they're vendor neutral, which is a
good thing. HM and DPD are currently used in production environments using Unigraphics, CATIA and SolidWorks, but
could work with virtually all 3D CAD systems, according to Delphi.
To facilitate delivery and support of the methodologies, Delphi Technologies has established a new business
entity, the Delphi Center of CAD/CAM Excellence (DCCE). The Center will serve as an industry resource, providing
training and certification programs in the methodologies.


According to Mike Richardson, Director of Engineering at Delphi Steering, "As Six Sigma and lean manufacturing
have illustrated for years, disciplined product delivery methodologies can have a tremendous impact on
manufacturing efficiencies. While Six Sigma and lean concentrate on what's occurring 'downstream,' Delphi's
structured methodologies go 'upstream' to provide substantial cost savings and increased productivity throughout
the design-to-manufacturing cycle." These methodologies are being rapidly adopted across Delphi Corporation as an
efficient means of delivering product designs and processes. We have realized significant benefits from using
these methodologies."


Just how significant are these benefits? According to Delphi, together, Horizontal Modeling and Digital Process
Design can provide a:
  • 20 percent reduction in time to create models
  • 90 percent reduction in time to edit models and process sheets
  • 75 percent reduction in total project time


  • Although it's not the first to announce it was going to revolutionize the CAD industry, Delphi has a definitely
    different spin on it. However, as good as this all sounds, I for one will remain on the fence until I see some
    metrics with qualitative and quantitative results from organizations actually employing the new methodologies. I'm
    not exactly skeptical, but I'll maintain a "wait and see" attitude and observe how things evolve. Until then,
    though, it's an exciting prospect if Delphi can, in fact, pull it off. It would be great to see such innovation
    coming from an industry that desperately needs some good news these days.


    Letters To The Editor


    This week we received some interesting feedback to last week's Commentary on the similarities and differences of
    CAD and CAM, entitled "Closing The CAD/CAM Gap.


    "In many respects CAD and CAE have the same limiting constraints [as CAD and CAM]. Many small intricate features
    result in changes of scale for analysis and require unnecessary computing times to handle them. It is the
    corollary of the need for expensive resources to manufacture them."


    -Pedro Marcal, PVM Corp.


    I respectfully differ from your opinion regarding the differences and reasons for a gap between CAD and CAM. I
    believe the gap is not because of workflow, features, and interoperability - these are but symptoms of a condition
    created earlier in the history of product development and exacerbated during the industrial revolution and the age
    of "Scientific Management". During Fredrick Taylor's rise in industry, the separations between design and
    manufacturing increased. What was once a holistic process became specialized, compartmentalized, and
    intellectualized. Those in the design community, responsible for what was to be produced, became further and
    further isolated from those responsible for how it was produced. Then, during the golden era of Operations
    Research (WWII) even the how it was produced became fragmented from who was actually producing it, thus
    Manufacturing Engineering and Industrial Engineering became the bridge between the what and the how. As with any
    isolated group, over time, language becomes specialized and dialects developed address to the specific environment
    and tasks, thus Design and Manufacturing became, to paraphrase the joke, two product disciplines separated by a
    common language.


    The one hope I see in reintegrating the disciplines is the formation of cross-functional teams and the recognition
    that all engineering is just a series of transformations (Customer>>Requirements>>Product
    Specification>>Manufacturing Specification>>Facility Capability Specification>> Facility Scheduling>>Process
    Executions). That is, mapping the dialects to a common engineering core physics, mathematics, etc.


    -Brian K Seitz, Intellectual Arbitrage Group


    This Week


    Top Stories


    • IBSystems, Inc. Network Advantage Program Allows Companies to Reach a Broad Engineering Audience; Design


    • Product and Company News




      • Corporate Moves




        • --Jeffrey Rowe is Editor and Publisher of MCADCafé and MCADWeekly Review. He can be reached at


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          -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.




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