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Product Lifecycle Management

Among the biggest challenges facing manufacturing companies today are getting new products through the design and manufacturing process faster, while continuing to improve overall product quality.

This month, Automation World investigates software tools and business processes that are designed to accomplish these goals.

Managing the corporate product knowledge base and enabling collaboration among knowledge workers from different functions and who are geographically dispersed is both a challenge and a competitive necessity. Automation World Editor Gary Mintchell explores the relatively new area of product lifecycle management (PLM) and shows how some of these new software tools can help. In an article that begins on page 28, read how engineers and Information Technology professionals at Delphi, Remy, Cooper Tire and others are applying PLM.

Imagine being able to see an entire machining line or even the entire plant actually operating on a computer screen before any construction is started. One of the more interesting and powerful software tools for cutting the time from concept to manufacture is computer simulation. Contributing Editor Rob Spiegel shows how these products—varying from simulation of the control system to modeling and simulating operation of entire plants—are boosting competitive edge, in an article beginning on page 34.

Industry analyst Julie Fraser, who follows quality assurance issues, discusses how effective quality management drives significant business benefits for end-users in an article beginning on page 39. Doing it right requires focused technology, business process changes and integrated data from automation and enterprise systems.

When humidity caused its wooden door components to crack and fail, Kent Moore Cabinets corrected the problem with help from a machine builder. In an article beginning on page 45, Managing Editor Wes Iversen describes how innovative machinery from an Italian original equipment manufacturer solved a sticky problem.

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