An engineering change order manager is a major feature of the latest CimatronE 11version of Cimatron's CADCAM software. The Cimatron software provides specialised CAD capabilities for the design of moulds, dies and fixtures, as well as NC programming for the machining of moulds, dies and discrete parts.
Engineering change orders (ECOs) are part and parcel of almost any tool shop job schedule, explains Cimatron. They can become a cost burden or can turn into profitable business if handled and managed properly. However, shops often find the process of handling ECOs to be challenging, particularly when there are many changes and the part is complex.
The mould designer is faced with the difficult task of identifying the geometry the customer has changed, understanding 'what's going on' and assessing the impact on previous work the designer has already undertaken. Implementing the changes quickly and efficiently is the next task. This is particularly challenging given that the designer is trying to avoid redoing previous work that is unaffected by the ECO.
Finally, the mould designer is faced with the challenging task of controlling, managing and documenting the ECO process for internal costing purposes, as well as for communicating the work to the customer who ordered the change.
ECO Manager assists shops in controlling the fundamental ECO processes, including identification and analysis, implementation, tracking and documentation. It can be used by shops at any stage of a job and can handle multiple ECOs, no matter how complex, says Cimatron.
Key capabilities of the ECO Manager include:
• Identification and analysis (clearly pinpointing the geometry that the customer has changed, as well as showing the ways in which the ECO has impacted the mould components);
• Implementation (using automated tools to replace the existing with the new geometry in the relevant areas;
• Verification (within the dedicated ECO environment, ongoing verification checks can be performed to ensure that the user has implemented all the necessary changes correctly); and
• Tracking and documentation (a series of comparisons between each pair of consecutive ECO parts creates a live archive of change history. Changes are also documented, with the user able to attach documents, and add descriptions, work status and pictures for the purposes of internal reports, costings, and communication with customers).