Transforming R&D processes and minimizing Time-to-Market at SEMAF Factory, A.O.I.

Railway Equipment Factory (SEMAF Factory) is the only railway factory in Africa and the Middle East whose capacity meets the region’s demand for railway vehicles (passenger cars, subways, trams and industrial cars). The company is a global player in the production of locomotive units and components.

SEMAF Factory is part of the Arab Organization for Industrialization (A.O.I.), one of the largest construction groups in Egypt. A.O.I. implements large-scale projects in the machine-building industry: from the production of water treatment equipment and renewable energy facilities to agricultural equipment and railway transport.

Project prerequisites and partnership

SEMAF Factory aims to create an information system for production management. Here, the role of Clobbi World is to provide up-to-date IT business solutions for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and digital transformation of business processes. PLM manages product development, modernization and design changes for the entire duration of the product lifecycle.

The cooperation began as competitive bidding, during which the Clobbi World team proved its in-depth expertise in the engineering industry and experience in implementing similar projects. The availability of reference cases, skill pool, maturity of information products and prospects for further cooperation regarding Industry 4.0 technologies were taken into account.

A.O.I. engaged Point North (Canada) in developing copies of design and process documentation and consulting in order to organize the process of selecting relevant information tools. The IT integrator of the project was IKEN Technology (Egypt), a manager of integrated technology solutions for A.I.O. in 11 projects.

With these two partners, Clobbi World implements Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) based on Industry 4.0 technologies and new approaches to business process management (ForceBPM).

The PLM system became the basis for production planning. A flexible IT solution allows the company to quickly respond to any external factors: changes in market demand, equipment failure, delays in the supply of materials, and more.

Challenges

In 2021, SEMAF Factory initiated a project for creating an innovative product (power coach) with the view to expand to new markets.

For different phases, the company involved leading engineers. Yet it faced several obstacles threatening the entire project implementation:
— Lack of tools for organizing and coordinating a product development project;
— Lack of centralized management of the technical documentation library;
— Lack of tools to balance personnel workload;
— Lack of tools for transparent control of project deadlines.

PLM project roadmap

Transforming R&D and implementing Project Management

Clobbi World has implemented a comprehensive PLM solution to cover six crucial areas:

  • Project Management
    The Project Management System is a solution for creating an environment that integrates all project data: tasks, plans, documentation, resources and related processes.Results of Project Management implementation:
    1. Integrated R&D project management.
    2. Unified structural plan of work on the projects.
    3. Management of tasks and results of these tasks.
    4. Control of deadlines.
    5. Monitoring of project implementation by all participants and partners.
    6. Links between project tasks and technical documentation.
    7. A tool for analyzing and balancing the workload of teams.
  • CAD Connector
    Integration with CATIA (computer-aided design system) has provided a user-friendly interface for design engineers. There is no need to switch between systems or perform additional data export and import operations. Design engineers now perform all operations in one interface. Clobbi PDM automatically manages data exchange, recognizes, structures and controls the version of all documents.

    Results of CAD Connector implementation:
    1. Quick access for the whole company to the latest product data.
    2. Rapid product development in the CAD system thanks to the automatic object data exchange and recognition between the CAD and PDM systems.
    3. Control of start and change of processes.
    4. Several specialists can work on the same product at the same time.
  • Master Data Management (MDM)
    MDM is an environment supporting the uniqueness and classification of reference data and coordination of data exchange between business units. It provides a centralized process of master data management.

    Results of MDM implementation:
    1. Centralized management of regulatory and reference information.
    2. Integration of master data from various systems.
    3. Management of master data through business processes.
    4. Unification of reference data models, maintaining a single glossary of terms and concepts.
    5. Standardization of protocols for reference data exchange.
    6. Regulation of directory management processes.
    7. Supports consolidated analytical reporting.

  • Product Data Management (PDM)
    PDM is a solution that provides product data management and combines all technical information on the input of materials, parts and assemblies (Bill of Material, BOM). It allows users to describe processes, standards and control the completeness of technical documentation. This documentation can then be transferred to the management systems through further planning and production management processes.The solution focuses on collecting and maintaining data about products during their development and service life.

    Results of PDM implementation:
    1. Centralization of product data management (changes, configurations, standardization of data exchange protocols, consolidated analytical reporting).
    2. BOM data management (product configurator, identification of alternative components).
    3. Service functions (comparing specification versions, testing the “lost headers” of specifications, alternative calculation of specifications).

  •  Technical Data Management (TDM)
    A TDM solution for organizing the process of obtaining technical documentation, version tracking, change management, management of storage rules and control of access to documents, implementation of electronic documentation.Results of TDM implementation:
    1. Centralized storage and control of documents.
    2. Organizing access to documents according to the user’s authority and access rights.
    3. Service functions (full-text document search, red pencil technology, quick document viewing, interaction with external programs for viewing and editing documents).
    4. Providing access to the necessary information to all participants in the planning and production processes.
  • Integration with corporate ERP system
    PLM unites CAD and ERP data in a single information space. This is the basis for remote data management, end-to-end traceability of the entire “tree” of design, production and maintenance.

Overall results

Using up-to-date PLM solutions has provided SEMAF Factory with tools for real-time responsiveness to market changes, additional customer requirements, deviations in the production process and finding growth areas through reengineering.

Typical effects of Clobbi PLM system implementation compared with competing solutions:

1) 2 times less time spent obtaining BOMs thanks to CAD Connector.
2) ↑ 30% higher efficiency of engineers.
3) ↑ 25% faster product development and manufacturing process description.
4) ↓ 30% reduction of time-to-market.
5) Unified information environment automatically involving all participants in product development.