Case Study – F.L. Smidth & Co. A/S
F.L. Smidth & Co. A/S is the leading manufacturer of cement plants and production equipment, and the principal builder of cement plants around the world since 1882, with engineering operations in Denmark, India, and the United States.
The company introduced one of the world’s largest document management systems—named “Documentum”—to manage the large number of 2D equipment drawings and plant layouts it accumulated during the construction of cement plants globally. In 2003, however, F.L. Smidth adopted a 3D CAD strategy to increase productivity, foster collaboration, and secure a competitive advantage, according to Sture Plaugmann, executive assistant.
“As part of our evaluation of the best 3D CAD package to support our 3D strategy, we also investigated available product data management (PDM) systems,” Plaugmann recalls. “Having introduced the 2D drawing management system, we understood the importance of controlling revisions as well as accessing and reusing design data. Our Documentum system could not manage the many references among parts, assemblies, and drawings that a 3D CAD system generates. We realized we needed a PDM system that could manage our 3D design data as well as integrate with our legacy 2D system. In addition, we wanted to maintain Documentum since it links to our enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and supports a number of internal business procedures and IT systems.”
Plaugmann says that before implementing a 3D CAD system, F.L. Smidth assessed potential PDM solutions so the company could implement 3D CAD and PDM concurrently. “We decided to use the SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software system because of its superior capabilities for handling a large volume of assemblies and machinery designs, which are common elements in cement plants,” Plaugmann explains. “Once we settled on SOLIDWORKS software, we began evaluating PDM systems that would complement it.”
F.L. Smidth chose SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM—installing 400 seats to support its SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software users worldwide—because of its ease of use, direct integration with SOLIDWORKS software, and ability to connect and operate with existing document management and legacy systems. The number of 3D CAD and PDM seats is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years, reaching an anticipated level of nearly 4,000 seats.
Summary and Metrics
- Established a framework for refining workflows and standardizing development processes worldwide
- Increased productivity in mechanical equipment design, reducing the engineering effort by as much as 30 percent
- Provided the flexibility it needed to integrate 3D design technology with its existing global network and business systems