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Galorath & Dassault Advance the State of Practice on Composites

Galorath Inc. (Los Angeles, Calif., USA) reported on Feb. 25 that it has reached an agreement with Dassault Systèmes to integrate Galorath’s SEER for Manufacturing cost-estimating software with Dassault’s CATIA product design software. Galorath says the inclusion of SEER’s Cost Estimator in CATIA will allow manufacturers to initially model and test composite manufacturing processes and tradeoffs during the earliest and most preliminary stages of design.

Galorath’s SEER software has been assisting large-scale project estimation and planning for 25 years. Galorath says a key feature of SEER is that it is based on parametric modeling and incorporates industry data and best practices. Using analysis and simulation, SEER helps companies estimate and control project costs, risks, quality and duration.

We know that many of our SEER for Manufacturing users, particularly in aerospace, use both CATIA and SEER,” says Dan Galorath, CEO of Galorath Inc. “With the creation of SEER’s Cost Estimator in CATIA, designers will be able to get a detailed cost estimate of a composite design. As the design changes shape, size, or materials, new estimates can be quickly rerun to understand the cost impact of those changes. Not only does it reduce duplicate effort of re-entering data into cost models, users will know in advance what it will cost to produce that part.

Dassault Systemes 3D EXPERIENCE platform connects data and people. Offering Galorath’s unparalleled, cost-estimating capabilities within CATIA 3DEXPERIENCE Composites processes helps users effectively predict the cost of composite use in product manufacturing and is another demonstration of the power of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform,” says Philippe Laufer, CEO CATIA, Dassault Systemes. “Using Galorath’s SEER for Manufacturing within CATIA 3DEXPERIENCE processes will help companies perform early trade-off analysis on the use of various materials and composites processes before manufacturing even takes place. This leads to finding out the most efficient way of manufacturing a product while meeting cost, performance, functionality and appearance requirements,” added Laufer.

This interface is being delivered initially for CATIA V5 and will allow users to create and save multiple estimate scenarios for each part to compare and trade options. It includes fully customizable knowledge base templates and rules to create detail composite part cost estimates for labor, material and tooling costs.

This article originally appeared in Composite World.

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Podcast: Instantly Determine Cost from 3D CAD Models

If you’re supporting design to cost efforts, generating part bids, or evaluating vendor proposals, you’ve likely wished for a way to make estimating more accurate and efficient. At Galorath, we believe that being able to get from CAD to Cost offers significant advantages. With this, we’ve developed some game-changing solutions.

Listen to the podcast here or read the transcript below to learn more:

Tonya: Good morning, I’m Tonya Weger. Thank you for joining me for Galorath Podcasts. In our podcast series, I will discuss some of the most relevant topics of the day with a succession of experienced professionals and thought leaders.

Today I am joined by Galorath’s subject matter and expert and Manufacturing manager, Dr. Chris Rush and Director of Engineering Services Dan Kennedy. Let’s talk today about your upcoming webinar. Instantly determine cost from 3D CAD models.

Chris: Hello, Tonya. Happy to be here.

Dan: Hi, folks! Thanks for having me.

Tonya: It is pleasure to talk to you both today. Sear 3D and CATIA interfaces are very exciting additions to the Galorath product line. Can you briefly describe these products for us.

Chris: Sure. The products themselves are Sear 3D and CATIA interfaces are companion products to the SEER manufacturing cost model. And what they do is they automate the extraction of CAD model geometry to build detailed manufacturing cost models within seconds. There are a couple of differences between the two approaches. Within CATIA users get real time cost feedback as they design and there are also three interfaces – one for composites, one for sheet metal, and one for machinery. SEER-3D, on the other hand, is a standalone CAD independent application it reads STEP files and can be used for machine parts.

Dan: SEER-Manufacturing gives deadly accurate estimates on machine parts, and composite parts, sheet metal parts built to industry standards – that is what we are carrying with us. You do need to know a bit about how things get manufactured to use it really well. But these new tools that we developed take a lot of that subject matter expert need away and it saves an awful lot of time.

Tonya: That was very helpful. Who can benefit from utilizing these new technologies?

Chris: Existing SEER-MFG users can save many hours of work utilizing these new technologies since the estimates are built almost instantly. So, anyone working with detail composites or machining estimates know that they take a while to build up and, as Dan said, you need to know a little bit about that process in order to be successful. But more than that, anyone really involved in manufacturing cost estimating will find these SEER tools very helpful indeed.

Dan: Yeah and not just estimators per se. I think there is a lot of people who can benefit from this tool. They are helpful to people in business development and design group, which we are talking about. But the supply chain, the programs, operations, lean initiatives. If you know your strengths and weaknesses then you can create a better organization be more competitive. I think everybody could benefit from this stuff.

Tonya: Wonderful. How will these tools make life easier for users? Dan you work directly with users can you share your insights.

Dan: Yeah, I work every day in these things. So, these new tools we developed for SEER manufacturing are faster and if you have a time constraint they are more accurate. The bottom line is you get results with a lot less expertise from the user. Detail part estimates can be developed in minutes instead of hours and days and much of the sorting extraction, most of it actually – pulling data out of 3D models and putting them into the SEER tool has been automated. The geometry is coming straight over.

Tonya: There is an expectation that cost will come down by using this tool. Can you explain to me how that is going to happen.

Chris: Yeah, one of the ways in which we envision this will happen is that you can know better manage your design cost. During the early design phase you now rapidly assess the cost of alternatives. Which should theoretically, anyway, lead to the most cost effective solution.

Dan: So, honestly, if you are doing estimates these tools are indispensable. These new additions are money savers. Typically, expensive assets will be doing those estimates for you. Your estimators, your engineers people like that save them time. Or if they got a certain amount of time you can get more estimates and more quotes out of these folks. And if you save time you are going to save money.

Tonya: Let’s talk about how this will benefit designers. Why would they care about cost?

Dan: Designers have a really hard job – mostly technical, but seventy percent of the opportunity to save money on a product generally happens in the design phase. The decisions are made that manufacturing people follow through on. Here is where you have the biggest opportunity to affect the cost of a manufactured product. You give the designer some insight into what their decisions may cost and let them help optimize it, empower them. In a bad situation, it lets them avoid redesigning a part to meet a designed cost objective.

Chris: Yeah, what we did one of our ideas initially with these tools was to kind help bring the cost engineer, and estimators who are often requiring design detail. We wanted to kind of bring them closer to allow the cost people to build up environments and manufacturing costing solutions. That the designers could then use cause they themselves don’t necessarily have that manufacturing cost knowledge, or process knowledge to do that kind of work. So these tools help to bring these two disciplines together to share and work together. And the CATIA solutions really are extremely helpful in this regard because designers can know, also, get that cost trend each time they rerun an estimate on a design or requirement change. Which previously they wouldn’t have that insight.

Tonya: How does what you are going to show us compliment and effective work flow?

Chris: Well, what we are going to show during the webinar is the current work flow using SEER tools without these interfaces. And then we are going to demonstrate and show you how these interfaces are going to streamline the estimation process and workflow for you. I am sure after seeing that you will see the benefit of these tools immediately.

Dan: I think it can be even deeper than that, Chris. If there is an established workflow in your organization these tools will help the people who are using it be more efficient. Faster, easier, more accurate. If you don’t have an effective work flow established and it is ad hoc you might want to consider putting some of these tools in the hands of those on your team. I mean across the whole enterprise business development, supply chain design, operations. There is a lot of information in there that can help an organization.

Tonya: The tools are faster. However, sometimes faster is equated with less quality and thought to be less credible. How does this tool compensate for that?

Dan: Oh, well, look, smart people, engineers, talented people have put a lot of effort into making the models. Communicating the information to the world at large. They contain a lot more detail then is efficiently extracted from the models through manual methods. It is tedious and fraught with opportunities to make an error manual input of data taking it from a drawing or a CAD model or something and manually inputting it into a tool. You just got a lot of opportunities to make a mistake. The CAD data regimen if you can get it straight out of the cad without having a manual innervation is great and makes it accurate.

Chris: Yeah, definitely, these interfacing tools are really quite exacting and consistent in their extraction of the cad geometry. And not only that we get that geometry and map directly to relevant operations. So this saves engineers lots of time. And like all the other SEER tools gives them that consistency in the basis of their estimates. And, further, once you have that initial estimate created for you it is within SEER and there you can go review, modify, merge that estimate with bigger estimates or follow up project estimates so you can go carry on in SEER as you normally would.

Tonya: Say I have a bunch of very bright engineers in my organization is there a way to capture their knowledge?

Chris: Sure they if they are already trained in SEER they can capture the process knowledge and save that in knowledge based templates. And then these templates can be reused by lesser trained users with minimal guidance to develop detailed estimates.

Dan: Yeah, I violently agree with you Chris. It is a lot like the rest of our tools using these knowledge bases, using these environments, using these modifiable tools. We make it really easy to pass knowledge on. Create standard work within an organization if you will and pass on knowledge to bring other people up to speed and just make things better.

Tonya: Can I modify within the tool to reflect my own organization?

Dan: Of course that is kind of a fundamental here in SEER. What SEER the way it comes out of the box is really telling you is what the industry standards are for the kind of processes and procedures are undertaking and what your parts are going to cost. It is to your advantage to easily modify what is inside SEER to reflect your own organizations strengths and weaknesses. We make it easy to do that and to compare yourself against the rest of industry.

Chris: Yeah, and what we did with these tools is we extended the concept of knowledge bases, and templates into what we call manufacturing environments. So, these utilize all the SEER knowledge based templates and other fully customizable data. Such as, feeds, and speeds, and operation data. The templates are set up to reflect the part, the location, the organization shop floor where the parts will be made. And then with in the application the user will select the environment, which sets all the defaults for that estimate as well as the details for processing that part.

Tonya: These sound like great tools what kind of support or training is in place?

Chris: Well we have SEER training available at your own location. Which can be available anywhere from a day to a week. Or we have users come to one of our training facilities.

Dan: Well, we also got 24/7 tech support. We got people support we got people who are waiting on the phone to help you if you run into a problem. We got online help documentation and training documentation by the SEER University on our website. We are accessible to your needs, so we can help.

Tonya: Wonderful, and thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.

Chris: Oh, it’s been a pleasure, Tonya. Thank you.

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Packaged Applications – The Hidden Costs of Snake-Oil

 By David DeWitt

Most of us remember the dubious “doctor” in Huckleberry Finn who proclaims to have the cure for any malady.  From the back of the crowd his shill would loudly proclaim that he himself had been healed by the magical elixir.  Oh my, but the quantity of snake oil they sold before the townsfolk discovered they had been duped – and the doctor long gone.   From the tone of many internet blogs it seems the same buyer’s remorse is lingering in the “Packaged Application” world.

Figure 1 – The Ubiquitous Google Search

Before we get into the discussion of packaged applications let’s take a step back and remember how these wonder cures manifested.   In the late 1980’s – (when disco was dying) manufacturing companies wanted to shape supply chain management and enterprise resource planning.  In short, they wanted to encourage the concept of a “process in a box.” (my quotes). Somehow over the last ten years the industry has forgotten that part about the need for the organizational “process” to change; and as we shall see, that is a key cause of hidden costs.

To belabor the point of “snake oil” for just a moment longer – what exactly is a packaged application?

  1. You can’t see the ingredients (What is the quality of the code?)
  2. You don’t know the recipe (How was it developed?)
  3. You don’t know how it’s to be served (Is it designed for my architecture?)
  4. When done – you hope it won’t upset your stomach (Will it run on or corrupt my databases?)

But it heals the sick and will bring peace and joy to the world … if it’s configured just right!

The top ten hidden costs are – in no specific order:

  1. Unclear requirements  
    • As business requirements evolve and as the business grows, more changes to the package will be needed.   This is not new but the story is the same – Business users cannot interpret formal specifications, comprehend “Use Cases”, or understand “Screen shots.”
  2. Extensive Customization Required
    • “Post development surveys tend to show that most (around 50% of) custom solutions don’t meet original expectations and quite regularly completely fail for technical, political and other reasons.  1
  3. Integration of Multiple Packaged Applications
    • “Most data in most legacy systems is rubbish… As a result, those companies are more likely to underestimate the cost of the move. 2
  4. IT Staffing and Turnover
    • Staff turnover among developers is common in organizations that are implementing an ERP solution.  Most Programmers are excited to learn a new technology; others are reluctant to embrace change. The good ones know their worth and leave after an implementation.
  5. Product and Business Evolution
    • One factor often underestimated, and seldom calculated, is the business disruption factor.  If you have a team of your best people fulltime on a project, how can they possibly be participating elsewhere?
  6. Excess Functionality
    • Excess functionality often leads to mistaken and unused functionality, which can cause data quality issues.   Additionally, functionality that is not used can cause unnecessary overheads in system processing and database storage.
  7. Training Cost for End User
    • Gartner research found that companies that a budget less than thirteen percent of their costs for training are three times more likely to see their ERP projects run over time and over budget when compared with companies that spend 17 percent or more on training.
  8. Business Process Changes Required
    • Packaged Applications were originally intended as a “Process in a Box.”   The intent is to change how a company does business by embracing a software process. However, basic business processes – such as accounting, finance, and general ledger – typically don’t need to be overhauled.   When those parts of the Packaged Application are not incorporated more customization is required to turn off those capabilities
  9. Vendor Selection
    • Packaged software vendor selection is not a trivial task.  Most organizations need to conduct a comprehensive formal evaluation of the short listed suppliers with the aid of external consultants.  This process can take significant resources and months in duration.
  10. More Testing Required
    • Most packages are very complex systems. Interfacing with those systems is not an easy task.   Testing the links between COTS packages and other corporate software links have to be built on a case-by-case basis and constitute a cost often overlooked.

A colleague recently proposed that he would rate my list with 1, 7, and 10 as his top three issues.  He also commented that the metaphor of packaged applications to Snake Oil was appropriate.. I thanked him for his feedback and was feeling quite clever – until I discovered this gem from Scientific America.  3

Chinese water-snake oil contains 20 percent… of the two types of omega-3 fatty acids most readily used by our bodies… Research since the 1980s has demonstrated the necessity—and efficacy—of omega-3 fatty acids. These acids not only reduce inflammation, such as arthritis pain, but also improve cognitive function and reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and even depression.

So perhaps we can survive a little snake oil after all – just beware of the hidden costs.             

References cited:

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SEER-MFG and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program

Under the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, the world’s leading aerospace companies have partnered to deliver the most advanced family of combat aircraft ever built.  The team, led by Lockheed Martin, knew their responsibilities would include establishing targets, determining and developing standards, manpower, scheduling, tooling requirements, facilities, proposals, trade studies, supplier evaluations and procurement and needed a way to respond in a timely, efficient and consistent manner.  The Composites Affordability Initiative (CAI) Team was established by the Air Force Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Division of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Its charter was to bring down the costs associated with the manufacture of composite structures, considered essential to high-performance aircraft advancement and specifically for the F-35.

The Challenge

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Integrated Systems sector is one of two “tier one” partners (along with BAE Systems) on the Lockheed Martin team. Realizing that Northrop Grumman engineers would be facing an enormous task in the production of the F-35, Soumen Saha, Northrop Grumman’s F-35 Integrated Product Team (IPT) Lead for Affordability and Continuous Improvement and Mike Fisher, Manager of Operations Business Proposals, believed that Northrop Grumman’s engineers should utilize a standardized tool to address the tasks of performing cost trade-offs, forecasting, creating job targets, setting standards, and much more. “We knew that standardizing on a tool would facilitate communication, keep everyone on the same page, and avoid a lot of conflicts” said Saha.

Our Solution

As a member of the CAI team, Saha led a government-industry cost team comprised of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, the Air Vehicles Directorate and the Office of Naval Research, along with prime aerospace contractors Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Electric.  The CAI team felt that Galorath Incorporated should develop a plug-in to its SEER-MFG model as a majority of the features and functionality the team was looking for from a software perspective were already contained in SEER-MFG. The CAI team collaborated to create a cost model that would be accepted across the aerospace industry as well as the Department of Defense.

Both Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin engineers for the F-35 program had established SEER-MFG as the “tool of choice.”  The participating companies supplied process and cost data to develop industry accepted cost standards. Galorath utilized this data to develop specific modules describing the process steps, their variables and related costs.  The resultant product provides a direct cost model including 25 existing and emerging composite fabrication and assembly processes, as well as some state-of-the-art metal processes such as high-speed machining and Super Plastic Forming with Diffusion Bonding.

The Result

Because of ease of use and rapid response, the resultant model increased trade studies which resulted in cost reductions by identifying the most affordable composite airframe structural concepts earlier in the design phase with greater dependability than previously possible. “SEER-MFG with the Aerostructures (CAI) Plug-in was at the heart of our cost evaluation on the F-35,” stated Saha.  “Assessments of cost for assembly and composite operations came out of the plug-in, and it provided the totalness and versatility that is required in aerospace engineering that was not available before.”

Northrop Grumman engineers experienced the benefits of using SEER-MFG.  “I had a relatively new user tell me he had set up a trade study in SEER-MFG and was able to do 15 other trades that same day, whereas in the past, it would have taken him a day to do each one.  He was thrilled,” said Saha. And with respect to supplier cost evaluations, Northrop engineers could determine how much a part should cost allowing the bidders to decide who could produce the part at that price.  “It gives us back power, the power to know how much something is really worth,” states Saha. “Cost is what it really takes to make the product while price is what the customer is willing to pay. In the past, these two have not exactly matched up.”

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