One key to obtaining quality parts from Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) is their ability to analyze the physical behavior of parts and manufacturing processes. Through techniques such as finite element analysis, SMEs can greatly impact products by optimizing their performance, judging design alternatives, and improving manufacturing yields. However, industry often does not benefit from such analysis due to the lack of easy-to-use product-specific capabilities. This situation is exacerbated in SMEs where limited resources typically preclude having in-house analysis tools and staff. Yet SMEs need analysis capabilities as they are often the ones with the precise product and process knowledge required to realize improvements.
The U. S. Department of Defense Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office (JECPO) has sponsored the ProAM effort with the Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) as primary stakeholder. Under subcontract to Concurrent Technologies Corp. through the Atlanta Electronic Commerce Resource Center (AECRC), ProAM has focused on improving missile electronics through advanced engineering analysis integration and delivery. This Georgia Tech-led effort has addressed barriers to small & medium-sized enterprise (SME) analysis of product physical behavior with the involvement of Circuit Express Inc. and System Studies and Simulation Inc., two SMEs in the AMCOM supply chain (Figure 1).
Tools and technologies resulting from the ProAM project include:
U-Engineer utilization by SMEs and Primes is highlighted (Figure 3), including solving production problems, evaluating design/process alternatives, and increasing awareness of potential issues. Experience has shown that ProAM technology excels at delivering automated product-specific analysis to places it has never gone before.
While ProAM has focused on tools for the AMCOM PWB supply chain, these same tools and techniques can benefit other industries. Envisioned applications include development of analysis module catalogs for other domains and establishment of company-specific Internet/Intranet-based engineering service bureaus.
See the ProAM home page for links to resources with further information.
Figure 1 Internet-based product data-driven analysis in the AMCOM supply chain
Figure 2 PWA-B analysis module catalogs at U-Engineer.com
Figure 3 ProAM tool experiences by SMEs in the DoD supply chain
Figure 4 Multi-fidelity multi-disciplinary analysis in XaiTools PWB-A
Figure 5 Iterative PWB layup design and analysis
Figure 6 Web-based product data-driven analysis at an ESB
Figure 7 Object oriented constraint-based analysis integration concepts in XaiTools
Figure 8 Plug-and-play analysis module creation methodology