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Engineering ControlCenter in SAP PLM Eases Transition for Engineers

by The Tip Doctor

July 12, 2010

The Tip Doctor, Insider Learning Network

(This week’s tip was excerpted from an article in SCM Expert by Peter Demtschenko, National Competency Center, SAP America. For a full version of the article, click here.)

You can configure Engineering ControlCenter to support different PLM user roles such as CAD designers, engineers, and quality managers. These plug-in services are best practices for the in-house part of the new product development and introduction (NPDI) process. Let me give you a brief overview of the Engineering ControlCenter framework and discuss some of the ways you can integrate it with your SAP systems and Microsoft Office.

Engineering ControlCenter provides a graphical user interface for engineering a pplications, such as computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), CAD, and digital mockup (DMU) systems. It allows users to manage linked graphic and business objects by using various connectors for the graphics applications. Engineering ControlCenter adaptors, such as Integration Broker, support the most popular graphic standard data formats. New graphic and business functionality is appended as Java, ABAP and CAD-Application Programming Interface (API) code. The Engineering ControlCenter middleware describes different objects of graphic applications, so SAP interfaces are standardized without restrictions inside the graphic application.

With Engineering ControlCenter you can structure, manage, and access the SAP objects that represent engineering content such as documents, material masters, and bills of materials (BOMs). Engineering ControlCenter allows you to deal with large amounts of data, using filtering methods to provide a user with the exact information needed for the task at hand.

Engineering ControlCenter also helps users handle change processes and collaborate with other users within your organization or with external partners by allowing them to access messages and their attachments. Engineering change management processes are supported by drag-and-drop access to Engineering Change Masters. This allows you to assign documents and material masters and define their effectiveness. SAP workflows control the flow of information.

Some typical tasks that you can perform with Engineering ControlCenter include:

  • Organize engineering content with folder structures, context views, and previews
  • Manage Microsoft Office documents
  • Access CAD documents with an interface to the CAD desktop subsystem
  • Access support documents for any application type used in your enterprise
  • Manage concurrent access with check-in and check-out functionality
  • Crea te, display, change, and search for document information records and material masters
  • Relate objects with drag-and-drop and copy-and-paste functionality
  • Perform mass operations such as release, versioning, and attribute changes
  • Assign objects to classes, navigate classification trees, perform searches, and maintain characteristics using drag-and-drop functionality
  • Access engineering change management
  • Access SAP Office functionality with both SAP workflow and ad hoc messaging
  • Access attachments, such as SAP documents, materials, or change masters

Engineering ControlCenter is fully integrated with SAP NetWeaver. This allows you to use SAP NetWeaver Portal to provide Web access to Engineering ControlCenter objects and mechanisms. In the Portal view, you can look at 2-D and 3-D objects, research documents, and participate in release and change processes.

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