Jun 26, 2011

Infinia Corporation Powers Up with SofTech's ProductCenter PLM

ProductCenter PLM Implemented to Streamline Infinia’s Development of Clean, Renewable Solar Energy Products.

SofTech, Inc announced that its ProductCenter® PLM solution has been deployed by Infinia Corporation, an energy technology company commercializing the PowerDish™ – a solar power generation product that converts concentrated solar energy into electricity.

Prior to the ProductCenter implementation, Infinia had been maintaining multiple systems to manage its engineering processes. The disparate systems resulted in time consuming process inefficiencies due to manual data re-entry from one system to the next as well as extended user learning curves for Infinia’s diverse applications. Moreover, utilizing multiple systems created challenges in terms of data integrity as version control was complicated and the tracking of implemented changes was limited. Infinia needed one system and the tools to achieve more efficient processes related to Engineering Change Management and New Product Introduction.

In advance of its initial product launch, Infinia recognized that a single PLM solution was the answer to streamlining its processes and managing its product development process from early concept through production. In addition to its low cost of ownership, SofTech’s ProductCenter® PLM was selected for several reasons including its ability to: manage Infinia’s Autodesk® Inventor® and AutoCAD® product design data; capture and automate the engineering change processes; enable electronic Bill of Materials (eBOM) management; and facilitate collaboration with external suppliers - a critical requirement for Infinia.

“We selected SofTech’s ProductCenter PLM solution for its ability to implement quickly and easily as well as its accessibility from a cost perspective for a small to medium-size business. A primary focus of the implementation has been process improvements, which we have achieved with ProductCenter,” states Robert Slaughter, Infinia Corporation’s CIO. “In our search for a PLM solution, we also wanted a vendor that would fully engage and a partner that was invested in our success and the success of their product at our company. SofTech’s partnership has been exactly what we were looking for.”

Infinia had a very tight, forty-five day requirement to get the implementation of ProductCenter completed. The initial implementation of ProductCenter focused on immediately improving Infinia’s management of its design data and engineering change processes. The ProductCenter software was installed, internal and external users were trained and production engineering data was loaded into the system. Using Infinia’s paper Change Request (CR) and Change Notice (CN) forms as a reference, Workflows were implemented allowing Infinia to streamline their processes by including only the tasks and sign offs that were currently required, leaving out obsolete and non-essential legacy tasks.

ProductCenter was also configured to intelligently control the company’s Part and Drawing Number Generation process based on a set of rules designed specifically by Infinia. As a result, the spreadsheets that Infinia had utilized to manage its part numbers could be replaced by automated logic controlled within ProductCenter. Today, Designers generate part numbers, corresponding CAD drawings, parts and assemblies as well as all pertinent attribute information automatically via a single intuitive web interface.

The next steps for ProductCenter at Infinia focus on extending the enterprise. ProductCenter will enhance Infinia’s external supplier and remote manufacturing communication and collaboration by providing early visibility into the product development process through secure access to product information and its reporting capabilities. ProductCenter will also be integrated with Infinia’s ERP and Purchasing Requisition systems to even further improve processes and the release to manufacturing.

“ProductCenter’s use will be expanded to our Utah facility and then extended to our supplier community. We are looking to leverage our success with ProductCenter to this point and bring our external suppliers into the product development process more productively. ProductCenter has made Infinia more efficient and this has been critical to our success,” adds Slaughter.