Long-Awaited Success for Dassault in Automotive as Scania Bets on 3DEXPERIENCE
Verdi Ogewell posted on October 05, 2017 | 7115 views

After a multi-year evaluation process, Volkswagen-owned truck manufacturer Scania selected the Dassault Systèmes track for their next-generation PLM solutions.

Sources inside Scania revealed the news that the German-Swedish truck manufacturer is becoming one of the first major non-French automotive companies to invest in Dassault's 3DEXPERIENCE Platform (3DX) and V6 environments. Previously, Jaguar Land Rover made an unsuccessful venture on this platform, while other French vehicle manufacturers, including Renault, have chosen to work in a mixed environment that includes Dassault Systèmes' older V5-based version and the new 3DX platform.

For Dassault Systèmes, Scania's choice is an undeniable and long-awaited success for the 3DEXPERIENCE platform within the automotive segment. Sources say that the Scania deal represents 2,500 seats.

A FOUNDATION FOR THE NEXT PLM GENERATION IN SCANIA. Every part and every feature in a Scania truck has been exposed to intense processes of evaluation, design and high-quality manufacturing. In terms of PLM, they have a long-standing history based on solutions from Dassault Systèmes—mainly CATIA V5 and their PDM product data backbone ENOVIA, in combination with proprietary configuration platforms such as OAS. This has resulted in a unique capability to tailor the vehicles according to the customer’s individual requirements. Today, the Volkswagen-owned company decided to continue on the Dassault track, choosing to create the next PLM generation based on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform. In the final round, 3DEXPERIENCE beat Siemens PLM’s Teamcenter and NX CAD.
A FOUNDATION FOR THE NEXT PLM GENERATION IN SCANIA. Every part and every feature in a Scania truck has been exposed to intense processes of evaluation, design and high-quality manufacturing. In terms of PLM, they have a long-standing history based on solutions from Dassault Systèmes—mainly CATIA V5 and their PDM product data backbone ENOVIA, in combination with proprietary configuration platforms such as OAS. This has resulted in a unique capability to tailor the vehicles according to the customer’s individual requirements. Today, the Volkswagen-owned company decided to continue on the Dassault track, choosing to create the next PLM generation based on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform. In the final round, 3DEXPERIENCE beat Siemens PLM’s Teamcenter and NX CAD.

The battle for this attractive contract brought out the big three PLM vendors: Dassault Systèmes, Siemens PLM and PTC. In the final round, Dassault was up against Siemens PLM in a so-called Proof of Concept (POC) while PTC was eliminated at an earlier stage. A POC can be described as a kind of pilot to test parts of the solutions against a number of practical issues.

 

A Totally New System – “A Chunk Too Big to Digest”

But changing system environments requires deep consideration and good reasons to follow through. If the differences between the final combatants were judged to be small and the gains in exchange not large enough to match the risks associated with a total system change, nine out of ten will choose the status quo. My conclusion is that a transition to Siemens PLM's alternatives, which meant not only a move to the PLM suite Teamcenter, but also a CAD systems swap from CATIA to Siemens NX, was simply too much.

Although Siemens probably made a number of guarantees that such an exchange could be carried out successfully, it's a big step to take. Compared against this, a replacement of Scania's CATIA V5-based design environment to 3DX–virtually all of the truck components, the engine included, are designed in CATIA–also involves a lot in terms of revised design processes and migration of legacy data. In Scania's final assessment, a move to a completely new Siemens TeamCenter/NX environment turned out to be “too big to swallow.” This is especially true given the existing processes and specialized software that has been developed for Dassault Systèmes’ platform over the course of many years.

So far, Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA V5 has been the primary CAD tool used by Scania. Virtually every component has been designed in this solution, which holds a strong position in the automotive arena. Scania will pursue a transformative move to CATIA based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The implementation timeline is for the new system to be up and running during 2020-21.
So far, Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA V5 has been the primary CAD tool used by Scania. Virtually every component has been designed in this solution, which holds a strong position in the automotive arena. Scania will pursue a transformative move to CATIA based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The implementation timeline is for the new system to be up and running during 2020-21.


How Scania Works with PLM

It’s clear, however, that a CAD system swap at this level is not news. A couple of years ago, world-leading Daimler Mercedes successfully completed such a change, which resulted in both the automotive and the truck/bus side phasing out CATIA V5 in favor of Siemens NX.

Of course, there are a number of crucial differences between Scania and Daimler, including the fact that Daimler was already familiar with Siemens-related environments in the PDM area, where Teamcenter was already in production. In Scania's case, this does not apply.

Instead, Scania has a Dassault environment combined with the proprietary OAS platform, which among other things manages the product data configurator. In the production process, Scania is also a little unorthodox. For example, the eBOM (engineering Bill of Material), is produced via OAS, while the building blocks, parts, and sub-assemblies are managed in the Dassault database, ENOVIA.

The BOM structure is then moved to the proprietary MONA system, where production and construction structures are prepared. The latter can be described as Scania's mBOM (Manufacturing BOM).

One important fact is that the MONA solution has some limitations in variant management, which very likely is one of the areas expected to be solved through the deployment of Dassault's 3DEXPERIENCE.

The MES (Manufacturing Executions Systems) plays a minor role at Scania in regards to OAS’ and MONA’s capabilities. However, where required, Dassault’s Apriso has been modified and adapted. Unlike most other major companies, Scania has a tradition of modifying and developing (and thus is also responsible for maintaining and updating) proprietary systems, and not primarily using existing commercial products and solutions.

In addition, some parts of production planning and management today are done using Dassault's digital manufacturing software DELMIA, which also may be modified or replaced.

A BREAKTHROUGH ORDER? The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is based on the vision of Dassault Systèmes’ charismatic chief, Bernard Charles. He was one of the first in the industry to define the concept of PLM in the late 1990s. Today, his ideas have evolved into a platform which he describes as “a beyond PLM” solution. With 3DEXPERIENCE, this vision is on its way to materializing, Charles says. So far, the platform hasn’t been successful in the automotive industry, which has preferred to remain in the previous V5 environments—mainly CAD in CATIA V5. Scania’s decision to go for the 3DEXPERIENCE platform (which is what Dassault Systèmes calls their V6 solution) can potentially break down the general skepticism in the automotive industry, and represent a breakthrough order from vehicle manufacturers outside of France.
A BREAKTHROUGH ORDER? The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is based on the vision of Dassault Systèmes’ charismatic chief, Bernard Charles. He was one of the first in the industry to define the concept of PLM in the late 1990s. Today, his ideas have evolved into a platform which he describes as “a beyond PLM” solution. With 3DEXPERIENCE, this vision is on its way to materializing, Charles says. So far, the platform hasn’t been successful in the automotive industry, which has preferred to remain in the previous V5 environments—mainly CAD in CATIA V5. Scania’s decision to go for the 3DEXPERIENCE platform (which is what Dassault Systèmes calls their V6 solution) can potentially break down the general skepticism in the automotive industry, and represent a breakthrough order from vehicle manufacturers outside of France.

 

V5 and 3DEXPERIENCE Under the Same Umbrella

Today, Dassault reluctantly talks in terms of V5 or V6. Instead, their marketing efforts reference all of the company's PLM solutions under the 3DEXPERIENCE umbrella. What used to be V5 or V6 is today labeled 3DEXPERIENCE. Despite this, there are some important differences between V5 and 3DX, which means that in the places where 3DEXPERIENCE components are used, bridges have been created between versions to neutralize the problems of version and systems architecture differences.

Above all, the difference between the systems can be defined by V5 as a file-based approach, while 3DX is based on another, product data based model ("data-driven"), where all data accumulates in a single database. Principally, this is a great idea with advantages in terms of producing universal BOM’s. However, the data driven model requires differences in working methods that are comparatively close to the differences that occur when you swap system solutions, such as a move to Teamcenter/NX.

How all this evolves in the future remains to be seen. My qualified guess is that the long-term vision around the 3DX/V6 solution and the upcoming V7 version–where very little is publicly known–and Dassault Systèmes’ overall automotive vision has provided significant input to Scania's choice. This is just as the same choice played a crucial role for the Swedish telecom giant Ericsson, whose choice of Dassault as a PLM supplier was first and foremost determined on their vision.

HE HAS THE FINAL WORD. Scania’s CEO, Henrik Henriksson (pictured), has the final responsibility for which path the German-Swedish truck manufacturer will follow in terms of industrial IT support. However, when it comes to the PLM solution, Scania’s Michael Tehl holds an important role from a senior executive perspective.
HE HAS THE FINAL WORD. Scania’s CEO, Henrik Henriksson (pictured), has the final responsibility for which path the German-Swedish truck manufacturer will follow in terms of industrial IT support. However, when it comes to the PLM solution, Scania’s Michael Tehl holds an important role from a senior executive perspective.


Ability to Manage More than 50,000 Truck Variants

For Scania, everything that relates to variant management is of utmost importance. Through many years of self-development, the company now has unique capabilities in tailoring trucks to individual customers. Of the 60,000 vehicles sold in 2015, only 1.2 trucks were designed exactly the same. It's a staggering figure, with almost every vehicle being differently configured.

Similar figures apply to the second Swedish truck manufacturer, Volvo, which has a significantly greater total production, and is also supported by a proprietary system.

This places huge demands on variant management, and is something on which Scania will not compromise in any situation. It is reasonable to assume that the requirements on Dassault's 3DEXPERIENCE are high, and that when the new system is intended to be put in production during 2020-21–which seems to be the time horizon–it has to be a solution that can accommodate this far-reaching diversity.

“Scania’s renowned modular system opens up innumerable variants of products and the continuous introduction of design changes,” said Michael Thel, engineering director at Scania. “This requires a comprehensive repository of designs that can be joined together in building the applications of the customer’s choice. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform will help improve simulation for faster validation of our vehicles. It will also enable full traceability and digital continuity from design to manufacturing throughout our unique virtual product development processes.” 

Furthermore, Scania’s engineering-centric approach to manufacturing is an important factor. This path is driven by the Toyota inspired principles of continuous improvement and elimination of waste in the production chain. The latter can be about gaps in the pace at the production line. That gap is a waste of time, and should be eliminated. "Customers do not pay because we are waiting and waiting," as former Scania chief Leif Östling expressed.

An efficient production line is therefore an important part of Scania’s culture, and the new industrial concepts such as Industry 4.0 are of great importance. I would say that Siemens PLM, with access to the Digital Factory division's automation concept, and practical experience of setting up this type of production line, had a certain advantage over Dassault Systèmes' approach on these issues.

AN ENGINEERING-CENTRIC CULTURE. Scania has an engineering-centric approach to manufacturing. This path is driven by modular thinking and the Toyota-inspired principles of continuous improvement and elimination of waste in the production chain. An efficient production line is therefore an important part of Scania’s culture, and new industrial concepts such as Industry 4.0 are of great importance to the German-Swedish vehicle manufacturer. This in turn will be one of many challenges for Dassault Systèmes.
AN ENGINEERING-CENTRIC CULTURE. Scania has an engineering-centric approach to manufacturing. This path is driven by modular thinking and the Toyota-inspired principles of continuous improvement and elimination of waste in the production chain. An efficient production line is therefore an important part of Scania’s culture, and new industrial concepts such as Industry 4.0 are of great importance to the German-Swedish vehicle manufacturer. This in turn will be one of many challenges for Dassault Systèmes.


A Reputation for World Class Product Realization

Generally, Scania has carefully prepared its 3DX bet. In this context, it looks like the results from a number of evaluations and POC’s have favored Dassault, despite not coming out on top in every aspect of the evaluation. Three years ago, for example, an evaluation was made where all three major players were represented: Dassault, Siemens and PTC. In this, both Siemens and PTC ended up ahead of Dassault. A year later, a POC with PTC Windchill was also done, in which PTC received a good score ​​regarding the interaction with Scania's OAS platform. The weak spot related to an important piece in variant management: "Variant-driven relative positioning."

In an implementation as large as PLM at Scania, it is understandable that some parts of the evaluation may favor certain vendors, while the final result that includes a weighting of all parameters are weighed, can reach a different conclusion. In this case the overall picture has shifted the balance to Dassault's advantage. Accordingly, Dassault will continue to have the dominant “commercial” system position in Scania.

Parenthetically, I would like to mention that Volkswagen-owned truck manufacturer MAN runs PTC Windchill as product data backbone and configurator. In view of Volkswagen’s eagerness to find effective coordination between its two truck manufacturers (Scania and MAN), today's decision to invest in 3DEXPERIENCE does not seem to point in such a direction; unless MAN intends to also move to Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which sounds a bit far-fetched.

What the decision means in terms of OAS and MONA vs. Dassault Systèmes’ 3DX has not been revealed.

The future will show how the new venture handles Scania’s reputation as one of the industry's most skilled truck manufacturers, with a world-class module-based product development and manufacturing process.

For Dassault, it is now about creating broader credibility for 3DX in automotive; a very good reason to invest large resources in getting the platform into sharp and efficient production at Scania.

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