Desktop Engineering: Managing Your Design Engineering Material Data

A full understanding of materials is crucial to product development, yet the decision to gather, store and use material data in a modern automated fashion has for the most part eluded the users of mainstream CAD/PLM/SCM technology. All of the software vendors that DE spoke with agree that most engineering companies, regardless of size, are still managing materials data using gathering, storage and retrieval methods from 15 years ago.

Accessing materials property data from a corporate materials database (the window on the right) within PTC Creo, through the Granta Materials Gateway.
Image courtesy of Granta Design.

A modern, comprehensive solution to materials data management must address four key areas:

  1. Research: materials R&D, testing, characterization, reports, certification and environmental impact.

  2. Design: decision support data, reference data, purchasing specs, restriction and preference issues.

  3. Production: materials quality assurance (QA), batch testing, comparison with specs and process improvement.

  4. In-service and end-of-life: failure reports, empirical knowledge, cost reduction, aging and more…

Material Management at Lockheed Martin

In 2014, Renae Rippere of Lockheed Martin presented a public briefing in which she shared the results of implementing material data management. An internal audit revealed design teams were using a variety of sources and methods to obtain material data. There was very little data sharing, and there was a strong desire to improve documentation and traceability for previous material choices.

The Missiles and Fire Control division was already using Granta Design’s Granta MI for materials information management. A small team of material and process engineers were tasked with overseeing expansion of Granta technology into other divisions. The team started by developing a Preferred Materials list, to be linked to the company’s use of PTC Creo. Read more.