With SAP-integrated multi-CAD engineering on the way to company-wide networking

A digital platform for networking all company divisions: from engineering to sales, project management and logistics to production, suppliers included. That’s the vision of an internationally leading original equipment manufacturer in the automotive industry, specializing in vehicle air-conditioning and engine cooling. The logical first step: to integrate the primary CAD systems CATIA V5 and Siemens NX in SAP PLM – for globally available engineering data and documents, which always used to be managed in a separate EDM system.

ECTR as secure companion

The integration platform ECTR gave free rein for the SAP interconnection of the CAD systems: with the option of managing CATIA and NX data in the SAP system as well as direct access from the CAD systems to SAP data and SAP functions. That alone made ECTR attractive. Then there was the intuitive graphical ECTR desktop, which serves as SAP cockpit. Using this means that designers do not have to have direct contact with the SAP system.

Many amenities

Besides the above advantages, there are many other arguments for ECTR and especially for the ECTR desktop from the point of view of engineering. A few examples:

  • Complete view of products, structures and detailed information
  • Prompt overview of status, version and change history
  • Convenient organizing of day-to-day work using a folder tree
  • Integrated 2D/3D viewer including neutral-format support
  • Fast loading/visualizing of CAD data with flexible load logic
  • Simple viewing option, also for users without a CAD system
Cloning as never before

For cloning complete product structures, the company used to use a macro they had developed themselves – but this was only for CATIA. In the meantime, it has become superfluous, since ECTR provides comprehensive cloning functions that can naturally also be used for NX. The company uses them to copy existing structures for variants or design alternatives. New and useful for design was the option of processing individual structure nodes separately: for example, to store them in new documents, to replace specific documents, or to create new versions.

Copying templates is out

Even before the new solution, the vehicle parts supplier used templates for design. These included parametric design templates for individual features and large assemblies as well as file-based product-structure templates without geometries, plus diverse macro templates. Earlier, all templates were provided by means of an IT-supported copy process at the many international development sites. Today, all templates are stored centrally in the SAP system: up-to-date, consistent and redundancy-free. This means they can be easily accessed from the ECTR desktop, irrespective of the site.

Efficiency plus, thanks to new storage system

The company used to import CAD data to the EDM system in zipped folders. With the modern system of storage in SAP PLM, the structures are resolved, and the parts are stored as separate SAP objects and logically linked. Thus the SAP system knows every individual part. On the one hand, this speeds up data synchronization, which is reduced to the system’s own determined delta. On the other, the parts can now more easily be reused. The fast finding of searched-for parts is also assisted by the very convenient and versatile search functions of ECTR, as well as the SAP full-text search.

More and more benefits, no least thanks to DSC

The fact that today everything runs as it does is not only due to the software chosen. The integration experts from DSC have also played a large part. Among other things, in such areas as installation, migration and configuration as well as implementing processes desired by the customer. Also by designing an intelligent and lean numbering system for models, drawings, DIS, material etc. And that’s by no means everything. Thanks to DSC support, the piloting and the rollout were also successful.

Best of all…

In parallel to CAD integration, SAP DMS and SAP PPM were also interconnected: for creating CAD projects and as a basis for all project-related follow-on processes such as design, variant management, documentation etc. Two of the many resulting benefits: all relevant PLM data, documents and files are connected with the project in the SAP system. And project controlling can quickly get information on the project status. But just as important for the automotive supplier are the improvements made in engineering. Here a summary:

  • Convenient data access worldwide, without replication or additional costs
  • Integrated processes as well as transparent structures and interrelationships
  • Enormous gain in time thanks to automatic classification and much more
  • Fewer manual tasks, more efficient procedures, and more productive time

You have further questions or you need further information?

Feel free to contact us.

Phone: +49 721 9774-100
Fax: +49 721 9774-101

Drop a message
For submitting this form answer this short question please. This helps us preventing automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.


DSC Software AG
Am Sandfeld 17
76149 Karlsruhe | Germany

Phone: +49 721 9774-100
Fax: +49 721 9774-101