Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Technology firm updates legacy system to gain automation

May 24, 2013
By Special to Manufacturing AUTOMATION

When you’re watching news, sports, or entertainment programming—whether on a TV, the web, or a mobile device—you’re watching Grass Valley at work in today’s connected world.

For more than 50 years, the Grass Valley name has been synonymous with innovation, leadership, and performance. Providing a comprehensive portfolio spanning a wide range of sophisticated imaging, video and media solutions, Grass Valley customers include most of the world’s leading broadcasters, teleproduction facilities, and service providers, as well as independent video professionals who rely on their products to cover the world’s most high-profile live events.

As the premiere video technology solutions company, Grass Valley knows what it takes to keep up with the fast pace of technology advancements, customer requirements and a global workforce. With an aging component database and a Product Data Management (PDM) system that eventually was announced End of Life (EOL) the company had to find a new way to support their complex product lifecycle requirements. Grass Valley needed a next generation solution to automate engineering change and Bill of Material (BOM) management, as well as streamline their engineering and manufacturing processes.

A team comprised of Engineering and IT staff set out to find the ideal Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution. “We started with a benchmark of about eight to ten possible PLM solutions,” said Gerard Meijer, manager of Digital Hardware and Layout. “Besides the functional requirements, our main goals were to find an off- the-shelf solution that did not require customizations, was easy to use and offered a good price to performance ratio.”


A few additional PLM requirements included out-of-the-box integration with their existing CAD (Computer Aided Design) tools from Mentor Graphics, bi-directional integration with their manufacturing systems and an internally developed engineering database, plus an easy to use and browser independent interface for their manufacturing floor.  “All possible solutions were compared on a score card and Omnify Empower PLM was the best possible solution for us,” added Meijer.

Even though Grass Valley had 20 years of legacy data to migrate into the new Empower PLM system, all parties worked closely together to make it a smooth transition.

“The total project was complete in only six months, mainly due to the development of migration scripts, which was performed in small iterative steps to ensure a correct full migration of all of the legacy data,” said Meijer. “During the project, the support from Omnify Software and the local integrator, InnoFour, was prompt and to the point.”

Grass Valley now has highly automated and integrated processes for ECR’s (Engineering Change Requests) and CQ’s (Component Qualifications). Empower PLM provides Grass Valley with the ability to easily search for information, view a complete hierarchical BOM list, and deliver automatic notifications on changes. The company is able to share pertinent development information (such as attribute values, BOMs, drawings, and repair sheets) across their entire enterprise by integrating Design, Manufacturing and the factory floor via Empower PLM. In addition, Grass Valley has opened the Empower PLM system to their Contract Manufacturer (CM). Their CM has full, yet controlled access to product documentation, BOMs, and ECOs and is included in the automated process flows.

“This collaborative environment has resulted in consistent and complete datasets for the various types of items through the integrated CQ process, an early and direct involvement of our Contract Manufacturer during the ECR process, and shorter lead-times for both the ECR and CQ process,” said Meijer. “Furthermore, centralized product content eliminates having to transfer data via emails or an FTP site and thus reduces mistakes, time and effort.

*Grass Valley works with Omnify Software Authorized Reseller, InnoFour, for ongoing training and support services.

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