An Information Integration Framework for Product Life Cycle Management of Diverse Data

Automobile, aerospace and other industrial manufacturers have long depended on single vendor solutions to support their enterprise-wide engineering activities. Increased product complexity, distributed authoring environments and the needs for tighter team integration with partners and suppliers have created challenges and new opportunities for IT vendors to be able to integrate systems from multiple ISVs to work together as a coherent Enterprise PDM. Both design and manufacturing processes in Automobile, aerospace and manufacturing industries have evolved over the years to include a multitude of CAD/PDM systems for supporting their enterprise-wide engineering processes.

The efficient management of distributed information has become increasingly important as data is digitized and placed online. But this data comes in many forms and is under the management of diverse middleware components and applications. Users need integrated and on demand access to information, but the data itself is a moving target. Siloed systems are evolving independently and there are usually no budgets available for the integration task. With many companies operating with a focus on cost-cutting, the ability of an enterprise to align processes and information that support the efficient development, delivery, and management of a product over its useful life will determine who has the winning edge. Therefore, a variety of integration methodologies has emerged, and those methodologies must be carefully and selectively applied in order to achieve integration without unaffordable "tear up" of the systems.

This paper will describe in detail a case study and solution of an IBM Research project called Hedwig. Hedwig provides robust solutions in the space of Product Life Cycle Management (PLM). We focus on the several research issues including information federation, data mapping, synchronization and web services connections. We describe a working system that allows access to heterogeneous Product Data Management (PDM) systems that are used in the automotive and aerospace industries.

By: Huong Morris, Simon Lee, Eric Shan, Sai Zang

Published in: RC23201 in 2004


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