As a strategic consulting and development partner of SAP and Right Hemisphere, Cenit AG based in Stuttgart/Germany has implemented integrated solutions for the creation, management and use of 3D data in SAP infrastructures for more than five years. With the acquisition of Right Hemisphere in October 2011, SAP has pushed the importance of engineering content visualization for decision-making in manufacturing companies even further into the foreground.
The reason for this coup is quite obvious: it is well known, a picture is worth a thousand words and a movie is worth a thousand pictures — at least. The best example of this are assembly instructions, which may be much better explained in the form of 3D animation than in technical documentation in printed manuals.But visualization per se is not enough as Frank Luppold, Senior Manager Business Development SAP-PLM Solution with Cenit, emphasizes to our editors. To design optimized business processes, the vendor offers a dedicated process engine called “cenitCONNECT Advanced Process Management (APM)”. For example, this Engine can be used to design a complete change management process within a Catia V5 / SAP PLM environment. Within this typically rather complex process, there are hundreds of different activities to coordinate, like milestones to reach, quality gates to pass through, and so on. At each activity point, dedicated deliverables are needed, meaning that this is also an issue for an SAP Visualization Enterprise solution. “It is necessary to distinguish between the design of the business process itself and the visualization technology on top of it,” Mr Luppold emphasizes, adding “SAP Visual Enterprise is the technology to feed the process with the relevant 2D and 3D content at the specific phases.” But this is not only a question of engineering processes, commercial processes are also affected: Let‘s assume a purchase manager wants to buy some spare parts for an assembly. He needs to visualize the latest and approved version of it. “With the SAP Visual Enterprise technology and our Process Engine, the customer gets the capabilities to design the corresponding process in an optimized way having high-end visualization techniques included,” says Mr Luppold, getting straight to the point and not forgetting to refer to the importance of integrating native CAD files. For well-controlled Catia-file delivery into SAP Document Management, on the SAP price list you will find the Cenit product “SAP PLM Integration to CATIA V5”. Moreover, Cenit offers solutions to automate data exchanges between OEMs and suppliers. Since many specific data exchange scenarios are common in the automotive industry, this helps a lot in day-to-day work. E.g. every OEM has its own naming rules that have to be followed. And “cenitCONNECT Collaboration” is a tool to synchronize the exported data — with the specific naming – with the later imported data sent back by the OEM to check which data have been changed and which not. For the changed data in SAP, the version numbers have to be increased. But this is only one example of the broad spectrum of tools that Cenit offers to its clients to improve their business processes.