Team Collaboration: Stop Wasting Time Checking Your Inbox

mechanical engineering team collaboration

Team collaboration is essential to the success of any engineering project. Team members could be from different departments from the same company, part of a group of partners working on the same project. Let’s suppose a study case scenario where two CAE engineers from Munich are working in the same automotive components project with a design specialist from Hannover, an automotive designer from Torino and a testing engineer from a manufacturing unit located in Barcelona.

Using design and simulation software requires a good collaboration, fast actions, and increased quality. If communication and collaboration methods are not effective, these goals cannot be achieved. Let’s now take a look at some disturbing factors for an effective collaboration, imagining different scenarios for our case study team.

Software licensing model

Team collaboration depends on the licensing model. Perpetual licenses allow the purchase and running of the network licenses, with specific but limited team collaboration functions managed by a server console. But that’s only if all team members are using networks license. This is easy to manage in a company. But for a group of partners is quite difficult for all project members to have the same version of applications.

In our “virtual 5 members’ collaboration team”, the specialists from Munich and Hannover work in the same engineering company, being connected in the internal network, but the Italian designer and the Spanish engineer are using only single licensing CAD programs. They need to find other collaboration methods.

Data compatibility

mechanical engineering team collaborationMany projects are based on the use of different applications or solutions for different types of activities: drawing sketches, design, simulation and modeling, product optimization, prototyping, and manufacturing. All these phases involve a multitude of interactions and data exchanges requiring the use of compatible formats and extensions.

In our team, the main problem is that the Spanish engineer has an old local developed CAD version, which didn’t recognize project files received from the others. This seems a much longer time to make effective tests and prototypes and a lot of money for the necessary upgrade.

The communication system used

Even if all users are on the same network, large data volume transfer requires bandwidth and storage systems, back-up and security for all infrastructure components. This means a lot of additional costs. In our case, the German guys should be connected to a large bandwidth LAN network able to transfer design files in real time and in a secure way.

Sending files by e-mail

E-mail sending raise a large number of obstacles related to the large attachments volume, difficult to be transferred by most existing messaging tools. File transfer speed, encryption, data security, and tools availability are other issues associated with e-mail collaboration.

In our example, the German team members who cover the simulations and design optimization operations can transfer big files via network, but need to spend a lot of time with file uploads, exchanging different screenshots, and sending/ expecting confirmation messages by e-mail. And other transfer methods should be used with others.

What other alternatives for large files transfer?

In the early days of PCs, I usually submitted publishing projects to the print house by simply removing the HDD unit from the PC case. It takes more than 24 hours for the storage unit to come in the printing factory and other few hours for DTP and pre-printing processes. Without any major correction submission possibility…

Today big files are currently transferred using FTP addresses or public cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive or MS OneDrive. Cloud is the most often preferred alternative. But in industrial projects, people should use only tools agreed by IT. Our case’s team members from Italy and Spain are exchanging big files using Dropbox and Google Drive, tools not authorized by their IT teams or compliant with the manufacturing policy rules.

Work in Cloud for best team collaboration

mechanical engineering team collaborationCloud CAD/ CAE applications improve team collaboration by allowing dispersed groups to meet virtually and share information in real time. This capability dramatically reduces time-to-market and improves product development and customer service. When our team members from Germany, Italy, and Spain can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere, they are able to do more together. And do it better.

With the SimScale simulation platform you can interactively work together with your colleagues, clients, partners, and industry experts, even if they are in another office, on the other floor, in other subsidiary, other city or other country, from other continent. By providing completely web-based access to all simulation data and functionality, it is easy to collaborate, comment on simulation projects by other users, get help on your own projects and easily share your simulation results with co-workers, vendors or customers. With SimScale and partners’ CAD solutions there are no files transfers. Your CAE system and CAD/ CAE data live in the same place in the Cloud and you and the team are owners of the data.

The colleague from Hanover can share a new product design with just a few clicks. Simulation specialists from Munich run two different analyses and resend the optimized digital model to other team members from Hanover and Torino for product corrections, checking and pre-manufacturing approval. Finally the manufacturing engineer from Barcelona receives the prototype model, makes the final tests and sends the product to the production workflow.

Every team member is always on the same version. No updates. No wasting time and money.

Want to learn more about how cloud solutions can improve your workflow? This article might be interesting for you: 10 Reasons Why Cloud CAE / Simulation is The Better Option.

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