2024 Signature Sponsor – Belcan

We are excited to announce Belcan as a Signature Sponsor of 3D CIC.

Belcan is a global supplier of design, software, manufacturing, supply chain, information technology, and digital engineering solutions to the aerospace, defense, space, government services, automotive, and industrial markets. Belcan engineers better outcomes for customers in diverse markets—from jet engines, airframe, and avionics to heavy vehicles, automobiles, and cybersecurity. Belcan takes a partnering approach to provide solutions that are adaptable, integrated, and value-added, and has been earning the trust of its customers for over 60 years.

Belcan Digital Engineering Solutions provides tailored digital engineering and systems integration solutions focused on solving complex problems across the product lifecycle and across industry verticals. Our vision is to be the trusted partner of our customers and support them in reaching their digital engineering goals by bridging strategy and tactical execution.

Belcan Digital Engineering Solutions Overview.

How does Belcan envision “The Digital Future…?” How is your company advancing the industry toward this future?

We view the digital future as a seamless integration of advanced technologies in an intelligent ecosystem that enhances efficiency, accessibility, and traceability across domains. We are working to advance our customers towards that future by replacing disconnected analog systems with highly integrated digital versions. Our customers need this transformation to maintain strategic advantage and to support contractual requirements that require the capability. 

Part of our perspective comes from understanding what the digital future means to the Department of Defense (DoD) through their digital engineering strategies and contractual requirements. Here are several different ways Belcan is building on our internal expertise to support the industry’s advancement towards a digital, model-based future that works for everyone:

Belcan’s MBE Engagement Themes.

  1. We are responding directly to DoD requests for information about best-in-class practices for digital transformation and digital ecosystems, rather than staying on the sidelines.
  2. We are supporting OEMs in understanding DoD contractual requirements with digital deliverables.
  3. We are executing OEM contractual work that has digital engineering requirements.
  4. We are readying the supply chain to consume the digital datasets the OEMs are creating, helping build a strong foundation for industry-wide digital transformation.
  5. We are active and vocal participants in the formation and maintenance of industry standards supportive of model-based engineering.

What’s the biggest challenge your customers come to you with? Tell us a story about how you solved it for a particular customer?

One major challenge our customers face is a lack of data interoperability. Interoperability is about getting digital data from a source system into a target system. Specific challenges associated with data interoperability vary, depending on your perspective. To fully contextualize the challenge we faced with a specific Belcan customer, we’ll explain the different perspectives in play.

Let’s start with the perspective of the OEM. From an OEM’s point of view, the main interoperability challenge is maintaining the integrity and usefulness of their source MBD data as it moves into the breadth of software in the supplier ecosystem. For example, say we have an OEM that uses Siemens NX as their native CAD, and they have elected to use a neutral CAD and a lightweight viewer that is aligned with a Siemens ecosystem. Let’s now distribute that dataset to three suppliers. For suppliers with a Siemens ecosystem, there won’t be an interoperability challenge. But what about the other suppliers that have a mix of CAD/CAM/CMM software that includes proprietary CAD kernels, which can be problematic when importing the OEM’s data?

The “knob” available to the OEM for their interoperability challenge is in the selection of neutral CAD and lightweight viewers to be included in their 3D data package. The OEMs have the opportunity to consider the supply chain software landscape and to be intentional about the inclusion of file formats that maximize interoperability into downstream software.

The OEM perspective of moving data to suppliers.

Now let’s consider the perspective of the supplier. If you are a supplier that largely works within a SOLIDWORKS ecosystem​, your challenge could be receiving technical data packages from multiple OEMs that have different data package menus​. Each menu has unique challenges with data import, each artifact requires different people/process/tool infrastructure, and each OEM is asking the supplier to optimize around their data package to return their promised MBD value​.

The supplier perspective of receiving data from OEMs.

Belcan is working with a customer that has just these challenges. To help that customer understand the challenges of interoperability for their specific situation, we designed and executed a comprehensive supplier survey. This survey characterized the data coming into the supplier from our customer, it analyzed data reuse and creation in supplier workflows, it included an inventory of CAD/CAM/CAI usage, and it traced data elements across the major consumption processes.

Contrived supplier survey data on technical data type exposure, CAD software usage type, and CAI software usage type.

There is no silver bullet 3D data package solution that we have seen, but this comprehensive survey can gather the data needed to begin your journey towards interoperable solutions.

One of the challenges we often hear is how to engage the entire organization in this digital future, not just product design or engineering. Where do you think the value of your products lie? Which parts of the organization will benefit from their use and how? 

Gaining alignment and engagement across a large and complex enterprise is extremely challenging. That challenge is amplified by the fact that digital transformations are complicated, disruptive changes. Process mapping is a vehicle we recommend to navigate this challenge, understand current state processes and stakeholders, and begin to imagine your target state. 

Replacing a 2D drawing with model-based definition has a large ripple effect downstream. The process map provides a visual of where digital artifacts are directly reused, augmented, or transformed as they move through process steps. It also highlights stakeholder impacts as the digital artifacts weave in and out of organizational swim lanes. During complex and often confusing transformations, a living process map can provide a necessary lighthouse to weather the storm. 

Sample process map.

Other ideas that can engage the broader enterprise include conducting a stakeholder analysis, forming an enterprise transformation team that includes key players from the major functional areas of the enterprise, and conducting agile pilot projects.

If you were to give people one piece of advice about preparing for and embracing the digital future, besides ‘buy my product’, what would it be? 

Great question, this makes us think of three different areas:

1. Conduct Industry Benchmarking

When preparing for the digital future, be sure to benchmark. There are many other organizations who are also actively working to implement MBD. Before planning your future, understand the current state and what others are doing in the space. Actively seek out the successes and failures to gain the valuable insights needed to accelerate your journey. When benchmarking, we recommend seeking out conferences like 3D CIC where the agenda is balanced with implementors and solution partners.

2. Focus on Lifecycle Savings

Engineering won’t be where the majority of time or cost savings emerge during MBD transformation. Because of this, we recommend taking a broader view, focusing on lifecycle savings rather than any individual organization savings. Tasks will be shortened in one domain, and lengthened in another, but when you shift work around and adapt the workflows to model-based approaches, there should be a net lifecycle reduction.

3. Partner with Consultants 

To support in preparing for and embracing the digital future, consider partnering with consultants to coach you through your digital engineering efforts. Consultants can support your organization throughout the entire transformation but are especially helpful in early stages when working to overcome difficult strategic challenges such as implementation ambiguity, strategic and tactical alignment, and organizational change management. ​Selecting a consulting partner with expertise in markets similar to yours will keep you from having to reinvent the wheel – or learn hard lessons others have already experienced – during your digital transformation. 

What excites your company the most about 3D CIC? 

We are excited for 3D CIC because it is an industry conference that concentrates specifically on MBD. MBD implementation is difficult, and it’s nice to be surrounded by others who are working to achieve similar goals and facing similar challenges. 

For our Belcan MBE team, 3D CIC allows us to reaffirm the top implementation challenges and ensure we maintain comprehensive services to address those.

The conference is known for having a thoughtful mix of presenters with a focus on implementors. We look forward to another great opportunity to hear about real-world examples of MBD implementation and not just clean room scenarios.

Now for fun: 

IF YOUR PRODUCT WERE A CAR, WHAT KIND OF CAR WOULD IT BE? 

We are like an RV. We have the people and infrastructure to make your time on the road to MBD implementation smoother.

IF YOUR PRODUCT WERE A SUPERHERO, WHO WOULD IT BE? 

Our team is like the Incredible family. Each player has different strengths, but together as a team we have a dynamic synergy that propels us forward to overcome obstacles and deliver great results. Plus, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

IF YOUR PRODUCT HAD A THEME SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

“Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman–Turner Overdrive

Thanks for your support of 3D CIC Belcan! We couldn’t do it all without your support.

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