Press Release General Motors (GM) testing CONWEAVER’s “Smart Search”

Stefan Garhammer | 15.11.2012

Automotive development processes are complex. They involve engineers from around the world contributing to the creation of different vehicle models. To do so they use a wide variety of Product Data Management (PDM) systems. Each of these has its own user interface, is self-contained and has its particular login logic. Often, there are no ‘bridges’ between them.

The resulting knowledge barriers mean that designers will frequently obtain the information they require for their job only after some delay or to an inadequate extent. That makes it more difficult for them to follow their respective work context unambiguously and to cover processes that concern them, which obstructs focused collaboration within the whole vehicle creation cycle.

CONWEAVER designed its “Smart Search” information and search tool to solve this problem. It automatically networks and analyses development process-relevant data drawn from heterogeneous PDM storage media. It was realized as a prototype within the space of a few weeks and is currently undergoing an in-depth testing and evaluation phase at German and US locations of the group. It links structured and non-structured process information on the basis of the relationships in terms of content and topic, and integrates this is in a knowledge network. This method is unique in the world. GM’s Dr Christian Knöpfle sees its crucial added value in the fact that employees are thereby able in the best way possible to understand and study multi-dimensional, technically sophisticated development stages: “The application provides engineers with complete, context-related and multilingual information at the push of a button. This makes it easier to pinpoint and follow the business-driven decisions on changes.”

“If the length of a new car model’s body is extended, this also impacts on other components,” explains CONWEAVER’s CEO Dr Thomas Kamps. “Documenting the resulting effects and making the design adjustments consequently required in the best possible way is made easier with “Smart Search.” Decisions on changes and their impact on all persons and components involved can now be precisely traced, always in the context of the respective query. Proven data processing methods remain intact. There is no need for time-consuming conversion of the company’s IT infrastructure because the data continues to be maintained in the existing systems. The solution is not conditional upon any master data management; rather, it can be flexibly and quickly configured as well as implemented. It independently adapts to the changing database of the company.

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