After Careful Consideration of ERP, Hatz Recommits to PDM

A few years ago, Hatz Diesel realized that it wanted to expand its product data management (PDM) capabilities. The company used PTC Pro/INTRALINK to support an engineering team in Ruhstorf, Bavaria, and had built up a database packed with 300 GB of design files. But now the growing company wanted more power  as it expanded to support a remote team in Italy.

Hatz is a 100-year-old firm that specializes in diesel engines. You’ll find the company’s brand in construction machinery, commercial vehicles, boats and ships, and even power plants. With 1,000 employees, Hatz supports a global service network with hundreds of service centers, subsidiaries, and agents in 115 countries.

You can see Hatz solutions at work in this video featuring the company’s modular power plant solutions.

 PTC Pro/INTRALINK integrated nicely with the PTC CAD software that designers used in the German office. But, like any smart company, the team wasn’t willing to commit to another solution without exploring all its options.

Why Not Use the ERP System?

In 2008, Hatz had implemented an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which centralized all the company’s business data. The company began to consider consolidating development data too. Even though ERP isn’t specifically designed for CAD data, team members wanted to explore using it to vault everything together.

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With ERP and CAD data in one place, an employee could reach information from anywhere in the world, and IT would only have to manage one system.

They team proceeded carefully, because the existing PDM installation impacts so many mission-critical processes. The closer they looked, the more convinced they became. ERP wasn’t the solution. It became clear that the ERP solution would drag down product development.

The ERP tool didn’t have the capabilities the Hatz development team needed. In fact, it would add significant expense. That’s because Hatz uses skeleton-based design to implement its projects. Skeleton models allow teams to create an overall structure and concurrently build onto it, saving a lot of time and money when developing very large assemblies. As such, the engineering team’s process at the time used a very high degree of references and nested parts in Pro/INTRALINK.

That wouldn’t be possible if they moved everything to ERP. In fact, by abandoning PDM for ERP, engineers could expect to increase design and development times.

That was the deal breaker. No amount of centralizing data would ever merit slowing down production for Hatz.


Hatz single cylinder 1D42

Hatz single cylinder 1D42

Why Not Enterprise PDM?

Enterprise PDM would give the company the centralization it wanted as well as the tools the engineering team used. The only concern? A new enterprise system might take a year to implement and significantly disrupt development—something no company can really afford.

So, Hatz asked, “How can we get the benefits of an enterprise system, without taking a year to get it?”

TechSoft, an authorized PTC reseller had the answer.

PTC Windchill PDMLink and an Ambitious Timeline

TechSoft recommended PTC Windchill PDMLink for Hatz. PTC Windchill PDMLink is a web-based, industry-proven Product Data Management (PDM) system that supports geographically dispersed teams while managing critical processes such as content, change, and configuration management.

And because it’s a PTC product, Hatz could count on PTC Windchill PDMLink to integrate smoothly with their existing CAD software. Best of all, TechSoft thought they could roll out the new system in just 10 weeks, without disrupting the company’s current development work. Here’s how they did it:

The Right People

TechSoft worked with the Hatz team to assemble a small implementation team made up of five key users from Hatz, members of the internal IT department, and five employees from TechSoft. The plan was to replace Pro/INTRALINK with the least possible disruption to production.

They mapped the existing development landscape and processes. Then they planned for additional components now available with PTC Windchill PDMLink. For example, they would make the system available to quality assurance, metrology, process planning, technical documentation, and international sales.

Hatz electric pump

Hatz electric pump

Then, the roll-out began. Here’s a peek at what they did, and when:

The 10-week Timeline

August 30: Kickoff. Work begins on implementing a new server to be running in time for mid-September testing. This includes all configurations and processes.

October 5-7: Training. Five key users from different departments participate in intensive training workshops.

October 10: Testing. Trained users test the new system. To make it as realistic as possible, they work with PDM data migrated from Pro/INTRALINK.

November (first week): More training. With tests complete, training of the entire engineering team and administrators takes place.

November 11: Go live. While staff are home for the weekend, the implementation team makes the new PDM system live company wide.

November 12: Back to work. Employees arrive Monday morning to find their new PDM system in place. Work continues without delay.

The Trouble-free PDM Solution

The change from Pro/Intralink in just 10 weeks was a success. “PTC Windchill PDMLink runs trouble-free,” says Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Freymadl, project manager and head of CAx. “It was a completely smooth migration.”

Soon after, TechSoft further integrated the PTC Windchill system with the ERP system, so that relevant data developed in PTC Windchill PDMLink doesn’t have to be manually re-entered.

“For us, the ERP environment is the leading business system, while PTC Windchill PDMLink focuses on development,” says Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Trümper, general manager and head of engine development. “The integration of the two systems is ideal. In essence, we’ve implemented the best-of-breed for everybody.”

Find out more about PTC’s product lifecycle management tools and find the one that fits your business needs.