A key area where this integrated environment provides value is in the ability to define, evaluate, and document various manufacturing alternatives, such as alternate routings and resource utilization, based on evolving conditions in operations. The PPR-hub-based manufacturing database can be used to drive discrete event simulations of the alternatives to determine the impact on material flow, throughput, and utilization under various scheduling and product-mix conditions. The process plans, resource allocations, and precedence requirements in the PPR hub can be further analyzed to balance the work across the manufacturing facility and to provide proper utilization of workers. It provides an interface to feed the shop floor directly from the PPR hub database, ensuring optimal reuse of data created in the CAD/CAM and manufacturing and planning environments. One of the most significant ways to leverage a PPR-based database is to reuse the data directly as the basis for 3D work instructions on the shop floor. The immediate benefits of this approach are as follows:
• Eliminate the possibility for a mismatch between shop-floor instructions and engineering data because the instructions are derived directly from the PPR hub database, including the related CAD geometry and attributes.
• CAD-based work instructions provide a means to eliminate paper drawings on the shop floor because all required data, tolerance, notes, and related specifications can be embedded within the 3D dataset that also provides all required manufacturing information.
• Intuitive 3D (i. e., CAD-based) work instructions, combined with authoritative engineering data and attributes, empower machinists to perform their job faster and with fewer mistakes. In such cases, the reduction in overall manufacturing flow time and cost can be dramatic.
• Provide a data-feedback loop from the shop floor to the manufacturing planning environment to provide visibility on shop-floor-based changes representing as – built product buildup and processing.
• Leverage this data-feedback loop and related PPR-hub infrastructure to reconcile and evaluate the differences among the as-designed, as-planned, and as – built datasets.
Finally, with respect to the in-service phase of the products’ life cycle, this architecture provides a means to also capture and manage the evolving (i. e., complex) configuration of the related BOMs and collection of processes performed during ongoing maintenance operations. As appropriate, PPR-hub data defined in one phase of the life cycle can be reused for other phases, thus providing potentially significant savings.