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A Culture of Flexibility Helps Space Age Electronics Transform Itself with Engineering Document Management

Synergis Software

Synergis Software

For more than 50 years, Space Age Electronics has built custom and short-run life safety and fire protection electronics products. Such a specialized, narrow focus has served it well. The company has developed a wide range of specific business processes that help it build quality components within specified budgets, taking advantage of its depth of experience and market knowledge.

Willingness to embrace change is a strong part of Space Age’s company culture. The company has a deep team of multi-discipline experts to move from customer support to design to manufacturing or even IT, as needed.

Data Management, Circa 1990s

Business growth and diversification in recent years prompted the company to take a close look at its ever expanding engineering database. Space Age realized it was a flexible organization when it came to engineering and manufacturing, but when it came to managing all the data being created, the company was stuck in the 1990s. There was often a need to refer to previous work, but too often the search for information was time consuming and frustrating. Too often electronic engineering documents would go missing. CNC code hand-offs went from electronic to paper, and became virtually untrackable.

Crash Course to Finding a Solution

Then a company-wide network crash make it imperative for Space Age to find a new way forward in its engineering document management (EDM). A committee was assembled and a wish list of needs for a new EDM system was put together. The committee looked at a variety of EDM and product data management (PDM) tools on the market, ultimately choosing Synergis Adept.

Adopting Synergis Adept

The internal culture of embracing change took on the challenge of moving from Windows file folders and wide open networks to the smooth management style found in Adept. “Everybody in the company uses Adept one way or another,” says Ryan Mongeau, the engineer who doubles as director of technology. Those CNC electronic-to-paper hand-offs are a thing of the past. “We can see previous version versus new versions, which is huge for us, especially for the CNC world, optimizing tool setups. This was a big deal for us.”

Viewing drawings on the shop floor is now managed completely in Adept. Space Ages uses the new Web client for manufacturing access to drawings; only the AutoCAD drawings and SolidWorks models approved for manufacturing are accessible.

Extending Adept

Mongeau and his co-workers are constantly looking for ways to extend the power of Adept into new processes. Currently, they are looking at how to use Adept’s application programming interface (API) to find new ways to link engineering files to work processes. “We keep coming up with more ideas and things we can put in, ways we can link together, and different workflows we can add.”

There’s more to the Space Age Electronics story, including automating the assignment of part numbers, connecting engineering with the company’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, and creating an ISO-compliant, automated Engineering Change Request workflow inside Adept. Synergis Software has published a new case study with the complete story.

If you’re considering how to better manage your product, facilities or plant data, contact us to learn more about how Adept can impact your organization.

Randall S. Newton is the principal analyst and managing director at Consilia Vektor, a consulting firm serving the engineering software industry. He has been directly involved in engineering software in a number of roles since 1985. 

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