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Under the Hood - All things PDM and PLM

Digital Transformation at ME Global with Autodesk PLM

Christa Prokos
March 15, 2023

ME Global, a wholly owned subsidiary of ME Elecmetal, manufactures high-quality components for large-scale mining operations. When your products can crush rocks the size of cars, thinking big comes naturally. This is exactly how ME Global approached its own digital transformation.

The company knew it could manage workflow more efficiently among its 1,000 employees operating on four continents and serving customers in more than 40 countries. Around the world, ME Global is known for delivering high-end, long-lasting rock crusher concaves and mantels, mill liners, grinding media, and ground engagement tools. But every once in a while, an engineering change order (ECO), would get “stuck,” in the words of Engineering Technical Manager, Michael Best.

“When you don’t have a single source of truth, an ECO can get stuck,” Best says. “Maybe it was delivered to a reviewer who has since left the company. Or it needs to be seen by an account manager who is traveling. Or there is a critical field missing in the document. In all of these cases, you can’t move forward. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking.”

Time is critical for ME Global. Mining companies orchestrate enormous, high-cost operations that run on precise schedules and lose money with every minute of downtime. Changing a mill liner is a complex process that takes 10 to 15 days to complete. That means when ME Global commits to delivering the new liner by a certain date, that deadline must be met. Yet, ME Global was relying on a collection of point solutions, spreadsheets, and paper-based processes to manage its daily work.

PLM connects their data, people, and processes

“We realized that with our previous approach, every piece of information was anywhere for up to 24 hours old before it was captured, which creates a lot of opportunity for mistakes,” Best says. “Our products are made in steel foundries and a single liner can weigh up to 11,000 pounds. One mistake on a product that size could waste a lot of time and money.”

This reality prompted ME Global to go big with its digital transformation, deploying a cloud-based PLM solution that would connect their data, people, and processes globally to give everyone just-in-time access to the information they need.

“We evaluated a number of product lifecycle management systems,” Best says. “We needed one that was flexible, accessible from anywhere, and simple to use. We chose Autodesk Fusion 360 Manage combined with Autodesk Vault Professional. When you’re tying processes and data sources together, there’s no better way to put everything in one place.”

Better, faster, and less expensive

The lead time required to manufacture a mill liner is typically 24 to 26 weeks. Best expects the new solution to cut 10 working days out of the schedule in both engineering and the delivery of casting patterns, reducing lead time to 22 to 24 weeks. And while that is a significant improvement, ME Global is thinking bigger.

“When the full solution is implemented, we anticipate reducing lead time to 18-20 weeks and beating our competitors to market with a higher quality product that costs less to make, all of which increases the bottom line,” he says.

“Fusion 360 Manage allows us to connect everyone, everywhere, to the same information around the world at any time,” Best says. “With a laptop and Wi-Fi, account managers can place orders right from the customer site without the need to travel back to the office or use a VPN.”

Building a single source of truth

Connecting the entire enterprise with a cloud PLM solution delivers a wide range of advantages for a global organization spread across boundaries, borders, and time zones, using different languages and a mix of communication channels. For Best, it all comes back to the single source of truth that eliminates time spent searching for the right document, the right version, or the right reviewer.

“Most companies create silos of information and ME Global was no different,” he says. “By standardizing our processes and integrating them into Fusion 360 Manage, we can reduce the silos and burden of unnecessary work. The idea is to reduce all the noise from other tools and place everything in one location for the company to use anywhere.”

Keep reading the full ME Global story here.


Christa Prokos

Christa is a product marketing manager at Autodesk. She researches and writes about product development strategies and technologies, including data management and product lifecycle management. Outside work, you can find Christa gravitating toward engineers at social gatherings.