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The Benefits of PLM Software for the Aerospace Industry

Author: John Campbell | February 21, 2022

PLM in the Aerospace Industry

Having a robust product lifecycle management (PLM) system is a best practice for any field that involves the design and development of products. It is especially important in highly regulated industries like the aerospace industry. Efficient and effective PLM in aerospace is critical in reducing time-to-market and improving quality and safety across multiple complex systems.

PLM in aerospace helps bring traceability to your design and development process. Manufacturers must be able to trace artifacts across an entire project – it is not a nice-to-have; it is a must have. Traceability of the product lifecycle in the aviation industry is crucial given the high risk and consequences involved should any of the products fail. Traceability also creates a faster, more reliable product development process that ensures the evolution of the product doesn’t veer too far from its requirements and deliverability.

There are some key elements for incorporating traceability in PLM in aerospace.   

Engineers viewing aerospace prototype

AS 9100

While AS 9100 is not a requirement for the aerospace industry, it offers industry standards for the design, development, and delivery of aerospace products. It is derived from ISO 9001, which is the international standard that specifies quality management system requirements. AS 9100 includes a framework for tracking each component back to its point of origin, ensuring traceability.

Document Tracking

Another essential aspect of PLM in aerospace and traceability is the ability to find required documents easily and in a timely manner. Delays in locating needed documents or realizing you have a gap in the documents you need for your submission can cause costly delays for your company and customers, as well as meeting your regulatory goals.

PLM in Aerospace Manufacturing Software

A centralized application lifecycle management (ALM) system can provide end-to-end traceability and forensic-level proof of compliance for systems and software organizations to support PLM in aerospace. There are a variety of ALM tools available on the market today, but when navigating how to choose an application lifecycle management tool, it is important to ensure it meets all your design and development needs. This should include features that allow for real-time collaboration, customizable and adaptable workflows, comprehensive traceability, complete visibility, offline testing functionality, and data exchange.

Investing the time, attention, and resources into your PLM in aerospace will ultimately improve your ability to deliver a superior product that adheres to its industry standards and ensures accountability throughout the process. Traceability is the key.At Sterling, we believe Polarion is the Swiss army knife of ALM software tools. With Polarion, you can easily build your quality management process into the tool, apply rules that compel compliance to the standards, analyze links and relationships, trace up or down, and even create audit reports. You can also track everything down to the line of code, all while maintaining accurate audit trails to ensure compliance with industry standards. If our deep level of expertise with PLM in aerospace and aerospace ALM support can help you streamline your aerospace product development processes, comply with industry standards, and reduce time-to-market, please contact us. 


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