New unit on product lifecycle management make SMEs compete

Casey Chow

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A project initiated by CityU will provide SMEs in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region with the tools and resources needed to improve their productivity and competitive advantage, according to Mr Peter Lo, Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Association. Mr Lo was giving the keynote speech at the inauguration ceremony of the University's Product Lifecycle Management Competency Unit (PLMCU) on 17 September.

The SCOPE Lecture Theatre was packed for the occasion, which also featured the signing of a cooperation agreement between Dassault Systemes, MTECH Engineering Co Ltd and CityU's Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management (MEEM).

The PLMCU operates under the auspices of MEEM's Enterprise Knowledge Integration and Transfer (e-KIT) Laboratory. e-KIT designs, develops and implements methodologies, techniques and solutions for the manufacturing industry, particularly SMEs, to help them operate more competitively. "The transfer of PLM knowledge and skills to local enterprises via this unit is one of our many tasks to serve the community," said Professor Mai Yiu-Wing, Chair Professor of Materials Engineering and Head of MEEM.

Under the cooperation agreement with Dassault Systemes and MTECH, software systems worth tens of millions of dollars will be installed in the Department for teaching, research and consultancy work. The software includes CATIA, DELIMA, ENOVIA and SMARTTEAM.

With the support of the two companies, MEEM will strengthen its efforts to educate and train quality engineers to master the technology for the needs of industry. It will design and supervise postgraduate research projects related to PLM, to prepare and promote the ready adoption of the technology. MEEM also plans to develop tools and solutions to improve the competitiveness of local industry and SMEs.

"One of the functions of the PLMCU is to form a Manufacturing Community of Practice, including government, academia, technology vendors and industrial enterprises, so that we can collaborate together to develop knowledge engineering skills and infrastructure," said Mr Stephen Au, Managing Director of MTECH. "This can definitely speed up the transformation of Hong Kong manufacturing industries from low-cost, labour-intensive work to high value added, knowledge-based work." To demonstrate its commitment to the cooperation programme, MEEM has launched a series of e-manufacturing short courses for local engineers to upgrade their PLM skills. And more than 10 undergraduate final year projects will develop case studies with local manufacturers.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Mr Francis Bernard, founder of Dassault Systemes, said the collaboration would enhance the competitiveness of local industry through access to world-class technology. It will also "give the opportunity to develop a special relationship with worldwide industry,"


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