"ECLASS is the standard that is used in both the internal systems as well as to communicate with our customers, enabling consistent processes throughout the product lifecycle."
Phoenix Contact is the global market leader for components, systems and solutions in the field of electrical engineering, electronics and automation. The product range includes components and system solutions for energy supply, including wind and solar, device and machine construction, and control cabinet construction. A diverse range of blocks and special terminals, PCB terminal blocks and connectors, cables hardware and installation accessories provides innovative components. Electronic interfaces and power supplies, automation systems based on ethernet and wireless, security solutions for man, machine and data, surge protection systems, and software programs and tools provide installers and operators of installations and equipment manufacturers with comprehensive systems.
For the manufacture and sale of components and systems in the field of electrical engineering, different tools are required to accompany the processes from development to product marketing. On the one hand it is SAP in the procurement process for raw materials and components. For several years now Phoenix Contact has been deploying ECLASS in category management to support the purchasing processes. On the other hand, the classification systems required by the customer such as ETIM, UNSPSC and ECLASS are used in the respective versions of the classification of the products. Depending on requirements, a customized solution to support the specific process was developed in the participating system.
While classification systems have been established in recent years in the field of category management and use of shopping portals, manufacturers such as Phoenix Contact must offer various proprietary interfaces to ensure that the product information is integrated into the electrical design tools of the customers and thus monitor their engineering processes optimally.
In the system landscape of Phoenix Contact the product data information management tool (PIM) is a central component. Here, all product data is managed to provide different applications such as online/print catalogs or data sheets with the necessary product data.
The assignment of the products in the categories of external classification systems was carried out with corresponding characteristics within the internal classes in the PIM system. The harmonization projects of ECLASS with ETIM and PROLIST, the addition of the advanced structures in the ECLASS model and the models developed by the CAx department for mapping the CAE relevant data in ECLASS since version 7.0, were the essential aspects for Phoenix Contact, so ECLASS has become a cross-classification standard. Therefore in 2011 the implementation of ECLASS 7.0 Advanced in the PIM system was started.
For the generation of ECLASS data from Phoenix Contact Data a proprietary mapping tool was developed which transforms the data from the internal classification in the target system. Thus all data necessary in the ECLASS model, such as the terminal positions of power, can be supplied from a single source and multiple versions are supported in parallel.
In the sales release process of an article the ECLASS classification is a must nowadays.
The consistent recasing that data is maintained at the source and distributed via interfaces to other systems, enables Phoenix Contact to provide customers with comprehensive product data in ECLASS BMEcat format. Whether these are then used in a multi-supplier catalog for e-procurement and building a catalog of products in a CAE tool for engineering, is decided by the client himself, for whom this is an important criterion in the supplier selection process.