The U.S. branch of Ligier Automotive, a worldwide supplier of racing cars for more than 50 years, implemented 3DEXPERIENCE and PLM to enable internal cross-functional communication and streamline collaboration with external partners.
Founded by legendary racing team manager Guy Ligier in 1969 to manufacture his own competition cars, Ligier Automotive was revitalized in 2013 by the partnership between Guy Ligier and Jacques Nicolet. It remains a company dedicated to the construction of racing cars, with a passion for motorsport, innovation, and development.
Ligier aims to be a benchmark in the motorsport world and to always offer perfectly finished, top-quality products that combine performance, safety, and reliability.
The Ligier Automotive team in France designs, develops, and supports sports cars built to compete in legendary races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, while the team in the United States handles the same duties for Formula series cars in North and South America.
The need for 3DEXPERIENCE
When Chris Ruthstrom joined Ligier Automotive three years ago as Chief Engineer for North America Operations, an in-process project sent him scrambling for appropriate software to collaborate with the other manufacturers involved. While that specific program – exploring the volatile EV space – never got completed, it did bring him a software revolution in the form of Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Not for a single moment has he regretted the effort or the upgrade.
“As a CATIA V5 user, making the jump to 3DEXPERIENCE was intimidating, based on the fear of the unknown,” Ruthstrom explains. “Also having PLM [Product Lifecycle Management software] bundled with it – it’s one of those things everyone knows they should be doing, but don’t know how to implement it – and we were forced to have it. While it took a little time to get my head wrapped around it, I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to not have it.”
“TriMech Enterprise Solutions has been great – very responsive. They’re the right partner for us. I feel like I’m important to them.”
— Chris Ruthstrom, Chief Engineer for North America Operations, Ligier Automotive
3DEXPERIENCE platform and using PLM
Ruthstrom describes his role at Ligier as one of the people who investigates new technologies and brings them to Ligier. Typically, that means technology for racing cars, but he’s also doing the same work for the company’s foundational software platform. The results will be equally revolutionary for the business. The French arm of Ligier has been using CATIA for decades, but when they acquired the North American operations in 2016/2017, there was no effort made to synchronize or connect their systems, because at the time, there wasn’t a significant need for data transfer. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” Ruthstrom says. “There’s a huge amount of data transfer now, and there’s a hardware and software limitation. We’re actively working on breaking down those barriers.”
Benefits and Future Applications
There’s no question in Ruthstrom’s mind that 3DEXPERIENCE has made his processes and work more efficient. “Having it in PLM. Knowing when I grab a part file I’m grabbing the latest and correct one. It’s very fast, very powerful, and I’m able to get a lot done very efficiently,” he says.
He’s eager to implement his plans for expanding the use of the platform, which will ultimately be used on every single Ligier vehicle platform and development program. But he’s also being careful to be systematic and logical as he implements new processes, in order to reduce redundancies across the company. The first steps will be to get purchasing and acquisitions departments to use the software, to add manufacturing process documentation to the system, and to create a direct link from design to manufacturing using the platform and its cloud implementation to share data.