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Features List 13
From CAD User AEC Magazine Vol 20 No 02 - FEBRUARY/MARCH 2007
PTC has focused on providing a fully scaleable PDM to PLM solution that provides an easy up-grade path for manufacturers
Since the end of the 1990s, PTC has been working on developing a strong foundation for its PLM solutions. The aim was to develop an interoperable, scaleable, broad based solution that harnessed the power of web technology, and that was suitable for any enterprise, from small component suppliers, who merely want to manage their CAD data, to large multinational manufacturers, that need to handle global product development and collaboration with partners, sub-contractors and suppliers across multiple time zones, utilising a variety of software tools and for a diverse range of projects.
PTC's Product Development System is a scaleable solution that allows the same core software solution to be used by a company to get the management of its CAD data under control, and then expand it to incorporate change and configuration management, set up collaboration with suppliers, link this to documentation production, analysis and manufacturing processes - ultimately creating a complete creation, control and management system without having to think ahead!
It allows users to maintain all of the data in one place, instead of distributed in different information silos - obviating the need for conversion and translation tools - and, being web-based, it eliminates the need for client servers. Users can now think in terms of real process improvement, easily implemented, that will immediately bring benefits to their product development workflow.
Starting from easily understood concept, system and product detail development - PDM functionality - users can develop their processes into portfolio management, approval cycles and procurement process, culminating in full blown PLM solutions, at the speed they find most suitable for their own particular operation.
Windchill, PTC's PLM solution comprises a number of different elements. PDMLink provides the environment that controls and manages data, and provides web access. ProjectLink expands the collaboration elements of Windchill, whilst Product View is a graphical view and mark-up tool that enables users to access and view graphical information in a neutral environment. PTC has also recently added a set of tools for process planning, called MPMLink, that allows users to translate engineering BOMs into manufacturing material lists.
PDMLink is integrated with PTC's pro/ENGINEER Wildfire, ProjectLink and a range of other CAD and ERP software. Besides controlling product data, it allows users to handle and optimise their change management, configuration management and release to manufacturing data. The easy-to-use web interface (a communication tool that is now probably as familiar to everybody as the humble biro) gives users easy access to part information, product structures, product modifications and check/check out and version histories and access control, effectively providing product evolution with complete lifecycle management.
Automating the change process also provides tools to create, review and analyse the impact of changes. Being able to view change process statistics allows companies to track, monitor and measure change-related activities and performance. Using configuration management, users can create, manage and deliver different views of product information, create organisation specific bills of materials and configurable part numbering and versioning.
To make it easy to set up and administer these tools, PTC has provided a series of configurable templates, and advanced business process automation enables users to create pre-defined workflows so that they can monitor and manage processes and activities.
PDMLink provides seamless connections to other CAD systems, desktop applications and other enterprise systems, besides Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire. The range of integrations includes CADDS; AutoCAD; CATIA V4; CATIA V5; Unigraphics; I-DEAS; Inventor and SolidWorks, plus ECAD packages such as Mentor and Cadence, MS applications, and ERP, CRM and SCM solutions using the optional Windchill Enterprise Systems Integration module. For manufacturing purposes, the data can also be used to produce NC or STL data.
And, of course, the data can also be used with other PTC packages, notably Arbortex, for producing technical documentation, taking images from either PDMLink or ProjectLINK, and ITEDO, PTC's latest acquisition, which can take CAD info and automatically create drawings for technical publications, adding them to Arbortex for manuals, sales brochures and other documents. Of special significance here is the fact that the applications are still associative with Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire, and any changes made to products automatically ripple through to update the technical drawings.
ProjectLink is a secure web-based project management tool, that enables designers to collaborate with associates and sub-contractors, manage the execution of a project, and maintain information on suppliers so that they can source products and purchase preferred parts. It comes complete with a dashboard that provides multiple views of different elements can be displayed simultaneously to provide real-time information on selected and associated items.
It's easy to set up projects from corporate templates, and to invite team members on to the project using emails. Once on board, they can easily find, view and use product information, without having to use the originating software. Content searches are simplified and speeded up with 3D thumbnails, and feedback is assisted by embedded markup capabilities. There is also an option that allows documents to be published in PDF format.
Projects are managed using milestones, activities, tasks, deliverables and resources, all of which are backed up with a full range of reporting capabilities.
Product View or Mock-up Viewer allows users to build digital/virtual products that are a level up from ordinary viewing data. These can be used to see how a product fits together, how it performs, simulating things like gears that actually work, and using the capabilities of products like Pro/ENGINEER Mechanica. This is all part of PTC's Product development Process, which takes all of the processes from one level of maturity to another - automating many of them so that users have no need to worry about interfacing.
A company that has recently updated its PTC Intralink tools is MAHLE Powertrain Ltd. A leading UK, auto-industry technology innovator for OEMs, MAHLE Powertrain has opted for an upgraded PTC Product Development System comprised of Windchill PDMLink and Windchill ProjectLinkT to streamline its product development processes and improve project collaboration between its engineering teams.
The objective of PTC's Product Development System (PDS) is to improve the efficiency of the product design and development processes by optimising information search and improving access to data from current and previous projects. MAHLE Powertrain anticipates significant business process and quality improvement.
The PTC PDS will provide centrally controlled data collaboration, workflow, bill of materials and product configuration, detailed document search, better version control and CAD data management in a cost effective package. MAHLE Powertrain, a PTC customer for over a decade, has used Pro/ENGINEER as its core design solution in a heterogeneous CAD environment alongside Pro/INTRALINK for ProE data management. With this expansion, MAHLE Powertrain will now move their legacy Pro/INTRALINK data to Windchill PDMLink.
"The PTC Product Development System came out on top in a rigorous vendor selection process, as an out-of-the-box solution which could manage our processes during a time of significant change management. Windchill PDMLink, as our single data platform, also offers a superior tool for workflow and collaboration, with first rate vendor support," said Dave Beecroft, Head of Projects, MAHLE Powertrain.
MAHLE Powertrain's reputation is based on outstanding design. Engineers had a difficult time focusing on core activities, because they spent too much time searching for information. Windchill will streamline these operations and will accelerate information search and new product development in a highly innovative environment, using knowledge gained from previous projects.
Beecroft summarised by saying "We are confident that the deployment of Windchill will positively impact our bottom line by unlocking new potential as we reduce time spent looking for information, accelerate processes and eliminate duplication, with automatic routing of documents and continuous visibility of product status".
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