Design and Manufacturing: Top Down PLM approach with Treehouse?

October 29, 2009

The new release of SolidWorks Labs Threehouse V2 hit me to think again about Top Down approach and efficient communication between Design/Engineering and Manufacturing.

SolidWorks Labs released V2 of Treehouse. You can get more information on their website as well as take a look on multiple blog articles about that. My favorite was SolidSmack’s “Full Speed TreeBleed. SolidWorks Treehouse, Not Just a Treehouse“.

Design, Engineering and Manufacturing
Problem of disconnecting between Design/Engineering organization is not new, in my view and exists in many manufacturing organizations. It’s obvious Engineers sees a product they develop very much in the light, of how they build parts/sub-assemblies/assemblies/configurations models. For them this is what make sense. However, from manufacturing side, it always looks different because their structure is driven by assembly process, packaging, supply chain and other factors from a shop floor. Most of the systems today are not providing a good solution for this problem. Those customers that made decent solution in this space built it based on huge customization and service base.

Treehouse, Modular design and Top Down

In my view, Treehouse concept is interesting since it can provide a communication bridge between two worlds: design and engineering/manufacturing. The way to initiate design top-down in SolidWorks is not trivial and Treehouse can be an interesting approach to do so. It can facilitate modular design and ability to create new products and configuration top down initiated from Engineering/Manufacturing space.

What is your opinion on that? Have you had chance to think or implement the top-down approach in your organization? What systems you had in your mind to support it?

Best, Oleg

The pains of file management, will PDM be popular again?

August 10, 2009

file-pain-pdmTime ago, I had chance to discuss second mover innovation. For me, second movers are perfect example to learn from experience, talk to customers and introduce something breakthrough in the place of something we have today. So far, I came to my old friend, PDM system. Actually, the perfect trigger for my thoughts was SolidWorks’s “pain of the file management” campaign. Actually, SolidWorks people raised a very good point – after decades of PDM and later PLM, how many people still have “file management pains”? My conclusion – still many…

If I will go back 10 years and analyzes what was the “value proposition” for PDM systems in the middle of 90s, my short list will be simple – 1/ability to control documents; 2/ getting right revision of my work; 3/collaborate with co-workers. So, what we learned since that time. My assumption is that lots of experience with different PDM approaches can be concluded as following.

  1. Successful PDM system should rely on a design system (CAD etc.)
  2. Designers and Engineers normally tries to put all possible and impossible information to PDM system.
  3. Complexity kills.

So, where we are after all these years? I think one of the main PDM trends these days is to have PDM capability combined with CAD system. When it makes a lot of sense in context of functionality, the reality is to have multiple CAD systems in organization. The second point is related to information PDM is trying to manage. Simple in the beginning, any PDM systems become very complex as soon as we stretch it to support additional information.

So, what will be PDM trends in nowadays? SolidWorks proposal sounds very right – there are still lots of people having “file pain”. SolidWorks PDM these days is a good example simplicity in managing of SolidWorks files and document. Is it new? Probably not. So, I just wonder what future PDM system will look like?

Best, Oleg

How We can Tag 3D CAD?

August 4, 2009

tagIn one of my previous post I discussed Tagging techniques and technologies. Historically PLM was very taxonomy and built on hierarchies nature. However, I think, in today’s world, we need to change approach, we are working with data. Tagging and Folksonomies comes to the play. So, an idea I want to discuss is potential possibility to tag 3D information similar, to how we can tag social bookmarks and photos on sites similar to Flickr. There are few examples of similar implementations I’ve seen.

SolidWorks Labs Tagger is application available for SolidWorks and allows you to put Tags on SolidWorks entities. Great idea. What is missed in SolidWorks tagger is to get initial set of tags from outside or produce tags from existing systems.

solidworks labs tagger

Another example of Tags I’ve seen in multiple GIS and architectural and topographical applications. GIS field has high adoption rate of tagging technologies, since GIS by nature requires a lot of tagging entities on the map. This is, probably, place where Tags were invented first time.


I think, with movement of CAD and PLM applications to the web and cloud, adoption rate for tagging will grow up. In Web environment, people feel much more comfortable to <Tag> everything. My ultimate tagging solution will include the following 3 components:

1. Ability to general set of possible Tags for specific assembly/model/etc. User don’t need to spend much time to think about what Tags to use.

2. Use Tag natively inside of CAD/PLM environment to mark everything you need.

3. Query Tag-based interface that allows to bring market entities/sub-assembly/assembly/products/etc.

The following environment can be built-in user interface of existing systems. What do you think? I’d be interested to hear your feedback? Maybe  you had chance to see similar features in existing systems?

Best, Oleg

PLM Prompt: SolidWorks and CAD on Cloud – No Need for Open/CheckIn/Out…

June 18, 2009

Short note following Devon Sowel blog about SolidWorks on Cloud/SaaS plans. This is good continutation to thoughts and discussion started earlier on <CAD- the future of collaborative modeling>. SolidWorks already made first try of Drawing Now on Cloud.

SolidWorks Labs Drawing Now

SolidWorks Labs Drawing Now

So, CAD on Cloud SaaS will finaly release you from PDM’s File Open/Check-In/Check-Out hassle.

What do you think?

SharePoint Social Platform capability for SolidWorks

February 11, 2009

Directly from SolidWorks World



In my previous posts, I discussed the technological possibility of leveraging the social platform capability of SharePoint. This has evolved from a possibility to a real discussion at SolidWorks World 2009Simon Floyd from Microsoft Corp. discussed the topic of collaboration in his session, “Collaboration without Boundaries”. I think that this is a very interesting connection that can improve communication among people (including) facilitating discussion among designers.


You have the ability to initiate a discussion with people connected to you via Office Communicator, Instant Messenger. You also have additional abilities for video and voice communication, as well as capturing these video/voice interactions for future use. I think this is quite cool…

 I’d be interested to get your opinion on this subject. 



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 288 other followers