Top 3 Reasons Why Data Sharing is Important for PLM

July 15, 2011

I want to talk today about data sharing. The interest of engineers and other people in manufacturing organization in data sharing is obvious. However, I think demand is much higher than available tools. It doesn’t mean there are no tools that can help you to share some elements or your 2D, 3D, Bill of Materials or other product data. At the same time, tools in the market are very vendor oriented and specialized to support different formats and applications.

What Tools Are Around?

The top question I had been asked many times when visiting customers – can you export data to Excell? The question is not simple, but very important. Customers are looking for ubiquitous tools that can help them to share any data. Excel is well understood. Almost every PDM/PLM tool supports some elements of data share. The complexity is probably another question. However, Excel is the kind. When it comes to 2D/3D, questions become more complicated – type of data, CAD system, purpose of share, precision, etc. – this is only a short list of questions.

I have no intent to provide a full list of data share or collaborative tools. Even so, I wanted to mention few last updates in this space. Few days ago, Autodesk made available their next product allowing instant and easy share of DWF files – Autodesk QuickShare (QS). Navigate your browser to the following links – It is alive in the Lab by Autodesk’s Scott Sheppard to read more details. You can try it on Windows, but as I understand, technologies (webgl) limiting to use 3D on Mac. Another project recently released by Dassault / SolidWorks is n!Fuze. This product is available on the cloud. However, if Autodesk has a strong focus on DWF format, n!Fuze is more focused on SolidWorks files (however, the tool is not supposed to limit usage of other files). To point of one of the tools that not belongs to top CAD/PLM vendors, I wanted to point on CadFaster. CadFaster provides product to collaborate, supports multiple CAD platforms and provides mobile applications as well. Navigate to the following link to see what CadFaster viewer can support.

Data Sharing and PLM Strategies

Here is my take on top three reasons why you need to invest in data – sharing tools and how it can be related to PLM strategy in your company.

1. Decision Making. This is probably the most important and easy thing. You need to have an access to the data in order to take decisions. Project review, Change request, Maintenance, Support Call, Design review, etc. – you better be able to have an access to your information.

2. Process Streamline. Your organization needs to work in a most efficient way. Which means – you need to focus on process and communication. The efficient communication and process organization is the must be here. If you have a tool to share data, you probably going to spend less time in communication.

3. Global development support. The time when all people in your organization were located in the same building is over. Now, people can be located everywhere globally. To have an easy access to the data from multiple places is another must requirement these days.

What is my conclusion? Even if it sounds simple, don’t underestimate the importance of data sharing. Like a lifeblood, data sharing can help you to work or die in a modern product development and manufacturing environment. What should be your choice? My take – the simpler solution is probably better. CAD/PDM/PLM world is full of complicated tools. Choose two factors – format support and simplicity as a first priority. The third one is probably system support. You cannot go wrong, with these three factors. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


3D Mashup: Reality Check

July 13, 2011

I like searching for new technologies. One of the technologies I’m following a long time already is so called "mashup technologies" or just "mashups". In the past, I shared some of my thoughts about mashups. Navigate to the following link to read – Will Mashup Grow Up in PLM? Read the blog post Actify Centro and Microsoft SharePoint: 3D Mashup by Chad Jackson. The information in this blog post about new product Actify Centro made me think about what is the future of 3D mashup and what value proposition Centro can provide to engineers in manufacturing companies?

Actify Centro in a Nutshell

So, what Centro about? According to the press release, Centro delivers a new platform for delivering 2D and 3D product data that can be configured according to the requirements of the customers. It supposed to provide an answer to the problem of growing volumes of data (2D and 3D) and integration to other sources of data. The following description is from Actify Centro website:

Centro enables manufacturing organizations and their supply chains to easily access, interact with and communicate part data through SpinFire across their wide area networks. All major 3D and 2D CAD data formats supported. No CAD system required. One solution does it all.

Take a look on the following video explaining about Centro. According to the information in Actify press release Centro is focusing on Enterprise wide access to CAD files, cost effective archives of CAD files, quick and easy collaboration capabilities with 2D/3D product data and remote access to product data.

If I will follow Jackson’s blog, Centro provides additional capabilities such as integration with enterprise systems and cross-enterprise system search. Combined with 3D visualization and presenting of enterprise information on top of 3D visualization, this is what Chad called 3D Mashup. Centro completely relies on the Microsoft SharePoint infrastructure and functionality related to data integration and search. According to the same blog post Centro developed as a set of SharePoint web parts. Integration functionality relies on the usage of web services. This is a place where Jackson criticizes the approach. This is my favorite passage:

Actify’s Centro offers web services to integrate to these systems and databases. However, as those enterprise systems are upgraded, then Centro’s web services need to be checked to ensure they are still working and fixed if they are not. Some resources will be needed to maintain and plan out the integrations on a go forward basis. Is that a resource that comes from the corporate IT teams? Does the resource come from the engineering IT team? Is it an engineer doing it on the side? Obviously there needs some planning.

This is an obvious disadvantage and will require some integration services to be applied during the system implementation, which is probably having no difference with techniques used by SharePoint integration technologies (i.e. BCS, etc.)

3D Mashup Alternatives

Actify Centro discussion made me think about potential alternatives. From my standpoint, the best alternatives can be found in the portfolios of PLM mind-share leaders – Dassault Systems and Siemens PLM. Dassault V6 platform provides a comprehensive platform to centralize data, including 2D and 3D information. V6 user interface, introduced at first as a product called 3D Live allows you to merge 3D information with information coming from other systems. In the following video, you can see how ERP information mashed up with 3D view.

Enovia platform provides federation capabilities to integrate data coming from other systems. It will obviously require some integration plugins, services similar to SharePoint integration mentioned in Actify Centro.

You can find another example of similar functionality in the product called HD3D supplied Siemens PLM. HD3D focuses on how you can present product information in a contextual way integrated with 2D or 3D view. The following video can give you a glimpse of what you can do.

Future vision of HD PLM from Siemens PLM can finally put you in a nirvana of the future manufacturing dreams.

What is my conclusion? I have mixed feeling about my 3D Mashup reality check. The obvious part – engineers and not only need to have a better and easier access to product information resided in multiple places. So called “3D Mashup” user experience is slick and provide an interesting approach. Granularity is an important concept that was raised in Jackson’s post. It confirms the reality of multiple systems future in companies. Manufacturing companies don’t believe any more in the building of a single data management system combining all information. The obvious concern is the cost of the system and required service to connect all systems together and maintain it up and running. The last create an “open ended” feeling about the overall system cost. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM, Engineering Software and Business Trends in 2011

June 24, 2011

It is a middle of the year, and it is a perfect time to evaluate and talking about business trends. Lot’s of people are ready to relax before long awaited vacation season and summer holidays. What are the topics that we need to keep on our desks and get back to them later this year? This is the question I asked myself few days ago on the plane taking me from Tel-Aviv to Boston. I was reading Business IT Trends 2011 written by Frank Völkel in SAP Info. Take a time, read the article and analyzes. I found some of them are very interesting and relevant in the context of PLM projects and Engineering Software.

Tablet PC and Mobile

The post PC era is coming. Take a look on one of the previous posts — PLM and post-PC era. Something is really happening in this space, in my view. Here is the interesting quote from SAP Info article:

More than a third of the conventional PC market is set to be taken over by tablet devices, making every third new PC a tablet computer. At least, that is what analysts Goldman Sachs are predicting. If we believe the mobile advertising company Smaato, by 2013, there will be more smartphones with access to the Internet than there will be conventional PCs.

I can see PLM vendors are really recognizing “mobile” and iPad story. Last week PTC announcement of two mobile application during PlanetPTC event is another confirmation of high interest of PLM industry in this space. Earlier last year, mobile applications were announced by Autodesk, Dassault and Siemens PLM.

3D Images and Videos

This is an interesting trend. Consumer trend led by manufacturers of 3D devices. At the same time, it starts to proliferate in the business spaces as well.  There is a high interest in 3D from multiple players in the market. It starts from games and continues into 3D street navigation, 2D photo transformation into 3D and some others. I’ve seen few interesting applications and technologies in this space in the past, and I think the number of people and companies in this space is growing.

Social Media and Mobile Options

Talking about social media is not a new thing. I’m covering this topic for the last 2 years on my blog. The new trend of potential combination between “social” and “mobile” option is coming. The number of smart phones and other communication devices is growing. Businesses are using social channels to inform customers about new product features and product failures. However, the most interesting business trend I can see related to the ability to generate additional business with the help of social media. Here is the quote:

However, a central topic for many decision makers at companies is: How can the increased attention gained through social media be translated into new orders and – ultimately – a tangible increase in sales? So far, no one has been able to prove whether Facebook and Twitter activities have led to customer sales.

Now, think about PLM products. The ROI of PLM product suites can be completely different if PLM based information can be used outside of the company to generate additional business interest. Virtual product guides, visuals, online discussions – this is just a short list of what social media can do what it goes mobile with people.

Apps replacing Bulky Software

The era of small applications is coming. People are finally getting it and use it in their everyday life. However, how Apps can get into business space? Here is the deal. Apps can be a disruptive force for many existing software suites. You can get them easy, install on your mobile device and connect it to existing databases, data source and product suites. Read the following quote from the sameSAP Info article:

Apps can be downloaded free of charge or purchased, and can be used in office scenarios, to increase productivity, as tools forvirtual desktops, as voice-over-IP applications, as location-based services, or to access complex ERP software at major companies, to name just a few examples.

PLM software suites developed high level allergy from businesses as something heavy, complicated and costly. Shift your mind to Apps and you can have a different world. The main focus for existing companies and newcomers, here is to watch a precise use case that can be interested to end users in the company in order to sell Apps to them. Examples of useful Apps can be product sales tools, management dashboards, shopfloor applications, etc.

Cloud and Virtualization

Cloud companies are taking more and more attention in consumer and business life. Google Apps, Dropbox, Netflix, Amazon, etc. This is just a short list. Here is the interesting quote:

According to market research company Gartner, total revenues generated from software as a service (SaaS) amounted to U.S.$ 9.2 billion in 2010, which is 15.7% more than in 2009 (U.S.$ 7.9 billion). And SaaS is playing an increasingly important role in the area of enterprise software. In the near future, many organizations will, for example, dispense with their own infrastructures for e-mail, backup, and security – and save costs by renting instead.

I can see two factors turning the cloud into something disruptive in manufacturing and PLM space – cost and IT usability. This is especially interesting in the context of small manufacturers.  Cost is one of the major showstoppers from the side of these companies to deploy PLM solution. Another one is IT needs. If coming solution on the cloud will provide a significant differentiation in this space, it can be a turning point for many of the existing manufacturing companies keeping their PLM plans on hold.

Real Time Analyzes and Data

Last, but not least. Manufacturing companies are swamped in the data. It is everywhere. However, to analyze existing data in manufacturing companies is not simple tasks. Read the following quote:

Almost all companies – regardless of the industry in which they operate – are today fighting against an ever-rising tide of data: The volume of data they have to manage is on the increase, both for transactional and analytical applications. What’s more, creating reports from ERP and CRM data is becoming increasingly time-consuming. And the data is at least two hours old, so no one can really talk about “real time” in such cases. At the end of the day, the various interfaces and software applications result in high total cost of ownership (TCO).

I think, new technologies are coming to solve these problems. Some of them are coming from the web based solutions (Google, Facebook) and some of them are results of hardware improvements, memory availability, etc. To provide data analytical solutions for PLM can be an interesting opportunity.

What is my conclusion? These business trends are hot and energizing. Some really interesting things happen outside and PLM vendors need to watch it. I can see trends that can add some additional benefits to existing software suites. PLM vendors can have leverage the following trends – improved 3D, mobile, social, etc. On the other side, I can see disruptive stuff – Apps replacing existing software suites, cloud architecture that can significantly decrease the cost of existing solutions and improved data and analytical software that can make traditional data management outdated. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

(pictures are courtesy of SAP Info blog)


Autodesk, Dassault and Free CAD Options?

May 14, 2011

It is almost two years passed since I put on my blog a question about FREE as a best future CAD/PLM. Navigate to the following link to read my PLM Prompt: Is Free the Future of PLM? I’m monitoring ideas coming of this FREE space. There are few interesting events that happen in this space, that caught me to think again about that.

DraftSight

Last year, Dassault Systems released DraftSight, a free CAD Software for your DWG files. In addition to that, Dassault introduced an idea of community where people can exchange ideas. Dassault introduced the platform called 3DSwYm (See What You Mean). Draft Sight community is one of available communities on the 3DSwYm. The following video gives you some information and feeling about what Dassault sees behind the DraftSight.

You can see a new CEO of SolidWorks, Bertrand Sicot is talking about the level of DraftSight adoption: 300000 downloads, 66000 activations, 16000 members of DraftSight community.

Autodesk 123dapp

A couple of weeks ago, Autodesk CEO, Carl Bass attended Wierd Business Conference. You can read an interview with Carl Bass by navigating to the following link. At this conference Carl Bass announced the launch of a new consumer product called 123dapp. Here is my favorite passage from Car’s interview:

A free, downloadable design tool, 123D allows anyone to design 3-D models, and then turn them into real-life products.“It usedthat in order to make things you needed these big expensive machines,” Bass said. “Now you can produce things at highquality, at relatively low volume and relatively low cost.”

You can see a fragment of the interview with Carl Bass on the following video.

What is my take on this? I think we can see a very interesting dynamic. Both Autodesk and Dassault are playing with the power of free options on the competitor’s side. Known as a strong provider of 3D CAD (both CATIA and SolidWorks), Dassault released 2D CAD for DWG files for free to attract AutoCAD users. On the other side, the introduction of 3D CAD free downloadable 3D design tool, by Autodesk – a king of 2D draft package (AutoCAD) is another interesting step, which is probably has an intent to disrupt 3D CAD business on the low end. I hope to learn more about 123dabc as well as about future Free CAD products in 2d and 3d. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Shoult we “pack” PLM into 3D PDF?

May 4, 2011

The ability to use PLM in downstream applications was always a challenge. There are multiple reasons for that – complexity of products, expensive licenses, long implementation cycle. At the same time, the value of downstream application is huge. The amount of data that organization can proliferate downstream is growing – it is 3D/2D CAD models and drawings, manufacturing planning information, technical documentation, RFQ for suppliers and many others. I had a chance to readCAD CAM News few days ago. The article is how PROSTEP develops of 3D PDF generator to facilitate information exchange in the organization. The title was catchy – PROSTEP packages the whole world of engineering in a 3D PDF document. Here is my favorite passage:

PROSTEP PDF Generator 3D allows the server-based extraction of all types of engineering data from the respective CAD, PLM or ERP systems and the embedding of this data in 3D PDF documents. In addition, the container function allows native CAD data, Word documents, pictures and video clips to be added to these documents. Depending on the rights granted by the document owner, the contents can be visualized, copied, printed and/or annotated with Adobe Reader. “Intelligent” templates allow information to be entered into fields on forms or incorporated in dynamic bar codes so that it is automatically evaluated upon return and transferred to the backend systems.

It made me think about the approach. Data is extracted from files, PDM/PLM and ERP systems. The 3D PDF file is generated. Then files can be distributed downstream in the organization and among suppliers. Adobe reader is the only application that needed for this purpose. You can navigate to the following link to see examples of 3D PDF file generated for different purposes.

The advantages of this approach is clear. Files can be sent everywhere and accessed by any person in the organization. No need for licenses. Adobe interface is simple enough. However, what is the potential downside? In my view, connectivity (or potential "dis-connectivity") is one of them. Information "packed" into 3D PDF file is similar to the other file-oriented solution (i.e. Excel files with Bill of Materials). The ability to have an updated information re-packed again can be critical to provide "timely" information downstream.

What is my conclusion? To find a reliable way to make the information available downstream is critical for many organizations. 3D PDF seems to be as an option. The file-orientation paradigm helps current users to achieve their goal in an easy way. However, the "packing" a whole system into set of files seems to me problematic. The synchronization, run for updated information can become a nightmare. Just my thoughts… What is your opinion?

Best, Oleg


Will Google Docs Goes 3D?

February 28, 2011

Few days ago, I attended webinar One the Edge with Cadalyst – MCAD Smackdown: Direct vs .Parametric CAD. Navigate to the following link to listed the recorded podcast. An interesting comment was made by one of the attendees during the conversation about what is the better 3D option – 2D simply works. Yes, 2D works and surprisingly drives more attentions nowadays. My hunch, the reason why it happens is simple- mainstream. The same reason why DS just released DraftSight 2D CAD package to be available for free download.

I read Google Docs blog few days ago – 12 new formats in Google Docs Viewer. Here is the list:

  • Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 / 2010 (.PPTX)
  • Apple Pages (.PAGES)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
  • Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
  • PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
  • TrueType (.TTF)
  • XML Paper Specification (.XPS)

Autodesk DXF format exists for years and used by many people to exchange 2D information. By supporting this and some other image formats Google Docs put additional stakes into the future of Google Docs as a mainstream collaborative tool in manufacturing and construction.

What is my take? Google’s target is to serve "individuals" with best tools. Everybody considers Google as a "consumer oriented" company. However, thinking about individual consumers, they can work in manufacturing companies too. To provide them with productivity tools helping them to get a job done can be an interesting option… Do you think, Google will add 3D format support to their viewer? A good question to ask. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


3D/PLM and iPad: Future or Baloney?

January 29, 2011

I just discovered one interesting fact. Exactly, a year ago, on Jan 28th, I published my first blog post about iPad – Who can generate 3D/PLM content for iPad? A year passed since that time. In addition, earlier this week I wrote about SolidWorks n!Fuze. n!Fuze is a new collaborative cloud application from Dassault SolidWorks Corp. An update from SolidWorks World 3rd day- SolidWorks is planning to make n!Fuze iPad application available later this year.

iPad Apps Gold Rush

The number of mobile and specifically iPad apps is growing. Below I put few links on videos presenting some of the most notable applications I had a chance to see for the last months. Autodesk and Dassault made iPad apps part of their portfolios. Siemens PLM relies on the partner to provide iPad app. PTC announced the mobile version of PTC Arbotext. Aras also worked with partner Porchys to provide a mobile version of Aras Innovator. However, I haven’t seen iPad apps on their list. In addition, I wanted to specially noted CADFaster collaborative app for iPad. I’m sure this list of iPad apps is not exhaustive. Send me links to 3D/PLM iPad apps as well as other iPad apps that relevant in the context of engineering and manufacturing.

AutoCAD WS

DS 3DVia Mobile

Autodesk Inventor Publisher

SolidWorks n!Fuze

SolidWorks n!Fuze iPad app first look from Solidsmack on Vimeo.

Arbotext Service Information Solution

TeamCenter on iPad

CADFaster

Mobile Becomes a New Laptop

A decade ago, laptops provided a first step in the mobility. Today laptops are displacing desktops not only on engineering desks, but also for kids and everyday home computer. I bought my last desktop 4 years ago. Today, laptops become too heavy to hold and carry. iPad is a proper size, and most of the people prefer iPad-size-like-device or even smaller iPhone or Android device. According to numbers of iPass Mobile Workforce Report 2010, 27.4% of people think iPad can replace laptop for general business use. The same report predicts rise of mobilocracy with corporates globally.

What is my conclusion? iPad and “new tablets” are creating a new device niche. New iPad apps provide us capabilities and user experience we have never seen before. It will take few more years until iPad gold rush will be transformed into valuable business apps, but I definitely can see some of them becomes a reality in Engineering and Manufacturing world. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Marketplaces and Engineering Software

October 14, 2010

Few days ago I had a chance to speak with Hardi Meybaum of GrabCAD. We spent almost two hours speaking about what GrabCAD is up to. It made me think about what role future marketplaces will play in engineering software. In my view, engineering in general and engineering software was considered as a closed society. In many companies, designers and engineers worked behind the wall, doing their job and throwing result to manufacturing people. However, I think the situation is going to change very soon. There are few influential factors that, in my view, are going to introduce some changes in this space.

Globalization

The development of transportation, communication and the internet changed a landscape of how products can be designed and manufactured. It becomes global. It started as an offshore operation. However, today, I can see it as more diversified activities towards optimization of how manufacturing design, build and support products.

Social Networks and Marketplaces
The usage of social networks becomes broader, and it allows to people to establish connections find job and service offering in different ways. Taking into account globalization the trend of distributed engineering work can become stronger in coming years. I want to bring an example of Amazon Mechanical Turk.

The Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a crowdsourcingInternetmarketplacethat enables computer programmers (known as Requesters), who have to have a United Statesaddress, to co-ordinate the use of human intelligence to perform tasks which computers are unable to do. It is one of the suites of Amazon Web Services. The Requesters are able to pose tasks known as HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks), such as choosing the best among several photographs of a store-front, writing product descriptions, or identifying performers on music CDs. Workers (called Providers in Mechanical Turk’s Terms of Service) can then browse among existing tasks and complete them for a monetary payment set by the Requester. To place HITs, the requesting programs use an open Application Programming Interface, or the more limited Mturk Requester site.

You can think about future possible marketplaces connecting designers, engineers and manufacturers.

Community and Online Libraries
In the beginning, CAD libraries and Part Catalogs was almost the only place offered online engineering content. These days I can see companies are trying to create content libraries. There are many examples – 3DVIA and 3D Content Central of Dassault, 3D Warehouse of Google, Autodesk Seek, TraceParts and others. Future development of social networks and content providers create an interesting opportunity for catalogs and online libraries to grow towards communities offering different services.

What is my conclusion? I think GrabCAD gives us some example about how to introduce a new eco-system for engineers. Together with few other examples, I can see a definite trend towards re-organizing engineering work into market place or network of engineering services. It will allow to get out of the local design places and propose their services on a global scale. There are many un-answered questions, such as IP protection, handling of proprietary information, security, licensing, models re-use and other. However, I see it as an interesting experiment.

Best, Oleg


3D Shape Search in CAD and PLM

October 4, 2010

Last week I had a chance to speak with Andy Sherlock of ShapeSpace. My momentary interest was caught by a blog post – Clean up for PLM published on ShapeSpace blog. ShapeSpace is a small outfit trying out the water of 3D geometrical search for CAD and PLM. I found a problem of shape-based search quite interesting. Visualization of search can make search more useful. So, I decided to put some thoughts towards what happens in this space.

Search Googels?
Google made efforts in the direction of going beyond text over the past year. The following product Google Googelsavailable on Android devices brings a new experience in how you can find things visually.

ShapeSpace Part Browser
One of the core capabilities of ShapeSpace Part Browser is the ability to navigate and filter product shapes. In my view, it becomes useful for managing your part libraries. You can take a look on the following examples. Navigate on this link to see more videos.

Sconce Bingo!
Another solution I found in the same category is Bingo! from Sconce. I followed this company for some time and found they provided some very interesting examples of how to imply 3D search practices into product development. In the following video, you can see tight integration with Pro-E and Windchill. You can also get a brief about this solution from CIMData by navigating on this link.

Siemens Geolus
I had to mention Geolus Component from Siemens PLM. The technology was acquired by Siemens PLM (then UGS) in 2006. You can see a historical article by Cadalyst: Geolus Search – The Google of 3D. You can find few examples of Geolus navigating your browser on the following link.

You can try to experiment with Geolus by accessing sample application via this link (registration required). You will see a pretty old web page with application with Siemens PLM Copyright (2008).

Why Search Stinks?
I think, visual is inspiring. However, visual and picture-based search are still not providing a level of reliability that can put it in a mainstream. Google Googels has limited capabilities that are very dependent on what type of picture you are trying to search. It works well on architecture, but fails on more casual examples. The same is in 3D… The precision of query definitions becomes a key driver of success.

(photo from Search Patterns book by Peter Morville)

What is my conclusion? Over the last 10 years Google converted “text based search” into a mainstream. Nevertheless, there is no one size search for every problem. 3D search is addressing an interesting problem of using geometry and shape to assist users in finding information. The result can be impressive. The query definition is still disappointing, in my view. I’d be interested to listen more about your Shape Search experience.

Best, Oleg


PLM and Bottom Up Option

August 20, 2010

The following publication in VEKTORRUM got me to review again a book “3D Manufacturing Innovation” by Dr. Hiroshi Toriya. I had a chance to read this book last year and it contains some very impressive examples every PLM software company need to learn. The book is pricey. As alternative, navigate your browser on Google Book link and you will have about 30% of this book for free. This book and Randal’s post – “3D Manufacturing Innovation- Explains the Japanese Quest for an Alternative to PLM” made me think about PLM strategies that were developed over the last decade and their potential improvements.

3D Master Top-Down
This is a dominant concept used today for Product Lifecycle Management. It supported by mindshare PLM leaders (Dassault, PTC, and Siemens PLM). Their strategies as well as portfolios are aligned straight from the CAD / 3D products, and they built infrastructure to manage and proliferate in 3D information downstream. Dassault is the dominant in their vision of 3D for all, PTC and Siemens PLM, in my view, provide more balanced between CAD/3D and Process orientation. As a consequence of competition with major ERP vendors, PLM mindshare companies are shifting towards better modeling of downstream data, engineering and manufacturing options as well as industry businesses.

Process is King
This model supported by PLM companies that have roots in ERP domain. 3D is definitely not the strongest side of their portfolio. So, building their product with “a process in mind” makes a lot of sense to them. These companies can be leverage a very strong enterprise architecture and infrastructure. By doing so, they can provide a support for development and manufacturing process. The advantage and disadvantage of this approach is a very weak connection to design and 3D data. Therefore, we had a chance to see investments of ERP companies in acquisition of 3D viewing technologies.

Bottom Up Approach
Both approaches – “3D Master” and “Process is King” are very focused on top down methodologies. This is, in my view, a significant weak point. What if we need to move from top down approach to bottom up? Dr. Hiroshi Toria mentioned in his something that can be considered as an alternative bottom up when 3D data will be accumulated by company in a central database and access by everybody. Here is a quote from his book:

What is my conclusion? PLM is one of the strategies that introduced by software companies to improve design and manufacturers. It was adopted by manufacturing companies. However, it faces a significant criticism. There are two main criticisms – (1) need to make a reform in a company in one day and (2) complex implementation following this decision. I can see multiple alternatives on the table. One of them is a top down approach and decline in a massive 3D CAD top down dominance in PLM implementation. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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