Live from Siemens PLM Connections 2011: NX 8.0 details #1 - Visual Reporting

Published 17 October 2011

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: design, industrial design, siemens plm, nx, teamcenter, unigraphics, hd3d, plm connections europe 2011, visual reporting, meta data

This week finds me abandoning the last of the indian summer back in the UK to head out to Linz in Austria.

Now, Linz is an odd place. I’ve never been to Austria before, but it seems that those looking to travel there from the UK without spending the best part of a sunday in airports are missing a trick. A short hop to Munich, a chat with an air steward called Dana about the Naked Cowboy in Time Squire and a three hour train ride on the Budapest Express brought me to a sleepy seeming town who’s Design Center is playing host to Siemens PLM’s European user event, PLM Connections.

This morning will see the launch of Siemens’s flagship product development system, NX, and while we’re taking a look at the highlights in the next issue, there’s some interesting things that I wanted to share almost live as they’re announced - so stay tuned for a series of blog posts over the next few hours or indeed, days if the lure of all that fine Austrian hospitality takes its toll.

First up is is HD3D. As with all things HD, it stands for High Definition. While this might be an excuse to buy a new TV and sit watching X-Factor with stupid glasses, in the home environment, within the NX world it means something altogether more interesting.

The last series of 7.0 releases saw the introduction of tools that allowed the user to dive into the vast wealth of data held within both product models and its associated metadata to discover and present information easily and visually. An NX model could be interrogated and presented in glorious 3D to show all manner of information. Whether that was change state, material or weight. In fact, if it can be held in the CAD model or the PLM system, it can be presented on the 3D model. Colours and tags are used to show the information directly on the model and in complete context. These Visual Reports (as they are known) could then be saved, reused and shared.

With the NX 8.0 release these tools now enable an organisation to pull data from a much wider range of sources with server-side reporting. This means that in addition to both NX and Teamcenter data, it’s possible to create Visual Reports that pull data from ERP, MRP and finance systems.

In addition to this, it’s also possible to combine reports and customise the tags used to flag up information with your own bitmaps. While the latter might sound a little trivial, the ability to pull out data and combine it with custom graphics can be a very powerful means of gaining clarity into your project’s progress.

Sub-systems can be tracked to find the work items and projects that are over running or over budget and present that information with a photo of those responsible. Perhaps weighting and costing data can be combined to those sub-systems or components that are contributing the most cost. The possibilities are endless.

What’s interesting about this is the manner in which previously separate Visual Reports can be combined (two or three is probably the optimal) to create rich, in-context information. Each contributing input can be given a priority from low, medium or high and these composite reports can be saved, distributed and reused.

The other interesting update with NX 8.0 is the ability to drill down into the information presented in far more depth. The new Info dialog allows the user to look into the details of the data the Visual Report is pulling out, whether that’s quickly viewing requirements documents or providing mail feedback using AppShare to discuss with the project team. All these tools can be built directly into the reports, making them as usable as possible and helping guide the user through their task without having to worry about what extra systems or processes are used.

Be back at you soon with more once the Austrian coffee was worked its trick.

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