PTC Media + Analyst Event: ProductPoint announcement

Published 14 January 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: design, ptc, plm, sharepoint, data management, productpoint

#1: I’m currently in a very chilly Boston, attending PTC‘s annual Media and Analyst event and the proceedings have kicked off with some new announcements, so I’ll cover those as details emerge. First off, PTC has just launched its Windchill ProductPoint product, first shown at the PTC/User event in Long Beach. This sees the core, underlying processes and workflows from Windchill, applied to the Microsoft SharePoint platform. Flagged as the Social Product Development platform, this sees a layer of technology built onto the pretty much ubiquitous SharePoint platform, that adapts it from a generic document management and sharing platform, for the purposes of product development. This extends it to handle the more complex interactions between parts, assemblies and drawings typical within any 3D design system and gives you the ability to “vault and share structured information.

PTC ProductPoint brings product design technology to the widely avialable SharePoint platform, such as managing complex data structures inherent in design systems (such as Pro/Engineer) and data visualisation tools from PTC’s ProductView technology.

Looking at the product from a very early stage, its clear that this is pretty interesting. With all of the standard SharePoint tools, such as document sharing, forums and wikis, the ProductPoint adds a two layer stack on top. The first is based on Windchill that allows you to control all of your office documents, typically Pro/E design data, but adds an additional layer that adds ProductView-based (which is perhaps one of the best kept technology secrets in the 3D world because of its ability to handle huge datasets in a highly efficient manner) viewing and mark-up facilities for not only Pro/Engineer data, but Mathcad.

Complex structure and data interaction is something that vanilla SharePoint can’t handle - ProductPoint adds this capability

Things like “where used” and “used by” searches based on complex assembly structures is something that standard SharePoint can’t handle.

But what intrigues me is what do PTC mean by Social Product Development? Are they just jumping on the ‘social’ bandwagon? To some extent, yes, they are. They aren’t the first to do so, and I’m pretty sure they won’t be the last in the 3D design world. This is perhaps the next stage in this industry as vendors either try to truly accept what’s happening in the online world or just simply attempt to reposition their existing products as providing those types of interaction methods. What is clear is that there’s a ground swell behind PTC’s management solutions (see the EADS deal as a good example) and building a seemingly very capable solution, based on a data management platform that’s already installed in most organisations, has 100 million licenses, makes a huge amount of sense.

PTC CEO, Dick Harrison - never a man to mince his words.

As PTC CEO Dick Harrison commented at today’s event “There’s no such thing as standalone 3D CAD anymore,” and every vendor worth their salt, is looking to find new ways to integrate design and data Management and add real value to the complex interaction between both data and the people authoring or influencing a product’s development.

Next up: Pro/Engineer WIldfire 5 - More Soon.

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NX revved up at Williams F1

Published 13 January 2009

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: nx, siemens plm, f1, williams f1

Siemens PLM software will hopefully be avoiding the pits as TEAM Engineering hold a technical seminar at the RBS Williams F1 Conference Centre in Oxfordshire on 19 March.

There will be live demonstrations covering design, stress and thermal analysis, manufacturing and large assembly management.

Attendees will also get a tour of the Grand Prix collection, trophy room and technology exhibition, while also covering all aspects of the latest version of NX.

Further information can be found here

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Cobra Automotive jumps onto Teamcenter

Published 08 January 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: design, siemens plm, teamcenter, cobra automotive technologies

Siemens PLM announced that Cobra Automotive Technologies has selected Teamcenter, to “enhance product development and engineering processes.” Based in Varese and with operations around the world, Cobra will “implement more than 100 seats of Teamcenter to improve the company’s product and process data management structure and help reduce time-to-market, development costs and total cost of ownership.” What I found most interesting about this is how Graziano Mangiarotti, director, Technical Operation Director from Cobra described the decision.

“PLM is more than a tool, it is a powerful technology that impacts the entire organization and we expect it to help Cobra strengthen our standardization initiatives which will allow us to accelerate our development activities, implement a continuous improvement process and significantly reduce non-compliances,” said at Cobra Automotive Technologies S.p.A.

According to the press release, Cobra needed to introduce an “information system to support product development and engineering processes, provide immediate and secure access to product information, align product release processes for data and related multi-format documentation, and consolidate archives and applications targeted at increasing management flexibility.”

“With Teamcenter as our single, user-friendly PLM interface, we will be able to access all product data and stay up-to-date throughout the development process. We will also have an effective classification template for managing product libraries, and satisfy future requirements thanks to the flexibility of Teamcenter,” Mangiarotti concluded.

His flagging of classification is also interesting, because if an organization has a a large scale inventory or library of digital parts, then the use of classification (which is complex to begin with but quickly eases post implementation), is a fantastic start.

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Mac-tastic mod tablet

Published 07 January 2009

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: autodesk, sketchbook, modbook, macworld

2009 is going to see designers and software providers getting serious about using Macs; from the latest goings on at Macworld, those serious about jumping the rush have a shiny new toy to add to their list.

This high-performance tablet computer, running Mac OS X, is the latest announcement from Mac-modders Axiotron.The Modbook Pro tablet is available now for pre-order, uses the 15.4” unibody MacBook Pro as its base system.

Introduced at the expo with the help of Apple co-founder and Axiotron board member Steve Wozniak, the Modbook Pro will sport a black luster finish and aluminum construction. Its Synergy Touch screen supports both touch and pen input simultaneously, a feature Axiomatic says is not available on any other tablet, as well as 512 levels of pen pressure sensitivity.

The unit almost exactly matches the MacBook Pro’s feature set, including Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, and Bluetooth, with up to a 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo processor and the NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT processor.

The tablet come complete with Autodesk Sketchbook Express 2009, with the option to upgrade to Sketchbook Pro, offering a litany of features ideal for Modbook users, including a streamlined tool palette, and the ability to email work without the need to leave the program.

The Modbook Pro starts at $4,999 for the new 2.4GHz Apple MacBook Pro base system, yet for customers who want to convert hardware they already own, the Modservice Pro option starts at $3,049.

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Its nearly here: Objectified

Published 05 January 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: design, naoto fukasawa, objectified, dieter rams, rock n roll

We blogged about this while they were still filming it and I got all excited but the final movie is nearly here.

Come on, anything that features Naoko Fukasawa’s wall mounted CD player for Muji as the opening shot and includes Dieter Rams sketching, Jonny Ive (when did he drop the jonathan?), and Marc Newson, for its trailer has got to be worth seeing.

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Healey Marque to be reborn with V5

Published 02 January 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: design, catia, automotive, appled cae

According to Applied, UK Dassault Systemes Partner, the Healey 3000 Sports Car is to be re-born and built in the UK with the help of CATIA V5. HFI Automotive, an Anglo-American Consortium of engineers and investors has purchased the Dassault Systemes Catia V5 for use in the design and development of their new Healey 3000 sports car.

News on the latest developments with this seems to stop in late 2007, but according Applied, Healey Automobile Consultants (HAC), owners of the British sports cars brand “Healey”, was purchased by HFI back in 2006. HAC was originally founded in 1955 by Donald and Geoffrey Healey. HFI’s development of the new Healey 3000 is advancing with plans for their manufacturing base to be in the UK.

More details at AutoExpress and AutoCognition.

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Something to think about…

Published 22 December 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: innovation, smelting iron, abraham darby, repeatable processes

I had the pleasure to have a meet-up with the guys at Protolabs (or Protomold or First Cut) over in Telford today. Not too long of a drive, a friendly and knowledgable team and they have a rocking service if youre looking for machined prototypes or injection moulded components.

On the way back, I drove through Ironbridge, a small village in Shropshire that, for those of us involved in design and manufacturing, holds a pretty big key to how we got here and it got me thinking. Consider this, next time you’re up against a challenge, a client has asked for what seems impossible or higher improbably.

Early in the 16th century, a gentleman turned up in a smaller villiage down the valley called Coalbrookdale. A gentleman by the name of Abraham Darby I and took over an existing iron forge. Forging iron was an inaccurate, non-repeatable process and the quality of the product produced was not what you or I would expect. And somewhat dangerous - the forge Darby took over blew up a few years before he arrival). What Darby did was look at the process (which previously used charcoal), use da different material for smelting (coke), developed the Blast Furnace and refined the method until it reached pretty much what we have today. You would think that kick starting the Industrial Revolution would be enough for his family.

About 80 years later, his grandson, Abraham Darby III, undertook the job of building a bridge across the valley in which his family’s business worked, a bridge designed by a local architect (who would never see it completed). What was unique about this bridge was that it took his grandfather’s new process (now three generations old) to new scales and new heights. Building a cast iron bridge, simply hadn’t been done before, so everything, from casting moulds, to joints (many mimic joints typically found in carpentry as these were well established) had to be developed from scratch. Few of us will be lucky to work on projects that will still be active, working and so impressively current in 200 years time.

So next time you’re looking at your workload, looking at a new challenge that comes in and it seems tough; think back. Think back to a time when innovation actually mean true, honest-to-god, innovation. When you had to make things up from scratch to move forward, when advances were discussed in generations and history was made.

If you’re ever in the area, visit ironbridge or the various museums (Blists Hill, and the Museum of Iron) around there. For anyone with an engineering interest, its the hot bed of so much that it can’t fail to be fascinating.

PS: Interesting thing: SolidWorks have a fantastic PR lady by the name of Darby Johnson - yup, she’s related. Synchronicity - its a wonderful thing.

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