The early days of a given technology are almost always accompanied by futurists bloviating on where they guess, er, see the technology evolving to. Often this is to the detriment of the technology, its wide adoption and the legions of soured users who bought tomorrow’s rosy prediction but got today’s dull reality. Perhaps no technology suffered more from that phenomenon than PLM (product lifecycle management). While PLM as of this writing still does not walk the dog, it has begun to move out of a Bill of Material-centric design engineering existence and into a more inclusive lifestyle that accommodates cross-disciplinary, cross-border and concurrent engineering and business processes. Aras Corp. recently released version 10 of Aras Innovator open PLM platform, and there’s no better example of evolving into what once was a pundit’s prediction.
Aras Innovator 10 is partially the result of a ton of non-flashy but critical infrastructure coding. That’s not to say version 10 lacks user-intoxicating flash. Hardly, but we’ll get to that in a second.
First, let’s start with the sublime: Aras Innovator has fewer lines of code. That means better efficiency and performance than earlier versions. The company is also pretty certain Aras Innovator is the fastest PLM platform for multi-CAD with Check-in / Check-out. The software’s management capabilities streamline and automate the Check-in / Check-out process for entire CAD assembly structures. Features include a rapid status check for an entire CAD structure and high-performance parallel, asynchronous file check-ins for each level of the CAD structure. As an aside, the Aras Innovator 10 code has also been enhanced to make it easier for you to do things like develop mobile applications or deploy to the cloud.
Second, is a big enchilada: Scalability has been enhanced to handle 100 users to more than 100,000 users on a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 database foundation. In a nutshell, that means Aras Innovator is engineered to work with and support the new norm: global cross-disciplinary and concurrent engineering and business processes. You know, multiple engineering and design centers, supply networks often with design authority, and multiple internal and outsourced manufacturing sites. The scalability factor here recognizes that product complexity — mechanical designs, electronics, software, firmware and so on — and global design and build anywhere strategies mean more PLM users and that means more constantly changing data to control, manage, secure, track and disseminate.
Third, the flash: Aras Innovator 10 introduces an HTML5 browser interface. Now, the web browser user interface provides application functionality for such processes as multi-CAD design management, BOM supervision, 3D PDF visualization, configuration management, engineering changes, quality and project portfolio management. To the user, it also brings interface elements that are similar to applications like MS Office 2013. And the company says it redid Aras Innovator’s icons to more clearly indicate the command or item type. It all boils down to this: Aras Innovator should be easy to use for a wider assortment of users.
Here’s one more interesting tidbit about Aras Innovator 10: It now supports Firefox running on Windows or Mac OS workstations. What’s interesting here is that Aras says Firefox support was the most voted for item ever on its Direct Roadmap. That Roadmap is a “talk to Aras” capability where you can tell these guys what you’d like to see in future releases of the Aras Innovator PLM platform and complement of tailored solutions.
Think about that for a second. Firefox support is the thing people wanted the most out of their PLM system developer? That, more than anything else, tells you that Aras is onto something that you might want to check out. You can start your due diligence by reading today’s Pick of the Week write-up. You’ll find links at the end to more information, including a video. You can even download Aras Innovator 10 and see what you get out of the box. The download is surprisingly small, but your payback from learning more could be huge.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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