PLM

Prelude to COFES 2014: Time to Break the Code To Rebuild It?

The iPhone’s Siri and Windows’ upcoming Cortana may not be as intrusive as the fictional AI Samantha from the Sci-fi rom-com Her, but, with every new incarnation, they would get more personal, more intelligent, more AI-like. (You can bet they’ll remember your appointments better than you do.) Game consoles like Xbox Kinect can now “see” you, in a manner of speaking; using camera view, they can process, remember, and respond to your gestures and expressions. Yet, most engineering and design software still seems entrenched in the mouse-and-keyboard paradigm. Will Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES) yield an inspiring outlook for the state of CAD, CAM, CAE? Continue reading

Battling the Spreadsheet Loyalists: A User Story for the ACE 2014 Conference

When he assumed the role of a project traffic cop at CNH Industrial Parts & Service, Collin Fagan didn’t realize the tangled web he was stepping into. He had a rude awakening when someone showed him the company’s project-tracking method. It was “a 165-column spreadsheet with more than 70 pivot tables, with thousands and thousands of rows,” he recalled.

Despite its complex setup, the spreadsheet wasn’t accurate either, because it relied on more than 20 users to input departmental statistics. Fagan recalled a colleague spending days fixing data errors resulting from input. Just to check on the status of certain parts in development, it took rounds of communication from senior staff. “These were talented engineers hired at fairly expensive rates,” Fagan noted, “and we were wasting their time — at least 20-25 hours a week — just on data gathering.”

It quickly became clear to Fagan that, instead of managing product launches, he risked becoming a clerical person. So he decided to take a stand. “I went to my boss, and I said, ‘Fire me if you have to, but I won’t take over that spreadsheet.’ ” Fortunately, Fagan’s boss agreed the business had outgrown the spreadsheet. Fagan, responsible for product development & platform integration, is a much happier man now that project activities are flowing through Aras PLM, implemented a year ago. Continue reading

Prelude to GTC 2014: Redesigning PLM for the I-Want-It-My-Way Consumers

At Converse’s design-your-own-sneaker portal, you get to create your own pair of Chuck Taylor, Jack Purcell, or Poorman. You pick the fabric print. You pick the sole and lace colors. You can even specify the eyelets — the rings through which you fasten your lace. Want something with more support than a lightweight Converse? Head over to Reebok to design your own running shoes. Marvel now lets you envision your own crime-fighting crusader at its Create Your Own Superhero portal. You choose the skin type, the headgear, and the outfit. If you’re so enamored by your custom superhero that you’d like to put him or her on your iPhone cover, head over to Skinit to upload the saved image and order your own cover.

The DYI consumerism is now spilling into larger products, including cars. Ford wants you to create your own custom Mustang V6, Gt, or GT500. Renault and Maserati are also happy to let you configure your own car online, outfitting it with from preferred bodywork, wheels, and carpets. Partly driven by instant visualization over the web, partly driven by the buyers’ participatory behavior, shopping seems to heading into the virtual world, into an environment that accommodates instant input and feedback. Continue reading

Introducing Jack and Jill: Your (Free) Virtual Factory Employees

Jack and Jill — the two avatars from Siemens PLM’s Tecnomatix Jack software –are about to head into classrooms.

Jack and Jill are made of pixels, not flesh and blood, so you can subject them to extreme conditions, command them to lift unreasonable loads, or squeeze them into tight corners without guilt. They’re your guinea pigs to test plant floors, factory layouts, and assembly line configurations, among other things. Automotive and aerospace manufacturers use them routinely in the discipline known as process simulation. Last week, Siemens PLM released an academic license of Jack, available for free. Continue reading

aPriori Update Helps Engineers Weigh Cost Viability of Product Designs

While engineers have made simulation of structural properties or fluid dynamics an integral part of their workflows, they haven’t applied the same rigor to analyzing the cost aspect of product designs—a scenario aPriori hopes to change with the latest release of its flagship product cost management software.

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