CAD and PLM vendors may have discovered a new goldmine: environmental impact assessment (also known as lifecycle assessment, LCA in short).
Last year, both Autodesk and SolidWorks made advances by striking up partnerships with firms already established in the new frontier. Autodesk’s collaboration with Sustainable Minds brought about a way for Autodesk Inventor users to analyze a product’s environmental impact from an exported bill of materials (BOM). SolidWorks’ agreement with PE International gave birth to SolidWorks Sustainability Xpress.
The latest one to ride into town is PTC. With its acquisition of Planet Metric, the company vows to expand its InSight product line, previous acquisition of Synapsis Technology (December 2008). InSight remains an independent PTC product, apart from its two other project lines: Pro/ENGINEER for mechanical design and Windchill for lifecycle management.
“The core of PTC’s Insight Product Analytics solution is built upon delivering a suite of capabilities to enable bill of material (BOM) analysis for environmental performance, cost, and reliability,” PTC announces. “[Planet Metrics'] technology enables manufacturers and retailers to model, analyze, and optimize carbon emissions and energy use throughout the entire value chain, from concept to end-of-life. The Planet Metrics software includes an exhaustive, normalized database of environmental profiles and combines both analytics and intuitive heat map displays that make it easy to identify high-impact ‘hot spots’ in materials, packaging, supply chain, transportation, and disposal.”
“The science behind lifecycle assessment is complicated, often based on data that’s several years old” acknowledges Andrew Wertkin, PTC’s VP of product and technology. “It’s difficult to talk in absolutes. It takes a lot of work to get to the point where talking about [analysis results] in absolutes is even remotely possible. The idea [behind our acquisition] is to let customers quickly model parts, products, suppliers, so that they can analyze not just single parts but entire product lines.”
Planet Metrics’ offering for supply chain management, product innovation, and manufacturing is called Rapid Carbon Modeling, designed “to identify the emissions and energy tradeoffs of material substitutions and quantify embodied emissions and energy throughout the product lifecycle.”
Wertkin explains that PTC plans to deliver Planet Metrics’ features as a module inside InSight. “However, our customers, whether they’re using Windchill, MatrixOne (from Dassault Systemes), or Teamcenter (from Siemens PLM), will be able to take the results — what’s known as verdicts (did the project meet cost targets, sustainability targets, compliance?) — and load them to their PLM (product lifecycle management) systems, all the way down to CAD libraries.”
For more on this topic, read the following posts:
- “Sage Advice on Sustainability,” July 1, 2009
- “A Look at SolidWorks Sustainability Xpress (Or How Green is Homer Simpson’s Beer Can?),” Sep 3, 2009
- “Sliding into Sustainable Mindset: Test-Driving Sustainable Minds 1.0,” Nov 9, 2009