PTC: Not Your Father’s CAD Company

To be fair, PTC has been moving away from its mechanical engineering roots for quite some time, expanding into Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) with the 2011 acquisition of MSK Integrity and branching out even further with the Servigistics deal, which launched it into the service lifecycle management space.

With last December’s $112 million of ThingWorx, PTC set its sights on the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape, and if this week’s PTC Live 2014 event is any indication, it is it where PTC is directing its future. Beyond the launch of Creo 3.0 (details to follow later), the event was chock full of keynotes, customer presentations, and announcements in the SLM, embedded software, and IoT space, with very little talk of traditional CAD and PLM mechanical engineering software. Continue reading

Tuna Robot Navigates Biomimicry Waters

Not only is the tuna a strong swimmer, but the front portion of its body remains stable as it propels itself through water. This unique style of movement was the inspiration for a U.S. Navy project, which employed biomimickry practices to create the optimal design for an autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle.

The so-called tuna robot, designed in partnership with Boston Engineering, builds off the seaworthy profile of the tuna and includes a propulsion system, a single oscillating foil, appropriately placed fins, and a finely-tuned muscular and sensory control system. The full set of technology makes the tuna robot efficient at a variety of speeds, unlike a traditional thruster propulsion system, which is typically optimized to operate at a single velocity. Continue reading

PTC Steers Toward the Internet of Things

PTC’s recent $112 million acquisition of ThingWorx steers it directly into the path of the Internet of Things (IoT), an era where increasingly smart and connected products generate real-time operational data streams that can be captured and analyzed to fuel innovation and generate new revenue streams.

ThingWorx is an early-stage company delivering a platform that enables companies to build and run applications for monitoring, maintaining, and operating products. Using the ThingWorx platform, companies in such industries as oil and gas and manufacturing are developing IoT applications that track the flow of products or physical assets through the factory, manage the performance of individual machines or systems in the field, as well as monitor systems and products as part of a predictive maintenance strategy. Continue reading

PTC Tunes PLM for Conflict Minerals Compliance

Amidst the backdrop of an already complex regulatory landscape, manufacturers will soon be facing yet another compliance directive—this one requiring them to investigate the sources of certain materials for origination in the war-torn region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, companies listed on the U.S. stock exchanges have until May 14, 2014 to comply with a directive to investigate whether the sources of tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold used in their products are from the region in question and thus are considered so-called “conflict minerals.”

It’s not just the 12,000 publicly-traded companies that are on the hook. The compliance requirements are applicable to the entire supply chain, which means the hundreds of thousands of component suppliers also need to have systems and processes in place to orchestrate compliance with the forthcoming conflict mineral regulations.

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Wanted: Students to Design Unamanned Aircraft for Agriculture

On the outset, the challenge for the high school students seems straightforward: design “a UAS (unmanned aircraft system), which may have a fixed wing, rotorcraft, or hybrid design.” But this UAS needs to perform certain mission-critical tasks. It needs to fly over the cornfields of Iowa and pick out areas affected by a pest known as the European Corn Borer (in its lava stage, it can tunnel into the corn’s ear and feed on the plant). Oh, by the way, the project needs to stay within budget and come with a business plan.

The prizes are: $50,000 scholarships from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to each student on the national winning team; and a $1,000 stipend to the teacher who best integrates the challenge into their curriculum.

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