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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PTC Makes Play for Managed Services

In what some might call a stepping stone to the cloud, PTC has acquired its long-time partner NetIDEAS Inc., which specializes in providing software hosting and services around PLM.

For more than a decade, NetIDEAS has provided secure hosting environments for PTC customers looking to offload the heavy lifting around PLM deployment and day-to-day maintenance. Instead of investing in the server and storage infrastructure to run Windchill PLM on their site (along with the IT personnel to administer the enterprise application), NetIDEAS hosts, administers, and supports Windchill along with providing additional consulting services. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Enigma Acquisition Extends PTC’s Push Into Service Lifecycle Management

Product-centric service has been a mantra for PTC the last couple of years, and the company just initiated another acquisition designed to fill out its Service Lifecycle Management product line and tighten the loop between engineering and service.

As part of PTC’s efforts to stake out new turf beyond CAD and PLM, the company has steadily built out a broad portfolio of products in the SLM space, including modules for service parts planning, field service management, warranty management, technical publishing, returns management, and more. PTC’s strategy is to tap into the growing number of large companies (Eurocopter was a recent win) that are looking to overhaul service processes and build synergies between service groups and engineering to transform service from functioning as a cost center to becoming a steady source of new revenues and profits. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PTC Live Global 2013: This is Your Car, Reminding You to Change Oil

In the flickering light of a candelabra, a mysterious gypsy girl spoke of the future of manufacturing. Studying a series of upturned tarot cards, she declared, “Products as we know them will no longer be the same. Cars will be transformed in many ways. They will not be bought and owned as they are today. Instead, people will buy mobility … We will see it everywhere — products delivered as a service, personalized and optimized to individual needs … It begins with products that are smarter. Software revolutionizes the way people interact with and learn from products. Connected, sharing vast amount of data in the cloud, sending early warnings, receiving continual enhancements, they reach unimagined level of performance and value.”

The voice of the fortuneteller is the voice of PTC, dramatized for the video clip that launched PTC Live Global 2013 conference (Anaheim Convention Center, June 9-12). Later, the company’s senior VP and CTO Andrew Wertkin echoed the gypsy girl’s predictions. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PTC’s Windchill Essentials is Made for SMBs

One of the greatest barriers to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) adoption has been complexity. Not just complexity in how to best leverage the software for real business advantage, but also in how to address the challenging IT support aspects related to the platform, including how to effectively deploy and configure the software to work within a specific technology infrastructure.

While large enterprises have had their fair share of well-publicized bouts trying to tame the PLM beast, small and mid-sized companies (SMBs) have mostly shied away, reluctant to take on a technology many larger companies couldn’t swallow. At the same time, however, smaller manufacturers face a lot of the same product development and engineering challenges as their bigger brethren. Time-to-market pressures, increasingly dispersed and sometimes global engineering teams, and the need for more cost-effective and repeatable design processes have many SMBs hungry for a solution that can help them better coordinate product development strategies, optimize design cycles, and institute better planning. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading