Siemens PLM Connection: Declaring Victory in the Land of Automobile; Forging into Interactive Tech Pubs
Hard-fought battles are paying off for Siemens PLM Software, especially in the realm of automakers, according to Siemens PLM Software’s chairman and CEO Tony Affuso. Speaking to Siemens faithfuls at PLM Connection Americas User Conference 2011 (Las Vegas, May 2-5), he relished in the fact that “24 of the top 25 automotive OEMS (original equipment manufacturers) now use Siemens PLM software.”
Affuso has good reasons to be giddy — over 3 million seats and five quarters of double-digit growth, for instance. Another might be the company’s most recent deal, a 10-year contract with Daimler AG. The automaker, well-known for its Mercedes-Benz brand, will replace its current CAD system with Siemens’ NX. “As part of the worldwide 10-year agreement, Daimler AG will begin using Siemens PLM Software’s technology in its first vehicle series beginning in 2012. Siemens PLM Software will begin enabling Daimler’s vast network of suppliers beginning July 2011,” Siemens announced.
Siemens and its rivals continue to court new businesses in previous unexplored territories, such as life sciences, fashion and apparel, and consumer goods packaging. But big spenders in aerospace and automotive remain the lifeblood of PLM software suppliers like Siemens.
The company is also diving into another area now pursued by nearly all PLM software makers. Betting on interactive online manuals and catalogs as the future of technical documentation, Siemens has just struck a partnership with Cortona3D to sell Cortona3D RapidAuthor software suite with Siemens’ Teamcenter data-management software.
“The integration of Teamcenter with Cortona3D RapidAuthor places documentation authoring, illustration, and publishing within the same PLM environment as product development to align publication activities with product processes and information,” states Siemens. “The capture of Teamcenter product data within Cortona3D RapidAuthor provides automated links between 2D and 3D illustrations and structured text, providing interactive documentation”
Siemens’ French rival Dassault Systemes develops and markets 3DVIA Composer, an interactive tech publishing software that can take advantage of existing CAD files. Siemens U.S. rival PTC offers Arbotext for the same purpose. Autodesk sells Inventor Publisher, a similar publishing product catering its 3D MCAD software users.
Cortona3D’s Cortona RapidAuthor software titles — RapidManual, RapidCatalog, RapidLearning, and RapidWorkInstruction — gives you the ability to create dynamic 3D installation guides and instruction manuals, ready for deployment online. Far more interactive than animations, dynamic 3D scenes and documents produced in Cortona3D’s software allows you to not only view the action sequences but also rotate, zoom in, zoom out, and inspect the 3D data at the desired angle.
More reporting from the conference to follow, including updates on Velocity Series.
DE 15th Podcast Series: Chuck Grindstaff on Synchronous Technology, Mobile Devices, HD-PLM, and More
In 1995, when DE got ready to launch its premiere issue, the company now known as Siemens PLM Software was known by another name, UGS. Asked to reflect on the origin of the firm, the company’s president and CTO Chuck Grindstaff explained how two different but complementary companies — UGS and SDRC — came together in a merger in September 2001 to form the foundation of present day Siemens PLM Software.
“On UGS side, we’ve always been focused on the integration of CAD and manufacturing — CAD and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing),” he said. “The SDRC side was more focused on analysis, CAE (computer-aided engineering).” UGS’s flagship product was its Unigraphics software, whereas SDRC was known for its I-DEAS software.
Unigraphics Version 10, recalled Grindstaff, marked the separation of “CAD data management, the PDM (product data management) that we have since been able to evolve into become Teamcenter, from our CAD offering. So we really broke apart CAD and PDM so those two can evolve at an accelerated pace.”
Grindstaff called Synchronous Technology, which marked Siemens PLM Software’s debut of a new hybrid CAD modeling mode, a mixture of history-free and parametric, “an important game changer” for “the way in which it was able to simultaneously work with subset equations of constraint, topology modeling and modification, and feature recognition.”
He believes “being able to harness the wisdom of the crowd, bring that back in a structured fashion, mine [insight] from it, and feed that back into requirements” make the role of social media a worthy focus for engineers and manufacturers.
To explain the concept of HD-PLM, which will manifest in the form of NX with HD3D, Grindstaff turned to Google Earth. “We have a very complex data set — all the aerial photos you need to navigate, with data on top of that. Where are gas stations? Restaurants? We have the same kind of ideas about navigating complex product data and manufacturing structures,” he said.
He has also been taking note of the swift takeover of mobile devices, like iPad and iPhone. “These devices can really change the way we interact with data stores,” he acknowledged. “You’ll be happy to learn that we’re just in the final phase of testing and releasing some applications for the iPad that reaches into our data stores and provide real-time feedback.”
To support mobile devices, which generally have smaller memory footprint and storage capacity, Siemens PLM Software plans to rely on its lightweight 3D format, JT.
For more, listen to my complete interview with Chuck Grindstaff in the podcast below:
From adding a new robot in the manufacturing floor to correcting a typo in an engineering drawing, from new suppliers to new machine-control programs, Mercury Marine uses Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter to monitor all classes of change and ensure that its business divisions are working on a single source of product data. Similarly, the company uses Teamcenter to encourage part reuse, preventing designers and engineers from spending unnecessary efforts recreating common engine components. The results of this disciplined approach can be seen in Marcury Marine Outboards, known for reliability, fuel efficiency, and performance.
On March 16, in a webinar I’m co-hosting, speakers from Mercury Marine will explain how it:
- transforms home-grown engineering change management systems into a single global engineering change system;
- improves productivity by increasing part reuse; and
- saves time and money by accelerating new product introductions.
To register, go to: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/898518195
Disclosure: I receive compensation to moderate the webinar.
If you’ve been on a luxury sailboat, you may have already seen and felt the power of a Mercury Marine propulsion system. With 4,100 employees dispersed worldwide, Mercury Marine pulls a global manufacturing chain that stretches from Asia and Europe to Mexico, then back to the American heartlands. It maintains facilities in Suzhou, China; Komagane, Japan; Stillwater, Oklahoma; and Charleston, North Carolina, to name but a few locations.
Synchronizing the information streaming through this complex pipeline is one of the biggest challenges when Mercury Marine decided to create a product information backbone–one that would give its engineers, suppliers, and partners “a single source of truth,” in Mercury Marine’s words. The company’s choice was Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter.
In the upcoming webinar I’m cohosting, we’ll speak to Mercury Marine to understand:
- its approach to PLM (product lifecycle management) deployment;
- its implementation experience;
- the benefits and values realized from Teamcenter;
- best practices it came across; and
- the consulting services it now offers.
To register, visit the following link.
- When: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific Time
- Where: In a browser near you
- What: Mercury Marine’s PLM implementation
Note: I receive compensation for moderating the webinar.
- What is HD3D?
- How does it change the way you develop, design, and manufacture new products?
- How can it help you get more out of your design data and enterprise data?
In the Webinar I co-presented with Troy Vanderhoof, Americas NX marketing director for Siemens PLM Software, we addressed these items — and more. In the 60-minute event that marks the release of NX 7 with HD3D, we covered how you might use the software to address CAD (design), CAE (simulation and analysis), and CAM (manufacturing). The presentation is now live.
Traditionally, the 3D geometry of a product lives in a CAD system, and project data, supplier information, deadlines, and the rest lives in another enterprise-level data management system. By bringing them together with NX 7′s visual reporting features, you can eliminate many of the headaches associated with product development.
According to Vanderhoof, Synchronous Technology with direct editing is the single most important improvement added to NX to speed up geometry creation, the task that occupies nearly 80% of an engineer’s time.
In addition to geometry creation, geometry reuse — turning legacy data into 3D data — also happens to be another challenge. Vanderhoof pointed out, “The Copy to 3D capability provides a streamlined path for converting 2D designs into 3D models, without recreating the geometry. This optional work flow enables you to move old 2D designs into new versions as 3D models.”
According to Vanderhoof, more and more designers have begun to perform initial stress tests, FEA tests, and simulations that used to be the exclusive domain of experts and specialists. Advanced simulation in NX 7 encompasses NX Nastran, NX Flow, NX Thermal, PCB (printed circuit board) Thermal Analysis, and other functions. These applications are expected to give designers greater confidence in their products’ stability, durability, safety, and performance.
In computer-aided manufacturing, inadvertently introducing geometry that’s impractical to produce could lead to costly errors and (in the worst case scenario) production shutdown. Vanderhoof explained, “[In NX 7], in preparation for mold making, we can check draft angles, degrees of curvature, wall thickness, and undercuts … There’s also an application called Checkmate to check your corporate standards.”
During the survey, we polled the audience on a series of questions. Here are the results from the live poll:
- Do you spend time searching for information to support decisions? Yes: 90%; No: 10%
- Is it common for your company to see engineering changes until release? Yes: 100%; No: 0%
- Does your company work with CAD Data from different sources? Yes: 85.7%; No: 14.2%
- Do your engineers spend most of their time editing existing designs? Yes: 46%; No: 53%
- Does your company have any problems predicting product performance? Yes: 68.4%; No: 31.5%
- Are you pressed to cut down your product development cycle times? Yes: 100%; No: 0%
Though not identical, Webinar audience responses echo what participants of another survey identified as their top concerns. According to a study conducted by Aberdeen Group, IBM, BCG, and AcuPOLL Research on behalf of Siemens PLM Software:
- 60% of CEO’s seek better information for product decisions.
- Less than 40% of engineering man hours add value.
- 35% of companies continue to see engineering changes until release.
- 166 days on average are spent building and testing physical prototypes.
- 30% of time is spent Searching for information to support decisions.
- 85% of product information lacks product structure.
- 1-3 companies have problems predicting product performance.
- 27% of executives say lack of speed is the biggest obstacle to innovation.
- 95% of new product introductions fail.
Disclosure: I received compensation as a moderator for the Webinar.
For more on NX 7 with HD3D, also read the following blog posts:
- Siemens PLM Connection 2010: NX Goes HD, June 29, 2010
- NX with HD3D: Where CAD Geometry and Lifecycle Data Mingle, November 4, 2009