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
Bunkspeed is a familiar name to CAD users, especially to small and mid-size design shops and engineering houses. Many routinely use its affordable, easy-to-use rendering package SHOT to turn 3D models into photorealistic images. Previously known as HyperShot, the product was once powered by Luxion’s CPU-driven rendering technology, but in late 2009, it switched to mental images‘ iray engine, a GPU-driven technology. This added in SHOT the options to render on CPU, GPU, or both (hybrid mode). Since mental images is a wholly owned subsidiary of NVIDIA, Bunkspeed also becomes part of the GPU fan club.
Circulating in a different sphere, RTT (Realtime Technology) sells its sophisticated augmented reality solutions the enterprise crowd. The RTT DeltaGen software suite, for instance, comes with the RTT RealView module, which lets automakers visualize and interact with digital prototypes in physical space, using physical navigation devices (such as tablets). This creates a mixed reality environment in which automakers may inspect how a new hood that exists only in the digital realm might look like on a current model. Unlike making such inspections using rendered still images or animation sequences, RTT’s technology allows such studies to take place in real-time with instant feedback based on user interaction.
The matchmaker for RTT and Bunkspeed might have been their mutual commitment to GPU computing, a market led by NVIDIA. Both presented their products at NVIDIA’s headquarter in Santa Clara, California, during the launch of a new line of Fermi-class Quadro cards (Quadro 4000, 5000, 6000, and Quadro Plex 7000). Like Bunkspeed, RTT has recently signed on to license mental images’ rendering technology to power its product line (the agreement was announced in March 2010).
This week, RTT bought a majority stake in Bunkspeed. In the official announcement, RTT’s cofounder and director Ludwig Fuchs said, “Bunkspeed and RTT have each established unique positions within their market segments. While RTT addresses process-oriented 3D visualization solutions for larger corporations, Bunkspeed has established an excellent offering for quick visualization tools at an attractive price point. From a strategic point of view, we see the collaboration with Bunkspeed as a great addition to our portfolio.”
Bunkspeed users need not worry that the product might become inaccessible under the reign of enterprise-focused RTT. “We’re not going to change either company as a result of this acquisition,” said Peter Stevenson, COO of RTT USA. “[Bunkspeed] will continue to function on its own. Day to day, RTT and Bunkspeed will continue down their separate paths, [serving] two different markets.”
In the background, however, RTT and Bunkspeed plan to pool their resources to pursue shared R&D efforts, covering more grounds with less.
“Our software used to be one large master suite, DeltaGen,” noted Stevensen. “We’re breaking it up now into different modules.” One of the latest modules to emerge from RTT is RTT RealFluid, for visualizing computer-aided fluid and flow analysis results within a photo-realistic environment. (One important distinction: RealFluid is not an analysis program like those from MSC Software or ANSYS; it allows you to import your analysis results and CAD geometry into the same package to view it in an interactive environment.)
Today, most renderers are driven by either CPU or GPU, observed Stevensen. “What we would like to do is to include two ore more renderers to allow [our clients] to pick and choose from. Going to the next level, the software will look at your machine and use the appropriate renderer for the job.” Bunkspeed SHOT currently allows users to render on CPU, GPU, or in a hybrid mode, an approach that fits into RTT’s strategy.
As RTT loosenens its purse strings for Bunkspeed, RTT itself is also getting a fresh infusion of cash, from none other than the German manufacturing titan Siemens. RTT’s “continuous double-digit growth since its inception in 1999″ convinced Siemens Venture Capital (SVC) to participate, according to RTT’s announcement. SVC’s investment in RTT amounts to a 10% stake, according to Stevensen.
“SVC has the means and the know-how to bring RTT to the next level. We look forward to starting this new era of our company’s development, which will offer us additional growth opportunities,” stated RTT’s Fuchs. SVC is the seed fund that comes from the parent company of Siemens PLM Software, the division responsible for developing and marketing high-end 3D modeler NX.