Consider the recent headlines regarding battery problems with the now-grounded and once highly lauded Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, and it’s not hard to see why engineering and manufacturing executives lose lots of sleep over quality issues and why formal quality management programs are so crucial to a product’s ultimate success.
With that in mind, Siemens PLM Software joins a number of other PLM vendors folding quality management capabilities into their PLM platforms. Continue reading
It takes about 14 minutes for a signal from Curiosity rover to reach Earth. From Mars’ atmosphere, it takes the rover about 7 minutes to reach the surface. That means, on March 5, by the time NASA got words that Curiosity had entered the planet’s top atmosphere, the spacecraft had either crashed into or settled on Mars’ soil. Seven more agonizing minutes would pass before the scientists knew if they should uncork the champagne or face a disappointed worldwide audience. Continue reading
Five or six years ago, if you had glanced across the pool of reporters at a tech conference, you would have seen them furiously typing away on their laptops and notebooks, precariously balanced on their knees. A year and a half ago, a few iPads began appearing on the scene, outshining the Netbooks nearby. This week, among the tech scribes and analysts who had traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, to get an update on Siemens PLM Software, the iPads clearly outnumbered other devices. (There were, of course, still a handful editors who showed their preference for the classic medium: pen and paper.) Two keynote presenters openly admitted they couldn’t bear to part with their iPads. They approached the podium with iPads tucked under their arms, even though, to present, they must use a PC loaded with PowerPoint.
As a fitting homage to the triumph of the iPad, Siemens PLM Software swiftly followed up its debut mobile app Teamcenter Mobility 1.0 with an upgrade. The first version was confined almost entirely to remote data access. Simply put, it was a mobile app for iPad users to sign into a Teamcenter database, perform searches, review pending tasks and change orders, and view 3D designs in lightweight JT format. Teamcenter Mobility 2.0, now available for download at Apple app store, adds limited editing and markup functions, along with task initiation options.
The app’s Facebook-style notification shows pending operations with a number (corresponding to the number of tasks and change orders that need attention) displayed over its icon. The app allows you to access online data from its interface, but it also offers an Offline Cache mode, which allows you to download the design file to your iPad’s local storage. When going back online, the app will synch your offline changes to update the online database.
Most notably, Teamcenter Mobility 2.0 includes some basic markup functions, which lets you red-line and annotate Office documents (PDF, Words), design files, and digital photos taken with the iPad. It also lets you play .mov files, which could be used to deliver assembly and repair instructions. Pending tasks and changes can be displayed by due dates and by assigned owners, giving you an easy way to monitor progress. You may also sign off or submit problem reports to Teamcenter database from the iPad app.
Siemens PLM Software’s Active Workspace, currently still in development, is expected to drive the company’s vision for HD-PLM, a visual data management environment. (For more, read “Visualizing the Forest of Data Beyond the Trees,” April 1, 2011.) Eric Sterling, Siemens PLM Software’s senior VP of global marketing, revealed that the company is considering adding multi-touch support for Active Workspace. If the company follows through, it raises the possibility that some HD-PLM functions can be delivered through a mobile app. The company is also hard at work on an Android version of Teamcenter Mobility, currently in prototype phase.
Teamcenter Mobility is available in two editions: free and paid ($19.99). Some functions available in the paid version are not in the free version. The free version serves primarily as an evaluation copy, preloaded with a set of sample data.
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.
The iPad army has knocked down the walls of PLM (product lifecycle management), guarded for years by Windows firewalls and desktop PCs. The mobile workforce has already left its footprint in the portfolios of Autodesk and Dassault Systemes, spawning AutoCAD WS Mobile, SketchBook Mobile, and 3DVIA Mobile, among others. This week, Siemens PLM Software opened its gates, offering up Teamcenter Mobility as its tribute.
In January, in my interview with the company’s president Chuck Grindstaff, he said, “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.”
This week, in the official announcement of Teamcenter Mobility, he said, “By making up-to-the-minute Teamcenter data available at the necessary point of activity, our customers can act immediately on accurate information and further reduce their design and production cycle times. This is entirely consistent with the vision of HD-PLM to help our customers make smarter decisions that result in better products, thus enabling them to establish the competitive advantage of being the first to deliver innovative solutions the market will embrace.”
The application, now available for the iPad at Apple app store, comes in two versions: Teamcenter Mobility ($19.95) and Teamcenter Mobility Free ($0.00). The free license is intended as an evaluation copy. It allows you to connect to Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter server, allowing you to examine the application’s features. The fee-based version lets you connect to your own Teamcenter server (version 8.3).
The application will let you:
- perform Teamcenter searches, filter, and sort to clarify your view;
- access the change-management dashboard to view changes and issues in pie-chart format;
- view task-lists, workflows, and related documents (drawings and 3D JT models, for instance);
- view 3D JT models directly from a web page;
- view revisions and related items for each selected revision;auto-populate forms with user information;
- review and sign of on pending approvals
The app connects to Teamcenter data store through secure socket layer (SSL) and WiFi. It also comes with an off-line mode, allowing you to download content and work where you may not have a WiFi connection. But once you’re connected to the network, the app will synchronize your updates with the server.
While computing-intense functions such as 3D modeling and sophisticated finite element analyses (FEA) are expected to remain on the desktop, many peripheral functions like data management, markup, annotation, and presentation are swiftly moving into the mobile devices.
NEi’s mobile FEA application, previewed earlier this year, is now available for download for free. Though it’s not meant for complex FEA jobs, it lets users perform quick calculations based on load, stress, and primitive shapes, making it ideal for field use.
Ted Schadler, a Forrester analyst who specializes in content and collaboration, advised, “To keep your workforce loving your business applications as they go mobile, you will have to redesign the fundamental architecture for delivering apps. The architecture of Client-Server (and Browser-Server) is inadequate. You will need to build from an architecture of devices and services. The mobile app Internet is that architecture: local apps (including HTML5 browsers) on smart mobile devices and cloud-hosted interactions and data.” (“The Mobile App Internet Wags The IT Dog: A Post For Content & Collaboration Professionals,” February 28, 2011.)
Charles Curtis, another Forrester analyst, observed, “Five years from now, six in 10 U.S. workers — about a quarter of a billion people — will work virtually … The mobile workforce is not just about shiny new devices like smartphones, tablets, and apps. It’s about delivering your workplace experience — across social, content, and collaboration technologies — to employees and customers when and where they need it” (Forrester’s Content and Collaboration Forum 2011 announcement).