Sometimes you wake up in the morning, stretch, slap yourself and get a grin on your face right before screaming ‘PLM!’ in your best Robert DiNero voice. Sure, it’s completely traumatized the kids, but you’re amped and ready to start your day.
It goes without saying then, that you’ll want a nice dose of what Siemens is up to. They’re screamin’ PLM right along with you and what they featured this week, at their annual PLM Connection event, is a sure sign they’ve got some brilliant ideas for product development.
There are at least five things you will want to know about Siemens, NX and Solid Edge. So, down that scalding coffee and crack your knuckles, cause here we go.
1. HD3D is simply incredible
When Siemens launched NX 7, they included a component which brought in an extremely intuitive and visually stunning way to slap relevant data against your geometry. They called it High Definition 3D (HD3D). Not the 1040p variety. This HD links with Teamcenter data management and puts the experience of data visualization right in the modeling environment. It’s a perfect project overview tool, in that there is no need to switch between your PDM/PLM system and the model to find the info you’re looking for. Here’s a video that helps you get the idea, but when you use it, you’ll get the sense that you’re floating between completely consolidate information about your models. It’s incredibly well-done.
HD-PLM is the Future… right now
You better believe it. HD-PLM is the future, or maybe it’s an alternate future, where designers can monitor your clothing iron usage, give you real-time vehicle diagnostics or make you suck less at golf. Whatever it is, or will be, it’s aim is more visuals on any peripheral. Announced at the May 2010 Shanghai World Exposition, HD-PLM is the framework that HD3D is built on. You’re getting fed that beautiful info in the modeling environment because of it and when you’re not admiring the pretty colors, you’re making faster decisions about the design. So you’re seeing it now, but they’ve also got a great idea of how it will all look in the future. Here’s the video. (Doesn’t remind me at all of a similar video from SolidWorks on the future of design, not at all.)
2. They’re actually using the Cloud
Well… kinda. At PLM Connection 2010, Don Richardson, Microsoft’s Worldwide Director PLM Solutions, demoed the Siemens extension of their HD3D visualization… live. It’s the precursor to the future of HD-PLM you saw above. A visual, web-based framework to access information wherever you have that connection. He demonstrated Teamcenter access via the web with Windows Azure serving as the platform for the cloud computing consumption. It was actually the perfect example of cloud computing… and what happens when you try to get a connection over a wifi network that 1500 other people are using. The demo certainly stood up to cloud app stereotypes, but it’s there and (being made more) usable.
3. Their User Event is Big
The 2010 Siemens PLM Connection conference had 1500+ users in attendance. Now, with events like SolidWorks World boasting 4500+ users and Autodesk University pushing 6000, that doesn’t make it one of the largest, but the event itself spreads technical sessions and keynotes out over 4 days. The event is organized by the PLM World organization whose board members are made up of real users with experience across the Siemens product line. This year’s event was the first that included member of the press, analysts and bloggers, myself being among 35 others in attendance.
4. Teamcenter and NX are used in a majority of automotive and aerospace companies
Check out these slide shown during the general session at PLM Connections 2010 below. Now, I know it’s easy to skew this kind of info and that many companies use multiple software packages depending on the design. So what, it’s still interesting. Especially the visual of companies that don’t use NX, but do use Teamcenter to manage their data. Six out of the top sixteen shown use NX. Nine use Teamcenter. Which way will the PLM fall? hmmm. The other slide shows some obscure data and the high profile brands using Siemens products. Other companies could display similar slides, but it certainly shows that Siemens is not sitting back, waiting to see what happens.
5. Solid Edge with ST is hot
You’ve got a lot of options for history free, direct editing MCAD modelers – Spaceclaim, CoCreate, KeyCreator along with the direct editing mix being thrown into SolidWorks and Pro/E. Siemens has their own mix and I’ve gotta say, I like the approach they’re taking with Synchronous Technology (ST). Solid Edge and NX both use ST to provide the option for direct geometry editing without a history of features. The current version is ST2 with ST3 right around the corner. It’s fluid and they’ve developed solid functionality with the Steering Wheel (for modifying the geometry) and Live Rules (for constraining the geometry). The part shown below is simple, but shows how dimensions can be added to define the geometry. The video shows a better example within an assembly, how the Live Rules kick in and how the Steering Wheel is used to change geometry.
Disclosure: Siemens picked up conference and hotel expenses for SolidSmack attendance to PLM Connection 2010. They did not pay for any posts, comments or odd phrases about goats appearing on SolidSmack.com.