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Sometimes making a claw fist and putting it front of your CAD data doesn’t have the data manipulating effect you want it to. Nope, neither does two claw fists or the hiss of a toothless cat. What will scare that data into a finely structured process flow and multi-level bill of material is a little thing-a-ma-bop called PLM… Product Lifecycle Management. It doesn’t get more exciting boys and girls. Many a CAD software developer has top-heavy application to handle all that, but Aras is breaking the decaying mold of data management, first by delivering a product that’s open source and as of this week, delivering another product that takes the SolidWorks Enterprise PDM system you have spent years implementing and extends the living workflow right out of it. It’s called Aras-EPLM and if you’re a SolidWorks data-org-whore, or involved with SolidWorks data in any way, you’re gonna love it…

Aras-EPLM for SolidWorks EPDM

For as long as I’ve been involved with the terror of managing data, setting up custom PDM systems and stabbing my neck with the blunt end of server dongles, I’ve wanted something that simply uses what I already have. I actually looked into the full, attractively open-source, Aras PLM platform in the past, but it wasn’t going to be as easy to integrate (by only myself and an incpompetent IT group) as I would have liked. Sure I could have paid for implementation from Aras or Razorleaf, but what’s the fun (and reduced frustration) in that?

Anyaway, Aras-EPLM is exactly the solution I was looking for – keep SolidWorks EPDM and scale it without having to replace it. As told by the Aras-EPLM website, here are the big bennys…

  • Built on top of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM
  • Business-ready PLM Functionality Out-of-the-Box
  • Extends Processes Across the Company & Supply Chain
  • Drives Cross-Functional Collaboration
  • Easy-to-Use Web-Browser Screens
  • Scalable & Secure

I caught up with Marc Lind from Aras to find out a little more about these benefits.

What exactly is Aras-EPLM extending?
We’ve taken our open source PLM solutions and packaged them up with an out-of-the-box integration directly to SolidWorks EPDM. This way EPDM provides the WIP CAD file management for the SolidWorks designers and the Aras solution enables people from purchasing, production, quality, sales, etc with NPDI, EBOM (mech, elec, sw, fw, packaging and other items), config management / full product structure, project, suppliers, quality compliance and more. Functionality details are all here.

Is it completely web-based?
Aras EPLM is completely web-based for all the PLM processes and of course EPDM environment is exactly the same. Technology info is here. Furthermore, it can be installed directly on a company’s servers and because EPLM is a pure Web architecture (it’s Aras Innovator under the covers) it’s entirely TCPIP using HTTP/HTTPS, which means, it is ‘completely web-based’ and can basically be installed anywhere; in a Cloud deployment/hosted on Amazon EC2 or other standard hosting provider, as well as, on-premise (i.e. on a company’s servers).

How is it going to help the SolidWorks user?
This means companies that run SolidWorks can implement global PLM processes w/o ripping out EPDM as would be required with Teamcenter, Agile or PDMlink. SolidWorks users can continue using their system for data management w/o disruption and leverage that investment as the basis for a full scale PLM environment.

How does this compete with/complement the SolidWorks n!Fuze product?
It doesn’t ‘compete’ with n!Fuze. In fact, you can use it with n!Fuze which is really designed for file sharing (although not integrated to n!Fuze at this point). Think of EPLM more like Teamcenter or Agile for complex configuration management, global product development, and enterprise-wide PLM processes.

More info at http://www.aras-eplm.com/eplm-faq.aspx

So, is this more along the lines of what you’re looking for to finally take that dive into PLM?

Aras EPLM seamlessly connects parts, BOMs, drawings, suppliers and more into the project plan as deliverables and milestones with visibility.

Aras EPLM seamlessly connects parts, BOMs, drawings, suppliers and more into the project plan as deliverables and milestones with visibility.

Aras EPLM turns your SolidWorks CAD BOM into a true Item-based, Multi-level Engineering Bill of Materials ready for release to manufacturing.

Aras EPLM turns your SolidWorks CAD BOM into a true Item-based, Multi-level Engineering Bill of Materials ready for release to manufacturing.

Aras EPLM leverages business process management to streamline changes and achieve a standardized change process enterprise-wide.

Aras EPLM leverages business process management to streamline changes and achieve a standardized change process enterprise-wide.

Filed under: CAD