It appears at least one enterprise software vendor is taking CAD integration seriously. IFS North America is going to showcase at its customer forum next week in Chicago a beta launch of a new SOA-based CAD integration capability for its IFS Applications enterprise software suite.
The new integration, which will ship to initial customers in November with general availability slated for early 2009, differs from traditional CAD interfaces offered by ERP vendors, according to IFS officials. Most CAD-to-ERP interfaces import and export data in and out of CAD tools, which can lead to synchronization problems because data is maintained in two separate product data management databases, IFS officials maintained. IFS’ approach aims for real-time integration by leveraging Web services built into its SOA architecture to share PDM data common to both engineering and manufacturing systems, they explained. IFS said it will cater to customers that want to keep the engineering and manufacturing data separate by delivering a future release that will also support a more traditional integration model.
The interface can be accessed from many popular CAD applications, making it easier for disparate CAD applications to co-exist within an organization. The IFS adapters will support multiple CAD platforms, including AutoCAD, Inventor, PTC PRO/Engineer and SolidWorks.