Beth, that makes perfect sense. Do you have any idea how this is going from a change management point of view? I would guess that the senior engineers are not as bullish on the collaboration tools as the younger engineers who probably worked with collaboration tools during their college years.
From what I hear from engineers and the vendors like SolidWorks, the two domains don't work completely in isolation (that would be impossible in today's day and age of highly complex products), but the tools are not anywhere close to integrated thus requiring a lot of manual passing back and forth of data and no where near in real time. Those traditional workflows with non-integrated tools open the door for a lot of mistakes and omissions--all of which lead to potential design problems. The idea between these integrated tool sets is to minimize those inconsistencies and get everyone on the same page.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.