If you buy into the idea of using Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) to improve design efforts, but you're turned off by the cost and hassle of adapting one of the standard systems to your specific needs, here's a heads-up: Design News has learned that EDS PLM Solutions later this year will break away from the PLM-industry practice of developing plain-vanilla products and release versions of its Teamcenter PLM suite designed for specific industries. Initial targets: automotive, aerospace, medical, consumer packaged goods, electronics, and industrial equipment. The strategy is a takeoff on the approach Microsoft and Oracle, among other companies, have adopted for some of their products. EDS admits that a hint of its customization strategy was in the architecture for the PLM product it developed for technicians at Tinker Air Force Base. That product, specifically designed for the Tinker application, will run on a tablet PC and give engineers access to reliability and maintenance data technicians gather in the field. Engineers can use that info to make the next generation of aircraft better. Feedback like that is the whole point of PLM. Now that EDS will make the process industry-specific (i.e. easier to implement), more companies may be interested. If so, look for other PLM vendors to follow suit.
Most machine design engineers will survey existing component manufacturers for standard linear guide products, limiting what they can do with their designs. Using extruded aluminum profile guides can customize machine designs while shrinking the bill of materials.
Practically all electronic devices today contain metals that may
be coming from conflict-ravaged African countries. And political pressures will increasingly influence how these minerals are sourced and used in products.
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