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.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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