In anticipation of a growing set of regulatory requirements,
PTC has acquired technology from Synapsis Technology Inc. that will
bolster the environmental compliance capabilities of its Windchill PLM platform.
The deal, in which PTC acquired the business assets of the
privately-held, 25-person company, gives the PLM provider a patented solution
that supports product compliance tracking at the substance, material and part
level, in addition to the product level. Moreover, the compliance solution also
delivers support for the European Union's Registration,
Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), the latest
in a fast-increasing list of environmental regulations. REACH, which targets
hazardous substances in products termed very high concern (SVHC), may ban up to
3,000 chemicals used in a wide variety of products, from electronics to
automobiles and children's toys. Failure to comply with REACH or any of the
other environmental compliance initiatives can have severe consequences for
manufacturers, including losing the ability to ship products to the EU along
with the resulting revenue loss.
While PTC currently offers an environmental compliance
solution for Windchill – the Windchill Environmental Regulatory Compliance
template – the solution was specifically tuned to handle Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)
and Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and wasn't up to date
on the emerging set of regulatory requirements, according to Chad Hawkinson,
PTC's vice president of product strategy for the electronics industry.
"PTC had a good, basic solution for environmental compliance
... but over the last nine months, the level of requirements and number of people
asking for robust support for long-term compliance needs has really
skyrocketed," Hawkinson says. "Compliance is no longer strictly at a product
level like RoHS – it's now a requirement at a substance level, and there are
potential changes to RoHS moving forward.
Regulations are expanding in their purview."
Jim Brown, president of consulting firm Tech-Clarity Inc., believes
manufacturers must do more than implement a one-off solution to address the
compliance issue, which he calls significant and growing steadily. "Many
companies took a 'brute force' approach complying with RoHS
for the EU, and now they are facing additional regulations such as REACH and
new RoHS regulations from around the globe," he says. "Those companies that
took a brute force challenge have the same big job in front of them each time a
new regulation comes out, whereas those that have put a compliance framework
in place that consists of strong configuration management (PDM) and regulatory
analysis will be ready to respond more effectively, more rapidly and at a
significantly reduced cost."
Rather than build its own solution, PTC determined the
Synapsis Technology was the "best-in-class" technology on the market, already
in use at such marquee companies as Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, IBM, and Cisco,
among others, for handling their RoHS, WEEE, ELV and REACH compliance
needs. The software, called eMARS, is
currently the compliance solution offered as part of Siemens PLM Software's
Teamcenter PLM platform, and Hawkinson says PTC will continue to honor that
The software is available immediately from PTC, and the
company will announce its long-term integration plan for Windchill in the near
future, Hawkinson says.