Another good point. Several of the ERP vendors (SAP and Oracle, in particular) offer PLM capabilities as part of their enterprise suites. This would be a natural area for them to expand and frankly, one where they might have more depth in terms of domain expertise and capabilities compared with the more engineering-oriented PLM providers.
You nailed it, Greg. The PLM vendors definitely see opportunity (to of course, satisfy a need to drive revenue) by extending the vision of a lifecycle-centered platform to other product-related areas outside of straight engineering and R&D. Service actually is a really good complement in that much of the data and materials needed to improve service are rooted in the engineering area and a lot of what's collected and unearthed by service professionals can really be instrumental in evolving future iterations of a product.
Interesting article which shows how PTC recognizes value in all areas of product life cycle managment, especially servicing the product. Big change from several years ago when traditional PLM software was more product development centered. I can see where PTC and other CAD software providers will continue to branch out and add other life cycle management modules to their product offerings.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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