More and more, design team members are jumping from platform to platform, whether it's PLM, CAD, CAE, or EDM, the whole alphabet soup. We're seeing a trend in design tool integration that intends to help product engineers through these disparate tools. The goal is to make the transition from one platform to another smooth and un-disturbing. The time suck and data loss is the downside that the tool integrations are trying to overcome.
In this move toward design tool integration, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software provider Aras Corp. and EDM company Zuken have put together an integrated platform to help design engineers manage cross-discipline product development. The platform brings together electrical and electronic design data from design creation to manufacturing and makes it available to PLM users. The new solution was created to span enterprise processes across the lifecycle, as well as detailed electrical design and manufacturing.
The Aras/Zuken integration of the PLM and the EDM is structured in three levels. "The engineering team is already connected to the PLM. What Ara and Zuken have agreed to implement is a three-tier model," Bob Potock, VP of Marketing at Zuken, told Design News. "We set it up with authoring tools at the bottom; the EDM system is above that with library and design data; and the EDM system is connected into the PLM system."
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The partnership was created to deliver functionality that brings together a domain-specific work-in-process library and design data management system and integrate it with the enterprise PLM platform. The idea is to replace traditional zip-up-the-directory functionality with new capabilities that include where-used traceability for IP blocks and components, merging of design and manufacturing processes, and enhanced engineering-change-order processes. "Traditionally, the PLM companies tried to connect directly to the authoring tools. The check-in and check-out is integrated directly into the PLM," said Potock. "In the past, the PLM system could manage the metadata but couldn't manage the CAD data. In this model, the PLM and EDM are very complementary."
Potock noted that the PLM system will manage the component metadata, which includes qualified vendors, costing, the needs of the manufacturing process and so forth. The goal is that the data propagates down to the EDM system and on to the engineer's desktop in one consolidated view. "In the past, the engineer would have to look into the PLM, and then look into the CAD library, and that can take a lot of time that involves component research and selection," said Potock. "In the end, they'd go to manufacturing with an incomplete parts list." The integration was designed to solve that difficulty.
Potock noted that the integration is a new move for Aras and Zuken. It will be released in early 2017. The move is a response to an underlying design methodology shift. "Designing products for the platform is not just 3D, its 3D multi-board," said Potock. "You import the MCAD enclosure and do your clearance checking. The move is from 2D centric to 3D centric with engineering. That's an interesting topic in our industry. We hear a number of stories where companies have gone to manufacturing with the wrong component."
Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 15 years, 12 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.