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Posts Tagged ‘PTC’

Technology of the Year: The Internet of Things

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

This year we’ve attended several technical meetings and conferences in the design, engineering, and manufacturing realms and have heard one concept/phrase repeated much more than anything else – Internet of Things (IoT). That said, we consider IoT to be the most significant technology of the year for 2014.

Simply, IoT is a newer implementation and outgrowth of an older technology known as Machine-to-Machine (M2M).

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. The term Internet of Things was proposed by Kevin Ashton in 1999, although the concept had been discussed since 1991.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) was seen as a prerequisite for the Internet of Things in the early days. The initial thought was, if all objects and people in daily life were equipped with identifiers, they could be managed and inventoried by computers.

Today, the term IoT is used to denote advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications. Both of the technologies are expected to enable billions of new devices in the near future (I’ve seen forecasts of 20-100 billion connected devices by 2018 or 2020).

The Internet of Things: Dr. John Barrett at TEDxCIT

In most M2M and IoT scenarios, the device being monitored and/or controlled contains an integrated sensor and wireless transceiver connected through a cellular, WiFi, or other wireless link to the Internet. Keep in mind that all devices are assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address for unique identification and role purposes. The Internet connection communicates with a remote server that contains the application software. The monitoring device then makes an Internet connection to the same server to complete the service request loop.

Data from the communication is then captured, displayed, stored, and control commands are issued as a result of it.

The Internet of Things Explained

In mechanical design and engineering, while many of the hardware and software vendors have expressed interest in IoT, PTC has really embraced it and positioned it as a major part of their overall strategy going forward.
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PTC Strengthens IoT Position By Acquiring Axeda

Friday, July 25th, 2014

It appears that PTC is wading deeper into Internet of Things (IoT) waters with the announcement that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Axeda Corp., a pioneer in the development of technologies that connect machines and sensors to the cloud. Paying approximately $170 million in cash, PTC’s primary motivations behind the acquisition are Axeda’s innovative technology, customer base, and partnerships that could directly complement the PTC ThingWorx business across the entire Internet of Things technology stack.

Axeda IoT ROI and Value Curve Overview

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CAD/PDM Software Evaluation: PTC Creo/Windchill PDM Essentials

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment of a series of four evaluation articles of CAD/PDM systems for SMBs.

Overview

PTC Windchill PDM Essentials is intended to bring collaborative engineering to smaller companies for organizing and managing product content so that they can improve design reuse, broaden access to product information across roles, and ensure control over design versions and release processes.

PDM Essentials is basically a role-based, template-based, pre-configured bundle in an optimized Microsoft Windows environment.

PTC Windchill PDM Essentials is a scaled-down version of PDMLink, Windchill’s primary data management solution, allowing smaller firms to manage CAD data and product development-related Microsoft Office documents.

Windchill PDM Essentials Quick Tour Video

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PTC Live Global 2014: IoT and PTC Creo 3.0 Take Center Stage

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Along with over 2,000 other attendees, we just returned from the PTC Live Global 2014 conference and exhibition in Boston. It was a very good show at a very good venue — the Boston Convention Center.

The two biggest things we noted at the conference were PTC’s involvment and commitment to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the introduction of PTC Creo 3.0. We also noted a more upbeat crowd attending the show this year than in years past. The attendees we spoke with said the lighter attitude was due to PTC’s announcements, PTC’s corporate direction, and an economy that continues to slowly improve.

PTC Technology Update – PTC Live Global 2014 Keynote

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Creo Apps Coming to the Virtual Desktop

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Last week at its annual user conference, PTC announced that some of its PTC Creo design and analysis applications will be available and supported later this month in a Virtual Desktop environment. Five Creo apps – PTC Creo Parametric (formerly Pro/ENGINEER), PTC Creo Direct (formerly CoCreate), PTC Creo Layout, PTC Creo Options Modeler, and PTC Creo Simulate, have been verified as Citrix Ready and ready for virtualized prime time.

Starting with PTC Creo 2.0 M060, these applications will be supported by PTC when running on virtualized desktops on an IBM server through a Citrix and NVIDIA-powered integration. It will also let users work on a wider variety of operating systems – including mobile – through the Citrix Receiver and NVIDIA GRID vGPU technologies.

PTC’s Virtualized Creo Environment

By supporting virtual desktops, PTC also lets users employ a device of their choice – a device powered by Windows, Mac OS X, or any of the major mobile platforms, such as iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. This will add an additional element of flexibility and accessibility for PTC users by eliminating the need for every member of an extended development team to have a Windows-based device solely dedicated to design or analysis tasks.

I couldn’t locate any brand new video on the new virtualized Creo apps, but here’s an older one on Creo View Mobile to give an idea of what the new apps might look like.

“Some power users experience network bandwidth limitations when they work with their largest assemblies, simply because they need to move a lot of data from a PTC Windchill server to their local workspace.  This inefficiency slows the design process for some of our customers’ most proficient users,” said Mike Campbell, Executive Vice President, CAD Segment, PTC. “But now imagine working on huge assemblies in PTC Creo with little to no network latency impacting your part load times because all of the data is right there – potentially on the same server rack as PTC Windchill – and is therefore almost immediately available. You actually have a better user experience than if you tried loading the data across the network to your local machine.”

In addition to the performance edge, running PTC Creo in a virtualized environment offers customers a level of IP protection that is not available with alternate deployment methods. Company data stays on its servers, allowing customers complete freedom to collaborate with external design partners in real time utilizing the same design data.

The Citrix Ready program helps customers identify third-party solutions that are recommended to enhance virtualization, networking and cloud computing solutions from Citrix. PTC Creo applications completed a verification process to ensure compatibility with Citrix XenDesktop with Citrix HDX 3D Pro and an NVIDIA GRID K2 board with two high performance NVIDIA Kepler GPUs.

PTC says it expects PTC Creo 2.0 M060 will be available in late June (June 21 to be exact). However, the timing of this or any product release, and any features or functionality, are subject to change at PTC’s discretion. Standard PTC floating license pricing applies to the new virtualized Creo apps.

Honestly, based on announcements and conversations a couple of years ago, I never would have imagined that PTC would be this cloud centric at this time and moving forward. As more becomes known, and as they become available, we’ll let you know how the new Creo virtualized apps contrast, compare, and perform with their desktop counterparts.

This announcement could help to finally provide the momentum and customer uptake that PTC has been hoping for until Creo 3.0 is released early next year.

2013 PTC Live Global Conference Highlights

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Along with about 1,900 attendees, we just returned this week from the 2013 edition of the PTC Live Global conference and exhibition in Anaheim, CA. We saw and heard several interesting things from PTC employees, partners, and customers.

Let’s start off on Day 1. After a short introduction, PTC’s president and CEO, Jim Heppelmann took the stage with the song “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath blasting. What’s that about? The early focus of his address was the focus of not only PTC, but just about every other software vendor – mobility.

This dramatic change of tune comes just a couple of years after Heppelmann derided the notion of software as a service and cloud computing as nothing more than “vapor.” Today, mobility to PTC, according to Heppelmann, consists of products being delivered as a service, with the line blurred between product and service.

Click on this link to view Jim Hepplemann’s keynote address at the PTC Live Global event.

He then introduced the concept of reverse innovation to accommodate different unique requirements for different customers. Interesting concept, but I need to get more details on exactly what this means.

He went on to say that for products in general, value is shifting away from hardware to software, especially embedded software. Increasingly, products are defined, upgraded, and updated via software. Traditional hardware manufacturers are beginning to employ more software engineers than mechanical engineers. As handy as these software innovations might seem, do they offer too many choices and ultimately frustrate customers and drive up costs? The verdict on this remains to be seen, but I tend to say, “yes,” too many choices can be overwhelming, especially for products that are meant to be simple.

What he was getting at, though, is that increasing numbers of CPUs and software mean “smart” products connected to the Internet. In other words, an “Internet of things,” thanks largely to increasing connectivity.

With 10 Creo apps currently available, and although the next release of Creo (3.0) won’t be available until early next year (Q1?), a few hints were given about what it might look like. Think scalability and interoperability – more on that later, though. PTC says that today, one in four Pro/ENGINEER users has upgraded to Creo, but sees adoption rate at 50% uptake by the end of this year. That seems just a bit optimistic, but potentially doable.

I’ve just begun with the highest of highlights about the conference and the future as PTC sees it. Over the few weeks I’ll discuss some of the most significant announcements coming out of PTC’s user conference with regard to new products/technologies, corporate direction, and customers’ reactions. From what I witnessed this week, PTC’s future looks brighter than it has for quite some time.

 

Aston Martin Resurrects Its Racing Heritage with Creo

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

For almost 100 years, Aston Martin has been an icon of automotive speed and sophistication, winning the most distinctive races in the world throughout the 1920s (French Grand Prix), 1930s (Biennial Cup at Le Mans), and 1940s, as well as the 1950s (Le Mans 24 Hours).

But, for more than 45 years, Aston Martin stayed away from the racetrack.

In 2005, however, the company resurrected its racing heritage when it returned to the world circuit as Aston Martin Racing (AMR). That first year out, AMR’s DBR9 gained a CT1 class victory. Two years later, Aston Martin triumphed at Le Mans. Based on the Aston Martin DB9 road car, the DBR9 retains the chassis, engine block, and cylinder heads of the road car’s V12 engine. The rest of the car was re-engineered for high performance competition use. The DBR9’s bodywork is a blend of optimum aerodynamic performance and the styling of the DB9 road car.

More recently, AMR has geared up with some extra digital technology in its pocket. For a car company like Aston Martin, where prestige and precision have been part of its heritage since 1913, going digital for design and engineering was a big step forward.

After an extensive benchmarking process, AMR chose PTC Creo and PTC Windchill in 2011 for 3D CAD design of its racing vehicles and for PLM in its racecar division.

With the Creo suite, Aston Martin can start with simple sketched designs, refine them in Creo Parametric, and make them work on the track. AMR performs CFD analysis in Creo early on, and designers can make designs more aerodynamic. Instead of waiting for expensive prototypes, problematic areas are now digitally tested and corrected early in the design process using Creo.

In a three-minute video, PTC interviews Rick Simpson, Design Engineer at Aston Martin Racing. He explains the specifics of how PTC’s Creo design toolset helps them reduce lead times from design and fix design issues before going into manufacturing.

Interesting stuff from a company with a large legacy, long period away, and resurrection on the racetrack.

PTC Virtual Corporate Visit — Operations and Strategy

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

I recently attended a web-based company update by way of a quarterly PTC Virtual Corporate Visit. Over 500 people registered for the event that featured Jim Heppelmann, PTC’s President and CEO, as well as a customer, Dave Winter, VP R&D Lifetime Products. This time, though, I’ll focus on what Mr. Heppelmann had to say.

He started off by saying that PTC has a product and service advantage, meaning that PTC vision is being the premier provider of technology solutions that are transforming how products are created and serviced. PTC focuses on product companies and the processes that determine what and how they will create products and where and how those products will be serviced.

What PTC is offering is not just better products and services, but rather, a better way of creating products and services.

To explain what differentiates PTC’s offerings from ERP, Heppelmann said that ERP optimizes operations through operational coordination, while PTC optimizes product strategy (what-if) with strategy coordination during all phases of the product lifecycle with different functions within a manufacturing organization:
-Hardware and software engineering
-Supply chain and manufacturing
-Sales and service

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PTC’s Vision of Mobile PLM Apps

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

In early February I received some interesting information from PTC touting its plans for making some of its PLM offerings available to mobile users. At that time, PTC said:

“Mobility and mobile applications have a way of impinging on our daily lives – for better or worse – more so today than ever before. Whether it is keeping a global project moving during your time zone’s “off hours,” being able to access all the relevant data and product code while out in the field, or accessing product data on your mobile phone, there is just no denying the presence and impact of mobility.

In fact, according to IDC research, by 2014, 46% of employees will be mobile only. Which means that by 2014, vendors need to be able to supply reliable, scalable, affordable mobile applications that can support 46% demand and usage. Couple this with a workforce of young professionals who want, expect and need a modern, mobile infrastructure.

And then you can start to imagine these apps:

  • Mobile PLM for the engineer
  • Mobile PLM for the administrator
  • Mobile PLM for the service technician
  • Mobile Social Product Development
  • CAD creation mobile sketching tools

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PTC’s Creo 1.0 — An Update

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Last year we witnessed the launch of PTC’s Creo with great interest.  At that time, PTC claimed Creo was a reinvention and rebranding of several of its venerable mechatronics design products that included Pro/ENGINEER and CoCreate. The launch, however, left a lot of unanswered questions. Since then, we have realized that Creo really is something evolutionary and new, and not just a repackaging of the monolithic Pro/ENGINEER, CoCreate, and ProductView lines. Functionality for Creo was pulled out of those former products as role-based apps that provide what PTC termed “any mode modeling.”

We wondered to what degree does Creo Parametric (formerly Pro/ENGINEER) possess direct modeling capabilities and to what degree does Creo Direct (formerly CoCreate) possess parametric capabilities? We discovered that there’s an extension for Creo Parametric, called the Creo Flexible Modeling Extension (FMX) that offers “direct modeling like” capabilities. This is suited for users of Creo Parametric who want to stay in that same environment and edit their model in ways similar to direct modeling. In other words, it enables users to directly edit parametric models, but with the simplicity and flexibility found in Creo Direct.

Creo Elements/Direct is exclusively designed for direct modeling. It serves as the core product development tool, supporting engineering teams in developing complete products from art-to-part using the direct modeling approach. There’s an extension called Advanced Design, that enables users to add relations and constraints to models.

Creo Parametric has what we have consider flexible modeling inside of it for a more dedicated user who needs parametrics. On the other hand, Creo Direct, which contains no parametric capabilities, is targeted at a more casual type of user.

We also wondered if, ultimately, would Creo Parametric and Creo Direct become one app? That gets back to old monolithic PTC product philosophy, and having direct and parametric modeling capabilities in one package can be a good thing. However, there are no plans for Creo Parametric and Creo Direct to become one app. They will continue to be developed as seperate apps, focused on different user roles, and modeling approaches, leveraging a common data model. In Creo 1.0, there are two 3D modes people can work in, direct modeling and parametric modeling. For parametric modeling, Creo Parametric is the app for that.

As direct modeling addresses a number of different needs, it’s available in a number of ways. As mentioned earlier, there’s an extension for Creo Parametric, called Creo Flexible Modeling Extension (FMX). This is ideal for users of Creo Parametric who want to stay in that same environment and edit their model in ways similar to direct modeling. It enables users to directly edit parametric models, but with the simplicity and flexibility found in Creo Direct.

Sometime in the near future, in MCADCafe Weekly, we hope to review and compare Creo Parametric and Direct, and their respective features and benefits.




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