March 19, 2007
UGS Ships Teamcenter Express V2.1 For SMBs
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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UGS Corp. announced that Version 2.1 of Teamcenter Express is shipping to customers worldwide. Teamcenter Express is the Collaborative Product Data Management (cPDM) component of the UGS Velocity Series portfolio. The latest release adds capabilities for manufacturing data management and multi-language support.

"UGS' Teamcenter Express solution is a strong mid-market cPDm solution," said Peter Bilello, Director of Consulting Services at CIMdata. "Building this cPDm solution on top of the Teamcenter Engineering platform has allowed UGS to get to market quickly and leverage one of the world's most widely-used enterprise PLM platforms. The capabilities it delivers are extensive. Teamcenter Express' preconfigured nature has allowed companies who have selected it to implement quickly with minimal effort and expense. This rapid implementation should result in the realization of PLM related benefits quickly."

Today many SMBs use non-specific databases or PDM applications that do not manage manufacturing data. This results in the loss of data or even manufacturing from the wrong data. Teamcenter Express Version 2.1 provides both design and manufacturing data management in the same system. The system offers extensions for manufacturing process planning as well as tool, fixture and standard resource libraries, tailored for mid-size manufacturers.

Teamcenter Express Version 2.1 interfaces directly with NX CAM Express, the full function numerical control (NC) programming application and CAM component of UGS' Velocity Series. The system automatically captures the data created in NX CAM Express sessions and maintains this under full revision control under a manufacturing process definition. Companies can easily go back to a job, find the right data and ensure that the correct information is sent to the machine shop.

Version 2.1 adds multi-language support for Chinese (simplified and traditional), Korean, Japanese, Russian, German, French, Spanish and Italian to Version 2 that was released in English in October 2006. Teamcenter Express' comprehensive localization has led to deployments in 26 countries since the software was first launched just over one year ago.

Teamcenter Express can be coupled with a wide variety of CAD applications including UGS' Solid Edge and NX as well as CATIA, AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, and SolidWorks.

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

UGS' Teamcenter is for managing product data (such as bills of material, etc.) at the enterprise level, and Teamcenter Express is a subset of its big brother, requiring less computing horsepower and additional software, but quite scalable as needs grow. Since Teamcenter is one the most widely implemented PLM systems, then truth be told, Teamcenter is one of the very few PLM systems that can be said to provide true PLM capabilities.

Like other vendors “discovering” the small- and medium-sized business (SMB), the UGS Velocity Series was created as a comprehensive family of modular products addressing the PLM needs of the mid-market. It consists of a preconfigured family of digital product design, analysis, manufacturing, and data management software (which is where Teamcenter Express fits in).

Regardless of implementation scale, what connects PLM customers is the magnitude of effort involved and complexity of their processes and the need for data management associated with their processes. For some time, it’s been clear that for the SMB mainstream market, the scale of Teamcenter implementation meant that many organizations were not able to afford or support it. With this in mind, UGS created Teamcenter Express that offersa lot of the same base functionality found in the Teamcenter Engineering product, but targeted at the SMB market.

Since it was first introduced, the Velocity Series seems to have had a significant impact and importance for UGS' PLM strategy. On a larger scale, TeamCenter and NX comprise both major sides of the UGS PLM house, much like Windchill and Pro/ENGINEER do for PTC. The Velocity Series bundles together three core products of the UGS product portfolio, namely, Solid Edge, Femap, Teamcenter Express. It also includes tighter integration between Solid Edge and the NC programming/CAM capabilities within the higher-end NX product.

TeamCenter is UGS' term for, not one, but a collection of products that, along with NX, make up its PLM offering. When things are working as they should, the various products comprise a common set of system services, a set of internal and shared services, as well as visualization and collaboration utilities. The former SDRC I-DEAS and current NX (including Unigraphics) applications create models for the PLM environment, all of which work through a common user interface that also runs through TeamCenter.

Keep in mind that most of the functionality of TeamCenter comes from previously branded products from acquired companies (including a number from SDRC).

The Teamcenter Express web application, file vaults, full text search capability, administrator client and license server are all installed in a single session.

Since SMBs typically need to manage data in multiple CAD formats, Teamcenter Express has multi-CAD capability including integrations with many commonly used CAD systems and the ability to integrate data from multiple CAD into a single product structure that can be viewed and managed as a complete assembly.

Teamcenter Express has available preconfigured integrations with several ERP systems. Standard workflows are used to manage the transfer of data to the ERP system. Teamcenter Express also incorporates Teamcenter Visualization for 2D and 3D document viewing, markup and analysis. Design teams can access all product configurations and product knowledge directly from the visualization module.

Teamcenter Express also has available a preconfigured and simplified implementation of the Teamcenter Manufacturing modules for the management of CAM data and processes.

At the core, Teamcenter Express is a roles-based system that fully manages check-in/check-out and revision/version control of CAD data; including CAD parts, assemblies, drawings, as well as other product-related information, such as BOMs, RFQs, proposals, specs, datasheets, and simulation results. Basically, the system allows you to fully manage the documentation of the development of a product.

Essentially, Teamcenter Express does everything that Teamcenter Engineering does with regard to data management at a base level. What differs is the manner in which it’s delivered and implemented, not to mention lower initial and subsequent support costs. Obviously, this appeals to SMBs.

Also related is the JT-based visualization that is embedded in Teamcenter Express, allowing users to view, manipulate, and inspect technical data. The other major benefit of Teamcenter Express (and other data management systems) is the ability to find the data you’re looking for, so the search and retrieval functions are mature and allow users to view data by project, product line, and document type, etc.

As things have evolved, it has been interesting to see how open UGS really is with TeamCenter (including Teamcenter Express) with regard to interoperability. With its JT file format, theoretically, anyone can build an application on it, but interoperability still remains a very tall order. Although, it wasn't all that long ago that UGS (then EDS) opened its technology at least somewhat in deals with Autodesk and PTC. But, with fierce competition continuing for large-scale customers, you have to wonder if or when there will be any significant degree of openness between UGS and its French competitor, Dassault.

So, all in all, Teamcenter Express seems well-suited for the functionality and customer base it was originally intended and designed for.


The Week’s Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

Autodesk announced a strategic alliance with Renault's Design Department. The deal underscores Renault's commitment to Autodesk AliasStudio and Autodesk Maya software applications as the foundation for its global digital design workflow. The Renault Design Department uses complementary AliasStudio and Maya software to design every new vehicle model -- including the new Clio 3 -- and at every stage of the design process. AliasStudio is used extensively for Renault's initial conceptual design and creative ideation process through to digital prototyping, Class A production surfacing and final
validation, while Maya supports Renault's advanced design visualization needs. As a result of this trend, Renault depends on an efficient digital workflow to maximize time by making improvements early in the design process to enable better design innovation and quality. With Autodesk software, the Renault Design Department has developed automated processes for creating ultra-high-quality stills and animated images, addressing the challenge of reducing production time and the need to make rendering expertise available for Digital Modelers.

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-- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.


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