Autodesk Introduces Cloud-based PLM
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Autodesk Introduces Cloud-based PLM

At Autodesk University in Las Vegas, Autodesk previewed a new solution designed to transform how manufacturers manage the entire lifecycle of a product--from its conception, through design and manufacture, partner and supplier management, procurement, quality, compliance, service and more. Autodesk is tapping into the cloud to deliver a new approach to product lifecycle management (PLM), which enables companies to capture and manage product information and processes to continuously improve the products they manufacture.

Autodesk’s new PLM offering, which is expected to be generally available early next year, is part of Autodesk 360 – a set of secure, easy to use and affordable solutions developed to streamline product and project business processes. Autodesk 360 for PLM is for companies of all sizes, from small companies eager to deploy PLM for the first time to large enterprises that have become disenchanted by PLM, due to the complexities and high costs associated with traditional PLM implementations.

“Our approach to PLM is a sharp contrast to the decades old technology in the market today,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. “Autodesk 360 for PLM will enable customers of all sizes to achieve the full promise of PLM with a scalable, configurable and intuitive solution. We believe it will help our customers achieve a measurable competitive advantage through better, more accessible collaboration and business information management.”

Building upon the company’s leadership with cloud-based solutions, Autodesk 360 for PLM is geared for manufacturers that need to manage business processes throughout the entire lifecycle of a product — from the earliest concept to retirement. Autodesk 360 for PLM will comprise:

Global research firm IDC estimates the PLM software applications market will grow to $20.5 billion by 2015. The processes required to commercialize and maintain products are increasingly complex and dispersed. Frequent interactions result in an overload of design, process, and business information that decision-makers and distributed teams must sort, prioritize, and manage over the lifecycle of their products.

Unlike the expensive, complicated, engineering-centric, and difficult-to-deploy PLM systems available today, Autodesk 360 Nexus is more readily and easily configurable to meet customer-specific product lifecycle process needs across the enterprise. Employees in a range of roles from planning to product development to supplier management, quality and compliance, service and more will have greater ability to eliminate bottlenecks and access product and project-related information more quickly regardless of their location.

Until recently, PLM has been the near-exclusive domain of large businesses, mainly due to the high cost and expertise related to deploying and maintaining the systems. “No company should be excluded from the benefits of PLM technology,” commented Kross.

An IDC Manufacturing Insights report released in June 2011 revealed that manufacturers identified the top three business benefits of cloud systems as: reducing total hardware spend; improving IT staff productivity and end user service levels; and reducing total spend on software licensing and maintenance. Autodesk 360 Nexus will better enable customers to start small but scale fast to meet demand, and fit easily within their existing business environment.

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

After years of vehemently denying it would enter the PLM fray, Autodesk has done just that – entered it, and in a big way – with Autodesk 360 for PLM. And cloud-based PLM at that. With all the potential revenue to be made in the PLM space, Autodesk wanted in, but on its terms. A little late to the PLM party, maybe, but Autodesk also entered the 3D modeling market with Inventor a bit late as well compared with the competition, but seems no worse for the initial delay today.

Historically, Autodesk has been strong on the PDM side, notably with Vault in the MCAD space, and has done OK with it. The next logical step would be to ramp it up a notch to the PLM level, but with an interesting twist. Virtually all PLM systems to date have been the exclusive domain of big companies with big budgets that have required complex implementations and perpetual upgrades and additional software and services – some warranted, some probably not. Autodesk, however, with its master plan for PLM claims it will be feasible and affordable for all sizes of companies – small to large enterprises. This makes total sense because that’s Autodesk’s comfort zone – small- and medium-sized businesses who now are especially averse to high cost and risk.

Autodesk 360 for PLM is a unique hybrid approach that combines Autodesk 360 Nexus as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business process application with Autodesk Vault PDM software. They will be able work independently, but I’m sure Autodesk will push for using them in tandem as cloud and on-premise applications, respectively, at least for the time being.

While we’re quite familiar with Autodesk Vault and what it can do as an on-premise PDM technology, the new technology that intrigues us most from an MCAD perspective is the cloud-based Autodesk 360 Nexus. Although few details have been disclosed, Autodesk 360 Nexus also has drawn the interest of several of our peers. A cloud-based PLM system is a novel approach, and should be less costly and risky than traditional PLM systems, although no pricing has been announced yet. Less up-front and ongoing costs also could result in quicker ROI, but that remains to be seen. I’m surmising that the cloud-based aspect of Autodesk 360 Nexus is what was the main thought behind Autodesk’s claim that “everything would change” in PLM on November 29, 2011 during the technology’s introduction at Autodesk University 2011.

Just the fact of the sheer number of Autodesk software installations worldwide will be a game changer for its entree into the PLM arena as potential customers. Also, the claim that its PLM offering will be configurable, scalable, and flexible won’t hurt either.

Although Autodesk 360 Nexus won’t be generally available until sometime late in Q1 2012 (so, contrary to Autodesk’s statement at AU, PLM won’t really change until then), it will be interesting to track how early implementations fare, as well as the early adoption rate. Autodesk is treading into some competitive waters with a lot of unknowns, but at least outwardly, seems to have thought through a sound strategy out of the gate and a few miles down the road. The company waited to enter the PLM market until it felt it was right, and the wait is almost over and may very well be worth it for customers, vendors, and Autodesk.


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.

Tetra 4D Announces Release of 3D PDF Converter v. 3.3
Tetra 4D released 3D PDF Converter v. 3.3 — a 3D solution authorized by Adobe to run as an Acrobat plug-in. 3D PDF Converter, running inside Adobe Acrobat enables 3D interaction and collaboration features in the free Adobe Reader. The 3D ecosystem enabled by Tetra 4D increases productivity by allowing ubiquitous sharing and collaboration with anyone inside or outside of an enterprise. This release of 3D PDF Converter supports PTC’s Creo, Dassault System’s Catia v6, Parasolid v24, as well as the current draft specification of the STEP AP242.

aPriori Announces G.A. of Latest Version of its Product Cost Management Platform
aPriori a provider of product cost management software solutions, released aPriori 2011r2 that offers new functionality and enhancements that expand the platform’s cost optimization capabilities for companies with high tolerance machining requirements. In response to the market need for better methods to estimate the costs of hard tooling (e.g., capital investments to support part production) that can be used by both experts and non-experts, aPriori has also upgraded its capabilities to generate detailed tooling cost estimates for components. aPriori’s Product Cost Management software platform is a costing engine that is able to quickly and precisely determine the cost of a part or product from a CAD model, based on the manufacturing process, materials to be used, and the factory or region where it will be produced. As design changes are made, or new product specs are introduced, aPriori automatically re-assesses and provides an updated product cost.

T-FLEX CAD 12 Released
Top Systems released version 12 of its T-FLEX CAD system. Significant improvements in 3D modeling and 2D drafting in the latest version accelerate the design process with productivity enhancements, optimized technology of parametric assemblies for quick design modifications, as well as more convenient operations with complex and large assembly models. The new version offers improved tools for simulation and team collaboration. Many modeling operations, including blending, extrusion, sweeping, deformation, local geometry modifications have new features and options based on the latest version of Parasolid for parametric assemblies. In T-FLEX CAD 12 you can change parameters of parts at any level from the upper assembly. This eliminates the need to pass parameters through all levels of assembly for parametric control. Adaptive “smart” fragments allow users to seamlessly incorporate design intent into their assemblies.

3Dconnexion Announces its Newest 3D Mouse – the SpaceMouse Pro
3Dconnexion announced the SpaceMouse Pro – its newest 3D mouse for professional 3D software users. SpaceMouse Pro combines 3Dconnexion’s patented six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) sensor for intuitive and precise 3D navigation with an advanced ergonomic design and innovative On-screen Display, to deliver superior comfort and a simpler, more productive workflow. The SpaceMouse Pro is backed by a three-year warranty, and is currently available at a suggested retail price of $299. The features of the SpaceMouse Pro 3D mouse include:

Siemens Seeking College Students With Skills In Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math to Fill 300+ Internship Positions
Siemens is looking for currently enrolled college students to fill over 300 positions in its internship programs across its Energy, Industry, Healthcare and Infrastructure & Cities sectors. Each year, Siemens offers 300 student interns the opportunity to participate in Leadership and Professional Development programs or Technical Training programs. In 2011, 175 of these interns were hired full-time upon graduation. Internship positions are available in a variety of areas, including Engineering, Research and Development, Finance, Accounting, Marketing, and Sales. Most of these positions span the summer months, but a number of internships are also available throughout the year. Siemens is specifically looking for students with education or experience in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to match well with its portfolio of high-tech products and solutions, including green building design, renewable energy, healthcare and mobility.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at Email Contact or 719.221.1867.


This Week

Lead Story

Autodesk Introduces Cloud-based PLM


Product and Company News

Infinite Z Launches zSpace

Aerodynamic Eyewear Takes Off With Autodesk Design Suite

Delcam launches new website for manufacturing services subsidiary

KeyShot 3 Gets Native Support for Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya

Theorem Solutions Enhanced CADverter for 3DVIA Composer V6R2012

Rasterex releases RxView & RxHighlight R13.0

ElectronVault Creates Next Generation of Energy Storage With Autodesk Software

Stratasys Expands Automated Support-Removal Process for Polycarbonate Material

Forming Technologies Announces BMW has chosen FormingSuite's Process Planner

ZWSOFT Updates ZW3D 2011 with Service Pack 2

PLMIG publishes the PLM Handbook for SMEs

NetIDEAS Now Offering PTC's FlexPLM in the Cloud

Realize Inc. Expands Stereolithography Capabilities With iPro 8000 Printer

aPriori Continues Strong Growth with Record Quarter

Concepts NREC Supercritical CO2 Energy Recovery System Wins Honorable Mention in Pumps & Systems’ Product Innovation of the Year Contest

Delcam expands North American support team

Rapid Sheet Metal Inc Quotes Sheet Metal Prototypes in Hours

Delcam for SolidWorks used to make powerboat engine in five weeks

IMAGINiT Technologies Launches Enhanced ProductivityNOW Portal- The CAD Industry’s Premiere Portal

hyperMILL allows for automation on different levels (Open Mind)

Moon Express Designs and Engineers Lunar Mission With Autodesk Software

Gstarsoft Unveils Exceptional New Features in GstarCAD 2012

Catalog Data Solutions SaaS Configurator and CAD Downloads Implemented by White Drive Products

Jon Peddie Research Releases the Worldwide CAD Market Report 2012

Catalog Data Solutions Catalog and CAD Download Solution Live on

MSC Software Announces Its New Research Assist Program

Free Download: Geometric Launches CAMWorksXpress – Your CAM Solution for SolidWorks

HP Demonstrates Mobile Printing Applications for Design Professionals at Autodesk University

A-dec Revolutionizes Dental Equipment With Help From Autodesk Software

Delcam given CADCAM Award by International Metalworking News for China

Dalian GONA to integrate MachineWorks Software

Labyrinth Solutions Joins the Aras Partner Program

IDES Prospector Grows to More Than 350,000 Registered Members and Customers

IMAGINIT Partners with Exact-Flat 3D to 2D

Endurica and Safe Technology Join Forces on Elastomer Fatigue Life Prediction

Free Trial - ZW3D 2011 SP2, Flexible CAD/CAM software

PTC Successfully Launched Creo & Windchill in UAE with WorkLogix

ASCON Announces the Release of KOMPAS-3D V13 (Free 30-Day Trial)

Planit Steps in to Create Manufacturing Excellence Trophies

Strength for Delcam in Western Region

My Robot Nation Launches First Service to Bridge Consumer Creativity with Z Corp. 3D Printing

Cimatron to Seek Court Approval for Cash Distributions to Shareholders

Delcam’s CADCAM software aids diversification into dental

Tommy Bahama Selects PTC for Seamless Supply Chain Collaboration

Supermicro Exhibits Its SuperWorkstation Product Line at Autodesk University

Dassault Systèmes Takes a Turn on the Catwalk with FashionLab


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HP Powers Move to Cloud for Enterprises and Service Providers

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What are the Changes to Europe's Machinery Directive Manufacturer's Must Know?

Announcing TFTLABS - A New Player in the Cloud Computing Business

IDC Manufacturing Insights to Present Top Ten Predictions for 2012

Rand Secure Archive Showcases Data Archive and Retrieval Solution at Autodesk University

Ball Aerospace Selected by NASA to Study Solar Electric Propulsion Spacecraft

Lockheed Martin and Sciaky Enter Agreement With Focus on Electron Beam Manufacturing

Synopsys to Acquire Magma Design Automation


Industry Events

Watch the Biggest Industry Announcement of the Year - Broadcast Live and Hosted Exclusively on MCADCafe

AU 2011 Video Interview - Introducing NVIDIA Maximus

Love of Design in the Air at SolidWorks World 2012, Feb. 12-15, San Diego

AU 2011 Interview + Demo - Let the ForceEffect Be With You!

Autodesk Explores the Power of the Possible at Autodesk University 2011

HSMWorks Streams Major Announcement Live from PRI Orlando (9:30am EST December 2, 2011) - See it live on

Webinar: Customizing SpaceClaim Using its API (Wed. 12/14/11)

Omnify Software Hosts Free Webinar on Meeting Global Regulatory Compliance

Actify Exhibits at EuroMold

Schott Systeme Showcases Design to Manufacture at EuroMold 2011

FREE Webinar Series on New KOMPAS-3D V13!

BOXX Debuts 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 Workstation at AU 2011

The SURFCAM 'American Manufacturing' Promotion

Stiefelmayer to show Delcam’s new clay-milling software at Euromold

HSMWorks 2012 CAM Solution for SolidWorks on display at Euromold (11/29 – 12/2)

Korea’s largest CAM supplier, Hankook Delcam, at Euromold

SoftInWay Presents a Training Schedule for the First Half of 2012

AUTOMOTIVE WORLD 2012 Will Take Place in Jan. 2012 at Tokyo, Featuring 3 Fields Crucial for Development of Eco-Friendly Vehicles

Geometric to launch CAMWorksXpress at EuroMold 2011

PTC to Speak at the NASDAQ OMX 27th Investor Program On Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

WorkNC Customer Appreciation Events mark 20 years in North America (SESCOI)

Delcam to show latest machining and inspection developments at Belotti

Bluebeam Software to Promote Digital Project Workflows at Autodesk University 2011

TraceParts Announces its fifth Christmas Tree Design Contest

Webinar: ArtCAM Express Demo + All Attendees Get 15 Free Christmas Themed Models! (Fri. 12/9/11)

Corporate Newsletters

FEA Journal - November 2011