GM Expands Manufacturing PLM Arrangement With UGS

UGS Corp. announced the extension of its current PLM software license agreement with General Motors Corp. Financial details were not disclosed.

This agreement advances GM's PLM solutions strategy by expanding the use of UGS' PLM software and services. UGS technology currently enables GM product development, manufacturing and supplier teams to define, organize and conduct real-time design reviews with access to digital product information across all of GM's global engineering centers and to more than 1,000 supplier locations worldwide.

GM's global collaborative engineering network is facilitated by UGS' technology -- the only solution with the scalability necessary to enable GM to access current and accurate digital information, without translation, wherever and whenever required. UGS' suite of products, including NX, Teamcenter, and JT Visualization, which provide unparalleled software interoperability and knowledge based capabilities, serve as the platform upon which GM implements and maintains common engineering and manufacturing processes.

"UGS' PLM technology has already delivered on GM's requirement for production tested, globally scalable systems," said Terry Kline, Process Information Officer, General Motors Information Systems & Services. "GM now has a single, common suite of commercial applications for use on all its vehicle and powertrain programs globally. This allows us to better manage the IT environment, upgrade systems, and collaborate in real time. With over 30,000 installed seats, UGS' PLM software is an integral component of our vehicle development process."

The agreement expands GM's use of UGS' Digital Manufacturing solutions for factory layout, simulation and planning. Digital Manufacturing is a PLM strategy that focuses on improving every aspect of how a company builds its products. Many of the world's most forward-thinking manufacturers are embracing the technology -- and they have reported a number of benefits such as better asset utilization, reduced launch times, more predictable processes and improved profitability.

At GM, this technology maximizes the downstream use of digital product data for tooling and on the plant floor. Using UGS' Open Manufacturing Backbone (OMB) GM will extend its manufacturing capability to enable global common processes and re-use in the manufacturing environment.

"GM continues to leverage the best PLM tools in the world such as UGS' OMB. The company continues to transform its process of innovation through PLM, and is increasingly able to get exciting vehicles to the market in shorter periods of time," said Tony Affuso, chairman, CEO and president of UGS. "We believe the result of UGS' open model in the PLM industry will inevitably further reduce product development costs and enhance product quality and innovation worldwide."

The Open Manufacturing Backbone, a globally-scalable technology platform designed to transform the process of digital manufacturing through an open environment in which third-party software applications can interoperate, extends product data management (PDM) functionality for revision handling, change management and workflow control into the manufacturing discipline, enabling product, process, resource and plant information to be managed and stored in a single environment.

This announcement to enhance collaboration at the plant floor level has got to be very good news for UGS, especially in light of the current state of affairs in GM with regard to market share, production levels, cost-cutting measures, and so on. Neither GM or UGS would disclose figures on the actual financial details, but I saw a Dow Jones Newswire story that included a reference to AMR Research analyst Dan Burkett, who estimated the value of GMs' expanded relationship with UGS to be around $150 million. That's a significant amount of money, and a good percentage of UGS' total revenue from its biggest customer.

Last December, UGS launched its Open Manufacturing Backbone (OMB) as a scalable technology backbone intended to facilitate digital manufacturing through an open environment where third-party software applications can interoperate. OMB addresses the seemingly growing demand for open digital manufacturing applications, and digital manufacturing is a part of UGS' PLM strategy for improving how products are produced.

The technology foundation for OMB is UGS' Teamcenter Manufacturing, an enterprise-scale platform that lets companies digitize and manage manufacturing processes. Process, resource, plant, and product data all reside in a single integrated data manager within Teamcenter Manufacturing, and functional relationships are formed for letting different applications work with one another in an open environment.

According to UGS, the result of OMB has been third-party digital manufacturing applications - including those developed by UGS customers, competitors, partners, or other third parties - to interoperate within OMB. Not too surprisingly, one of the first application providers turned out to be Tecnomatix (now owned by UGS).

OMB employs PLM XML with the same tools UGS uses to integrate its own E-factory digital manufacturing applications for tasks such as resource classification, part manufacturing planning, facility layout and performance validation, human centric validation and other viewer and consumer products that complement manufacturing. All are either built on or hosted by LDA (Lifecycle Data Architecture) as a foundation of Teamcenter and accessible via OMB.

In a recent survey by CIMdata, it was noted that "openness and interoperability" were the top issues in digital manufacturing. In the same survey, openness was identified as the key differentiator for UGS in this space.

OMB is turning out to be a major factor for UGS in the digital manufacturing market, and the announcment made regarding GM substantiates its importance.

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.

SolidWorks And COSMOS Software Make Big Waves In Boating
SolidWorks Corp. announced that SolidWorks and COSMOS software are becoming the 3D mechanical design and analysis tools of choice for some of the biggest names in the global boating industry. Companies like Sea Ray, Tennessee Watercraft, Inc., and Nautor Oy are among the hundreds of companies around the world using SolidWorks software to quickly design and outfit a wide range of watercraft from runabouts to racing yachts. SolidWorks and COSMOS software helps these companies overcome the design challenges of complex surfacing, limited space, and comfort/performance trade-offs.

New Dell Servers With Dual Core Technology Deliver Dramatic Performance Increases
Dell extended its enterprise product line by introducing two new PowerEdge servers featuring advanced Intel dual-core processor technology -- the PowerEdge 830 and PowerEdge 850. The PowerEdge 830 is a single socket tower server for workgroup, remote office and small business customers. It is designed for such diverse uses as Web serving, Internet access, or running messaging, back-office, and productivity applications and with dual-core technology, delivers up to 62 percent greater performance than the PowerEdge 800(b). The PowerEdge 850 is a single-socket rack-mount server designed for small business and cost-sensitive data center customers. It is ideal as a Web and infrastructure server and uses next generation technologies to give customers scalability and headroom for future growth. With advanced dual-core technology, the PowerEdge 850 delivers up to 79 percent greater compute-intensive performance and up to 26 percent greater web-serving performance than its predecessor, the PowerEdge 750(a).

New "Try Before You Buy" Data Management Pilot Program
Allowing prospective customers to prove its data and document management solution before they buy it, Synergis Software announced the "Simple Power Adept Pilot Program." The program enables customers to test the Synergis Adept solution in their own environment and to determine if it is a right fit for their company before making the decision to buy. As part of the program, Adept will guide customers step by step through a series of work sessions scheduled at potential customers' convenience.

Cimatron Announces First Commercial CAD/CAM Solution For Micro-Milling
Cimatron Ltd. Announced what it claims is the first commercial NC software for micro-milling - machining of tiny, highly precise micro-components and their molds. The solution is available as a feature of Cimatron's soon-to-be-released flagship product suite, CimatronE 7.0. Micro-system technology has become one of the most dynamic growing industries in the world, and confronts manufacturers of tools and components with unique challenges. Parts are shrinking, while increasing in complexity; miniature features must be machined with extreme accuracy, and work on the micro level requires special tools - as small as 0.1mm in diameter - to achieve the required accuracy and surface quality.The solution includes high precision, tight machining tolerance, effective handling of imperfect imported geometrical data, direct surface milling, and 3- and 5-axis toolpaths.

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