PTC announced the release of Windchill 10.0, the newest version of PTC’s product lifecycle management (PLM) software. With the latest release of Windchill, PTC is enabling manufacturers to do more throughout the product lifecycle, know more about product performance and get more value from PLM.
Users managing product structures in Windchill 10.0 can edit across multiple levels, easily reference which product uses a particular component and take advantage of embedded visualization.
“Customers are constantly telling us about the escalating complexity of product development driven by manufacturers’ focus on increased product differentiation, an explosion in the volume of regulatory constraints, continual quality pressures, the realization of service operations as a significant profit center, and heightened sensitivity to the environmental impact of product operations,” said Brian Shepherd, executive vice president, product development, PTC.
With new capabilities that focus on product analytics and quality management, Windchill 10.0 allows customers to more effectively define, manage, and validate complete bills of material (BOMs), providing linkages across domain-specific views of product structures throughout the entire lifecycle. Windchill 10.0 also includes a new user experience and improved system administration, making it easier than ever to use and maintain and enabling broad adoption.
Windchill centrally manages all product deliverables including MCAD, ECAD, documentation and service information. Windchill 10.0 unifies its ECAD data management capabilities to offer a common user experience, consistent with its existing approach for MCAD data management.
For many companies, significant business value is derived from aftermarket services and parts. To ensure highly profitable maintenance, repair, and overhaul organizations, the processes of service and spare parts planning must be concurrent with product development. When combined with Creo™ for 3D illustrated and animated service instructions and parts lists, and Arbortext for technical communications creation and delivery, Windchill will support a complete, integral service information solution.
PTC has long advocated that business improvement is enabled by process excellence. With advances in top-down-design and configuration management, and efficiencies in interference management, Windchill 10.0 supports business process optimization in many areas, but most notably for Detailed Design, Variant Design and Generation, and Verification and Validation.
“The many new configuration capabilities in Windchill 10.0 will give our users much more power and flexibility in managing products,” said Terry Gimbre, Engineering Manager, Thales Communications, Inc. “This supports our commitment to continuous process improvement and enhances our ability to deliver high quality mission critical products on which lives literally depend.”
With Windchill 10.0, PTC’s Relex and Insight product lines have been rebranded as part of the Windchill product family to better reflect their availability as both a stand-alone offering as well as part of a comprehensive Windchill solution.
Windchill Quality Solutions (including the former Relex products) help improve next-generation products and reduce the cost of poor quality by preventing repeat errors and building reliability and risk management into the product development lifecycle. New offerings include solutions for CAPA (Corrective Action Preventive Action) to accelerate problem resolution through improved monitoring and root cause identification.
Equally important, Windchill Product Analytics (formerly InSight) provides early knowledge of product performance and includes new solutions for cost visibility and carbon footprint analysis. These enhancements bolster an already rich solution for materials and substance management, which includes reporting against compliance specifications such as REACH and RoHS. Collectively, these solutions help companies understand environmental impacts and address potential points of failure before they occur.
Windchill 10.0 enables customers to derive significantly more value from their PLM investment by providing a dramatically improved user experience along with several administrative process improvements. The approachable user experience results in a quick learning curve and expands adoption among casual users. For experienced users, the modern and pleasing user experience drives productivity and satisfaction. For IT professionals, easier upgrades, enhanced administrative support, and robust new system monitoring tools improve maintainability and lower the total cost of ownership.
“Windchill 10.0 represents a sea change in usability. The amount of user research that PTC did was prodigious and impressive. And clearly, they successfully applied what they had learned,” noted Steve Krug, usability expert and author of Don’t Make Me Think – A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.
“Windchill 10.0, the largest software release in company history, extends PTC’s PLM leadership through new capabilities designed to help product organizations thrive today and prosper tomorrow,” said Shepherd. “Specifically, Windchill allows business leaders to achieve their goals through product excellence: delivering innovative offerings to the market that exceed customer demands, adhere to regulatory and quality requirements, and will support aftermarket service efficiency. With its breadth of capabilities, Windchill 10.0 delivers more out-of-the-box capabilities than ever while its intuitive user experience and upgradeability will enable accelerated adoption.”
Windchill 10.0 is available now. Certain quality, service, and product analytics solutions will be delivered throughout calendar 2011. The timing of any product release, and any features or functionality thereof, is subject to change at PTC’s discretion.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
From what I can gather, the most significant enhancements to Windchill 10 PLM software are for defining, managing, and validating comprehensive bills of material (BOMs). Beyond that, Windchill 10 also provides linkages across domain-specific views of product structures throughout the entire product lifecycle.
In addition, Windchill 10 includes an improved UI and system administration capabilities, making it easier to use and maintain, while enabling broader adoption, at least according to PTC.
Windchill 10.0, theoretically, can centrally manage all product deliverables including: MCAD, ECAD, documentation and service information; unifies its ECAD data management capabilities to offer a common user experience, consistent with its existing approach for MCAD data management. In addition, with the acquisition of MKS (See item below in “The Week’s Top Stories”), embedded software will also be able to be more effectively managed. This is especially significant because there are fewer and fewer products that are truly 100% mechanical. Increasingly, “mechanical” products are actually an agglomeration of mechanical, electronic, and software components that have to work flawlessly together for a product to work as planned.
According to PTC, when combined with Creo for 3D illustrated and animated service instructions and parts lists, and Arbortext for technical communications creation and delivery, Windchill 10 supports a complete, integrated service information package.
Windchill 10.0 also supports business process optimization in areas including Detailed Design, Variant Design and Generation, and Verification and Validation, which is expanding the PLM realm to ERP. This is a complex expansion, but one that PTC feels it needs to get to a higher plane in the crowded and competitive PLM space.
What we see today in Windchill 10 really began a couple of years ago.
In 2008, PTC introduced a couple of new members to the Windchill family -- ProductPoint and Product View. At about the same time, I found PTC’s foray into employing Microsoft’s SharePoint Server interesting because it is entering territory that an unnamed competitor trailblazed, but as far as I could tell, never really caught on as they had hoped. PTC, however, seems to have had better luck and greater acceptance because of its Windchill customer base and the way the technology is implemented.
SharePoint, specifically Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), is Microsoft’s infrastructure for collaboration. It is an application and also a technology platform for the developingWeb-based applications such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). WSS is bundled with Windows Server, and Microsoft positions WSS, the base SharePoint offering, as a team-based collaboration environment that enables users to create workspaces and then author, publish, store, share, and keep track of information. WSS also supports integration with and offline synchronization through Outlook. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) is a secondary offering that enhances WSS to enable it to act as a document management system for Microsoft Office.
PTC realized, as did a lot of others, that SharePoint by itself was not very effective for PLM since it is based on a simple model of individual data files. Unfortunately, the complex file structures and configurations which are at the heart of mechanical and electrical CAD systems, as well as technical documentation tools and other applications related to product development are not understood by SharePoint, so most product developers found that SharePoint didn’t not work well with the core product development tools they use every day. Of course, SharePoint offers none of the more advanced PLM concepts like BOM management, configuration and change management, component and supplier management, or visualization and digital mockup, and others.