April 18, 2011
PTC Releases Windchill 10.0
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Analogous to how MOSS enhances WSS functionality to meet the document management requirements of more sophisticated Office users, Windchill ProductPoint enhances Microsoft SharePoint with richer capabilities that enable teams to manage and share complex and structured product development information. Examples of complex structured data common in product development include MCAD, ECAD, technical publishing, embedded software, and math and simulation tools.

Last year,
PTC expanded Windchill, its family of PLM solutions, with the announcement of several new and enhanced solutions built on the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 collaboration platform, including:
  • Windchill PPMLink
    - A program portfolio manager that couples stage-gate methods with unique capabilities to aggregate program and product-related metrics, improving visibility and decision-making
  • Windchill SocialLink
    - Utilizing social computing capabilities to bring the collective wisdom of communities to bear on product development challenges
  • Windchill Web Parts for SharePoint
    – A consolidation of critical information from Windchill and other enterprise systems for presentation in a familiar Microsoft SharePoint 2010 environment for easier, extended information access
  • Windchill ProductPoint
    - Addressing the specific CAD data management needs of small and mid-sized businesses (SMB).

    On many levels, PTC is still undergoing a massive transition, primarily with the changing product lineup and branding, but most of the concerns and complaints we had experienced in the past with the company and its products, services, and direction continue to be addressed in a positive way.

    As I did last year when he ascended to the top at PTC, I continue to think that Heppelmann at the helm is a good thing because he is a “product guy” with an engaging personality (no BS), as well as a good perception and attitude toward his customers. On the whole, though, it looks as if PTC is working to achieve a 50/50 balanced split on CAD and PLM, and not favoring one over the other like a swinging pendulum, as has been the case the past several years.

    Speaking of attitude, that's another big change company-wide that I experienced. Whereas before, PTC had a transactional, tactical approach with customers; this attitude and way of doing business has evolved to more of a strategic, partnership relationship. The former arrogant attitude and stance has been replaced by one of confidence. All good things when trying to win the hearts, minds, and budgets of current and prospective customers. Heppelmann said that going forward, “Winning the big relationship is more important than just winning the big deal.”

    Since becoming president and CEO,
    Heppelmann has said that PTC will continue to help customers with software and services for product development, as well as process improvement. It is this process aspect that he says distinguishes PTC from the competition, whom he said have a narrower product focus. He also said that there is a continuing and pressing need for new fundamental design and engineering approaches - changing and improving such things as the UI on software products is incremental, not monumental.

    On the PLM front, Heppelmann said that he believed for investment and ROI considerations, PLM has significant advantages of ERP systems. In fact, he said, “PLM has gotten as big and strategic as ERP.” PLM is obviously one of the big dogs at PTC, especially knowing that the company (by its own admission) has spent more than $100,000,000 on Windchill R&D in a little over a decade since acquiring it.

    On the CAD side, Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire, now known as Creo Elements/Pro has not really been discussed all that much, but I expect that to turn 180° as launch time approaches.

    Then there is the mandatory/obligatory compute cloud discussion and PTC's plans. As it turns out, Windchill has been “cloud-ready” for a while now because it can be accessed and used with a browser. However, when asked directly, Heppelmann has had some interesting thoughts on cloud computing and pulls no punches. For example, he has said such things as, “As far as cloud computing goes, I'm not pro or anti - I'm ambivalent, ambiguous, and neutral on it. While I'm not anti-cloud, I am anti-hype regarding the cloud and clouds are made of vapor. What problems does cloud computing truly solve and how do you address the performance problems it introduces? Windchill is
    available via public and private clouds but we currently (June 2010) have no plans for CAD, primarily because there is no demand.” Obviously, PTC is venturing carefully into the cloud.

    Windchill 10 is one of the first big product announcements from PTC this year, and we are anticipating more big things to come as the Creo line takes shape and launches.

    The Week’s Top Stories

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

    Autodesk, Inc. announced the AutoCAD WS mobile application on the Android platform. A free web and mobile application, AutoCAD WS uses cloud computing technology to enable Autodesk software users to view, edit and share their designs through web browsers and mobile devices. AutoCAD WS for Android has features such as a simplified, intuitive set of viewing, editing, and markup tools so users can work on their designs while on the go. Users can open drawings from email attachments, sync files from the web, or upload drawings directly from AutoCAD software through the integrated online tab. Drawings can also be saved locally for use in the field when an Internet connection is unavailable.
    One feature unique to Android version of AutoCAD WS is the text annotation tool supports integrated voice commands available on devices running Android 2.2 (Froyo) or above. Now Android users can insert comments and notations on a drawing by speaking rather than typing them into the text edit box. AutoCAD WS for Android will be available for download on the Android Market beginning April 20, 2011.

    PROSTEP AG unveiled PROSTEP PDF Generator 3D that allows 3D models from most CAD systems to be combined with PDM metadata, such as product structures, material data and BOMs from ERP systems, and other engineering information in a 3D PDF document and distributed. This can be done automatically, for example, when there is a change in status. All a recipient needs to visualize 3D models and 2D data is Adobe Reader. At the same time, a multi-level security concept provides maximum protection for the content communicated in the 3D PDF documents. PROSTEP PDF Generator 3D is the successor to Adobe LiveCycle PDF Generator 3D ES2. Several months ago,
    PROSTEP took over responsibility for its continued development, support, and sales from Adobe System Inc. An important step is the integration of the technology in a companys’ PLM and ERP solutions for automating 3D PDF documents. To do this, PROSTEP has developed a special PDF2PLM connector that is based on the OpenPDM technology.

    LMS has released LMS Virtual.Lab Acoustics Rev 10 for acoustic simulation. The most significant feature of this release is AML (Automatically Matched Layer), an advanced FEM acoustics technique. Additionally, there are a variety of other new features that accelerate the acoustic simulation process, including a highly performant MUMPS Solver (Multi-Frontal Massively Parallel Sparse Direct Solver) and a new range of modeling tools dedicated to duct acoustics. There is no need to model the absorbing PML layer, as AML automatically creates the absorbing PML layers. The new MUMPS FEM solver solves equations much faster than any other technique. A direct solver, MUMPS can handle different load cases, for example, multiple engine RPMs. Duct acoustics, or more specifically the efficient attenuation of noise inside ducts, represents a major application in the acoustic simulation field, for example, for turbo-machinery, aero-engines or intake and exhaust systems. LMS Virtual.Lab Rev 10 embeds dedicated functionality for duct acoustics, including powerful duct mode propagation, including efficiently handling of temperature distribution within ducts, including effects of flow and more. AML provides fast simulation of exterior radiated noise and very accurate modeling of
    non-reflective duct terminations up to high frequencies.

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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

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