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June 16, 2008
PTC Announces Windchill ProductPoint
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on MCADcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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PTC announced Windchill ProductPoint, its new solution for capturing, handling, and sharing product development information. “Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is breaking the milestone of 100 million licenses sold this year. Capitalizing on this momentum, PTC has developed Windchill ProductPoint based on the SharePoint platform and .NET framework. With Windchill ProductPoint, PTC extends the collaboration capabilities of SharePoint to offer product development companies the ability to manage and share structured product content in multiple CAD formats,” said Brian J. Scott, vice president, worldwide industry strategy, Microsoft Corporation. “Microsoft and PTC
have built a deep relationship throughout the development of Windchill ProductPoint and we look forward to furthering our partnership.”

Windchill ProductPoint will give SharePoint reach into the world of Product Development. Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft’s technology infrastructure for collaboration, has been well adopted across manufacturing companies as a backbone for Office applications, primarily for document sharing and management. With Windchill ProductPoint, PTC will enable SharePoint to “understand” CAD data, increasing the reach of the familiar SharePoint user experience, and enhancing its usage across broader product development teams.

For OEMs and suppliers, a future release of Windchill ProductPoint is planned to support the sharing of information among other Windchill-based systems. Small manufacturers may find that Windchill ProductPoint alone offers sufficient capabilities to meet their needs for protecting and sharing product data. Windchill ProductPoint benefits companies of all sizes, providing smaller companies with an ideal steppingstone into product lifecycle management (PLM) and giving larger companies with a SharePoint strategy the ability to extend their product development system to broader user communities.

Highlights of Windchill ProductPoint include:

·        Multi-CAD SharePoint services offer basic functions for managing Pro/ENGINEER data as well as other CAD file formats, their structures, and inter-relationships ProductView services enable visual product interaction with 3D thumbnails, visualization of lightweight product viewables, and Web-based markup tools for redlining designs

·        Visual navigation and interrogation of files dependencies Windchill Portlets present Windchill information (e.g. task lists) to users in a familiar SharePoint portal Windchill PLM Connector enables sharing of CAD data across Windchill-based systems in support of customer or supplier collaboration, or internal collaboration among different divisions

·        Improved efficiency and collaboration through access of engineering content to broader product development teams Minimal learning curve, due to familiar Microsoft environment Version control offers advantages over network drive-based storage systems and FTP sites, thus enabling effective concurrent engineering

·        Leverages the easy and fast deployment characteristics of SharePoint and can be deployed on an existing SharePoint implementation Low total cost of ownership since Windchill ProductPoint uses the Windows SharePoint Services infrastructure, which is included with all Microsoft Server solutions

As a component of the PTC Product Development System, a flexible and scalable configuration of PTC solutions specifically designed and tested to work together, Windchill ProductPoint contributes key capabilities needed for successful product development. “Windchill ProductPoint enhances Microsoft SharePoint by enabling teams to manage and share structured product development information typically created by CAD and engineering applications," said James E. Heppelmann, executive vice president, software products, and chief product officer, PTC. “Windchill ProductPoint significantly enhances the utility of SharePoint for product development. Smaller companies will find this
new solution to be a good entry point for PLM, while larger companies will see the solution as a natural extension to their product development system. Windchill ProductPoint demonstrates PTC’s commitment to providing scalable solutions that help customers of all sizes optimize their product development processes.”

Windchill ProductPoint was announced and demonstrated at the PTC/USER World Event on June 2, 2008. It is expected to be available in Q4 2008.

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

I saw Windchill ProductPoint introduced and demonstrated at the annual global media and analyst event as part of the PTC/USER world event a couple of weeks ago. This was one of the two product announcements made at the event (the other one being ProductView – see link below in “The Week’s Top 5”). Both are related to PTC’s data management initiatives. This was interesting because although Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire and CoCreate were discussed, they were hardly the focus of the event. This emphasis indicates to me that the pendulum is, at least for now, swinging toward the data management side of the equation and away from the MCAD side –
although the design data you manage has to come from somewhere, right? I also 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 can tell, didn’t really catch on as they had hoped. PTC, however, might have better luck and greater acceptance because of its Windchill customer base and the way technology seems to be 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. Microsoft touts SharePoint’s easy-of-use, rapid deployment, and low total cost of ownership as its key benefits.

PTC realized that SharePoint, by itself, is 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 will find that SharePoint does not work well with the core product development tools they use each 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.

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.

Windchill ProductPoint will be integrated with Pro/ENGINEER, and offers basic capabilities to capture and manage Pro/ENGINEER and other CAD formats. In aligning with Microsoft’s strategy of attempting to keep things simple, PTC will not replicate the advanced capabilities of Pro/INTRALINK or Windchill PDMLink in Windchill ProductPoint. PTC thinks that current users of Windchill PDMLink or Pro/INTRALINK would generally not consider Windchill ProductPoint to be an alternative to those products, but smaller companies who have no data management solution today or are just getting started with Pro/ENGINEER may find Windchill ProductPoint to be a great solution to get started with,
knowing that as their needs grow, they have the option of complementing Windchill ProductPoint with the more powerful capabilities of Pro/INTRALINK or Windchill PDMLink.

According to the company, because Windchill ProductPoint does not overlap Pro/INTRALINK or Windchill PDMLink capabilities, PTC does not plan to develop migration tools or enable license transfers that would enable a customer to switch to Windchill ProductPoint.

While there are certain similarities between Windchill ProductPoint and Windchill ProjectLink in terms of being able to share files and information across distributed teams via collaboration workspaces, there are also important differences. For example, Windchill ProjectLink is built on the same server as Windchill, shares a common database and look and feel with Windchill PDMLink, and thus is a natural extension to a Windchill deployment. Adding Windchill ProjectLink to Windchill PDMLink will continue to be a simple and cost effective option for Windchill PDMLink customers, especially those lacking a mandate to adopt and use SharePoint.

On a go-forward basis, PTC says it will continue to direct the focus of Windchill ProjectLink enhancements on the complementary needs of program and portfolio management, while working with Microsoft to help customers get ever more value out of Windchill ProductPoint as an enterprise collaboration and file sharing platform.

So, will PTC succeed with Microsoft’s SharePoint where others truly haven’t? Only time will tell, but we’ll probably have to wait about a year from now (it’s not scheduled to be available until late 2008) to see if it has penetrated the market as PTC envisions and hopes.

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 Education Edition 2008-2009 3D CAD Software Unveiled

SolidWorks Corp. released SolidWorks Education Edition 2008-2009, which delivers all the capabilities of SolidWorks 2008 Office Premium, plus new analysis software, curriculum, and more. Students will notice the most sweeping enhancement, a new, intuitive, time-saving user interface. Students can work more efficiently than ever because the UI gives them new opportunities to interact directly with the model in addition to intuitive menu options. A streamlined workflow anticipates which tools students will need in the context of the specific task they are undertaking and presents them for use. The interface increases useful window real estate, reduces mouse travel, provides innovative
customization options, and offers task-based command selection. In addition to the interface, analysis software, and curriculum, SolidWorks Education Edition 2008-2009 incorporates more than 250 user-requested enhancements introduced in SolidWorks 2008, including powerful new features built on SolidWorks Intelligent Feature Technology (SWIFT). SWIFT Instant3D, one of several unique new features built on the SWIFT framework, lets users create and modify 3D model features simply by manipulating drag handles directly on the model.

Elysium Inc. Releases CADdoctor EX3.0

Elysium Inc., a provider of design data exchange software, today announced the release of CADdoctor EX3.0, their flagship data verification tool. The latest release includes expanded capabilities for data translation end-to-end throughout product development—from scanned geometry for modeling to surface preparation for molding and manufacturing parts. The new software tools promote process automation, reduce design and manufacturing times, and improve product data quality. CADdoctor assists in translating data into its most usable form for CAD, CAM, or CAE applications. For instance, a reverse engineering option in the software can read the polygonal data in a stereolithography
(STL) file and translate it into a CAD model with valid surfaces and boundaries, and precise geometry, as opposed to an approximation. The resulting data are usable without further repair or re-modeling in CAD, CAE, or even CAM applications for cutting, moldmaking, and other manufacturing processes.

PTC Introduces ProductView Visual Collaboration Software, Represents New Generation of Unified, Scalable Visualization Platform

PTC introduced ProductView 9.1, the newest version of PTC’s visual collaboration software. With its breakthrough performance gains, intuitive task-focused user interface and unique MCAD-ECAD collaboration capabilities, this release enables a customer to gracefully adapt to their changing visual collaboration needs without having to install disparate tools or develop custom integrations. Product development is a highly visual activity and manufacturers have often struggled with multiple technology solutions to support the various forms and complexity levels of visual information required by different stakeholders. PTC’s ProductView 9.1 alleviates these challenges by
offering a scalable visual collaboration platform that supports customer needs ranging from simple desktop viewing to the interactive exploration of massive digital mockups. Its scalability means that ProductView 9.1 allows for loading volumes of viewable data previously unachievable, increases overall productivity with superlative performance, and extracts the most value from customers’ existing hardware investment. Additionally with this release, the ProductView 9.1 family supports the ProSTEP IDX (Interdomain Design Exchange) standard, a method for communicating incremental design changes bi-directionally between mechanical and electrical domains.

MSC.Software Announces Integrated Enterprise Simulation for PTC Product Development Solutions

MSC.Software announced an integrated simulation solution for the PTC Product Development Solutions within its release of SimEnterprise R3. MSC.Software’s SimEnterprise solutions allow users of PTC’s CAD and PDM applications to enhance their design environment efficiency through virtual test and validation while increasing the level of analysis through SimEnterprise that provide several layers of simulation functionality that are fully integrated with PTC applications. The SimEnterprise solutions begin with the capabilities of MD Nastran for linear, non-linear and thermal analysis, along with MD Adams for motion coupled with other integrated analysis capabilities for noise,
vibration, and explicit analyses, such as drop tests.

Corel and Right Hemisphere Partner to Bring Complete 3D Technical Illustration Solution to Market

Corel Corp. announced a partnership with Right Hemisphere, a provider of visual communication and collaboration solutions. Corel will incorporate a special version of Right Hemisphere’s Deep Exploration Standard Edition software into its next release of Corel DESIGNER Technical Suite. The addition of Right Hemisphere’s Deep Exploration software will give Corel users the ability to transform 3D CAD models and publish them into accurate 2D graphics without having to purchase additional CAD software. Available in two versions, Right Hemisphere’s Deep Exploration is a client software application that allows its users to automatically transform, author and publish
lightweight 2D and 3D product graphics using existing engineering CAD design data and other digital content. The Deep Exploration Standard Edition version automatically translates, optimizes and repairs a variety of popular 3D graphics file formats. The Deep Exploration CCE version offers support for over 80 file formats, including all of the major CAD applications, as well as the ability to publish 3D interactive Adobe PDF files.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
Email Contact or 408.850.9230.

This Week

Lead Story

PTC Announces Windchill ProductPoint Its New SharePoint-Based Solution For Product Development

Product and Company News

Cirrus Design Selects Fishbowl Solutions and EAC as Partners for PTC® Product Development System Initiative

GoEngineer Named First Oracle Partner to Deliver Accelerate Solutions for Oracle Agile PLM

Automaker is Stratasys Inc's 10,000th Installation

Saft Power Systems Selects Siemens PLM Software's Solid Edge and Femap

VIDEO Dassault Systèmes Introduces V6 to the Market

Right Hemisphere's 3D Visualization Technology to Integrate With SAP PLM

Exporting Parts and Assemblies with SolidWorks-to-Catia V5 Plug-in

Four-Fold Increase in Educational Sites Using Flomerics EFD Software

Bunkspeed Joins PTC PartnerAdvantage Program

CD-adapco Announces the Fourth Major Release of STAR-CD V4

Autodesk Announces Sound Devices as Inventor of the Month for May 2008

Delcam still on top of CIMdata CAM rankings

ASCON Awards Winners of KOMPAS-3D Modelling Contest 2008

Altair and FTSS Cooperate to Deliver Integrated Safety Analysis Solution

Cirrus Design Soars with PTC Product Development System

Aras Achieves Four Star Certification Rating for Complex Enterprise Product Configuration & Change Management

Cimatron Announces Share Repurchase Program

Sales Growth of Arena PLM Announced for Q1 2008

Underwater action with Vero & Ferris-Tech

Hexagon Metrology Strengthens Sheffield, ROMER Distributor Network

DFMPro Now SolidWorks Solution Partner

Cimatron Expands Offering in China With GibbsCAM Machining Solutions

Delcam's FeatureCAM generates hundreds of programs each month

ALGOR DesignCheck Provides Integrated Simulation for Pro/ENGINEER Users

SiMMANAGER R3 Delivers Breakthrough Productivity with Workgroup to Enterprise Scalability

JLG Industries Standardizes on PTC Windchill for PLM

Online Training Leader lynda.com Releases AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training Video

Mastercam X2 Now Certified for Autodesk Inventor 2009

Z Corporation ZPrinter 450 Selected by DE Readers as 2007 Product of the Year

Quickparts Offers Specialized Medical Grade Materials

IPL Unveils New Round Container With In-Mold Labelling Graphics

Symmetry Solutions Adds 3D Printing to its Technology Offerings

Pointwise Releases First Major Update of Next Generation Meshing Software

Bronswerk Heat Transfer BV Promotes Flomerics’ EFD.Pro from R&D to Mainstream Engineering Design

EOS Laser-Sintering to Build UAV Parts

QAD to Resell PTC PLM Solutions to Customers in Automotive, High Technology, Industrial Equipment and Life Sciences Industries

FEA-Opt Authorizes Radux to Distribute SmartDO in China

Actify's SpinFire Protect Solution Resonates at User Meetings

JETCAM announces AutoPOL partnership

American Precision Prototyping Releases Redesigned Online Quote System

CCE Upgrades EnSuite to Support Pro/E Wildfire 4.0, UG NX5 and Parasolid 19 Files

INUS Technology Sponsors The Pierre Bézier Award

InterSense Motion Tracking Technology Featured in Welding Simulation Program

TechExcel Makes Agile Development Scalable

Sustainable Minds™ Introduces Software Suite for Ecologically Sustainable Product Design Using Life Cycle Assessment in a Collaborative Workspace

Canon Communications LLC Announces the Redesign of Its Medical Device Link Portal

Avatech Solutions Launches New Manufacturing Consulting Services Group

Delcam's FeatureCAM certified for Autodesk Inventor 2009

OCE Selects Invention Machine to Accelerate Product Delivery and Discover New Market Opportunities

CADnection Announces officetalk as its First Authorized Reseller

New Portuguese TopSolid web site

Related MCAD News

Ball Aerospace Receives NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Contractor of the Year Award

IBM Extends Enterprise Content Management Software Portfolio With Business Content Services

Dassault Systemes Launches International Contest for Virtual Reality Experience and 3D Entertainment

Design Automation Conference 2008 Exhibitor Profiles

Digital-Tutors Founder Nominated for Autodesk Maya Master Award

The launch of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) job board is announced by Nooey

American Axle & Manufacturing Announces 2009 - 2013 New Business Backlog

I-Cubed Launches Rights Management Practice

IBM Adds Extreme Speed to Data Management Software Portfolio

45th Design Automation Conference to Explore "Verifying Really Complex Systems on Earth and Beyond"

Johnson Controls-Saft Named as Battery Supplier for Ford Test Fleet of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Infor Unveils Latest Version of Infor PLM Runtime for Apparel and Footwear Manufacturers

Storix Provides Backup and Adaptable System Recovery Software for Solaris

HP and Acer Settle Patent Litigation

Cadence Delivers Advanced DFM Solutions, Statistical Analysis, and Low-Power Design Technology

Corporate Moves

New Executives Join Z Corporation to Accelerate Rapid Company Growth in 3D Printing

Industry Events

Vero Hosts Early Preview Seminar

GibbsCAM Interoperability with Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire Showcased at PTC/USER World Event 2008

Autodesk to Webcast Its Annual Meeting of Stockholders

PTC/USER World Event 2008 Roundup: CAD Schroer Shows Project Engineers How to Win More Business

PTC to Webcast Annual Global Media and Analyst Event June 2, 2008

TopSolid'Cam on Mori Seiki Open Days 11-13 June

Design Automation Conference to Host EDA Bloggers Meeting

Anark To Show 3D CAD Transformation Platform at PTC/User World 2008

Pointwise User Group Meeting 2008

2008 Future Medical Device Forum Final Announcement

ESI Group Holds First Expert Course on Fracture Mechanics

Webcast: Fisher/Unitech ---- Rules-Based Design Automation for ETO 6/13

Enovia On Demand Webinar: Mechatronics & PLM: How High-Tech Companies Can Gain Profitable Innovation

Adept Technology Presents Adept Quattro s650 Robot at World's Largest Solar Trade Fair

LMS announces 2008 edition of the International LMS Engineering Simulation Conference

Vero hosts 'early peek' world dealer seminar

Virtutech Sponsors Multiple Events at Design Automation Conference

ASCON took part at CAD Conference in Germany

Delcam to preview new-look PartMaker at IMTS

Join Arena Solutions June 5th for Summer '08 Arena PLM Online Launch Event

Free LMS web seminar: Simulating real-world performance of mechanical designs

New Engineering Simulation Software Performs Virtual Product Testing at 2008 Atlantic Design Show

Corporate Newsletters

Delmia World News 16

Manuacturing Community Update


You can find the full MCADCafe event calendar here.

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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.