Onshape and Newman Cloud Partner on BOM App
Kyle Maxey posted on June 14, 2016 | | 4510 views
Cloud-based CAD company Onshape and Newman Cloud have announced the release of openBoM to the Onshape app store. What’s openBoM? Well, according to its developers, openBoM is a cloud-based bill of materials (BOM) tool that companies can use to track product configurations, components and other material variables across their product lines. Specifically, Newman Cloud has said that its new product will be able to deliver the following:
  • Directly import BOMs from Onshape projects
  • Create revisions and track BOM records
  • View history of changes to a BOM
  • Create and configure flexible and customizable BOM properties
  • Share BOMs with team, manufacturers and suppliers
  • Perform simultaneous BOM editing across organizational and geographic boundaries
  • Track part usage across multiple BOMs with intelligent “where used” queries

Of all of the features in openBoM’s initial release, the one that jumps out to me has to be the “where used” search feature. Although all of the other features in openBoM are equally as important, the ability to embed powerful search into a product design scheme can have truly transformational power. With a powerful search tool, anyone from an engineer to a production manager can quickly get access to design data and update product configurations or even smart manufacturing schemes.

However, according to openBoM’s CEO, Oleg Shilovitsky, the real benefit of the software’s integration with Onshape is that “[it allows] people to simultaneously edit bills of material collaboratively, much like groups can work in Onshape.”

“We’ve also brought in an idea that I call the simplicity of Excel,” Shilovitsky continued. “Everyone gets Excel and you can translate any problem to Excel, so we said, whatever you do with the bill of material management you’ll be able to do it in a configurable, identifiable and easy-to-use UI modeled after Excel.


But aside from openBoM’s search feature and Excel-based UI, what impact will this addition have on Onshape?

Well, for me, this new collaboration represents the startup’s first foray into the world of product lifecycle management (PLM). Given the software’s ability to track assets across a product’s lifecycle, openBoM appears to be the first salvo in what will likely be a long struggle for the cloud-based CAD package to build out a complete PLM system.

If the efforts of Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes and PTC are anything to go by, building a robust PLM system that’s easy to use and manage will be difficult. However, it’s possible that by outsourcing the critical components to companies like Newman Cloud, Onshape might get a jump start that the competition was not privy to.  

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