PLM This Week: PTC Introduces Kinex, a New Generation of IoT Applications Built on ThingWorx
Felix Nilsson posted on April 18, 2017 |
Plus news on TechniaTranscat’s SOVELIA, Siemen’s acquisition of Mentor, and IFS’ growing momentum.

Kinex: PTC Introduces a New Generation of IoT Applications Built on ThingWorx

PTC is making headway when it comes to releasing solutions based on the company's Internet of Things (IoT) platform, ThingWorx. This week, the Massachusetts-based PLM developer announced the release of a product family called Kinex, which consists of IoT applications that promise to enable businesses to implement a digital transformation more easily.

According to PTC, this "new generation of IoT apps "are role-based and designed to combine the data from a company's other IT systems with sensor-based data from the physical world, supplying users with information and contextual insights that can help to make better, more relevant decisions and increase product performance.

One of the effects PTC believes these Kinex apps will achieve is for their users to change the way products are designed, manufactured, serviced and experienced.

The first application in the Kinex product family is called Kinex Navigate. The basic idea behind Navigate is to allow a company’s stakeholders to access and use product data derived from multiple other systems of record within the company, through a modern role-based interface, much like other mobile apps. 

This solution, which is already on the market, has achieved rapid growth.  As of today PTC has sold more than 125,000 seats of the software. As a side note, PTC also offers a free trial of Navigate on their website.

Connected to PLM. The solution also includes preconfigured integration with PTC's PLM system Windchill, which means that Windchill customers can use information from the field about a product’s functionality and performance to drive further development.

More apps in the making. PTC states that it will be releasing additional Kinex applications, but without a specific mention of when these releases will happen. In addition, the ThingWorx platform makes it possible for PTC’s partners and customers to add functionality and features that extend the Kinex applications to meet their specific business requirements.

SOVELIA Engineering: A New Solution to Manage and Share Design Data

A number of years ago when PLM consultant Technia (now called TechniaTranscat), acquired Finnish software developer Ravalik, they also got a PLM solution called Auric in the bargain. Around 2010 they rebranded, and the 10th version of Auric changed its name to SOVELIA.

At the time, Technia was a bit unsure what they would do with this solution, as the company already had a longstanding and growing PLM collaboration with Dassault Systèmes. It was decided that the solution would be handed over to its sister company Cad-Q (an Autodesk reseller now called Symetri) for further technological and commercial development.

Since then, SOVELIA has been under continuous development by Symetri, and today SOVELIA is being used by a number of companies in the Nordic region. One of these companies is Visedo, a Finnish developer of hybrid and all-electric engine solutions, who bet on SOVELIA to secure product data management and sharpen the quality of documentation. Another SOVELIA customer is Lidan Marine, which designs and manufactures winches and handling systems for marine use.

A completely new solution. Symetri recently launched a PLM-associated software called SOVELIA Engineering. The company describes it as "a completely new solution, which was developed to help designers execute their work using simple, easy to use and effective methods." They also emphasize that SOVELIA Engineering provides tools that enhance the standard functions in Autodesk Inventor, with improved drawing quality and increased efficiency.

"This is a really good solution developed to facilitate the designer's work, whether in engineering, product data or reuse of data," said Symetri's manufacturing sales manager, Andreas Näsman. "It simplifies the release process, integrates with other systems and provides full access to all approved documents for those involved."

According to Symetri, SOVELIA Engineering includes the following capabilities:

  • Tools for managing product data
  • Functions and tools for automating time consuming manual tasks
  • SOVELIA Connect offers features for sharing design data
  • Version checking and approval process for design data
  • Automatic generation of secondary file formats
  • The ability to share design data with project members not using CAD (drawings, article lists and BOMs)
  • Access to all product data any time and anywhere, from any device
  • Capabilities to allow for expansion into a complete PLM solution (in this case, SOVELIA PLM)

Why SOVELIA Engineering? Manufacturing companies and their product development teams need to quickly adapt to their customers' demands and develop high quality products. One clear trend is that adapted products with many different variants are gaining ground at the expense of standard products. Therefore, it has become increasingly important for product companies to find a user-friendly design solution that automates repetitive tasks and improves the quality of products—a solution that gets more done in less time and with less resources.

How silos can occur—and how to remove them. Another challenge that product design teams face is sharing of design data—a process that includes labor-intensive processes, and that is complicated by the fact that designers are often interrupted in their work.

To ensure that they have access to the data they need, many choose to create their own “private library" with drawings and product structures in Excel files, which in turn often means that structural changes are not updated everywhere or communicated to all stakeholders. This situation creates information silos, and a situation where nobody knows where the latest information is saved.

This is a classic problem in the CAD and PLM world, which Symetri says can be solved with the help of SOVELIA Engineering to manage product information and design data in a way that ensures all of the data is not only reliable, but also accessible to all interested parties, including the design team, production team, suppliers, vendors and aftermarket.

To summarize SOVELIA Engineering:

  • A new solution from Symetri for product development
  • The solution is available for Autodesk Inventor 2016 and 2017
  • Designed to help designers execute their work using simple and effective methods
  • Simplifies the release process and has powerful tools to share design data

Siemens Finalizes Acquisition of Mentor Graphics

At the end of last week, Siemens PLM Software completed the due diligence of its acquisition of Mentor Graphics. It was mid-November last year when Siemens announced they had bought the leading electronic design automation (EDA) developer for $4.5 billion.

Mentor Graphics’ product line has experienced a significant increase in demand in recent years, including design and simulation solutions for electrical systems, integrated circuits, printed circuit boards, embedded systems and automotive electronics.

“The entire suite of EDA offerings from Mentor are critically important to our vision of growing our customer base and delivering the world’s most comprehensive portfolio of software solutions to build the Digital Enterprise,” said Tony Hemmelgarn, president and CEO of Siemens PLM Software.

“Software tools such as Electrical & Wire Harness Design and Electronic Systems Design perfectly complement our existing solutions, while tools for IC Design, Verification, Test and Manufacturing expand our offerings and expertise into adjacent segments to bring value to a new set of clients,” Hemmelgarn added.

While $4.5 billion isn’t pocket change for any company—even Siemens—we’re not talking about a small player that a PLM giant is now bringing into the fold. Mentor is headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon, but has representation in 32 countries with a total number of employees of around 5,700. The company has sales of roughly $1.2 billion, and has a profit margin of slightly over 20 percent.

Mentor Graphics has around 14,000 customers worldwide in everything from communications, computers and consumer electronics to the aerospace and automotive industries. And it’s for good reason that the company is usually regarded as a global leader in the industrial areas of integrated circuit (IC) design, testing and manufacturing, electronic system design and analysis and automotive electronics.

No stranger to the simulation world. Speaking of large acquisitions, it should be mentioned that it was less than a year ago that Siemens purchased CD-adapco, strengthening its portfolio of solutions for analysis and simulation of fluid dynamics.

With these major rapid-fire acquisitions, it’s easy to discern an overarching strategy. Mentor is no stranger to the simulation world, but has its own flagship in the form of 3D CFD solution FloTHERM. This software uses advanced CFD techniques to study and predict airflow, temperature and heat transfer in components and systems such as computer racks and data centers. The program is usually regarded as one of the industry's best solutions for the integration of MCAD and EDA software. Furthermore, FloTHERM is considered a world leader in thermoelectric analysis.

It should be noted that the Mentor portfolio also contains the CFD-in-CAD solution FloEFD and the 1D CFD-software Flowmaster, among others.

Facilitates the creation of digital twins. However, Mentor is primarily associated with design solutions for printed circuit boards (PCB) and simulation. This includes the Veloce Emulation platform, which reduces the risk associated with the verification of today's complex system-on-chip (SoCs) or system circuitry. Veloce is also the core technology in the Mentor Enterprise Verification Platform (EVP). Other solutions in this complex sphere include HyperLynx (signal and power integrity analysis) and systems for MEMS (microelectromechanical systems); not to mention the solution for radio frequency design (RF) Tanner EDA.

“The addition of Mentor solutions for electronic design automation (EDA) and the competent team behind the development of these will radically enhance our core capabilities in terms of product design. Thus, we can create highly accurate digital twins to the smart product or production line anytime,” said Klaus Helmrich, member of the board of Siemens.

Strong Business Momentum for ERP Vendor IFS

If you’re looking for indications that the IT market is picking up lately, Sweden-based mid-market ERP vendor IFS is a good example.

The company, which sells and maintains the enterprise system IFS Applications 9, has posted no less than three (or five, depending how you count) new deals in the last couple weeks. The deals are for the implementation of its system in such diverse industries as glass making, cable production, flooring and labeling, in both Europe and Asia.

Heinz-Glas, headquartered in Kleintettau, Germany, is a global glassmaking company that operates 16 production and sales sites in 12 countries worldwide. The company manufactures and processes flacons and caps for the perfume and cosmetics industry. Heinz-Glas chose to implement IFS Applications 9 to support its digital transformation and to make sure that the company can embrace Industry 4.0.

In the case of Heinz-Glas, the IFS solution will support business-critical processes such as financials, human resources, supply chain management, engineering, manufacturing, sales and service, maintenance and business processes, as well as document and quality management. During the first phase, IFS Applications will be implemented at four glass and finishing locations in Germany. This phase will be followed by a global roll out.

Spanish Scales. High tech manufacturer Dibal, based in Spain with subsidiaries in China, Mexico and the UK, is a provider of scales and labelling equipment for the retail and manufacturing industries. Its weighing solutions are used at all leading supermarkets in Spain, including Makro, Mercadona, El Corte Inglés and Carrefour.

According to Dibal, it chose IFS because of the solution’s comprehensive support of business-critical processes such as manufacturing, project management, invoicing, maintenance, supply chain management, analytics and CRM. The solution will also empower Dibal’s workforce with apps that let users manage invoices, purchase orders and sales orders from anywhere using smartphones or tablets.

Three Sri Lankan manufacturers. IFS also announced that Sri Lankan manufacturing sister companies Cable Solutions Lanka, Prime Packaging Lanka, and Quality Floors Lanka Ltd., have opted to implement its Applications 9 suite.

Cable Solutions Lanka produces cables that are used across multiple industries including telecommunications, automotive, instrumentation, load-cell manufacturing, sensor manufacturing and oil and gas. Prime Packaging Lanka offers customers a wide range of products with particular emphasis on food and chemical packaging. Quality Floor Lanka offers a range of flooring solutions for both industrial and commercial use.

In the case of these companies, IFS Applications will support their operations with mission-critical visibility and control of inventory and costs, while helping to keep a record of activities on the production floor. Among the components selected are material requirements planning, costing, quality management and shop floor reporting.

If you’re interested in learning more about IFS, their solutions and their vision for the future, I recommend that you watch Verdi Ogewell’s TV report from the IFS World Conference, which was held last year in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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