Aras PLM Takes Hold of the Digital Thread with New Dynamic Platform for Product Navigation and 3D Interaction
Verdi Ogewell posted on July 06, 2020 |
Dynamic Product Navigation allows users to browse, search and drill deep down in 3D assembly data.

Broadly speaking, much of PLM development today is about the ongoing struggle to tear down barriers between departments and disciplines, to connect and create traceability on all data and processes involved in product lifecycles, and to develop simplicity and sharp user experiences in implementing and managing all the pieces through easy-to-use interfaces.

This is all done in slightly different ways and based on varying starting points. The big threeSiemens Digital Industries, Dassault Systèmes and PTChave everything from CAD, simulation and PDM solutions, to digital manufacturing tools and IoT platforms to receive feedback from the products in the field and in the hands of end users.

Which specific solutions each one offers depends on which PLM developer we’re talking about, but alongside the three big, Aras PLM is one of the leading challengers in recent years.

Aras initially built on a free "open source" model in platform development and has attracted capital from the investment banking sector, including Goldman Sachs. This money is consistently and systematically invested in sharpening the PLM platform and tangible solutions, including solutions such as digital tools for simulation (SPDM), maintenance and configuration.

The recent announcement is a major new feature in the Aras range: Dynamic Product Navigation (DPN), as a platform service that allows users to browse, search and drill deep down in 3D assembly data within the framework of the overall product structure. This puts the platform in the track of the digital thread, which has become a dominant feature in the arsenals of all PLM developers with cutting edge ambitions.

STEPPING INTO THE DEVELOPMENT TRACK WITH SHARP VISUALIZATION. With Aras PLM's new Dynamic Product Navigation (DPN), users across the organization can create 3D data queries to reflect interactive structure representations based on ad-hoc criteria. An individual can see the product in the right context to be able to answer a specific question quickly.
STEPPING INTO THE DEVELOPMENT TRACK WITH SHARP VISUALIZATION. With Aras PLM's new Dynamic Product Navigation (DPN), users across the organization can create 3D data queries to reflect interactive structure representations based on ad-hoc criteria. An individual can see the product in the right context to be able to answer a specific question quickly.

Dynamic Product Navigation will be available with a full range of capabilities in the Aras Innovator application suite, as well as custom applications.

“This expands the ability to investigate, identify and interact with related PLM articles from product development to the extended company and digital thread interaction,” says John Sperling, SVP for Product Management at Aras.

DPN eliminates the need for specialized CAD knowledge, CAD licenses and manual conversion activities, argues Aras PLM's John Sperling.
DPN eliminates the need for specialized CAD knowledge, CAD licenses and manual conversion activities, argues Aras PLM's John Sperling.

Irritating and Shaking the Competition

Few players in the PLM area have taken development work more seriously than this offensive challenger. Admittedly, in terms of revenue and overall size, Aras PLM is small­—the revenues are around 10 to 20 percent of what the big ones generate in direct revenues.  On the other hand, Aras has grown vigorously and with their collaborative Product Definition management (cPDm) suite has both managed to irritate—and in some cases even “rattle”—the three major PLM players of Siemens, Dassault and PTC. This has come through break-ins with the Aras Innovator suite among a number of major OEMs and manufacturers that frequently supplement what they already have with Aras’ platform for collaborative and easily accessible communication in product development processes.

Transition from Static Representations to Dynamic

As for Aras' currently announced dynamic product navigation feature, DPN, it marks an important transition from the typical static representation of CAD-based geometry to an interactive capability, where users can customize their 3D view according to business needs, including added business-related information.

Being able to selectively view 3D data based on PLM attributes—rather than just CAD attributes—"is a powerful capability for all types of users that allows them to interact with 3D data early and in context," says John Sperling.

He exemplifies this using the fact that Manufacturing staff can, for example, assign production routing steps based on manufacturing sequences, while Quality staff can visualize objects where errors or corrections have been identified according to CAPAs and preventive action reports. Meanwhile, in the Maintenance area users can easily isolate and display parts with service bulletins.

The new dynamic capabilities of the DPN allow people to visually see complex combinations of data.
The new dynamic capabilities of the DPN allow people to visually see complex combinations of data.

Anyone in the Entire Organization Can Ask Questions

With this new capability, users across the organization can create 3D data queries to reflect interactive structure representations based on ad-hoc criteria. An individual can see the product in the right context to be able to answer a specific question quickly. This type of dynamic capability allows people to visually see complex combinations of data, such as selecting parts of an ongoing change order, identifying items that have failed in certain simulation criteria or displaying components from a specific vendor or country of origin.

“DPN eliminates the need for specialized CAD knowledge, CAD licenses and manual conversion activities,” Sperling argues.

The browser-based visualization in DPN is intuitive and easy for non-CAD users. The very precise, "light" views are automatically converted from the built-in CAD files for all the important tools, including CATIA, NX, Creo, SOLIDWORKS and others.

“Traditional Digital Mockup tools overlook a critical use case for 3D visualization, which is simply finding business information using the product’s physical design,” John Sperling summed up. “Rather than searching by part number or other abstract characteristics, DPN provides easy-to-use 3D viewing so you can navigate through your product visually and find related business information. With Aras’ best-in-class ability to manage the entire Digital Thread, anything about your product can be found starting with a visual search using Dynamic Product Navigation.”

Aras subscribers can get Dynamic Product Navigation for no additional cost and the capability is available immediately.


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