PLM This Week: Former Siemens PLM CEO Joins Aras

Also: PLM in the offshore construction EPCI Industry.

A Surprising Move: Siemens PLM’s Former CEO Joins Aras

A SENSATIONAL MOVE. Siemens PLM's former CEO, Tony Affuso, has joined competitor Aras PLM's Board of Directors.

A SENSATIONAL MOVE. Siemens PLM’s former CEO, Tony Affuso, has joined competitor Aras PLM’s Board of Directors.

For American PLM developer Aras, recent years have brought a number of commercial and technical achievements that have given their system a boost at all levels.

For instance, in less than two years the company’s open-source solution Aras Innovator has gained nearly 200,000 new users in large global companies such as Airbus, Microsoft and GM.

The capacity of Aras’s collaborative platform to communicate the engineering data related to supplier collaboration is the main selling point.

Aras’s advances into the previously locked PLM market can be regarded as sensational, although it should be noted that the platform is usually used as a complementary solution to heavy PDM/PLM systems such as Siemens’ Teamcenter, PTC’s Windchill and Dassault’s ENOVIA.

Even more surprising is the announcement from Aras CEO Peter Schroer that the company has appointed Tony Affuso, Siemens PLM’s former CEO and a seasoned PLM expert, to its Board of Directors.

Tony Affuso was the one responsible for pushing through the deal in which Siemens acquired UGS. This purchase added NX and I-deas (high end CAD), Solid Edge (mainstream CAD), Teamcenter (PDM/PLM), Nastran and Femap (CAE), Tecnomatix and more to the Siemens portfolio.

“I was attracted to Aras because of their disruptive technology, open-source customer engagement model, and the fact that their technology has recently been selected over that of their competitors by several of the world’s leading engineering and manufacturing companies,” said Affuso. He also added that he was impressed by Aras’s “customer-first mentality.”

“There is a cultural attitude that has always been the fuel of my passion and which also is characteristic of the entire Aras organization,” Affuso said.

Seen from the outside, this move by Tony Affuso appears somewhat unusual for the PLM industry. Over his nearly 40-year career, he first built UGS into a leading market player, then was the leading force in the deal where the company was acquired by Siemens in 2007. He stayed on as CEO of the newly formed Siemens PLM division, and his name has been strongly linked to that company’s products and business.

Admittedly, Affuso has been disconnected from the activities of Siemens since he stepped down and handed the CEO job to Chuck Grindstaff, another recently resigned Siemens PLM manager. But it’s easy to see how his leap back into the action at a competitor might have left many former colleagues scratching their heads.

On the other hand, we live in a free world and Affuso, of course, is free to go wherever he wants after leaving the Siemens sphere.

“We are seeing a resurgence in the demand for PLM, as manufacturers are dealing with increased product complexity and the digital transformation of their businesses to achieve new levels of efficiency and competitiveness. Manufacturers are re-evaluating their systems infrastructure and investing in new capabilities such as the Aras ‘Digital Thread’ that enables full life-cycle traceability of their products. Based on all the factors I am seeing, Aras is emerging as the new PLM leader with the right technology at the right time,” said Tony Affuso.

For Aras founder and CEO, Peter Schroer, the recruitment of Tony Affuso certainly is good news.

“Tony brings a depth of customer knowledge and insight that is just unmatched in the industry. He has seen PLM evolve from the early days of mechanical CAD to the systems engineering era that Aras enables. As a board member, he will play a key role guiding our course and deepening our connections as we continue to redefine the industry’s expectations of PLM,” Schroer finished.

Offshore Construction Company Bets on 3DEXPERIENCE

Dassault Systèmes posted a win this week with McDermott International, an American-based offshore platform construction company.

McDermott has chosen to implement the “Integrated Plant Engineering,” “Optimized Plant Construction” and “Efficient Plant Operation” industry solution experiences from the broader 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The company’s aim is to collaboratively engineer, build and operate fixed and floating offshore production facilities, pipelines and subsea systems for its client base of oil companies.

Risk Management is a Challenge

EPCI companies (short for Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Installation, a common form of contracting arrangement within offshore construction) face strong pricing pressure while being asked to deliver highly complex facilities on time and on budget.

Solving these challenges hinges on effective risk management, while also developing other competitive differentiators.

With the aforementioned industry solutions, Dassault claims that McDermott will be able to digitize and standardize its processes and deploy a single, secure and collaborative environment that fully integrates engineering, procurement, project controls, construction, installation and commissioning.

McDermott’s global teams will also have access to real-time information related to customer requirements, project scope and schedules for full visibility on a project’s status and more informed decision-making.

Its engineers can build a virtual model based on a single source of information that reduces manual and document-based processes and facilitates knowledge reuse. Teams can leverage this virtual model to review the design, manage changes and incorporate as-built conditions in order to predict and optimize performance.

First Offshore Construction Company with PLM?

All of this might sound a bit old hat in more traditional PLM industries such as automotive and aerospace, but implementing tools and processes like these in an engineering and construction company is a different challenge.

“We chose the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to support our business strategy to become the first energy-focused EPCI company to implement a project lifecycle platform,” said Vaseem Khan, vice president of engineering at McDermott. “This is a transformative initiative – moving engineering in the oil and gas sector from being based on the transfer of discrete documents to being based on an exchange of data in a more integrated and easy to use digital platform. This will change how projects are executed.”

It should be noted that although McDermott has chosen to implement these solutions, this does not mean that the implementation is finished, merely that the decision has been made after a successful pilot. To see how the project pans out, we’ll have to stay tuned.

CENIT’s Roadmap to PLM and Industry 4.0

With the world’s largest industrial fair, Hannover Messe (HMI), coming up at the end of April, many exhibitors are preparing to share their view of what the digital factory and Industry 4.0 will mean for their current and potential customers.

One of these exhibitors is the German software and consulting specialist CENIT, which said it will present a mature strategic and operational approach to establishing 4.0-ready PLM business strategies.

The core elements of CENIT’s solution are a value chain-oriented PLM concept, process-focused integration of Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE with the SAP platform, and pre-configured use cases for lean, agile and efficient introduction of PLM solutions in business enterprises.

At the HMI, CENIT’s specialists will present integrated process scenarios for the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE and SAP platforms along the entire value chain. Based on use cases, CENIT will show, for example, how cross-platform dashboards can be used as control elements for decision-makers in product development and change processes.

The core value of these use cases is that they plan to deliver a seamless control system for business processes and consistent, lossless management of master data and product structures across the two platforms. CENIT claims that clients no longer need to choose between running PLM in the Dassault Systèmes or SAP world – instead, they are free to manage each process role via their “home application,” along with all the associated tasks and in the correct data context.

CENIT will be in attendance at the Hannover Messe, April 24-28 in Hall 6, Booth L30.

TechniaTranscat Expands into Benelux, Acquires Infostrait

It’s full speed ahead for PLM specialist TechniaTranscat. The company, a subsidiary of Sweden-based IT-group Addnode, is in a strong expansion phase and looking to expand more in the European market.

After the purchase of Transcat—and already with a strong foothold in the German-speaking Central European market—the company has cast covetous glances at other regions. TechniaTranscat is one of Europe’s leading PLM consultancies related to Dassault Systèmes’ software.

Previously, TechniaTranscat also had a partnership with Dutch PLM company Infostrait. This partnership has now been taken to a new level with TechniaTranscat announcing the acquisition of the Dutch PLM and BIM specialist. The acquisition price is still up for speculation, however, since TechniaTranscat has chosen not to reveal it.

Infostrait is a Value Added Reseller (VAR) of Dassault Systèmes. The company has 18 employees and it showed a turnover in 2016 of about EUR 2.7 million.

“Infostrait has been a partner of ours for many years. The company is customer-oriented, producing high quality solutions and generally an agile business philosophy that is consistent with ours,” said TechniaTranscat CEO Jonas Gejer. He added that, “the acquisition will strengthen TechniaTranscat’s presence in the Benelux market.”

Following the acquisition of Infostrait, the number of employees of TechniaTranscat will increase to 540. In 2016, TechniaTranscat had a turnover of EUR 82.5 million in its markets in Austria, Finland, Germany, India, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States.