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ENOVIA V6 Multi-CAD: Do Everything!

by Oleg on April 1, 2012 · 2 comments

Note, this is NOT 1st April post :) . Multi-CAD and PLM. Endless story… Few weeks ago, I published my post The Anatomy of MultiCAD-PDM integrations. I recommend you to have a read before you continue with this article. Another blog, you probably want to review is the story about Autodesk Vault and Multi-CAD. This blog is also continuation of the discussion I started in the following posts – Immersive CAD management: is it the CAD/PDM future?, CAD Strategies: Unified or Diversified and CAD, PDM and PLM diversity.

So, this week, I’d like to make a next step and talk about Dassault Enovia and multi-CAD. Again, as before when I talk about Autodesk Vault, my focus is on the integration between PDM/PLM platform and CAD. I’m not focusing on CAD data translation, visualization. Don’t take me wrong- data translation is important. However, I’d like to keep my focus on how data-management platform interact with CAD applications.

A week ago, I sat down with David Segal of Dassault Systemes to talk about Dassault Enovia and MultiCAD. This blog gives you some ideas about how Enovia presents their Multi-CAD integration and openness. He kindly provided me with some slides about Enovia V6 multi-CAD and gave me explanations about how Dassault Enovia supporting different design applications.

In my view, the usual complexity, every CAD/PLM vendor has is about how to separate their own CAD solutions from “other vendor CAD” solutions. Dassault is calling it “authoring applications”. So, on the following slide, you can see how ENOVIA V6 chart pictures about data-management strategy. I had hard time to go and understand the difference between “comprehensive collaborative solution” and “collaborative data-management solutions” for MCAD and ECAD. What was important to understand is that Enovia is not limiting their offer to Dassault CAD applications only. In addition, interesting to see that CATIA V6 and SolidWorks are positioned on this slide in the same box.

ENOVIA multiCAD data management

Another aspect is related to mechanical and electronic design applications (so-called MCAD and ECAD). The complexity of products is growing. You can hardly limit yourself to only mechanical aspects of the design. In that context, Enovia V6 supports both MCAD and ECAD spaces. You can see a chart below explaining MCAD solution offering.

MCAD Data Management

Another one related to ECAD options.

ECAD Data Management

I’ve got mixed feeling about these slides. The simple message is clear. Whatever CAD you do have – Enovia supports it. At the same time, what I learned the user experience and functionality of the integration are very important. The level of diversification in design scenarios and practices is very high. So, to see what is supported is something that important to understand. It is always interesting to see some performance in action. Take a look on few videos below for more examples.

NX Collaboration

ProE Collaboration

ProE ECO Implementation

MCAD-ECAD with Cadence

What is my conclusion? I made my short conclusion in the title of the post – Do Everything! I can hardly find the name of design system / CAD not covered by the slides. It is a good sign, since it allows the flexibility for user to choose tools and don’t lock customer on DS tools only. However, don’t take it blind and compare functional details in case you decide to go to one of them. Blog post is a wrong place to make functional comparison, but details are important. Remember that. Moreover, to support different versions of CAD applications is as well important. I can see how Dassault is doing a lot to make ENOVIA capable to be connected to any design applications and looking forward to learning about your experience. Speak your mind…

Best, Oleg

Disclosure: This post was reviewed by David Segal (DS) before publishing.



Autodesk, Vault and Multi-CAD

by Oleg on February 20, 2012 · 5 comments

I’d like to continue my “multi-CAD and PDM” story. If you had no chance to read my yesterday post The Anatomy of MultiCAD-PDM integrations, please do it before continue. I want you to take some initial context from there. I’ve been talking with Brain Roepke, director of PLM and “father of Autodesk Vault”. My interest was to learn more about Autodesk Vault PDM in the context supported CAD systems, Open APIs and openness.

Autodesk, Multi-CAD and Integrations with other PDMs

According to Brian, Autodesk is investing a lot in multiCAD capabilities. It comes in various capabilities and different applications. I’d like to to strict my coverage purely to Autodesk Vault. So, this post will not cover multiple translators and ability to read different CAD formats by various Autodesk products and for variety of purposes – visualization, simulation and many others.  Autodesk Development Networks (ADN) allows you to have the ability to develop applications using AutoCAD, Inventor, and other Autodesk products. In addition to that, you may use 3rd party tools that allow you to access Autodesk files and formats. I found integrations with Autodesk Inventor, and AutoCAD developed for Windchill, Enovia, TeamCenter, SAP PLM and others. Some of the integration developed by vendors and some of them, by partners.

Autodesk Vault- foundation and APIs

Let me start from core capabilities of Autodesk Vault to be integrated with other applications as well as providing a platform for development. Navigate your browser to the following link – Autodesk Dev Center. Here is what written about Autodesk Vault there:

Vault makes use of Web Service technology, which greatly simplifies client/server communication. Fundamentally, the Vault API allows a program to interact with the Vault server component, also known as ADMS. In fact, Vault Explorer and the CAD plug-ins are built on top of this API. So you have the same level of access to server data that Autodesk clients have.

Following this you can learn that Autodesk Vault SDK is installed automatically with Autodesk Vault. According to Autodesk you don’t have to be ADN (Autodesk Development Network) member to use APIs.

Another interesting functionality I learned about was Vault Attachments. Navigate to the following link to learn more. What was interesting is that Vault Attachments can be used in order to have Vault to use rules based on the association between files. The following passage, actually, explains this capability:

You can add attachments between any two or more files within the vault. Attaching a file to another in Autodesk Vault creates an association between the two files in the vault. Using attachments, you can check out all the files that are linked together and work on them as a unit, regardless of the applications that created the files. For example, you may want to attach a set of images to a Microsoft Word document if the images are linked to that file. In a design environment, you may want to assign a relationship from a document that represents assembly instructions to the actual CAD assembly files.

I can recommend you the following blog post – 6 hours of videos of Vault API, which contains quite good collections of videos you can use for training. It includes presentations and code samples by Doug Redmond.

Autodesk Vault and Other CAD systems

I’ve been searching for integrations of Autodesk Vault with major CAD systems of competitive CAD/PDM providers – SolidWorks, CATIA, Pro-E / Creo-Parametric, SolidEdge and NX. Here are few videos shows examples of these integrations.

Autodesk Vault and SolidWorks

Autodesk Vault and Pro-E

Autodesk Vault and Bentley Microstation

What is my conclusion? I found multiple ways to develop Vault PDM integration with CAD systems. Some of them requires API and development. Some of them can be done just by product configuration. I believe in such a thing as “integration”, devil is in details. It sounds like Autodesk has an intent to be open. More APIs and Web Services approach supported by Autodesk Vault provides a good foundation for that. Just my thoughts… I’m looking forward to learn more from comments and discussion.

Best, Oleg

Disclosure: This post was reviewed by Brian Roepke before publishing.



Multi-CAD and PDM: Dead Lock?

by Oleg on February 17, 2012 · 30 comments

This post was provoked by twitter conversation between me, Jonathan Scott of Razorleaf and Brian Roepke of Autodesk. Let me give you a context. During SolidWorks World general session yesterday, Jonathan commented about coming SolidWorks EPDM integration with DraftSight – free CAD software for your DWG files.  I thought, it might be beneficial to have DraftSight integration with Autodesk Vault. However, it appears to be a mistake. Watch that…

This conversation made me think again about what happens in the space of integration of product data management products and design software. Time ago, I posted – Immersive CAD management: is it the CAD / PDM future? Another post related to the same topic was – Back to basics: Multi-CAD and PLM. Last year, I posted CAD, PDM and PLM diversity. What I found common between all these cases is that I can see more and more stable bundles between CAD and PDM systems.

I can see an increased demand for better data-management functionality in CAD systems. The integration of data-management applications increased over the past 2-3 years. Vendors started to think about PDM functionality like revision management and vaulting as a standard function in CAD applications. Dassault V6 took this process even future and introduced CATIA V6 bundled with ENOVIA server.

In my view, CAD-PDM integration played a significant role in the first wave of broad PDM adoption. Multi-CAD support was (and still is) considered as an important function of PDM (and sometimes even PLM) system. To support heterogeneous environment, pure play PDM/PLM vendors must include multi-CAD support. It happened almost to all vendors in PDM/PLM space. On the opposite side, CAD/PDM vendors decided to strength their bundles and prefer to integrate data-management systems only with their own CAD systems. In my view, Multi-CAD integration is a painful issue for pure-play PDM/PLM vendors like Arena, Aras and future others. The complexity of CAD integration with PDM and PLM systems create a significant competitive advantage for CAD vendors to bundle their own PDMs right. At the same time, PDM providers from CAD vendors are less interested to provide support for “non-home-based” CAD systems.

What is my conclusion? I can see a certain dead-lock between the need for multi-CAD PDM systems and interest of CAD/PDM vendors to protect their business. Customers are demanding PDM systems like TeamCenter, Autodesk Vault, SolidWorks EPDM to support Multi-CAD features. However, it looks more and more like a dead-lock. PDM system will be embedded into CAD environment and will become part of the whole design environment. It doesn’t mean new innovative companies won’t try to break this dead-lock. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

[Update]. I keep open conversation with participants of this tweet-chat. You can expect some updates about the topic very soon.



CAD, PDM and PLM Diversity

October 20, 2010

The following message on twitter from Jonathan Scott of Razorleaf made me think about the future of vertical integration in Engineering Software. In my view, this is the old, but very interesting topic. I want to refer few of my previous posts that discussed this or related topics: 3DLive, HD3D and Demand for CAD/PDM immersivity […]

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Back to basics: Multi-CAD and PLM

December 15, 2009

How many CAD systems do you have in your development organization? I do believe more than one. And if you will think about your Product Lifecycle Management future, the obvious need is to connect your multiple CAD environment in the way allows you to manage all your design records, reference your design information in processes, […]

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