True, the newest version of Windchill PDMLink 8.0 is a “maintenance” build. But in many ways it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and a compelling reason why Pro/INTRALINK shops should consider moving up to Windchill PDMLink.
The reason? Two words – electronic design.
Until now, mechanical and EDA (Electronic Design Analysis) users have lived in separate camps. If you’re a mechanical designer working on a product that uses electronics – think cell phone, for example – then you’ve had to rely on phone calls, meetings or e-mails to determine that the electronic components for your product will, at the time of assembly, 1) fit, and 2) work.
Say, for example, you designed a space for a printed circuit board with four screw holes, one at each corner, and you communicated the spec to the electronic designer. But then, a week later, the electronic designer had to change one of the holes, and forgot to tell you. Come assembly, the printed circuit board doesn’t fit. Result: a costly, time-consuming production delay.
Or say your mechanical design and the electronic design have been taking place in parallel – which is typical. You complete your design, and get it built. It then gets mated with the electronics design in assembly. Then you find out that the electronic components aren’t working. The reason: manufacturing didn’t use the most recent EDA design. Result: a costly, time-consuming production delay.
The good news. Windchill PDMLink 8.0 gives you a powerful new supplier management tool - Windchill Supplier Management - that can benefit you directly, and that you’ll use nearly on a daily basis. This tool tells you, at a glance, everything you want to know about a particular part – what the specs are, who the manufacturers are, and so on. This function is usually addressed by numerous phone calls to the component engineer, or a futile search for the correct information across multiple systems or even the Internet. With Windchill PDMLink 8.0, you can access this information easily, in the same repository that you store your design information. And it could save you many hours, particularly at project startup.
EDA specifics. As for the EDA advances, PTC has integrated Windchill PDMLink 8.0 with two important products, Intercomm EDAcompare and Rational ClearCase. Let’s look at both.
- InterComm EDAcompare is PTC’s change-identification tool that can compare two printed circuit boards, at any stage of abstraction, and identify any changes made to the original. These comparisons are part of the validation phase in electronic design, and, if performed manually, can consume significant time. Today, this feature is typically used by a CAD/EDA project manager. But it means that you, the CAD designer, will be able to determine how any changes in printed circuit board shape and size of design might affect your own assembly model.
- Rational ClearCase – By far the EDA industry’s leading software configuration management (SCM) product, Rational ClearCase is essentially a product data management system for the software that drives electronic components. Such software – used to activate switches, open circuits, start motors, and so on – is a critical part of electronic design, and critical to getting the product to work. By being able to “see” into the Rational ClearCase data management system, you and your CAD administrator will know how the software side of your product is progressing, and synchronize their efforts with your own, so that you can meet your project timelines and have a successful release. (Windchill Integration for Rational ClearCase is the product that enables this to work.)
InterComm EDAcompare – looking at hardware. In operation, InterComm EDAcompare compares any two versions of a printed circuit board design. This comparison goes into great detail, covering electrical attributes and electrical connectivity, and showing the differences graphically, as well. As part of Windchill PDMLink 8.0, it will be able to check differences in electronic designs as they are checked in and out of the repository. Better still, the results of that comparison can be routed to a project manager for review, without ever having to go into the native design tool.
Chad Hawkinson, PTC Director of Strategic Marketing, explains, “If an electronic designer checked in a version of an electrical design last week, and now checks in a newer version, EDAcompare can create a list of differences in a Web-friendly format, available for routing – via Windchill workflow -- to various project team members for review.”
Rational ClearCase – checking on software. The integration with Rational ClearCase means that project managers will also be able to watch the progress of the software, whether machine code, firmware, or application software – that will drive the product’s electronics.
“This will bring visibility to the third leg of the stool, so to speak,” says Chad. “Now the mechanical design will be tied to not only the electronics hardware, but to the software that actually runs the electronics. That’s important because software can, in some cases, hold up product development at the last minute. Now that’s not as likely to happen.”
Holistic design – the larger trend. All of this points to the larger industry trend of holistic product design, says Tom Shoemaker, PTC Director, Windchill Solutions Marketing. “It’s critical to bring the worlds of CAD and EDA together, because so many of today’s products contain electronics, and that trend will continue as electronics become even smaller and less expensive,” he says.
For now, Windchill PDMLink 8.0 gives Pro/ENGINEER and Windchill users something to cheer about by giving them an opportunity to accelerate their own CAD/EDA collaboration.
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Top 8 reasons to move from Pro/INTRALINK 3.x to Windchill PDMLink 8.0
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