Integrating PDM with PLM

Arena Solutions debuts file management module for product lifecycle management solution

Mountain View, CA — April 25, 2003 — Product lifecycle management specialist Arena Solutions this week rolled out expanded functionality for its flagship PLM offering with the introduction of new functionality for linking enterprise data to product information as a way of giving original equipment manufacturers a higher level of business intelligence.

Arena (formerly said its new Advanced File Management module provides enhanced capabilities for managing changes to product-related documents and other intellectual assets — including CAD and EDA files, design documents, test results and business processes — along with the product definition in Arena PLM.

Along with the release of the module, Arena announced its strategy to integrate product data management (PDM) tools into its PLM offering through the development of a new series of integration adapters. The adapters are intended to provide greater efficiencies for engineering teams, improve the availability of current design data, and boost organizational efficiency and accountability.

The first of the new integration adapters, Arena's PDMWorks Integration Adapter, will allow integration of SolidWorks files in PDMWorks with product definition data in Arena PLM. Engineering teams will be able to manage SolidWorks drawings and part and assembly files in their PDMWorks vault, while managing corresponding released distribution files (such as PDF or eDrawing) in Arena PLM, according to the solution provider.

In addition, access to SolidWorks part files by groups outside of engineering, including the supply chain, can be provided and controlled through Arena PLM. The provider said it plans similar integrations with other PDM and geometry vaulting systems.

"Arena Solutions is the first PLM vendor to combine sophisticated file management with product definition functionality," said Michael Topolovac, CEO of Arena. "With Advanced File Management, our customers gain both more sophisticated file management capabilities and the ability to integrate into the product definition record files authored or controlled in other enterprise applications, such as PDM vaults."

The provider said that Advanced File Management is a natural extension of the core functionality in the PLM solution and is a key component of Arena's strategy to integrate its product lifecycle management offering with MCAD and PDM systems, such as SolidWorks PDMWorks. Unlike PDM systems that are used during the design phase, Advanced File Management handles documents that are released to manufacturing and used with outside suppliers and outsourcing partners. By bridging the gap between engineering and the rest of the organization, Advanced File Management facilitates collaboration around changes across the extended product team, Arena said.

The module is intended to provide a centralized environment for managing product-related files around which the entire team can collaborate, and it utilizes Arena PLM's Web-native infrastructure to store and manage such file as text documents, CAD drawings, redlines and other markups, software and image files.

Users can check out files, make modifications and check files back into the Advanced File Management vault. When a file is checked-out, others cannot alter it, helping to ensure that changes are strictly controlled and work among team members isn't duplicated. The repository stores a history of files over time, called "editions," providing an audit trail for manufacturers in regulated industries.

In addition, users are able to associate a single file to many objects, which can help ensure that the right files are used with items or assemblies stored in Arena PLM and which also helps promote re-use of standard documents, contributes to the ongoing refinement of corporate best practices and facilitates compliance with quality standards and regulatory requirements, according to Arena.

Finally, Advanced File Management serves as the repository for the distribution and markup files used for engineering change requests (ECRs), issue tracking and other early stage change processes.

The provider believes the new functionality will be particularly useful for OEMs in regulated industries, such as aerospace, automotive, industrial equipment, medical or any manufacturer with extensive mechanical design requirements or complex document management needs.

Advanced File Management is currently available to Arena PLM users as an optional module.