Proficiency Eyes IP Protection with Latest Collaboration Gateway

Version 4.0 of CAD collaboration solution addresses intellectual property challenges of OEM/supplier relationships

Version 4.0 of CAD collaboration solution addresses intellectual property challenges of OEM/supplier relationships

Marlborough, MA  June 21, 2005  Product data interoperability specialist Proficiency has debuted the latest version of its feature-based computer-aided design interoperability solution, offering functionality intended to help organizations protect their intellectual property when delivering models to collaboration partners.

Proficiency's Collaboration Gateway is aimed at facilitating inter-divisional collaboration within separate groups of one company or between extended, global design teams from partner companies. The solution is designed to enable companies to reduce the cost and time of product development by automating the exchange of design information between product development teams, regardless of the CAD system being used.

The protection of the intellectual property (IP) inherent in a product's design is a challenging issue for extended product design and development teams. The need for global suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to share "native," or feature-based, models  even though these models may contain proprietary design and manufacturing techniques and best practices  is the core of the conflict.

To address this, Proficiency said that Version 4.0 of the Collaboration Gateway provides unique information controls to the user, allowing an engineer to exchange parts feature-based, geometry-based, or not at all, while continuing to deliver the complete assembly structure ready for use.

"Suppliers can now deliver to customers' requirements while also protecting their assets  and OEMs can finally be free from data overload  as an automated part of a company's [product lifecycle management (PLM)] collaboration workflow," Proficiency said in announcing the new solution.

For organizations already completing this process manually, the Collaboration Gateway will automate removing the intellectual property where appropriate, known as "prepping" the models for delivery, and therefore remove the time and costs associated with that process, the solution provider said.

Peter Roy, senior CATIA designer and lead implementer of the Collaboration Gateway at Proficiency customer Pollak, said that his company's design and engineering methods are a competitive advantage, and its engineering models contain a significant amount of intellectual capital.

"Between internal company divisions, trusted suppliers or customers, we want to share that IP because it makes product development so much more efficient," Roy explained. "In other circumstances, we want to share only a limited amount of the model intelligence. The Collaboration Gateway can transfer as much or as little of the design intelligence to suit our needs. Proficiency's solution allows us to communicate as desired, yet protect as required."

In addition to the intellectual property protection features, other features in the Collaboration Gateway Version 4.0 include:

  • Service Oriented Architecture  Version 4.0 begins delivery of functionality to enable workflow controlled data exchange. An enhanced server application programming interface (API) and new messaging components allow the Collaboration Gateway to receive data exchange requests programmatically from enterprise systems and deliver design intelligence on demand. Engineering content is now available to improve efficiency on all product development decisions.

  • Support for Surface Operations  Collaboration Gateway version 4.0 continues delivery of surface feature support, necessary for many of today's complex stylized products. In addition to the surface feature support of previous versions, version 4.0 also offers support for surface draft, surface round, surface sweep and blend, surface transform and thick surface.

  • Expanded Feature Set  New features supported in version 4.0 include threads, centerlines, disjoint features, helical sweep, layers, filters, hide/show status and select manufacturing features.
"By using the Collaboration Gateway to their competitive advantage, our customers are delivering designs to partners and products to market faster," said Trenton H. Brown, Proficiency's president and CEO. "With the new features in the latest release, Proficiency is protecting this competitive advantage from being compromised by enabling collaboration partners to secure access and use of their product and process information."

As with prior releases, Version 4.0 incorporates a feature set for high-throughput exchange of mechanical CAD models between Dassault Systèmes' CATIA v4 and CATIA v5, PTC's Pro/ENGINEER and Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire, and UGS' Unigraphics NX and I-deas NX Series. Collaboration Gateway Version 4.0 is available now.

Customers using the solution include Boeing, Crane/NAVSEA, The Ford Motor Company and Thyssen Krupp.

Additional Articles of Interest

 For more information on mid-market companies using product lifecycle management solutions to gain competitive advantage, see "Stuck in the Middle" in the April/May 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

 Is your company getting the most from its supply management function? For a step-by-step look at how to phase in a successful "end-to-end" supply management strategy, read the article "Roadmap to a Comprehensive Supply Management Strategy," an In Depth article on