The availability of the SOA CAD integration will put IFS in a leadership position among enterprise software vendors in the critical area of CAD support.
Attendees at the IFS North America Customer Summit which was held Oct. 5-8 were the first to see the demonstration of the revolutionary new integration. First customer deliveries are scheduled for November, with general availability in early Q1 2009.
While some other enterprise software products—including enterprise resources planning (ERP) software— have CAD interfaces, they typically are designed to import and export data in and out of a CAD tool. This creates two separate product data management (PDM) databases and related synchronization problems. IFS leverages web services built into its service-oriented architecture (SOA) to share PDM data common to both engineering and manufacturing, resulting in “real time CAD to PDM” integration. For customers that want to keep separate the engineering and manufacturing functions, a future release will also support a more traditional “PDM to PDM” integration model.
The interface can be accessed from many popular CAD applications, which eases the long-fought battle within many manufacturing and engineering companies over which CAD tool to use. Now, various CAD tools can share standardized PDM data and functionality within IFS Applications. Typically, PDM tools are proprietary to CAD platforms, which can create vendor lock-in.
“We find that many customers use multiple CAD applications, often as the result of mergers and acquisition activity,” Ian Fleming, Managing Director, IFS, Middle East, Africa & South Asia said. “This often results in a battle to see which CAD application will ‘win.’ The IFS solution makes it easier for multiple CAD applications to co-exist within a company, since there is a common PDM system they can all share. Companies running IFS Applications will use the same PDM data to support both engineering and manufacturing, eliminating the need for redundant PDM applications and data synchronization requirements.”
IFS “plug-in” adapters support multiple CAD platforms, including AutoCAD, AutoCAD Inventor, PRO/Engineer, and Solidworks, allowing each CAD application to access the same web services within IFS Applications to access PDM and engineering data stored in IFS Applications in real time.
“The ability to support multiple CAD applications with the same underlying PDM data is consistent with IFS’ goal to drive agility in the enterprise,” Fleming said. “This solution allows engineers to use the right CAD tool for their particular needs, or perhaps multiple CAD tools, instead of forcing them to conform to a particular standard for IT reasons.”
“Our customers demand innovation that reduces their technology cost while at the same time increases their level of enterprise agility Fleming added. “This integration tool will solve real problems our customers are having right now, and do it in a way that improves their ability to deliver new products to market and respond to customer needs. With this announcement, we are delivering even more of the benefit that companies want from an integrated enterprise application.”
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