Extending Enterprise PDM Tools into PLM Solution

SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM does an outstanding job managing SOLIDWORKS designs, but today's global businesses need more. Companies need additional functionality for business needs at the enterprise level, and control over processes that extend beyond engineering to encompass the entire company, while still retaining core product design functions and capabilities.

Customer: Aras

Aras is the leading provider of enterprise open source Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software solutions. Freedom from licensing eliminates up-front expenses and per user costs while superior technology makes Aras the most advanced enterprise PLM solution suite available. Customers include Motorola, Freudenberg, GE, Hitachi, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, Textron and TEVA Pharmaceuticals. Aras is privately held with global headquarters in Andover, MA.

Business Challenge
SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM does an outstanding job managing SOLIDWORKS designs, but today's global businesses need more. Companies need additional functionality for business needs at the enterprise level, and control over processes that extend beyond engineering to encompass the entire company, while still retaining core product design functions and capabilities.

The design solution was an Aras EPLM software product that is a full-featured, business-ready product lifecycle management solution built on top of SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM. Aras EPLM extends SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM and related engineering business processes throughout the company and supply chain, driving cross-functional collaboration enterprise-wide.

Design Challenges
Key technical and operation challenges included:

  • Installation
    PLM systems are known to be difficult to set up and configure for specific business needs. Once the system is up and running, training personnel to use it effectively can require considerable time and investment. For this reason Aras EPLM had to be implemented to provide packaged functionality out-of-the-box, optimized for corporate-wide PLM business processes, and designed with a familiar look and feel to get users throughout the company up and running quickly.
  • Security
    Product designs and other project documentation are highly confidential, so the system had to be implemented to provide security features to satisfy the most demanding regulatory environments.
  • Technology
    Requirements for hardware and software infrastructure for Aras EPLM had to be the same as for SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM

The Solution
The solution consisted of two components:

  1. Extension for SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM
  2. Customized version of Aras Innovator

aras screen1

The solution implements customization of Aras Innovator by setting up administrative preferences and implementation of server-side API methods to support integration with the client-side extension for SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM. The client-side extension for SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM was implemented so as to support a hierarchical security model with roles and groups defined in Aras Innovator, in order to achieve the required need-to-know security level.
With regard to customization of a solution for specific business needs, Aras EPLM uses the same modelbased SOA framework as Aras Innovator, enabling real-time changes to business rules, forms, workflows, lifecycles and the data model without complex programming.

At the start of the project, Aras provided detailed project specifications on desired functionality, and provided training sessions to familiarize the assigned AMC Bridge software and quality assurance engineers with Aras Innovator.
On receipt of initial project specifications, the AMC Bridge team thoroughly reviewed the documentation, clarified requirements with an Aras product definition specialist, estimated the time required for each task, and proposed a development schedule approved by project manager from Aras.
After project development began, the quality assurance engineer assigned to the project developed a set of test plans for the product, which were approved by the Aras project manager.
In order to keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of development and quality assurance, weekly conference calls were set up with the full team. These provided an excellent platform for resolving integration issues in a timely manner.
Project development of the project was accomplished in iterations, providing deliverables of the developed functionality on a regular basis. This made it possible for the quality assurance engineer to test each iteration, for product definition specialists to ensure that the functionality was properly implemented, and for user interactions to be continuously evaluated and improved.

AMC Bridge Performance
Although the product had to be developed within a tight time frame, Aras decided to use an offshore software development model and retained AMC Bridge for development and quality assurance because of its proven track record of successfully completed SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM- related projects. The quality of work delivered by The quality of work delivered by AMC Bridge has exceeded client AMC Bridge has exceeded client expectations:

  • AMC Bridge provided quality results based on detailed project specifications.
  • AMC Bridge proved resourceful at filling in gaps and providing experience-based solutions, and especially excelled during implementation of the client-side extension for SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM.
  • During stabilization of the product AMC Bridge proved to be quick and responsive, with short turnaround time.
  • Development of the project was completed well within the schedule and budget.
Jan 10, 2013
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