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PLM Software Is Put To Work

Aras and CoCreate upgrade software in hopes of increasing their share of the growing product-life-cycle-management market

Elena Malykhina

October 22, 2004

3 Min Read

Vendors in the product-life-cycle-management market are enhancing their software, with an eye toward subscription licenses, compatibility with other enterprise applications, and best practices.

Aras Corp. last week introduced version 6 of Aras PLM, which is built on Microsoft .Net technology and provides key performance indicators for five areas: product innovation, engineering efficiency, designing to meet goals, engineering optimization, and time to manufacturing, as well as built-in best practices for product configuration and change management. The software starts at $50,000.

Earlier this month, CoCreate Software GmbH, which recently revealed the latest version of OneSpace.net 2005 PLM software, disclosed plans to make the software available via a subscription license, starting at $438. "It allows companies to get into this collaboration at fairly low risk to themselves as compared to some of the more advanced solutions on the market today, which can be pretty expensive," says ARC Advisory Group analyst John Moore.

Both vendors aim to increase their share of PLM market revenue, which is projected to be $5.8 billion for 2004 and is expected to grow to more than $9 billion by 2008, according to ARC. "Most manufacturers have done little with PLM to date, but the intent to invest is clear," AMR Research analyst Kevin O'Marah says.

Among its capabilities, the latest version of CoCreate's software leverages XML Web services and Microsoft's InfoPath information-gathering and management software to link project-relevant data from any enterprise system via the OneSpace.net 2005 workspace. Fisher Controls International LLC, a division of Emerson Process Management that delivers control valves, regulators, instrumentation, and performance services to the process-control industry, uses OneSpace.net to support all its manufacturing and engineering documents and team project data, as well as 3-D graphics and CAD files. "OneSpace.net has allowed us to share CAD information globally and to collaborate with suppliers overseas on product design," says Danny Nelson, director of global technology at the Fisher Valve Division.


Aras PLM gives Varian better-quality product information, Sutton says.


Aras PLM gives Varian better-quality product information, Jim Sutton, manager of IT engineering support at Varian.

The company has successfully integrated the software with Fisher's document-distribution systems, which lets its manufacturing locations access engineering documentation online. In addition, Fisher is embarking on an Oracle implementation and plans to bring data from the Oracle suite into the OneSpace.net workspace, Nelson says.

Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Inc., whose machinery is used around the world in more than 3,000 sites that churn out about 5 million wafers each day, has been testing and reviewing Aras PLM since April. The company turned to Aras to manage all its product data in a single system and then easily share that data among numerous employees, says Jim Sutton, manager of IT engineering support at Varian. The software also helps the company keep track of projects to ensure that product-delivery schedules are met in a timely manner. "We needed a tool that would help us control the automation of getting the [product] information to the right people," Sutton says.

Varian already sees benefits. Its manufacturing execs and managers can measure progress using visual representations such as graphs, reports, and scoreboards built into Aras PLM. The software also helps the company address challenges such as the automation and management of customized orders. "It's helping us achieve cycle-time reduction by unifying and streamlining the engineering change-management process," Sutton says. "The benefits also include improved quality and availability of product information throughout the company."

About the Author(s)

Elena Malykhina

Technology Journalist

Elena Malykhina began her career at The Wall Street Journal, and her writing has appeared in various news media outlets, including Scientific American, Newsday, and the Associated Press. For several years, she was the online editor at Brandweek and later Adweek, where she followed the world of advertising. Having earned the nickname of "gadget girl," she is excited to be writing about technology again for InformationWeek, where she worked in the past as an associate editor covering the mobile and wireless space. She now writes about the federal government and NASA’s space missions on occasion.

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