On April 22, 2008, Siemens PLM Software announced what is described as "the next big breakthrough in digital product development with synchronous technology, the PLM industry's first-ever history-free, feature-based modeling technology". The launch was via a global webcast in conjunction with Hannover Fair. Siemens PLM Software's new patent-pending technology combines constraint-driven techniques with direct modeling, and is being integrated into the company's next versions of NXTM and Solid Edge software.
Anton Huber, CEO of Siemens Industry Automation Division stated "Siemens recognised the huge potential of synchronous technology during the due diligence process of acquiring UGS. Knowing that the digital model is at the heart of our shared vision to unify the product and production lifecycles, we have worked together to accelerate this breakthrough in CAD technology. The digital model impacts every phase of the PLM process and is key to delivering innovation faster than ever before. This technology will fundamentally change the way manufacturers design products and enable them to accelerate their innovation process, ultimately driving increases in top line revenue."
So what is meant by history-free, feature-based modeling? The technology simultaneously synchronises geometry and rules through a new decision-making inference engine. Siemens PLM Software claim that it accelerates innovation in four key areas:
Fast idea capture: The technology defines optionally persistent dimensions, parameters and design rules at time of creation or edit, without the overhead of an ordered history.
Fast design changes: The technology automates the implementation of planned or unplanned design changes to seconds versus hours thorough unparalleled ease of editing, regardless of design origination, with or without the presence of a history tree.
Improved multi-CAD reuse: The technology allows users to reuse data from other CAD systems without remodeling. A technique called "suggestive selection" automatically infers the function of various design elements without the need for feature or constraint definitions. This increases design reuse and OEM/supplier efficiency.
New user experience: The technology provides a new user interaction experience that simplifies CAD and makes 3D as easy to use as 2D. The interaction paradigm merges historically independent 2D and 3D environments, providing the robustness of a mature 3D modeler with the ease of 2D. New inference technology automatically infers common constraints and executes typical commands based on cursor position.
The technology was jointly developed between Siemens PLM Software's NX and Solid Edge organisations. Siemens PLM Software's synchronous technology will be implemented in the next versions of both Solid Edge and NX as a proprietary application layer built on its D-Cubed and Parasolid software. The next versions are scheduled for launch on May 21 at the annual Siemens PLM Software Analyst and Media Conference in Boston.
PLM is a key area for manufacturing areas in getting control of the product development and ensuring that investments in new products are quickly realised in terms of getting the product to market quickly.