PLM 8-Layer Model, Instances, Messaging and Knowledge

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2PLM Newsletter

John Stark Associates                                                                                                                                               March 15, 2010 - Vol12 #25

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PLM 8-Layer Model at the Standards Workshop
By Roger Tempest
Preparations for the Global PLM Standards Workshop in Oxford on 24-25 March have included a widely-publicised discussion process in 2PLM, MCADCafe and LinkedIn. Users have also sent in their views via Response Forms, and one of these proposals is very promising.

It has been said that "understanding PLM is like grasping fog", because there is always some other definition, or viewpoint, or argument to the one that is currently on the table. The shape of PLM is diffuse and fluid, and fixing the position and the plan can be very difficult.

At least one multinational user corporation has spent a lot of thought on this, and has put forward a 'PLM 8-Layer Model' that could provide the structure that is needed. It enables a much clearer analysis of PLM and PDM issues, and fits with the logic of the PLMIG draft standards.

The Workshop will also cover user-requested standards such as Product Structure (2PLM, January 18 2010) and PLM Delivery (2PLM, February 1 2010), as well as ideas that may be presented by participants at the event.

PLM standards will clarify much of the confusion in PLM implementation and will enable major savings in the effort required to rationalise PLM across large organisations. 

Delegates will set the priorities for PLM standards development, and be able to work on how to apply these standards in their own organisations. They will also help decide how the standards are moderated and controlled in the future.

One of the most active discussions on LinkedIn ("What PLM Standards Do We Need?") ended with the comment: "PLM Standards? My PLM and PDM implementation experience across a number of industries has been nothing short of painful because of a complete lack of any vendor implemented standardisation. Not to mention a resistance by most organisations to adequately lifecycle manage their data and information. Information hoarding is still the norm. [...] I also spent considerable time analysing one of the major PLM vendors and there was no evidence of any commonality in PLM implementations." 

In other words: "Standards, what Standards?". With the Workshop this month, all this can change.


Roger Tempest is co-founder of the PLMIG. Registration for the Workshop will remain open until Monday 22 March. You can request more information or a Registration Form via
Take PLM, for Instance ....
By David Potter
PLM at the instance or individual serial number level exists already, although it is mainly restricted to products that are very complex, have a very high value and are produced in relatively low numbers. However the availability of increasingly low-cost, durable devices that can provide unique item identification and, where relevant, are also able to store and accumulate information about the item, enables exciting new possibilities in lifecycle management. 
Whole-of-life lifecycle management can now be considered for much higher volume and, in some cases, much less complex products by using affordable identification and information technologies that can be either embedded in or attached to the product instance. And the business value for doing this can be compelling.
First, let us consider an automotive example. Most modern private cars continually collect information about the usage and performance of a whole range of on-board components. That information may be used for diagnostic purposes, and sometimes even for planning for servicing and parts replacement. Typically though the usage of that information is restricted to the point of service and often is not even reported back to the car manufacturer. If the systems were already in place today that could close the information loops, combine and analyze information about the source and series of components per car, and add to that information gathered not only from the car itself but also from its user(s), just imagine how that could have been used to minimise the incredibly costly public exposure that has recently affected one major manufacturer.

There is without doubt value in instance-level, whole-of-life lifecycle management. This kind of information exchange scenario will be made infinitely more possible as the Internet of Things becomes a reality.

My second scenario involves a quite different kind of product, though the implications may be valid for many different sectors. Counterfeit goods and the so-called “grey market” are major factors in the quality clothing industry. It is no longer inconceivable to uniquely identify an article of clothing.

Smart RFID tags are now affordable and research and development continues to achieve tags that are even able to withstand repeated laundry cycles. The advantages to the consumer, the retailer and the brand owner are clear: to be completely certain that a garment is genuine, has not been “cloned”, or is not a product of the “grey market” where the producer creates more articles than ordered by the brand owner, and makes them available through other channels at reduced cost. The technology already exists to do this. Still lacking are the lifecycle information systems and the open information exchange infrastructure needed to support this kind of application.
These are only two examples. The possibilities for whole-of-life, instance-level lifecycle management are almost unlimited, and of course they are also not limited to products.
Instance-level, whole-of-life PLM requires a free-flowing information exchange based on an open framework that is both secure and trustworthy, and that embraces both existing and emerging standards. For this we need to develop new capabilities such as those described by Kary Främling in the following article.
It also requires a different approach to the data and information modelling used for “simpler” products which is considered in the article by Jacopo Cassina, “Managing Product Data and Knowledge”, also in this issue.
We need innovators, enthusiasts, committed individuals and interested commercial partners to join the work of The Open Group’s QLM Consortium to help develop that framework. Please register your interest at the following link:

David Potter is Chief Technical Officer, Promise Innovation International Oy, and former Chairman of the Project Steering Board of the EU PROMISE Project.

Messaging for Instance-level Product Lifecycle Information Management

By Kary Främling


Product Lifecycle Management is a concept that means different things to different people in different contexts. When taken down to the product instance-level, the lifecycle goes from design to manufacturing, to the sales phase, to the usage phase and, finally, to the end-of-life phase. The usage phase is becoming increasingly important because in many domains the proportion of benefits coming from after-sales services has grown bigger than that coming from product sales. Increasing demands for energy-efficiency and lowered total cost of ownership also increase the need to manage the product usage phase. Finally, efficient handling of product instances at their end-of-life may require information about how and in what conditions a specific product and its parts have been used.

Meeting these new needs to manage the usage phase of products is challenging, in particular for consumer products. Before the usage phase, all information about the product was managed and stored in organisational information systems. When the product instance is taken into use, it becomes a unique individual that produces and possibly collects information about its state, environment etc. through its sensors and embedded information systems. Even for products that have little or no embedded processing power, information about their use can be collected by systems of different users or organisations, such as service companies or computing devices in people’s homes. Managing such information requires a paradigm change that is sometimes described as product-centric information management or even Intelligent Products.

When information about a product instance becomes distributed over embedded devices and various information systems, interoperable messaging of instance-level information becomes necessary in order to collect or access all the information when needed. Intelligent Products and interoperable messaging of instance-level information are also the key requirements and enablers for the future Internet of Things.

Interoperable messaging of instance-level information is a significant challenge for achieving the Internet of Things vision. Over the years, we have implemented instance-level information systems for a large number of domains, ranging from multi-organisational shipment tracking to the collection of sensor and event data from both industrial and consumer products. In all cases, the most open and universal messaging protocols available were used. Unfortunately it usually leads to implementing several domain-specific protocols for different needs, such as EPC-IS for supply-chain tracking with RFID or oBIX for building automation systems. In many cases, no suitable messaging protocol can even be found, which leads to the implementation of many proprietary protocols.

To face this challenge, the PROMISE Messaging Interface (PMI) was specified in the EU FP6 Integrated Project PROMISE. PROMISE had to deal with a great number of application domains, which lead to the definition of an Internet of Things-oriented information architecture as well as the PMI. PMI fulfils the requirements for a truly generic messaging protocol, which includes extension mechanisms for exploiting existing standards for product information semantics such as STEP and PLCS. PMI is currently proposed as a standard through the QLM Consortium of The Open Group. PMI or similar standards are necessary for creating an Internet of Things and enabling universal Instance-level Product Lifecycle Information Management. Such standards would play the same role as HTTP, HTML and others play for the current Internet and WWW ecosystem, thus enabling similar ecosystems to evolve for the Internet of Things.


Kary Främling is Adjunct Professor on Adaptive Agents and Multi-Agent Systems at Aalto University’s School of Science and Technology, Helsinki, Finland.


Managing Product Data and Knowledge
By Jacopo Cassina

Nowadays, enterprises are ever more stressed and subject to high market pressure. Customers are more and more sophisticated in terms of product quality and related services. The "product/service", and its related management, are becoming unavoidable competition key-aspects. This need can be addressed by Product-Instance PLM, where each single product is traced, managed and its accompanying services optimised.

Till now, PLM focused mainly on complex and very expensive products (from planes to trains) taking into account mainly their design and maintenance phases. Now also consumer goods are beginning to be taken into account, shifting toward less product complexity, but increasing the role of the customers, of services, field and usage data management. This demands a fast, cheap and efficient way of developing PLM infrastructures, and a simple but smart way of managing and exchanging data.

In this scenario, the need for data exchange is ever-present, both inside and outside enterprises. For this reason, standardisation of PLM data, discussed often in this newsletter since the December 7, 2009 issue, is a core issue, which can be addressed in two ways:

  • standardisation of the communication infrastructure at the messaging level, as addressed in this issue by Kary Främling
  • standardisation of the content specifying data, information and knowledge structure

The latter topic can be approached using the STEP framework, which is one of the few able to cover all the product lifecycle aspects with its Integrated Resources.

Among the STEP Application Protocols, PLCS, briefly presented by Nigel Shaw in the previous issue, has a great importance for PLM, focusing on the management of high complexity products with high complexity support, such as, for example, ships and aircraft.

From an analysis of this situation, with the support of the PROMISE project, a new approach has been developed. It is called "PDKM-SOM" (Product Data Knowledge Management Semantic Object Model), and it focuses on medium-complexity products. It takes into account the integration of several services, the customer and his needs, intelligence and data capturing abilities in the product. Moreover, from the very beginning, the data model has been developed to allow fast and lean implementation, covering all the complexity needed by consumer and industrial products such as, for example, refrigerators and milling machines. This has been achieved using a recursive structure, that keeps a very high level of compatibility with existing standards, especially STEP and its application protocol PLCS.

The PDKM-SOM does not aim to standardise or propose business procedures and activities, but focuses only on data management and technical issues, being an enabler for new business and management procedures.

During the PROMISE Project, the model has been implemented within MySAP-PLM. It was able to manage the data from the ten applications of the PROMISE project, including cars, trucks, refrigerators, boilers, plastic materials and milling machines. Moreover it has also been implemented in MySQL and applied to 3 other test cases. And it is the basis for a commercial implementation that is currently under development.

A first draft of a possible STEP Application Protocol of the PDKM-SOM has been developed following the PROMISE Project, showing its feasibility and possible interoperability with the PLCS Application protocol. This first draft must be further developed. Experts in PLM and standards, especially STEP, are invited to participate.


Jacopo Cassina is a partner in General Consulting Society. He also lectures on automated production systems, logistics systems and simulation tools at Politecnico di Milano.

Evolving from PDM to an Integrated PLM system at BAE Military Air Systems
Andy Kennington, EMEA Marketing Director Teamcenter
FREE Webinar:
18th March 2010 from 14:15 (GMT)

Using a case study from BAE Military Air Systems, Andy will show how a fully integrated PLM system powers innovation and productivity, reduces lead times and improves efficiency.

PLM at BAE Military Air Systems is to provide a single source of product and process knowledge for all phases of the lifecycle, tightly integrated with operational systems. The design engineers, and support engineers have rationalized their data into Teamcenter.

This live and fully interactive webinar will show you:
  • How Teamcenter powers end to end PLM
  • PLM as part of business change
  • The value of an integrated PLM Solution
  • That design and support always have the right information at their fingertips

Register your FREE place here:





PLM News

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Canon declared its public offer for Oce unconditional. Details


Gerber Scientific, Inc. reported revenue for its fiscal 2010 third quarter ended January 31, 2010 of $110.7 million. Details

Mentor Graphics Corp. announced results for the year ending January 31, 2010. Revenues were $802.7 million. Details


Lectra announced the appointment of Andreas A. Kim as Managing Director of Lectra Greater China. Details


Dassault Systemes announced that Avtovaz develops new car models with Dassault Systemes PLM Solutions. Details

Dassault Systemes announced that Optimal Energy will use Dassault Systemes CATIA and ENOVIA V6. Details

Dassault Systemes announced that Meyer Werft has selected the Dassault Systemes V6 PLM platform. Details

Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp. announced that ioSafe uses SolidWorks CAD software. Details

Delcam announced that EXCO chose PowerMILL. Details

Gerber Technology announced that YuniquePLM was selected as the product lifecycle management solution for Artextyl. Details

Omnify Software announced that XEI Scientific reported efficiencies gained with Omnify Software. Details

PTC announced that Komatsu America Corp. has chosen Windchill and Arbortext. Details

Quark announced that Peugeot has chosen Quark Dynamic Publishing Solution (Quark DPS) to optimize its catalog production process in 15 countries, representing in excess of 250 publications per year. Details

Siemens PLM Software announced that UNOX S.p.A. selected Teamcenter. Details


Active Sensing, Inc. introduced a 64-bit native version of its PDXpert PLM product lifecycle management software. Details

Bentley Systems, Inc. unveiled three Bentley OpenPlant products. Details

CD-adapco announced the release of STAR-CCM+ V5. Details

Comet Solutions, Inc. announced availability of Comet v2010. Details

Concurrent Systems Inc Ltd announced the latest version of DesignDataManager (DDM 2010.1) is now on general release. Details

Geometric Limited announced the release of version 7.1 of 'eDrawings Professional for NX'. Details

IntegrityWare announced the release of version 5.0 of its SOLIDS++ geometric modeling kernel library. Details

Intergraph released the new version of its SmartPlant 3D. Details

Lattice Technology Inc. released the latest version of the Lattice3D Reporter application, Lattice3D Reporter Ver. 3.1. Details

LEDAS announced the release of the next Beta Version of its RhinoDirect Plug-in. Details

LMS released LMS Test.Lab Rev 10. Details

The MathWorks announced Release 2010a (R2010a) of its MATLAB and Simulink product families. Details

Missler Software announced the latest version of its Cam software solution, TopSolid'Cam 2010. Details

MSC.Software announced that Patran 2010 is available. Details

nPower Software announced Power Translators Universal. Details

Pointwise announced the release of Pointwise V16.03. Details

Simtech announced the release of SimMold 2010. Details

VirtualGrid announced the availability of VRMesh 5.0. Details


Aras announced that Processia Solutions has joined the Aras Partner Program. Details

Aras announced that ArcherGrey has joined the Aras Partner Program. Details

Aras announced that PROLIM Solutions joined the Aras Partner Program. Details

Autodesk, Inc. inducted 11 VARs and VADs into the Autodesk Platinum Club 2010. Details

Autodesk, Inc. named Dynamic Structures as the Autodesk Inventor of the Year for 2009. Details

AVEVA Group plc announced Aveva customers in Russia. Details

Azuro, Inc. announced that Azuro has become a member of the Cadence Design Systems Connections program. Details

CAD Schroer and CEL International announced a Factory Layout and Modelling Solution. Details

Pilgrim Software, Inc. announced a partnership agreement with PSC Group, LLC. Details

Planit announced it appointed Ambo Technologies as a Radan Reseller. Details

RAND Worldwide announced it earned recognition as a Partner-level supplier for 2009 in the John Deere Achieving Excellence Program. Details

Spatial Corp. announced it is launching the Industry Partner Program. Details

Technia announced a partnership with Octaga. Details

Vision numeric France announced the reinforcement of its partnership with JiangDa Technology Development Ltd. Details


AVEVA Group plc announced that it is collaborating with 19 universities, colleges and industrial high schools in Korea. Details

AVEVA Group plc announced that AMET University will be featuring AVEVA Marine solutions as part of its curriculum. Details

Creaform announced financial results for 2009. Details

Dassault Systemes announced that BMW and DS have signed a strategic 5-year global agreement. Details

Dassault Systemes announced it will open an R&D Center in Korea. Details

Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp. announced that Escola Universitaria Salesiana de Sarria standardized on SolidWorks CAD software. Details

 Product Lifecycle<br />
                        Management: Paradigm for 21st Century Product Realisation

EPLAN Software & Services announced a new regional office in Chicago. Details

ESI Group announced the start of the INFUCOMP European Research Consortium. Details

Fishbowl Solutions announced that a global leader in medical device technology partnered with Fishbowl Solutions to migrate five Pro/INTRALINK databases into one Windchill PDMLink database. Details

LEDAS announced that the ODA and LEDAS implement parametric drawing tools compatible with the DWG 2010 file format. Details

MSC.Software announced that BMW Group and MSC.Software agreed to jointly develop a CAE Automotive Portal using SimManager. Details

PARTsolutions LLC announced that PBC Linear increased qualified sales leads with the PARTsolutions 3D catalog technology. Details

SensAble Technologies, Inc announced that it has received an $8 million investment. Details


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