2009 Innovation Insight Awards: A product development portal

MOST INNOVATIVE PRODUCT BY A VENDOR ¦ FIRST PLACE Windchill ProductPoint isn't the first solution in the product lifecycle management (PLM) software market to tap Microsoft's SharePoint portal technology for Web-based collaboration. But this application, developed by PTC, can lay claim to fully harnessing SharePoint.



Windchill ProductPoint isn't the first solution in the product lifecycle management (PLM) software market to tap Microsoft's SharePoint portal technology for Web-based collaboration. But this application, developed by PTC, can lay claim to fully harnessing SharePoint.

PTC collaborated with Microsoft for two years on ProductPoint. The solution was announced by PTC in June of 2008, with ProductPoint's 1.0 formal release last December.

ProductPoint uses Windows SharePoint Services as a technology platform in a way that gives the portal access to and direct associations with product design data. According to Tom Shoemaker, VP of product marketing for PTC, this native use of SharePoint sets the solution apart.

For instance, ProductPoint enables PLM tasks like bill of material (BOM) management, configuration & change management, component & supplier management, or visualization and digital mockup to be managed within the portal.

"We are utilizing the full breadth of SharePoint, as opposed to just using SharePoint as the skin or user interface," Shoemaker says. "It makes for a very tight and clean implementation." Because ProductPoint can be deployed on Windows SharePoint Services—which Microsoft bundles with its Windows Server—as well as with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS), the solution carries a relatively low cost.

According to PTC, this positions ProductPoint as an ideal solution for smaller companies or work groups currently using network folders or FTP sites to manage CAD files. Or, because of ProductPoint's integration with the rest of the Windchill family, ProductPoint can extend current Windchill deployments.

The central value of ProductPoint is its blending of the low-cost Microsoft portal infrastructure with rich capabilities for managing structured product information. ProductPoint also is tightly integrated with PTC's Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire CAD solution, and PTC plans to make it work with other major CAD applications.

One example of this tight blending of the portal world with the PLM world, says Shoemaker, is ProductPoint's tie between WIKI capabilities in SharePoint, and the graphics window in PTC's CAD tool. This tie allows design engineers to place notes or insights regarding their thinking behind a design directly into a WIKI. ProductPoint will then ensure that any design information resident in the WIKI links to the correct CAD model. That makes information about design intent now easily available to other product designers, something that Shoemaker says is becoming more important given the evolving nature of manufacturing companies, with leaner staffs often comprising teams of design engineers dispersed around the world.

This functionality is the primary reason PTC says ProductPoint supports "social product development."

These feature also carried a lot of weight in the selection of ProductPoint as the first place winner in MBT's 2009 Innovation Insight Awards competition in the category Most Innovative Product by a Vendor.

As PTC's Shoemaker sums up, "ProductPoint offers a blending of the easy-to-use, human-focused aspects of social computing with what can be the more hard-core, design-data aspects of PLM."


No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
2015 Mid-Year Report: Manufacturing's newest tool: In a digital age, digits will play a key role in the plant of the future; Ethernet certification; Mitigate harmonics; World class maintenance
2015 Lubrication Guide: Green and gold in lubrication: Environmentally friendly fluids and sealing systems offer a new perspective
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths
New industrial buildings: Greener, cleaner, leaner; New building designs for industry; Take a new look at absorption cooling; Offshored jobs start to come back

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.