Insight, PDM, PLM, Solid Edge, Teamcenter

PDM / PLM – What is it and do I need it?

This article will look at what Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is and whether you should consider it?


Product Data Management (PDM) and is the business function, often within product lifecycle management (PLM), that is responsible for the management and publication of product data (version control). The management of version control is the only way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there is no confusion once production starts and that the highest standards of quality control is maintained.

PDM focuses on managing and tracking the creation, change and archive of all information related to a product. The information being stored and managed will include engineering data, such as CAD models, drawings and their associated documents.

PDM serves as a central knowledge database for process and product history, and promotes integration and data exchange among all business users who interact with products — including project managers, engineers, sales people, buyers, and quality assurance teams.

The central database will also manage metadata (data about data) such as owner of a file and release status of the components. The package will control check-in and check-out of the product data to multi-user, carry out engineering change management and release control on all versions/issues of components in a product, build and manipulate the product bill of materials (BOM) for assemblies; and assist in configurations management of product variants.

This enables automatic reports on product costs, etc. Furthermore, PDM enables companies producing complex products to spread product data into the entire PLM launch process.

Product data management is focused on capturing and maintaining information on products and/or services through its development and useful life. Typical information managed in the PDM module include

  • Part number
  • Part description
  • Supplier/vendor
  • Unit of measure
  • Cost/price
  • Schematic or CAD drawing
  • Material data sheets

PDM Advantages include


  • Track and manage all changes to product related data
  • Spend less time organizing and tracking design data
  • Improve productivity through reuse of product design data
  • Enhance collaboration
  • Helps using visual management.

Document management is a common function in today’s business world, but the engineering design world needs to take this to the next level – Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is involved in more than just managing individual documents within a project. The design and manufacture of products involve many departments (design, QA, manufacture, sales, etc) and it is important for everyone to know what is current and what is archived.

A good PLM system will enable anybody to see the status of individual parts or entire assemblies, manage the change control of parts, ensuring that key data is entered and the correct workflows are followed, while not being a burden on any user.

There are 2 main solutions from Siemens that provide full integration with CAD and the PDM system. A brief overview of Teamcentre Rapid Start and Solid Edge Insight is given below:

A good CAD based PLM system should manage seamless check-in/check-out of parts, the links between parts and assemblies and the workflow processes, including revision management.


Teamcenter Rapid Start

Teamcenter Rapid Start provides multi-CAD data management capabilities that enable you to effectively and efficiently manage, control and share mechanical CAD data across your entire design and supply chain. Supporting the most popular CAD tools, this environment provides a single view of your product data.

The visualization capabilities of Teamcenter help you extend this into an even broader collaborative environment.

You can also use Teamcenter Rapid Start to manage everyday tasks and processes with preconfigured workflows for engineering change and product release. Confident that these processes are followed consistently, you can work efficiently and effectively in a collaborative environment to meet design and schedule targets.

Teamcenter Rapid Start delivers standard integrations with Microsoft Office and Adobe to extend the use of PDM to users outside of the engineering department. These integrations can be used for creating and updating technical publications, pro­cess sheets, customer requirements, manufacturing setups, test specifications, or any other documents you may want to manage. You can even interact with prod­uct information and workflow processes directly through the familiar Microsoft Office user interface.

Your PDM workflows can also be accessed from within Microsoft Office products, including Microsoft Outlook email. You can synchronize Microsoft Office tasks and activities, and automate a variety of inter-departmental processes such as review and sign-off of specification documentation.



Solid Edge Insight

Solid Edge Insight

Solid Edge with the Insight design data management solution integrates design management, CAD and web-based collaboration into a single tool that is easy to implement and easy to manage. Insight removes the perceived barriers to product data management (PDM) implementation, while still providing the fundamental capabilities that companies expect in order to successfully manage the design process.

Insight manages and leverages product information in a manner that is unobtrusive and transparent, enabling design projects to be completed on-time and on-budget.

Unlike conventional product data management systems, Solid Edge Insight is not a separate software package with additional commands and long implementation timelines. Instead, Insight is an integral component of Solid Edge, available at no additional cost. Insight requires only limited user training and can be implemented in days instead of months.

Solid Edge Insight manages distributed product data – including files and information about them – in organized workspaces that makes it easy to find and re-use data. This information asset is protected with secure vaulting, role-based access, document level security, check-in, check-out, rapid search, where-used and other design management tools. Embedding document check-in and check-out processes inside standard Solid Edge file commands ensures that only one engineer makes changes to a design at one time, preventing conflicting changes being made to the same part. When opening Solid Edge content, the user can specify revision rules such as “as saved” and “latest released” specifications. The assembly pathfinder in Solid Edge provides continual and instant feedback on the status of files, their availability and who is working on them.


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