Top 14 Product Lifecycle Management software (PLM) Applications
There are millions of consumer and business products manufactured in today’s world – from combs and brushes to fasteners and complex machines and all their intricate parts. The complexity of these products and ever-changing designs and components make it nearly impossible for manufacturers to manage their product portfolios and designs without automation and detailed processes for all product development phases.
Product Lifecycle Management software assist a product’s complete lifecycle from its early design and development through to prototype design to high volume production. PLM connects people, data, designs, processes, and business systems providing a foundation to manage every facet of your engineering research and development projects.
The world of PLM software has changed dramatically over the past few decades with many great choices for manufacturing engineers to choose. Some of these are specialized for particular industries while others are applicable to many manufacturing disciplines. Below are 15 of the top PLM products available today that manufacturers may choose to manage their engineering and product lifecycles. Products are not listed in any particular order.
ARAS Innovator PLM
ARAS Innovator PLM software is available for purchase or as a free open-source download. With the latter option, paid support and technical services are available from ARAS. The product is one of the leading PLM applications on the market covering all facets of product lifecycle management including bills of material, engineering changes, documents, integration with most popular CAD applications, costing, quality and compliance, project management, product configuration, formulas and recipes, and more.
Arena PLM Solutions
Arena PLM is a popular choice for electrical, electronics, and medical device manufacturers. It is deployed via the internet and available in multiple configurations allowing to scale both in terms of cost and complexity for small to large manufacturers. Arena offers excellent collaboration tools for working with external contributors to the design process. One thing that makes Arena unique is that they do not do anything other than PLM where some of the larger CAD application vendors offer both CAD and PLM. Arena claims to be the first PLM application on the cloud and continue to lead in this category.
Autodesk Fusion Lifecycle
Autodesk is without a doubt one of the best known brands in the engineering field known primarily for their AutoCAD, Innovator, and other CAD applications. Autodesk Fusion Lifecycle (formerly Autodesk Fusion360 PLM) is the company’s cloud-based PLM offering. The product is gaining momentum in the crowded PLM market space and offers compelling features to rival those of other competitors in the space.
Autodesk Vault is one of the most popular PLM applications in the market. Autodesk Vault may be one of the more comprehensive PLM products available and it’s design and lower cost make it a very popular option for a larger number of manufacturers. Further, various editions of the product allow it to scale from very small manufacturers to extremely large manufacturers with hundreds of engineering users. It offers everything most companies need including bill of materials, engineering change management, collaboration, CAD integration, project management, multi-site deployment, concurrent design, product configuration, and much more.
Dassault Enovia PLM
Powered by the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform, ENOVIA is a great PLM option for manufacturers and is quite popular among aerospace and defense product manufacturers. The product is quite comprehensive and utilized in some of the largest manufacturing environments in the world. Available as a cloud-based application, Dassault Enovia is a smart option for larger manufacturers with a comprehensive suite of modules and features to manage every aspect of their product lifecycle.
Dassault Enovia SmarTeam
ENOVIA SmarTeam is a product data management (PDM) application for engineering departments and small to medium sized companies. SmarTeam is designed for smaller manufacturers and manufacturers with less complex PLM requirements. Thus, it is a very popular option for a wide variety of manufacturers and is a very cost-effective choice for product management. While lacking some enterprise features, Dassault Enovia SmarTeam is still very powerful with appropriate features to manage most elements of the product design and revision process. SmarTeam customers with a need for more complex product lifecycle management (PLM), multi-discipline or multi-site collaboration, sustainable innovation, business applications leveraging PLM data, enterprise-wide quality management, integrated project management, requirements management or advanced change and configuration management should consider Dassault Enovia PLM instead.
Infor CloudSuite PLM
Infor offers multiple PLM products – one for discrete manufacturers, a specialized PLM for the fashion and apparel industry, Infor PLM Accelerate (powered by Aras Innovator) and Infor PLM Optiva for process manufacturers engaged in chemicals, food, beverages, and other recipe or formula-driven industries. While perhaps less know among PLM vendors, Infor’s products have a storied history and loyal following across manufacturing segments with a robust set of features covering the full gamut of requirements from basic PDM to advanced PLM processes.
Arena Omnify Empower
Arena recently acquired Ominify to expand its reach beyond the high tech and medical device manufacturing community into other manufacturing industries. Omnify is a much broader PLM system utilized across many discrete manufacturing industries with some overlap with Arna in electronics and medical device but a significant installed base in aerospace and defense, telecommunications, and other markets. Omnify can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud and offers direct integration with your existing engineering (CAD/CAE) and business (ERP) systems. Omnify Empower PLM helps OEMs manage their product data from concept to obsolescence in a unified environment. It provides a single, secure location to manage the complete product record including: component data, bill of material, engineering change, document, project, quality/CAPA, and training records information. Built on the Microsoft .NET Framework, the Omnify solution is quick to implement, easy to use, and provides an open integration platform for direct interfaces to existing engineering and business environments. Omnify’s seamless interface with SOLIDWORKS provides users with a location to store and manage released BOMs and associated files in addition to synchronizing SOLIDWORKS and Omnify revisions. Users can generate BOM reports from any SOLIDWORKS assembly and automatically upload BOMs, models, and final documentation to the Omnify Empower PLM system.
Oracle – Oracle PLM
Formerly Oracle Agile, Oracle PLM is a very popular product lifecycle improvement application that enables profitability and efficiently centralize data through faster launch of products. This PLM has features such as cost tracking, design management and requirement management. This product provides fully integrated solutions & is suitable for electronics and high-tech industries, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food & beverage, consumer packaged goods and many more. It emphasizes process efficiency, cross functional collaboration in the extended enterprise, rapid innovation, rigorous quality control, risk mitigation and cost effectiveness. There is scope for improvement in user experience, customer service, dissemination of product knowledge with the help of webcasts, videos, elaborate product documentation etc.
ProductCenter PLM by Essig PLM is not a mainstream player in the PLM space. With that said, it is a great product for manufactures of aerospace and defense, automotive, energy, consumer, high technology, medical, industrial and other complex products bringing together the people to work collaboratively and centralized and improves the management of all the user’s product data. This PLM offers benefits on Streamlined engineering change processes, enhanced collaboration and improved control of SolidWorks® product data thereby significantly reducing design cycle times and cost. Enhanced control over production information critical for International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) requirements. Improved data management and process automation that saves time and enables design re-use.
Propel is one of the youngest PLM players. Founded in 2015, Propel is a native cloud PLM application with a surprising amount of functionality for such a young offering. With Propel, all employees, partners, and customers can collaborate on any most vital product information – helping boost innovation, product throughput and customer adoption. In just one dashboard it provides all information as needed such as project status, customer reported issues, potential sales and more. Propel keeps track of all the changes that happened with graphically redline any product attribute make it easy to monitor. Configure approval workflows the way enterprises want for ECOs, ECRs, CAPAs and more. Review and approve change orders by phone which makes it possible to review right on hand and reduce delays.
PTC Windchill is a smooth integration tool for product development and management for leading enterprises. Its highly configurable roles are included transfer, distribution, visualization and publishing of the product data. This comprehensive out of the box PLM software is being used for all sizes companies specially for its open architecture system which enables easy integration with other enterprise systems, helping to quickly see value from your PLM software. It’s ability to expand access the data to stockholder who doesn’t use PLM made it easier for communicating in business. Thus it provides a single platform with a wide breadth of applications and key functionality, like managing Bill of Materials (BOM), tracking changes and configurations, managing requirements and quality, and viewing product designs in AR.
SAP PLM is a system which helps companies to plan, design, build and administer production with greater vision and more control. It allows efficiently tracking, controlling and managing all information related to products over the complete lifecycle. The software makes environment and health and safety a key component of the development process. It helps organizations identify and assess regulatory risks, integrate compliance controls in the supply chain, manufacturing processes, quality management and also ensure compliance in sales, service and distribution. Core components of SAP PLM include integrated product development, innovation management and product compliance. It also includes analytics tools and business intelligence for better collaboration, while it also allows proactively identifying new strategic opportunities.
Teamcenter introduced by Siemens as a Product lifecycle management software that unites product knowledge with process innovation. It is mostly popular as a great tool for reviewing 3D CAD models. it is a user-friendly software; so, one can easily become an average level user even after no/limited training. There are several tools to manage the data: such as you can rotate, transform, get section cut, make measurement etc. Models can be exported as a single or assembly data and saved as a different 3D format as well. Navigating in the workspace is quite easy. You can use web based Teamcenter client through your browser and then visualize the downloaded data. A platform that fosters collaboration and accelerates innovation. Teamcenter helps to manage requirements in workflows or record suppliers leverage system-based design, streamline manufacturing and more. Smart design is essential for today’s smart product. Teamcenter promotes system driven development that promotes integration between mechanical, electrical, software and electronics design.