CoCreate, IBM Automate Product Design

New offerings ease the management of product lifecycles for engineers.

IBM and CoCreate Software Inc. are each readying new product lifecycle management (PLM) software to ease the creation of manufactured products by small and midsized workgroups and companies.

CoCreate, of Fort Collins, Colo., on Tuesday will introduce, software that enables communication and collaboration among engineers working on projects together. It is particularly applicable for situations where an engineering company outsources its manufacturing, officials said.

Like some other PLM offerings, includes markup tools and a 3-D modeling tool for evaluating product design alternatives. Optional adapters are required to move 3-D CAD (computer-aided design) models from some other systems into

But the software extends its modeling capabilities into project management with a secure online project workspace and an integrated Web-based meeting center where design team members can share ideas and data. The workspace is populated with predefined roles for team members both inside and outside a companys firewall.

The CoCreate softwares application sharing and instant messaging capabilities have been optimized for sharing engineering data, officials said. Meeting results are stored as PDF files in the project workspace. The software integrates with Microsoft Outlook, where an individuals tasks can be stored and tracked.

The software was built on Microsofts .Net platform. As such, assignment and meeting information created in can be connected to other applications as an XML Web service. will be sold as a hosted service beginning in September priced at $120 per user per month. A licensed version will be available after that priced at $995 per user.

Separately, IBM later this month is expected to announce PLM Express. The offering includes software, hardware and some implementation services and will be sold through IBMs reseller channel.

PLM Express has two main software components—the Catia 5 collaborative product design application and the Smarteam product data management application. It also includes the Armonk, N.Y., companys WebSphere Application Server-Express so that users can share design information over the Web. As with the CoCreate software, this capability would be useful for outsourcing situations.

The new offering runs on IBMs IntelliStation workstation and is also bundled with the companys eServer xSeries servers and systems management software.

PLM Express comes in three flavors. One for basic mechanical engineering is targeted for designing and making mechanical components. A second for advanced mechanical engineering is for products that have a complex bill of material. The third package is for design tasks that take into consideration advanced styling and packaging needs, such as at consumer packaged goods companies.

IBM officials said that, like the rest of the companys Express offerings, PLM Express is targeted for small and midsized companies. To serve that customer base, the offering is designed to be easy to install, comes bundled with not only other technology but with financing options, is priced competitively and is sold through resellers, officials said.