Windchill Warms to Pro/Intralink

PTC is launching the next iterations of its Windchill product development and collaboration suite and Pro/Intralink data management suite, which have been updated to share a code base.

At Parametric Technology Corp.s annual PTC User World Event in Orlando, Fla., this week, the company will launch the next iterations of its Windchill product development and collaboration suite and Pro/Intralink data management suite.

Windchill is a component of PTCs product development system.

The big change with PTCs Windchill 8.0 and Pro/Intralink 8.0 suites is that Intralink, previously a stand-alone product with little scaling capabilities, has been redesigned on a Web-based platform, using Windchills code base.

What this means is that companies using the latest version of Pro/Intralink—either as a stand-alone product or with the Windchill 8.0 upgrade—will no longer require two databases, one to support engineering and another to support the enterprise. Rather, engineers managing CAD documents will be operating on the same platform as everyone else involved with product design.

The single code base will be quite helpful to Viking Range Corp., a Pro/Intralink customer that is implementing Windchill 8.0.

"Weve got a constant battle going on between our engineering and manufacturing group, where theyre not on the same sheet, really," said Gregory Richards, CAD administrator for Viking, in Greenwood, Miss. "So this is going to allow us to not only share with the manufacturing group but also with people who are making the manuals, doing the marketing. By allowing them access, we know theyre going to get the latest information."

The upgrades in Windchill 8.0 include a simplified product data management environment that provides the ability for users to capture the complete digital project model, which means that in addition to managing CAD data, users can manage electrical CAD and software data as well. New source code configuration management capabilities for IBMs Rational ClearCase improve product development productivity, officials said.

Windchill 8.0 also includes engineering process improvements that support a quick configuration life cycle, enhanced configuration management capabilities for rapid development of product variants and functionality that enables better reuse of data.

With this release of Windchill, available later this month, PTC, of Needham, Mass., is also providing optional modules, including PartsLink, part of PDMLink that provides the ability to load and manage a classification structure; and Archive, geared toward compliance initiatives, which allows users to collect, store, delete and restore documents and metadata.

Pro/Intralink 8.0 has some additional upgrades as well. They include new functionality for document management, life-cycle management, reporting and archiving.

Increased support for distributed product development that boils down to better WAN performance and scalability lets users work better across multiple engineering locations, officials said.

The upgrades will enable Viking to work more efficiently and save money.

"One of the things the existing [Pro/Intralink] technology has as a shortcoming is a real vulnerability to network latency," said Richards. "The fact that we have three implementations to do what were doing now and the fact that we can go to one server—its greatly reduced costs. More than that, we can share engineering standards."


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