PLM Vendors, Automakers Join Forces to Create Standard

UPDATED: Product lifecycle management software developers announced JT Open, a new group promoting collaboration across companies via the Jupiter Technology format.

While product lifecycle management has long been a buzzword with companies, the difficulty of managing data end-to-end, from product inception and procurement to manufacturing and distribution, is hindered by the simple fact of sharing information across systems—and downloading complex images in unsynchronized formats.

To move the industry forward PLM software developer UGS PLM Solutions, in conjunction with major automotive manufacturers Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp., earlier this week announced JT Open, a new group to promote the JT (Jupiter Technology) data format.

Geared for the PLM industry, the JT format is meant to promote collaboration across companies and out to partners and suppliers. It is a common data format for enabling product visualization and information distribution for better data sharing between PLM applications. The functionality of JT makes it possible to view and share product data and dynamic images worldwide, in real time and throughout the phases of a products lifecycle, said officials from UGS, an EDS Corp. subsidiary based in Plano, Texas.

Along with UGS, other software vendors involved in JT Open initiative include Parametric Technology Corp., of Needham, Mass., which makes PLM software ; and San Francisco-based Actify Inc., which develops client/server software that organizes, distributes, tracks and controls CAD (computer aided design) files throughout a company and its supply chain. The Actify software enables end users to visualize, measure, annotate and share CAD files without requiring a CAD system.

Toronto-based Alias Systems, a division of Silicon Graphics Limited, is also part of the initial JT Open group. Alias makes three-dimensional graphic software.

JT Open has garnered additional support from the likes of Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp. and SAP AG. Since the automotive industry is particularly interested in the success of an end-to-end PLM system that works, the Automotive Industry Action Group was also instrumental in the formation of JT Open.

At the same time several academic institutions have joined the fray, including Brigham Young University, Technical University Darmstadt, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Michigan.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include further information on the Jupiter Technology format and software vendor support.