US-based Centric Software has set up offices in the UK to sell software that it claims can overcome many of the technical problems associated with concurrent engineering.
Until now, according to Toby Gold, Centric’s UK managing director, concurrent engineering has been carried out by product development teams working in one location or having access to the same set of software tools. This makes it easier to share and transfer data.
Ideally, however, manufacturing companies would like to develop products with partners irrespective of their location and the systems they are using for design, analysis, manufacturing or data management.
Gold said that Centric’s software provides an answer to this problem by bringing together disparate data and distributing it in a form that people can easily understand across intranets or the internet.
`We can do this very quickly, easily and relatively inexpensively,’ said Gold.
Centric’s standard software price is about £4,000 per seat. Called Pivotal, it is an amalgamation of digital mock-up (DMU), simulation software and product data management (PDM) software. The company calls the result `collaborative virtual product development technology’.
The software can, for example, be used to assemble the parts of a product to ensure that they fit (much like DMU), but it can also predict how the product will work. Pivotal can also manage product data (much like PDM) but, Gold claimed, it is a great deal more flexible than many of the established products on the market.
Existing European users of the software include Volvo and BMW. Volvo, which was one of the earliest purchasers of the product, is using it to unify data from CAD models being created by its US styling team, with associated computational fluid dynamics data being created by analysts in Sweden.
Both stylists and analysts can view the data over a network.
Volvo said that by working in this way it is reducing the time it takes to develop a new car model by 30-40%.
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