Microsoft and Unigraphics Solutions collaborate

Microsoft and Unigraphics Solutions have announced a joint effort to deliver DesignKNet (Design Knowledge Network), a tool suite intended to help manufacturers and ASPs develop design collaboration portals.

DesignKNet is the first offering within the UGS in-KEY family of solutions for collaborative product commerce. A development effort by Microsoft and Unigraphics Solutions has produced a collaboration environment that, they claim, will reduce design-cycle time, minimise rework costs, enable innovation and product improvement, and improve procurement efficiency.

The DesignKNet solution combines the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system and Exchange 2000 with UGS’ product life-cycle software products, Unigraphics, iMAN and ProductVision. DesignKNet facilitates product design and collaboration between global designers and internal departments, as well as between OEMs and their engineering and manufacturing supply chain.

DesignKNet goes beyond visual collaboration, where the end result still requires changes to the design model in the CAD system, by allowing a multitude of users to see the impact of design changes in real time using native Unigraphics, UGS’ CAD/CAM/CAE software.

DesignKNet makes this collaboration possible by using ‘thin’ commands so each system quickly updates to the current state. Users can effectively connect, collaborate and correct documents using extensions to the collaboration and conferencing capabilities provided by Exchange 2000.

UGS and Microsoft have agreed on a joint sales and marketing effort to bring this functionality to the UGS customer base. This program will include joint selling with Microsoft’s 1,500 industry focused field sales people, a worldwide Web marketing campaign, implementation assistance programs and third-party efforts.