The UK’s first Centre of Excellence in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is to be established at Technium Auto, an automotive R&D facility based in Carmarthenshire, Wales. The centre will provide Welsh automotive sector SMEs with access to some of the world’s most sophisticated software products.
The announcement was made by Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport and follows an agreement between the Welsh Assembly, IBM, Swansea University and the Welsh Development Agency.
PLM is a term applied to the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from the concept and design phase, product analysis (Finite Element Analysis) through production planning, visualisation and marketing. PLM also incorporates waste management or recycling when the product is no longer required by the end-user.
The new centre will provide small and medium-sized Welsh businesses with an opportunity to gain a competitive edge by drawing on IBM’s expertise in PLM to accelerate and improve product development and lifecycle management.
Under the agreement, IBM will provide advanced PLM software and IBM eServer systems, which will be used to sponsor demonstration facilities. In addition, IBM will offer education, research and training consultancy.
The agreement forms part of the £9 million Technium Auto project, which is currently under development in Dafen, Llanelli. It is the latest addition to the pan-Wales network of Technium centres that aim to transform the way Wales attracts and creates employment and business opportunities.
As part of the agreement, Swansea University will now host the first Centre of Advanced Studies in PLM. IBM will collaborate in this venture, providing PLM expertise to help design and implement coursework.
This latest agreement follows on from IBM’s collaboration with the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University, which will host a new European Deep Computing Visualisation Centre for Medical Applications.