Green design gets a little easier

By Matthew

I remember Kermit the Frog once sang “it’s not easy being green.” I think a lot of designers would agree. Many would like to be more environmentally conscious, but they’re still under pressure to reduce the cost of materials and speed up design times. The bottom line usually wins over being eco-friendly.

At SolidWorks World 2009, we announced a new product we’ve been working on that was going by the code name “Sage.” It’s a tool that integrates seamlessly into SolidWorks that allows designers to see just how eco-friendly the products they’re designing are.

We’re happy to announce that this new product, officially named SolidWorks Sustainability, is now available in beta form from the SolidWorks Labs website. This is the SustainabilityXpress version that will be included with every version of SolidWorks starting with the release of SolidWorks 2010. SolidWorks Sustainability was designed in collaboration with PE International, and leverages their GaBi database

SolidWorks Sustainability allows the designer to submit data about materials, place of manufacture, and a few other variables to set a baseline for environmental impact. You can then change the materials, country, and so on to see how it changes the impact. Specifically, Sustainability measures:

  • Carbon footprint
  • Total energy consumed during manufacture
  • Effect on air quality, specifically regarding acid rain
  • Effect on water quality, specifically regarding algae blooms in coastal waters

The data updates automatically as you change your designs. The “Find Similar” tool even lets you search the built-in material database for close alternatives to the material you have specified, so you don’t have to waste time scrolling through menus. Even if you’re not interested in sustainable design, this could come in handy. And when you’re done, the system generates a report that you can print out, or send to colleagues.

If you’re interested in learning more, visit the SolidWorks Labs site to download the beta version. And finally, here’s a quick video I shot with SolidWorks’ Director of Product Innovation Rick Chin, showing off the program. Enjoy!

Listening for the Bounce in the High-Tech/Semi Market

By Rick
Photo by MichaelMaggs Edit by Richard Bartz

Photo by MichaelMaggs Edit by Richard Bartz

As goes semiconductor, so goes high-tech. That is a common thought within the high-tech community. With the economic troubles over the past year-plus, one of the KPI’s that analysts look at is the health of the consumer electronics and compute markets. Much of the technical innovation behind getting those new, cool, fast, cheap features out there lives within the computer chips driving those products. And it’s no secret that semiconductor companies and employees have been hit hard.

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Many analysts are looking to the beginning of a recovery for 2H09. Others are saying that it’s just wishful thinking and that we are still a ways out on real recovery. In either case, there are two interesting industry events in July that may help give us some more information on where things are going. The first is SEMICON WEST and the other is the Design Automation Conference (DAC). Both are in San Francisco during July.

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SEMICON WEST will cover a broad range of topics, primarily around various types of electronic products and the processes used to build and test those products. It will talk about technology and also give significant coverage to industrial equipment. I can’t attend this year, but I’ll be very interested in reading what industry analysts think. Capital equipment spending is way down this year within semiconductor and much of the manufacturing, assembly and test goes on in Asia. But this event may still be a good indicator of where the bounce may be in those areas. The show will also talk about hot technologies, such as MEMS and Photovoltaics. Both of those technologies have been gaining traction in mainstream markets.

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DAC is a show primarily focused on the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software community. This is the software used to design and simulate the computer chips that will be used in high-tech electronic products. This is the area that is right at the front of the design chain and may be seen as a key indicator on the health of the market. When people buy new design tools and technologies, see key partnerships in the area and hear other big announcements from industry leaders you may be able to draw some conclusions on where IC design activity is going. IC “design starts” drive the products that eventually make it to market. I’ll be there along with a number of our Dassault Systèmes colleagues from the high-tech industry. We’ll be primarily showing the ENOVIA PLM and ENOVIA Synchronicity products that have a strong base in the semiconductor design world. But we’ll also be talking with our partners and listening to other vendors to see what’s seen as important to them.

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I’ll be sure to send in some thoughts and observations from the show. Let me know if you hear of anything that we should be looking for at DAC.

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Best,

Rick

Sustainable Enterprise Backbone with Green PLM

By Brian

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on PLM as an Enterprise Backbone. With the global economy the way it is, it is a good time to be alive, economically speaking. This blog post covers the third pillar of the PLM enterprise backbone: sustainable development and regulatory compliance.

The core product and design data managed in PLM is crucial for today’s businesses to manage for their environmental impacts as well as their ability to comply with regulations.

Eco-Design / Sustainability and Regulatory Compliance require integration of the design and development systems with the extended enterprise to manage product impact across engineering, supply chains, manufacturing, distribution, after-market service and maintenance, as well as end-of-life processes (disposal, energy conversion and / or recycling).

Suppliers and engineering can be incorporated into the material compliance evaluation process to ensure the component library contains the most current material compositions and compliance certifications for supplied parts, such as RoHS (Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances) and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) in electrical and electronic equipment, IMDS (International Material Data Systems) reporting and ELV (End-of-Life Vehicle) in automotive, and REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), across many discreet and process manufacturing industries.

Working from a PLM basis, companies can explicitly manage their environment posture, from straight compliance-based, to systematic management, all the way to being full pioneers on the leading edge of industry.

PLM enables companies to implement Design for Compliance functions as an integral part of product development. With PLM solutions, product development teams can check material content information from any design early on and throughout the product development cycle. Reports can be generated to compare the compliance of manufacturing equivalents, list recyclable content, or evaluate best and worst manufacturing locations. This information can be cross-referenced against multiple regulations in all geographies, allowing designers to make changes sooner rather than later.

In medical device markets regulatory compliance also needs to be validated to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements throughout the product introduction process. These regulations cover Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPAs), Nonconformance Reports (NCRs), Product Complaints, Design Control Deliverables, Design History Files, and Quality Audits. Enterprise-wide change control needs to be in place to manage modifications to all documents, specifications, procedures and product configurations to minimize the risk of FDA audit driven plant shut-downs.

From a regulatory compliance standpoint, PLM needs to be managed as a mission-critical enterprise system.

Product companies can avoid late-stage design changes and explore ways of improving product designs while still meeting compliance requirements. Companies can also reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous materials and substances in their products, thereby avoiding problems such as launch delays, recalls, fines, poor customer satisfaction and a damaged public image.

In addition to regulatory compliance, PLM systems are critical to a company’s overall environmental performance. More than 80% of the ecological impact of a product across manufacturing, usage, maintenance and repair, and end-of-life disposal is determined during initial product design.

Upcoming regulations may even impact the energy efficiency of an entire value-chain, as well as its carbon footprint. This will require companies to manage a portfolio of eco-design initiatives for a product’s material, energy and carbon impacts, necessitating lifecycle analysis and product management through design, sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, and end-of-life processes.

Figures 1 and 2, below, depict a large complex enterprise framework for managing a portfolio of project for sustainable development. Other PLM backbone capabilities come to play including Project and Portfolio Management, Direct Material Sourcing, and Extended Enterprise Collaboration capabilities.

Figure 1: Corporate Level Integrated Environmental Management

Figure 1: Corporate Level Integrated Environmental Management

Figure 2: Lifecycle Analysis (LCA) across a cradle-to-cradle mapping of the industrial ecosystem

Figure 2: Lifecycle Analysis (LCA) across a cradle-to-cradle mapping of the industrial ecosystem

Just a blog article doesn’t really give the space to treat this topic in-depth, but Dassault Systemes is making major investments and initiatives in solutions for Sustainable Development. Those wishing to read further on our company’s approach can review our new corporate report.

The last pillar of PLM as an enterprise backbone will complete the innovation spiral enabled by PLM in a discussion of Integrated New Product Market Launch, as facilitated by PLM.

More later about the fourth pillar of PLM as your enterprise backbone . . .

Best,

Brian

Related posts:

PLM as the Enterprise Backbone: Emerging with Advantage

PLM Enterprise Backbone Pillar 1: Product Portfolio Management

PLM Enterprise Backbone Pillar 2: Working with the Supply Chain



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