Chasing the Vision of the Virtual Product

By Robert

In my first job two and half decades ago, the notion of a “virtual product design” would have been as remote a thought as the transporter from Star Trek. But over time we’ve all seen a lot of changes in technology, business processes and business models. Some of these trends started as a wave, but became a tsunami that transformed the Hi-Tech industry landscape.

The first evolution that seemed to me big at the time was the move from MRPII to ERP, and the fact that business processes from HR, Manufacturing, Quality, and Finance were all interconnected to produce good results to the bottom-line.

The second wave seemed to be the move from vertical to horizontal business models (remember when Solectron was a small start-up in Silicon Valley?) leading to the $150 billion USD out-sourced manufacturing model we take for granted today to produce our electronics products at the lowest cost. In addition to manufacturing, Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) companies are now also supporting Original Design and Manufacture (ODM) and Joint Design and Manufacturing models as a part of the business. These new models continue the wave for horizontal business evolution.

Now for me, I think I am seeing the start of a transformation as revolutionary in PLM 2.0. This starts with the ability to capture requirements, functional descriptions of features, models of system behavior and finally the engineering and physical product on a single platform. This Requirements to Features to Logical to Physical (R-F-L-P) model allows for us to begin the journey to create the ‘virtual product’.

Now product concepts can be reviewed, modeled and tested perhaps before we even invest in any ‘design resources’, let alone a physical ‘golden’ version of the product. The high costs of avoiding physical prototyping or finding ‘issues’ based on physical prototypes (translate this as ‘it’s not working) are revolutionary in my opinion. We can already see this type of innovation starting to occur in the ‘high-fashion’ consumer electronics industry, where several global Dassault Systemes customers are modeling and configuring product features and platform technologies prior to investing in expensive traditional design resources.

Many customers we talk to want to also find ways to eliminate the frustrating and manual processes required to track issues in the final product to the original requirements. This is where the RFLP model can be used in reverse, like a “Where-Used” function in traditional PDM (hey, where is this part or item used), but now much more effectively and with greater impact. Now, we can trace with PLM 2.0 and Dassault Systemes V6 from end-product, to design, to systems (features) and finally to the signed-off requirements for the product in a single platform, database, and system.

Of course, this journey will be a winding road, but like every major transformation the end result will be more customer intimacy and satisfaction, fewer products that miss the mark. Along the way, I believe companies on the leading edge of this vision will have greater efficiencies, greater long term success and the margins and markets that define winners from losers.

Best,

Robert

Solar Impulse Photos & Images

By Kate

Hi everyone,

As I promised on Friday, here are some photos Virginie took (merci!) from her iPhone at the Solar Impulse Unveiling. I’ve also included some Solar Impulse CATIA images.

If you have any Solar Impulse images to share, feel free to upload them in the comments section.

Enjoy!

Kate

The room was packed for the unveiling!
The room was packed for the unveiling!

‘Save Our Planet’ starring Solar Impulse

By Kate

It’s a bird . . . it’s a plant . . . it’s a car . . . no, it’s a plane!

Actually it’s like the Superman of planes, ready to save our daily planet.

Solar Impulse, you know it?

Solar Impulse is a solar airplane, sporting 12,000 photovoltaic cells on its wings, which, like a plant, soaks up energy from the sun for power, but the power juices the four electric motors.

It’s like a giant bird, with a wingspan of an Airbus A340 (63 meters), but weighing only as much as a car, so light enough to surf on wind currents for miles and miles.

What a plane!

Today near Zurich Solar Impulse was unveiled to the public for the first time. Six years of hard work by 70 people, creating a true aerospace innovation, and just in time. We desperately need viable eco transportation solutions given the state of our planet.

According to the official Solar Impulse website, here’s the challenge:

In a world depending on fossil energies, the Solar Impulse project is a paradox, almost a provocation: it aims to have an airplane take off and fly autonomously, day and night, propelled uniquely by solar energy, right round the world without fuel or pollution. An unachievable goal without pushing back the current technological limits in all fields…

I just got off the phone with our PR Manager Virginie who was lucky enough to attend the unveiling. Her impressions:

Today marked a page in history. When everyone saw the aircraft, it was a WOW moment. The plane doesn’t look like any plane you can imagine. It’s very long, and very thin.

Virginie was impressed by the project’s “around the world” ambition, because:

There will only be one pilot in the plane at a time. And each pilot will take a shift of five days, during which he will fly NON-STOP. No sleep, just meditation and micro siestas.

That cockpit better be pretty darn comfortable! Well, not too comfy- don’t want any accidental dozes . . .

Did you know the engineers used Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA and ENOVIA Smarteam to design Solar Impulse? According to the press release:

Because Solar Impulse is a new and complex aerospace invention, it was critical for engineers to be able to test a wide range of design configurations, including various combinations of solar panels and lightweight composites structures. For example, Solar Impulse engineers used CATIA to define the best allocation of solar cells to comply with the energy specifications. The engineers also used CATIA for ergonomics analysis to optimize the aircraft pilot’s comfort in various positions.

Virginie told me that first flight tests will begin this fall, and that a second Solar Impulse will be built.

I should have photos taken at the event to publish in time for Monday, so stay tuned . . .

Meanwhile, enjoy this Solar Impulse Unveiling video:

YouTube Preview Image

And if you were there for the unveiling, please share your impressions and any photos you took in the comments section! (I’ll try not to be jealous ;-) )

You can also see what people are saying about #solarimpulse on Twitter.

Best,

Kate



Page 170 of 202« First...102030...168169170171172...180190200...Last »
3ds.com

Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.