The first trip I made as a new editor many years ago was to Microsoft to talk with a manufacturing software/PLM developer. PLM being Product Lifecycle Management—that layer of software used to translate CAD into manufacturing. When I covered automation, we didn’t cover this area often. These software companies seldom advertise, so the pressure from sales to cover them was, shall we say, less intense.

Last year I attended three PLM developers either in person or virtually. This year I began receiving more press releases and news from Aras. I told the marketing person that I knew the company but not that well. That led to an invitation to its ACE2024 conference held this week. I learned a ton about Aras and its products and partners as well as seeing two old friends that I never expected to meet there.

Roque (pronounced Rocky) Martin has been CEO for just more than 2 years. Sounds like he’s done well. Aras has been growing lately—61% over 2 years. The company counts 1.7 million registered users. It recently (like many industrial software companies) introduced a Software As A Service (SaaS) product which this year had seen a 77% year-over-year growth.

Setting a context for the event, he discussed three challenges facing the industry:

  • Digitalization (silos, distributed, digital thread, connect, collaboration)
  • Differentiated Innovation (industry didn’t like customization but discovered that one size fits all is not optimum), 
  • Accelerated Change

Discussing the change challenge, he listed this industry timeline:

  • 1.0 Mechanization (120 years)
  • 2.0 Electrification (70 years)
  • 3.0 Automation (30 years)
  • 4.0 Digitalization (10 years)
  • 5.0 Cognitive (coming soon to software near you)

Rob McAveney, CTO, discussed how the coming Cognitive wave including AI will automate away rote tasks humans have done. Or as he put it, AI + Cognitive systems—leverage to describe what is possible and zoom in on potential solutions. He sees the coming 5.0 software leveraging all the data we’ve accumulated from 4.0 for breakthroughs. Some things to watch for in the Cognitive + AI systems:

  • AI as an assistant
  • Syndicate digital twins
  • Connect system of systems
  • Able to become increasingly able to suggest more complex solutions

Two interesting pieces of news follows. The first are enhancements to its PLM Platform. You sort of have to see the demos to realize how cool these things are. (Oh, if only I would have had tools like this back in my product development days!) The second announcement relates to a partnership with SAIC. Once again viewing the demos shows the power of this integration. I sat in the breakout presentation to get a dive—but I could never do it justice. If you’re in this area of work, check it out.

Aras Announces Strategic Enhancements to PLM Platform

Expands Digital Thread, Low-Code, and Visualization Capabilities and Adds New Supplier Management Applications

New Digital Thread Capabilities

Aras Innovator forms an extensible digital thread, serving as a data backbone for digital engineering and the broader digital enterprise. New capabilities will support simplified user interactions for viewing, editing, and implementing changes on interrelated items. In addition, a new streamlined experience for configuring connections to a comprehensive range of authoring tools simplifies extending the digital thread to a broader set of enterprise applications.

Extended Low-Code Development Enhancements

Aras Innovator is the only PLM platform with a fully integrated low-code development environment. Leveraging a rich set of development and enterprise-class DevOps services, Aras subscribers can extend applications or develop their own to address the unique needs of their organization. These enhancements introduce new widgets and charts that simplify the user experience and navigation for analytics dashboards and reports embedded in Aras apps. In addition, advanced form design tools facilitate a more streamlined, modern user experience for applications built within Aras-powered applications and deployed within Aras’ DevOps framework.

Powerful Visualization of Complex Assemblies 

Aras’ CAD-agnostic approach to 3D visualization has been built on the foundation of the digital thread, enabling users to leverage Dynamic Product Navigation to facilitate the exploration of product data in any representation. The introduction of Aras Advanced 3D enhances this capability, providing a scalable environment to visualize and interact with larger, more complex assemblies that often exceed the capacity of a single CAD session.

Optimized Connectivity and Collaboration with Suppliers

Aras is introducing a suite of supplier management solutions designed to enhance how organizations interact with their suppliers and business partners. These new applications facilitate secure, remote access to controlled subsets of digital thread and PLM information through configurable mobile-optimized web applications. These solutions streamline communication and data sharing to optimize supplier management business processes. Projected availability for Aras Supplier Management Solutions is in Q2 2024, with a preview webinar scheduled for March 26.

SAIC Powers Its ReadyOne Digital Engineering Ecosystem Solution with Aras

Aras, a leader in product lifecycle management and digital thread solutions, today announced a strategic partnership with leading technology integrator SAIC (Science Applications International Corp.) that includes integration of Aras Innovator as the digital thread backbone for its digital engineering solution, ReadyOne.

ReadyOne is SAIC’s rapidly deployable digital engineering ecosystem, which offers customers an end-to-end digital thread for consistent, traceable, and complete engineering solutions. By using Aras’ product lifecycle management (PLM) technology as its foundation, the solution creates a single-source-of-truth for users, letting them access any and all needed information, at any point in the engineering process, all from a common platform. With ReadyOne, collaboration and transparency are increased, while risks and costs are decreased.

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