PDF Portfolio in Manufacturing?
As many of you may know, there is a clear trend in manufacturing to increase the use 3D design data, not just within engineering and manufacturing functions, but across the enterprise. However, sharing 3D data, especially outside of technical areas and with suppliers, has been a challenge. 3D data is almost always accompanied by 2D data, often coming from numerous sources and in involving numerous formats. We at Adobe have long recognized the need to ensure interoperability while simultaneously helping customers reduce the number of systems necessary to share data with customers or suppliers. Adobe also recognizes the importance of outstanding presentation and ease of use. How many emails have you gotten that look like this? (Hint: Look at all of the attachments you get to open… nice!)
Not only does the PDF Portfolio solve this problem, it is still possible to include multiple file formats where they are needed. So let’s get to it… click below to read on.
What is New at Adobe?
So, you may be asking yourself, where has Doug been? He hasn’t posted anything in a while. Well, I really have something to write about now. A week ago, Adobe announced Acrobat V9. The announcement includes Acrobat Pro Extended, which has had many industry analysts speculating about what Adobe was up to in manufacturing. Acrobat V9 comes in three flavors, Standard, Pro and Pro Extended. Acrobat Pro Extended is the new “home” for 3D PDFs created on the desktop. We also announced Livecycle PDFG 3D last week, a server based solution for batch generation of PDFs with 3D content. I am going to concentrate this article and several that will follow to some of the new features of these two essential manufacturing products. Today I’ll concentrate just on Acrobat Pro Extended.
Some time ago I posted an article about what I see as the 2D to 3D trend. Will we continue to see movement to 3D or will that progress somehow plateau? The major point of that article was that not everything is or needs to be 3D-based and the best companies are learning to blend the two effectively. There is no doubt that 3D content will continue to grow. There are technical challenges, process challenges and, most importantly, people challenges. I read an interesting article recently by Robert Green in cadalyst entitled “The Realists Guide to 3D Implementation, Part 1”. The article is on the mark in my opinion.
I would like to jump off from Robert’s article to offer offer my thoughts on how companies like Adobe are helping with that transition.
So, I have been writing in this Blog about how Adobe can help all manufacturing companies extend their engineering information across and outside the enterprise. Our LiveCycle enterprise solutions, Acrobat clients and Connect synchronous and asynchronous tools are all aimed at both managing workflows and extending them. The reach provided by the ubiquity and rich functionality of Adobe’s cross-platform, run time clients, the free Adobe Reader and Flash are unlocked by our solutions. Data collection, collaboration, review and comment cycles and of course the ability to share information anywhere was the message I was trying to convey with this picture in a recent article.
Of course, the workflows could be simple ad hoc collaboration or managed workflows.
So along comes Rak Bhalla from Marketing and says “Doug, that’s fine, but can you show me an example?” I wrote another article I called Extending CAD outside Engineering showing how to combine 2D and 3D content and make them available broadly. Well, still not satisfied Rak asked if I would do a “Breezo”. Well, I did. Read on to find out what a “Breezo” is and to view what I did.
Structured Workflows to the Rescue?
I read a study recently about business process trends that said manufacturing companies are increasing the number of structured workflows (in comparison to ad hoc) to streamline operations. Hum? So that must mean that business process management being implemented at enterprise levels is swinging the pendulum from informal to formal processes. I suppose that means enterprise solutions are in and simpler, client-based solutions are out. I don’t believe it. Here’s why.
2D to 3D… What is the trend?
Okay, what’s the trend? According to almost every account or study I read, use of 3D CAD data is growing. To some that means that everyone is (or will be) moving to 3D. I don’t believe that at all, but I think 3D data should become the standard for key workflows. I think that the reasons it has not are a combination of business and technical limitations that are being overcome.
Use of 3D data is growing. Cambashi recently reported 13% 2007 growth in sales of engineering software world-wide (with the Asia Pacific region leading the way, which I think is very important to note). While slower growth rates are expected through 2010, there is clearly something going on here. You can assume that 3D data use/applications are growing proportionately, at least. They are probably faster, because there are indeed many mid-size and smaller companies that have resisted, but are being driven to 3D by the large OEMs they sell to. Then there are 3D Model Based Engineering/Design initiatives intended to take whole industries in that direction.
How fast is 3D usage growing? The rates vary, depending upon whom you want to believe. I’m not going to try to give a precise answer. I’m not going to look at this question from the perspective of someone who has worked to develop PLM systems (broadly defined to include CAD, CAM, PDM, etc.), deploy them. I am going to look at this from the perspective of what will benefit the enterprise mostly outside of today’s PLM focus.
I am going to ask you to look at this problem by starting with the end in mind. We will then look at the product lifecycle in reverse, trying to identify where 3D data makes sense, and perhaps where it doesn’t.
So let’s get to it… click below to read on.
Is Adobe a PLM company? Product Lifecycle Management or PLM is an area I have been around for the majority of my career. I decided to name this blog “Doug at Adobe PLM”, but I must say I have been asked several times about changing the name.
Let’s start with a definition of PLM. Dr Michael Grieves in his book Product Lifecycle Management defines PLM this way:
“Product Lifecycle management (PLM) is an integrated, information-driven approach comprised of people, processes/practices, and technology to all aspects of a product’s life, from its design through manufacture, deployment and maintenance – culminating in the product’s removal from service and final disposal. By trading product information for wasted time, energy, and material across the entire organization and into the supply chain, PLM drives the next generation of lean thinking.”
Well, by that definition, Adobe is certainly not a PLM company. So why would someone like me, at Adobe blog about PLM? To understand, please read on.
The Adobe Manufacturing Team visited Anaheim, CA last week for the Pacific Design and Manufacturing Show where we had the opportunity to speak with several hundred customers. To all of you who stopped by to see us, Thank You! This show seems to attract a high percentage of entrepreneurial firms. Many of the companies we spoke with are already Adobe customers, and wanted to investigate how to better leverage our products in there day-to-day operations. We get lots and lots of questions, and I can’t answer them all here, but I want to discuss the ones that seem to surface over and over again. These customer needs stood out at this show:
- “I am growing my innovation network globally, and need to reach partners and customers in emerging regions.”
- “I need to share all kinds of data, including 3D CAD, more effectively across the extended organization.”
And this question:
- “How is this different than the visualization technology we already have (or are thinking about acquiring)?”
Read on to find out how we responded.
I have just returned from the show in San Diego. As always, this was a good show. We had a chance to present some of our thoughts on trends in information sharing and collaboration for processes such as sourcing, new product development, marketing, production manufacturing and others. We also had the chance to meet with many, many customers who told us stories about how they are. That is always the best part of these shows. We get lots of questions and also get a chance to learn how our customers are using our tools. Read on to find out what we learned about collaboration, document sharing, interoperability and extending engineering data outside.
So I get to escape the cold Midwest weather for a while. We will be participating in SolidWorks World and Pacific Design and Manufacturing in Souther California during the weeks of January 20 and January 27. I’ve included details below.
I also wanted to get out some news and reminders about the Acrobat 3D contest and recent price changes that you should know about. Read below to see the details…