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Product Data Management: The Definition

An Introduction to Concepts, Benefits, and Terminology

About CIMdata
The material in this guide was prepared by CIMdata, Inc.; an international consultancy focused on product data management and CAD/CAM technology and market factors. Since its founding in 1983, CIMdata, Inc. has become a major resource in the application of computers throughout engineering, manufacturing, and other industries. It provides in-depth technical consulting and market research for end users system suppliers worldwide. The companys expertise spans the spectrum of information systems and technologies used in industry, with particular emphasis on product data management (PDM), CAD/CAM/CIM, solid modeling, and manufacturing resource planning. CIMdata is one of the earliest companies to have recognized the potential of the PDM technology and market. The firm has invested substantial time and effort over the past several years analyzing user needs, designing strategic and implementation plans, identifying product requirements and capabilities, and developing justifications for PDM solutions. CIMdata also provides information about market development, technology trends, competitive and pricing analyses, and quantitative data on shipments, installed base, revenue, and market segmentation. CIMdata helps users identify product requirements and capabilities, and works with suppliers to determine market opportunities and to perform technology assessments. With offices and representatives in the United States, Europe, and Asia, the company has clients in North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. Other reports and guides published by, and available from CIMdata include: PDM Buyers Guide PDM Benefits Analysis Guide PDM Case Studies Product Data Management Pricing Analysis Product Data Management Market Service Reports STEP: Towards Open Systems M-CAD Buyers Guide NC Software Buyers Guide

Fourth Edition Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 by CIMdata, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of CIMdata, Inc.
September 2, 1997

1 Introduction .................................................................................................................................2 2 PDM Benefits...............................................................................................................................5 3 PDM Functions and Features ................................................................................................7 Data Vault and Document Management...........................................................................9 Workflow and Process Management...................................................................................10 Product Structure Management............................................................................................12 Classification ................................................................................................................................13 Program Management..............................................................................................................14 Communication and Notification........................................................................................15 Data Transport ............................................................................................................................15 Data Translation .........................................................................................................................15 Image Services..............................................................................................................................15 System Administration.............................................................................................................16 4 PDM Environments...................................................................................................................17 5 Summary........................................................................................................................................19 Glossary.................................................................................................................................................20

PDM: The Definition

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1 Introduction
This guide introduces PDM technology CAD/CAM/CAE and CIM systems, with their ability to quickly generate and change product data, have strained the conventional systems used to manage data, and the process of creating and using data. Users can easily create increasing amounts of product-related information. To further complicate matters, this information is often stored in different formats within a variety of systems and resides on different, dispersed computers. It may also be stored on multiple media types such as computer files, paper, and aperture cards. Product Data Management (PDM) is a tool that helps engineers and others manage both data and the product development process. PDM systems keep track of the masses of data and information required to design, manufacture or build, and then support and maintain products. This guide describes and defines this important technology. Product Data Management is a general extension of techniques commonly known as engineering data management (EDM), document management, product information management (PIM), technical data management (TDM), technical information management (TIM), image management, and other names. PDM provides a common term, encompassing all systems that are used to manage product definition information. PDM integrates and manages processes, applications, and information that define products across multiple systems and media. The profitability of products is dependent upon orderly and efficient development, fabrication, and distribution. PDM systems help achieve these goals. PDM manages all product-related informationincluding electronic documents, digital files, and database records. Examples of products include: Manufactured productsautomobile, computer, refrigerator, mobile phone Projectsbuilding, bridge, highway Plantsoil refinery, offshore platform, pharmaceutical or food processing plant Facilitiesairport, harbor, railway system, logistics warehouse Assetsutility distribution network for electricity, telecommunications, water, gas, cable TV, and power plants Others Everybody who handles product data can use PDM Examples of people that can benefit from the use of PDM include chief executives, technical directors, chief engineers, engineering managers and engineers of all disciplines, heads of information technology or of information services, design managers, CAD/CAM/CAE managers, production engineers, project managers, operations and maintenance managers, estimators and purchasing officers, and marketing and sales managers.

What is PDM?

PDM is known by many names

You need PDM if you create products

PDM is useful for many types of products

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PDM: The Definition

Companies in every industry segment that designs and produces products can benefit PDM provides benefits for from the use of PDM. Some examples include: many industries Aerospace Automotive: assembly & components General mechanical manufacturing Electrical & electronic products Computer manufacturing Defense industries Oil & gas exploration & production Chemical & process engineering Food & drinks industries Pharmaceuticals Power Generation Construction companies Transport operators; road, rail, sea, air Utilities: electricity, water, telecoms Design & management consultants Central & local government


Purchasing & Finance Project Management

MRP System


Process/Plant Sales/Marketing & Customer Service

PDM is Used Throughout Organizations



The types of features and functions that should be found in a PDM system are defined and described below. This is done independently of any particular application or data form. Features and functions are presented in terms of an ideal PDM system. None of the commercially-available systems on the market today contains all of the features discussed. However, many suppliers are adding to and improving their systems along the general lines set forth.

PDM features and functions are described

PDM: The Definition

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Environmental factors required to support PDM are described A glossary of PDM terms is included You can read this guide selectively You can get more information about PDM

In addition to the direct functionality of the PDM system, environmental factors affect the systems use and value. Issues related to distributed networks, client-server architectures, the user interface, and database management are important in determining the size and makeup of a productive PDM system. Terms used in this guide that have special meanings in the context of PDM are defined in the Glossary. Additional terms of interest are included as well. If you are not already familiar with PDM you will want to read this guide in its entirety. If you are looking for information on specific facets of the technology, the marginal notes for each paragraph provide a guide for selecting appropriate sections. The information presented in this guide is expanded upon and augmented in a wide range of additional publications that are available from CIMdata. These are described in Section 5.

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PDM: The Definition

2 PDM Benefits
PDM systems and methods provide a structure in which all types of information used PDM is a tool for managing to define, manufacture, and support products are stored, managed, and controlled. product definition data Typically, PDM will be used to work with electronic documents, digital files, and database records. These may include: Product configurations Part definitions and other design data Specifications CAD drawings Geometric models Images (scanned drawings, photographs, etc.) Engineering analysis models and results Manufacturing process plans and routings NC part programs Software components of products Electronically stored documents, notes, and correspondence Audio and live video annotations Hardcopy (paper-based and microform) documents (by reference) Project plans Others PDM manages the product life cycle process

In short, any information needed throughout a products life can be managed by a Product Data Management system, making correct data accessible to all people and systems that have a need to use them. PDM is not limited to managing only the design cycle but, according to user needs, can manage product conception, detailed design, prototyping and testing, manufacturing or fabrication, operation, and maintenance. The product development process is managed as well as the data; PDM systems control product information, states, approval processes, authorizations, and other activities that impact on product data. By providing data management and security, PDM systems ensure that users always get and share the most recent, approved information. The implementation of PDM technology doesnt have to be an all-or-nothing undertaking. PDM will provide significant productivity gains when it is used by a workgroup. However, a much greater impact is accrued when PDM becomes an enterprise-wide environment. While CIMdatas emphasis in this guide is on engineering, manufacturing, and other industrial uses, the concepts presented here can be used in publishing, software development, financial services, and any other endeavor in which product information and processes will benefit from control. PDM systems provide direct benefits throughout an organization as indicated in the chart that follows.

PDM systems support workgroups as well as enterprises PDM is not just for engineering

PDM: The Definition

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MIS Engineering Production

Mfg. Engineering


Benefits of PDM by Organization PDM benefits many disciplines PDM provides benefits across disciplines and in every area of product design and development. Almost everyone in an organization can gain an advantage through the use of this technology. Typical users of PDM systems include designers, engineers, manufacturing engineers, operations engineers, project managers, administrators, and purchasing agents. At the discretion of project managers, people who are customarily left in the dark during early project phases can be allowed to see and contribute to product design and development because of PDMs abilities to distribute and control access to product information. Linking product data through a database is a major factor in assuring its integrity. Knowing and managing who is using data, and how, provides the foundation required to maintain information integrity. Data inconsistencies can be avoided and relationships among data maintained. Because of their application to a broad set of users and disciplines and their facilities for controlling the flow of information, PDM systems serve as enablers for implementing concurrent engineering practices. The benefits from implementing concurrent engineering extend well beyond engineering design to include cost savings in manufacturing, reduced time to market, and increased product quality, in addition to the benefits of reducing engineering design time. Product changes are inevitable, but they can become ruinously expensive and disruptive if they occur late in the product life cycle such as during production or fabricationor later. Product changes will occur earlier in the product life cycle if product teams are encouraged to share data and documents in a PDM environment. This is the path to better products, reduced costs, saved time, less scrap and less wasteful re-work

PDM provides data control and integrity

Concurrent engineering is enabled by PDM Embracing concurrent engineering leads to high payoffs

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PDM: The Definition

3 PDM Functions and Features

PDM is a relatively new technology. Although the concept has been around in various guises for a long time, the first commercially available computerized systems were introduced in the early 1980s. While the technological base is growing rapidly, the terminology that is used to define the functionality necessary to have useful PDM systems continues to evolve. The definitions that follow are based on CIMdatas extensive consulting engagements with PDM users and suppliers, and our experience in reviewing and evaluating commercial PDM systems. A PDM system is an application in its own right. For a PDM system to support any particular type of product development it needs a basic set of functions. These functions serve all of the disciplines that benefit from PDM. A functional view of a PDM system is shown below. The technology is evolving

A basic set of functions are used for PDM

Application User
CAD/CAM, NC, Purchasing Documentation, Etc.

PDM User
Multiple Applications

Private Files

data control



Managed Files

Functional View of a PDM System PDM systems are composed of: An electronic vault or data repository A set of user functions A set of utility functions Data storage, user, and utility functions make up PDM systems

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PDM systems support capturing newly created and existing information

Data from other computer applications is controlled by the PDM systems assumption of the roles of file access and saving. This is accomplished either by: Embedding PDM commands in other applications that create data (such as CAD, word processors, spreadsheets, desktop publishing, or specialized software) Embedding commands from those applications into the PDM system Legacy documents, such as drawings on paper or aperture cards, or other hardcopy records can be captured by scanning and storing them within the electronic vault as images. Some users prefer to convert images of textual documents by optical character recognition (OCR) into computer-readable text. It is feasible to convert some raster (scanned) images of drawings into vector data via software, while some users prefer to capture vector data by digitization techniques.

Existing hardcopy documents can be scanned to be stored and managed in the PDM environment

The PDM vault stores product An electronic vault is used as a repository to control all kinds of product information. data and control information The vault is a data store that contains some data within itself and controls other externally-generated data by managing access to it. Two types of data are stored: Product data generated in various applications, such as specifications, CAD models, CAE data, maintenance records, and operating manuals Meta-data, which is data about PDM-controlled information. Meta-data is stored in a PDM database and supports the functions performed by the PDM system User functions support data storage and retrieval The functionality of PDM systems falls into two broad categories: user functions and utility functions. User functions provide the users interface to the PDM systems capabilities including data storage, retrieval, and management. Different types of users use different subsets of the user functions. These functions are divided into five categories: Utility functions provide the PDM infrastructure Data Vault and Document Management Workflow and Process Management Product Structure Management Classification Program Management

Utility functions provide support that facilitates the use of the system and provide support to the User Functions mentioned above. Utility functions interface with the operating environment and insulate its functions from the user. Tailoring permits systems to operate in conformance with the users environment. Utility functions include: Communication and Notification Data Transport Data Translation Image Services System Administration

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PDM: The Definition

Data Vault and Document Management


A major issue for many companies is ensuring that product data is up-to-date, correct, and protected from accidental or deliberate damage. Data Vault and Document Management provides secure storage and retrieval of product definition information. Check-in and check-out functions work with data stored in an electronic vault to provide secure storage and access control. Release levels for design data are defined and users are assigned access authorizations. The vault contains either the data itself or information that points at the actual location of the data. Data controlled by PDM can not be accessed without going through the PDM systems control proceduresthe location of data is essentially hidden from users, applications, and the operating system. The release management process ensures that data achieves release status only after passing a pre-defined approval process. Various approval scenarios can be used. User access to released information is based on project, password, and other user-defined controls. Meta-data stores information about product data so that changes, release levels, approval authorizations, and other data controls can be tracked and audited. The meta-data also is used to create relationships among product data so that information can be grouped and related by common usage and among products. Product definition data can be associated with product configurations as well as parts.


Secure, controlled storage is central to PDM

Check-in and check-out provide information access

Release management ensures data consistency

Meta-data provides tracking information

Object: Document Date: 1/1/95 Project: Motor Part #: 8893-0A Revision: 2.3A Document #: 4569-29 File: A:\PDM\doc\motor\... Application: MS-Word 6.0


Managed Files

PDM System
Product Data Includes Control and Administrative Information PDM: The Definition Page 9

Non-electronic data can be managed

Data stored in locations other than the vault (paper drawings, documents stored on remote computing systems, etc.) can be controlled by reference. Of course, this does not provide the same level of security as for data in the vault. However, security is at least as good as that found in manual systems and tracking is facilitated.

The user need not know where The electronic vault either contains the product information itself or information data are stored that allows users to access the data. Users must go through the PDM system to get controlled data. This may seem like a road block to getting the job done, but this is not the case, for it means that users dont have to know where data are actually located and ensures that they get the latest versions of data. This works in a fashion similar to library systems with a card catalog (the meta-data) that leads users to books (the product data). Meta-data and other attributes help users locate relevant data.

Workflow and Process Management


In addition to product data, PDM systems manage the processes and workflows used to modify and control the product

Using Data Vault and Document Management alone, a PDM system can react to users ad hoc demands. With Workflow and Process Management, a PDM system can, in addition, be proactive. It can interact with people, working according to predefined business processes of an organization and with data and documents, to achieve corporate objectives. Repetitive processes can be programmed within the PDM system and it can map a model of the organization. Workflow and Process Management provide a route to drive a business with information.



Engineering Supervisor


Project Management


Customer Service

Workflow Management Affects Many People

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PDM: The Definition

Workflow and Process Management can define and control changes to product configurations, part definitions, other product data, data relationships, and data versions and variations. Workflow and Process Management defines and controls the process of reviewing and approving changes to product data. The workflow and processes are defined in terms of a sequence of events that must occur before modified product data are allowed to be released. Individuals that are authorized to approve changes to particular design information are identified within the PDM system. The system tracks the approval process.

Workflows and processes define and control changes to product data

PDM tracks approvals and authorizations

As changes to product data are promoted for approval, a designated workflow or The change process is a process can be triggered automatically. The approvers for the specific information are sequence of controlled events notified automatically by the PDM system that the promoted changes are awaiting their approval.
Document Status
Planned W.I.P. Check Approve Released


Author Approver A

New Document

Design Manager

Submit for checking

Approver B Approver C
Not Approved


Not Correct

Document Release and Approval Process As the change is processed, approval or disapproval is indicated electronically. After all steps in the approval process have been successfully completed, the approved product data are released at the next version level and stored in the vault. The product data have successfully followed the defined workflow process. Other users are notified that the version of the data has been incremented. Workflows can automatically route electronic folders of data or work packages, to reviewers either serially or concurrently. Workflow can monitor processes, ensuring one process finishes before another starts, and can provide management reporting. The PDM system records each step in a process. Users and managers can review the complete change history at any time. Backing out undesirable changes is facilitated. Changes are accepted by electronic sign-off

Appropriate information is routed automatically Audit and historical records are maintained

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Product Structure Management

Product structures are enhanced BOMs

Product Structure Management facilitates the creation and management of product configurations and Bills of Material (BOM). As configurations change over time, the PDM system tracks versions, effectivities, and design variations. Typical product structures contain attribute, instance, and location information in addition to standard BOM data. These data enhance the structures value for activities outside of manufacturing planning. Standard BOMs can be generated automatically from the product structure. PDM systems allow users and applications to link or associate product definition data such as drawings, documents, and process plans to parts and product structures. This allows users to easily determine which information will be affected by changes. Remember, the product could be a unique plant such as an oil refinery, a utilitys pipe network system, a port facility, etc. Tracking the product structure of all such products is feasible and facilitates their design, construction, operation, and maintenance. Product Structure Management can track physical components and their connections, or virtual objects such as a cooling system or an emergency escape procedure.

Product data, such as documents, are linked to parts configurations Product Structure Management can be used in many industry segments

1 Quality 2 Attributes 3 Materials 1 Quality 4 Process 2 Attributes 3 Materials 4 Process

Phone Receiver

Rev B Rev C Detail Design Drawing

Test Data Rev A Rev B Analysis Report Rev A Rev B

Marketing Definition

Product Structure Views Page 12 PDM: The Definition

... ...
1 Quality 2 Attributes 3 Materials 4 Process

Views allow people to see a system as their specialty requires

Different disciplines require unique views of product information. PDM systems allow views that can show structural relationships, manufacturing processes, documentation, financial, support and repair, and other relationships embodied in product definition data.

Rev A

Data for process and manufacturing planning is available in the PDM environment and may be transferred to MRP systems. The PDM system provides control and tracking of this data, just as it does of other product data. MRP systems maintain and control vital information about a companys product production. This information may be transferred into PDM systems, providing relevant data for the product development cycle.

BOMs can be transferred directly to MRP systems MRP-managed information can be transferred to PDM systems


partno axy1234 zvy3245 dgf2345

Length 10 mm 20 mm 30 mm

Classification of parts allows similar or standard parts, processes, and other design information to be grouped by common attributes and retrieved for use in products. This leads to greater product standardization, reduced re-design, savings in purchasing and fabrication, and reduced inventories. PDM classification functions provide much more efficient mechanisms for finding standard and similar parts than do catalogs and other manual systems. When engineers and designers are able to find standard and similar parts easily they are more likely to re-use them instead of designing from scratch. There will be less reinvention of the wheel.

Reusing previously designed parts saves time and money

Finding standard parts is difficult manuallyeasy with PDM

Fasteners Screws Round Head Slotted Screw Flat Head Slotted Screw Hex Head Slotted Screw

Bolts, Nuts, and Washers Bolts Nuts Washers

Classification Hierarchy of Standard Parts

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Attributes are associated with parts and other product data

Parts can be grouped and found by various attributes. These may include part function code, shape classification, material, release date, revision, designer, and other attributes. These and other attributes such as project, owner, and creation date can be associated with other product data linked to the parts. Parts and designs can be found that match specific attributes, ranges of attributes, and logical combinations of attributes. This allows users to easily find product data that are identical to or similar to a required design. Classification and retrieval of parts (and other kinds of objects) can be facilitated by the development and management of classification structures. For parts, these structures can be part family hierarchies. A simple example can be seen in the preceding figure, where different screws are part of the screws family, which is part of the fastener family. By developing and managing these part family hierarchies (with characteristics defining each of the family classes) and associating an organizations parts to the appropriate families, users can quickly and easily find appropriate parts by searching the family hierarchies according to desired characteristics. To make good use of part family management capabilities, an organization must also have a definition of the part family hierarchy that best fits its own industry and operations. Some standards exist (such as the German DIN standard) to help define part families and their relationships (the family hierarchy structure, along with key attributes). A number of vendors provide capabilities to utilize classification structures, and some provide pre-developed part family hierarchy definitions to fit various industries. The productivity impact of these capabilities can be extremely positive. Standard libraries of parts such as fasteners, electronic components, pipe components, or building materials are available and can be accessed via similar mechanisms.

Similar parts and designs are found quickly Part family hierarchies provide organized access to existing designs

Standards provide a basis for parts classifications

Parts from libraries can be easily accessed

Program Management

Projects are managed in conjunction with their product information

Program Management provides work breakdown structures (WBS) and allows resource scheduling and project tracking. Resources and managed data are linked to provide an added level of planning and tracking. These capabilities are frequently provided through links to third-party project management systems. A key advantage stems from the ability to relate the WBS tasks to the PDM systems knowledge of approval cycles and product configurations. Tasks required to complete the product program are ordered within the work breakdown structure so resources and the project schedule can be monitored. As the project progresses from task to task, expended resources are recorded against the plan. Completion of the data required from each task is reported through the approval process.

WBSs provide task organization and resource tracking

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Communication and Notification

On-line, automated notification of critical events means that all personnel are informed concerning the current state of the project. Designers and others know as quickly as possible when product information is ready to be processed through the next task and which information is the most up-to-date. Electronic mail is used to notify people about important events or required actions on-line. Delays and misplaced communications are minimized. This mechanism may also be used to delegate activity when a user is unable to complete an assigned task. A software mechanism known as a trigger is used to spawn notifications and other actions automatically. Almost any event in the product development process can cause a message to be sent or cause another event (such as the translation of data to another application) to occur. Triggers are used to streamline data vault and document management and workflow and process management procedures. Communication is improved

Notification of actions is automatic Events trigger automatic notification

Data Transport
All data are stored and accessed under control of the PDM system, so a user need not Users dont need to know know where in the computer network data are storedthe system keeps track of data where data are stored locations and allows users to access it knowing only a data sets name. Names of data sets are not limited by the local computers file-naming conventions so they can be more meaningful. In fact, the user need not know how to use the computers file and directory commands. Moving data from one location to another or from one application to another is an operation that the PDM system performsusers dont need to be concerned with operating system and network commands. Information is easily moved between different systems

Data Translation
The system administrator can pre-define data translators to be used to convert data between pairs of applications and to formats for various display and output devices. This allows enforcement of standard data forms. While translators may not be provided as an integral part of the PDM system, they may be applied because the system knows the data format of each controlled file and which translation is appropriate. Triggers can cause data to be translated automatically from one application to another at appropriate times. Thus, the correct data are more likely to be used in any situation. Users need not know which translator to apply

Translation can occur automatically

Image Services
Raster, vector, and video images are treated the same as any other data by the PDM Images are stored and system. On-line access is provided to a wide range of previously difficult-to-distribute accessed like any other data product information providing this information in a structured manner to more users. Raster and vector image viewing allows users such as managers and shop floor workers to view drawings and other design data on PCs or terminals, providing access to a wide audience. Mark-up capabilities allow checkers, reviewers, and approvers to add comments and annotations to raster images. Viewing and mark-up provide enhanced checking

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Image Services enhance productivity of ECO processes

Image Services accelerate processes such as Engineering Change Requests (ECR) and Orders (ECO) by facilitating the exchange of information and comments among users.

System Administration
PDM system operation is controlled and monitored The administrator sets up the operational parameters of the PDM system and monitors its performance. Administrative functions include: System tailoring allows people to work in a familiar manner Access and change permissions Authorizations Approval procedures Data back-up and security Data archive

Most systems can be tailored to conform to corporate standards and to improve the efficiency of operations for individual users. In addition to customary user interface customization, the operational features of PDM systems can be tailored. For instance, the approval process may be set to require sequential approval by several individuals in one case and to allow a majority vote of all approvers in another. Systems can be tailored in many ways, including: User interface layout Modifying system messages and terminology Integrating third-party applications Adding new functionality

Many PDM systems have interfaces to popular applications

Many PDM systems provide standard, off-the-shelf interfaces to popular applications such as CAD, CAM, MRP/ERP, technical publishing, and office automation. In addition, most systems offer interface toolkits, GUI builders, and application interface toolkits.

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4 PDM Environments
In many organizations, product data is dispersed among computer systems and Product data typically exists applications. To gain the fullest value from a PDM system it must be able to deal with in a heterogeneous information across and among these systems. environment Many types of computers (mainframes, mini-computers, workstations, and personal computers) are typically used in the product life cycle. These include systems used by engineering, manufacturing planning, shop floor, purchasing, operations, administration, and other organizations. Their machines may or may not be connected in one or more wide- or local-area networks. A fully developed PDM system will operate across these systems and networks. However, some software bridges may still be required to move information between incompatible systems. PDM systems support heterogeneous operations

Enterprise System A


Data Vault


Vault Vault


Compute Server C
Workgroup D Workgroup B

PDM System in a Network Environment PDM systems are designed to conform to a set of industry standards. These include IGES, TCP/IP, SQL, Motif, X-Windows and other national and international standards as well as the currently evolving STEP and CALS initiatives. In the case of CALS and STEP, the complete product life cycle is being addressed so that there will be a standard mechanism for sharing version, effectivity, and other control information as well as geometry. As mentioned earlier, many different types of applications can benefit from PDM. These include engineering (CAD/CAM and analyses), manufacturing (NC and process design), purchasing (inventory control and costing), and word processing and spreadsheets. As PDM is implemented enterprise-wide, more applications may be integrated to allow additional users access to product information. Standards provide continuity

Many types of applications are supported

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PDM systems are evolving into enterprise frameworks

PDM systems have evolved to support process definition and control and to manage an end-to-end process. Some PDM systems allow users to define steps in their product life cycle, the tools to be used at each step, and the rules that govern movement of data between steps and tools. PDM systems are becoming a framework for the enterprise not just for a subset, such as E-CAD. Initially PDM systems will interface to discipline-specific frameworks and incorporate them into the larger scope of the total product life cycle. As for other software tools, the user interface of a PDM system is a key factor in how productive the tool will be. Because PDM systems are used by a diverse set of people with various computer skill levels, ease of use becomes a very important factor. Most interfaces are being or have been upgraded from old-style on-screen tables with command line input to modern Motif-based graphical interfaces that use menus, icons, dialog boxes, drag and drop, and other easy-to-learn interaction methods. Important issues are that the interface be easy to learn and re-learn (especially for casual or infrequent users), but also that it be tailorable to efficiently support different disciplines or classes of users including experienced power users. PDM systems use a database management system to maintain meta-data, product configuration, process, and administrative information. The majority of PDM systems use relational database management systems today. PDM system users are sheltered from the DBMS and its query language by the PDM systemwith the exception of system implementors who are required to know and work with the underlying DBMS technology. Some PDM systems are designed to operate with an Object-Oriented Database Management System. As this technology becomes commonly accepted more systems will support it. Many product development organizations are geographically distributed, for instance, with manufacturing or a plant in a different building, city, country, or continent from product design. Network interfaces allow these dispersed users to access data from common data stores and to communicate product changes as quickly and easily as if they were all working at the same location. A server-client architecture is used across a network to provide access to product data for multiple users. The server provides a controlled storage environment that all PDM users can access.

The user interface is a key to productivity

A DBMS is an essential, underlying technology

OODBMSs are beginning to be supported PDM systems can span widely-distributed environments

Servers and clients allow concurrent access to design data

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PDM: The Definition


We have attempted to give you an overview of what PDM is and how it can benefit You have been introduced to any organization that is developing a product. There was not room in this guide to go PDM into a great amount of detail or to list suppliers and their products strengths and weaknesses. This information is provided in other CIMdata publications. PDM systems are an important tool for companies that create any kinds of products. PDM is a key productivity PDM can have a dramatic and positive impact on time to market and product quality tool through improved development methods that are faster and produce fewer errors. If you would like more information about PDM technology or products please More information about contact CIMdata at any of the locations listed on the back cover of this guide. PDM is available CIMdata publishes additional material about PDM to help potential users specify and select systems and justify PDM systems. PDM Buyers Guide defines the technology, and reviews and compares many internationally available PDM products. This information is essential for all organizations that want to quickly identify products and PDM suppliers that potentially could meet their requirements. PDM Benefits Analysis Guide provides a methodology and spreadsheet models for justifying the purchase of PDM systems and measuring their value throughout their implementation and use. Focusing on benefits in a structured way doesnt just help the decision-makers, it also ensures that needs will be properly identified, the best system for users will be found, and that its operation will be in the best interests of the organization. It forces attention on needs, the users, and the enterprise, rather than on computer technology. PDM Case Studies is a service available by annual subscription that provides authoritative and in-depth PDM case-studies. These explain the secrets of how early implementors have identified needs, selected and implemented systems, the difficulties they experienced and overcame, the benefits found and the lessons they learned. The case-studies cover PDM applications in a range of industries and countries throughout the world, using different types of PDM systems. STEP Applications Guide contains information about the current status of the STEP standard, products that support STEP, and how this important product information definition and exchange standard affects PDM users.

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Application Interface An interface from an external application that provides access to the functional capabilities and database of the PDM system. The interface is usually built from a library of calling routines that may be embedded within other applications or programs to call PDM functions and to access or update the PDM database. The process by which a reviewer or releaser indicates their approval of changes to a document or controlled data, a package of documents, creation of a new document or controlled data, or of a proposed change. Messages sent to people telling them that an item or package has been approved. Historical or inactive PDM data and PDM-managed files that have been removed from the system and stored on tape, optical disk, or other media for safekeeping and future use. References to the archived data and files is maintained within the active PDM system. The level of functionality and access to PDM-managed information granted a specific user. Examples of access authorization include read, write, update, copy, and view. Examples of functional authorization include the ability to add users, review or release items, or launch an application. An ordered list of the parts, sub-assemblies, assemblies, and raw materials that define a product. Normally created and maintained within the Project Structure Management function, it defines the type, number, quantity, and relationships of parts and assemblies. PDM systems available only as an integral part of another software application. For example, some PDM systems are only available as an option to a CAD/CAM system. The policies and procedures of an enterprise. In PDM systems, business rules are used to define the relationship(s) between entities. They specify the business-imposed constraints on the data relationships. Examples are: released data cannot be modified, only engineering managers can approve mechanical designs, only program-approved standard parts can be used within products. Continuous Acquisition and Life-cycle Support is a DOD digital data transfer protocol. It is intended to provide standard mechanisms for the delivery of digital data and enabling concurrent engineering for DOD sponsored developments and procurements. The CALS initiative has endorsed IGES and STEP as formats for digital data. CALS includes standards for electronic data interchange, electronic technical documentation, and guidelines for process improvement. CALS was known formerly as Computer Aided Logistics System. A modification to a component, configuration, or document from currently defined and approved status. Changes cause version or revision levels of affected items to be updated.


Approval Notification Archive


Bill of Material (BOM)

Bundled PDM Systems Business Rules



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PDM: The Definition

Change Control

The process and procedures that manage how changes are proposed, reviewed, and approved and then incorporated into a product and its associated documentation. Change Control is a part of overall configuration management and uses review and release processes to enforce compliance with company change policies. The process of placing or returning a new or modified product data or information under PDM control. If a new revision is being created this procedure usually initiates a review/approval process controlled by the PDM system. The process of accessing PDM-managed product data or information under PDM controlled procedures. This access may be for viewing, reference and use in another design or manufacturing task, or for making a design change. The PDM system prevents multiple, simultaneous change activities in order to maintain product data integrity. The assignment of attributes and other defining meta-data to managed objects and information maintained within a PDM system. The meta-data for classification may include definitions of classification tables or hierarchies that define relationships between various classes of objects. These meta-data are then used for finding data with similar characteristics. Classification is also used to create and maintain standard part and information libraries. See Part Classification and Group Technology. A management/operational approach which improves product design, production, operation, and maintenance by developing environments in which personnel from all disciplines (design, marketing, production engineering, process planning, and support) work together and share data throughout all phases of the product life cycle. The process of defining and controlling a product structure and its related documentation. CM includes maintaining revision control and history information about all changes to a document or product. Translation of PDM data from one format to another via converters such as IGES or supplier- and user-supplied translators. The action of moving PDM-managed information to meet the needs of distributed environments. Information may be either moved or copied. Unlike data translation, data transport maintains a consistent data format. The process of controlling design data. Components include check-in/ check-out, release level maintenance, access security, and promotion authorization. Used in the product structure to indicate a coordinated set of alternatives in the design which produce a different product, for example, a 4-cylinder auto versus a 6cylinder auto. Design variants represent sets of variations which evolve in versions consistent with the rest of the product. An indicator in a product structure which specifies the versions at which a component part is used. These indicators generally specify a range of either dates, serial numbers, or build lots. Effectivity indicators are typically considered as conditions on the parent-child relationships in a standard product structure. Formal documents notifying selected persons of proposed, pending, or accomplished changes. In a PDM-managed environment ECNs may be distributed by electronic mail.




Concurrent Engineering (CE)

Configuration Management (CM) Data Translation Data Transport

Data Vault and Document Management Design Variant


Engineering Change Notices (ECNs) and Engineering Change Orders (ECOs)

PDM: The Definition

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A portion of a company which is related by a common interest in a product or group of products. An enterprise may also logically include a network of contractors or suppliers involved in creating or supporting the common product. PDM systems are often applied across an enterprise. A framework is an extensible structure for describing a set of concepts, methods, technologies, and cultural changes necessary for a complete product design and manufacturing process. Framework products are most prevalent in the area of Electrical and Electronic design. Frameworks provide a mechanism that guides users through a proper order of steps, applications, and data conversions via a common interface to the process being followed. (GT) See Part Classification. The management and control of raster images (generated by image scanning and raster conversions of electronic data created in other formats), vector data (from CAD and illustration systems), and multi-media data (audio and video images). PDM systems which are available as independent products distinct from any other application. These systems may be integrated with any number of other applications (such as CAD/CAM), but they may be purchased and installed independently and do not require purchase of some attached application. These systems contrast with bundled PDM systems. This term is used differently in product design systems, in PDM product structure functions, and in image management systems. As used in product design, an instance is a reference to a geometric object that allows the same geometry to be located at several places in a geometric model assembly without actually copying the geometry. When the original geometry is modified the modifications automatically appear at every instance location. Similarly, in product structures, an instance is a reference to a Part. It allows the same Part to be used in several assemblies without copying all part information into the assembly. In image management, an instance is an occurrence of an image in some format. An image management system may maintain multiple instances of the same image in distributed locations to improve access performance. Item master is similar to Part Master except that this set of data describes an item (file) managed by the PDM system, not a part. The description of the distinct phases through which each product passes during its product life. This includes phases such as requirements definition, concept design, production, operation, maintenance, etc. Information required for proper planning and control of product development. Examples include scheduling and audit history information. Information about the data controlled by the PDM system. For example, drawing number is an attribute within the meta-data about a drawing. This definition differs from that used by information systems professionals as a definition of a databases underlying schema.


Group Technology Image Management

Independent PDM System


Item Master Life Cycle

Management Data Meta-Data

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PDM: The Definition

Materials Requirements Planning (MRP); Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP II) Object-Oriented Database

A methodology and system used to plan and manage manufacturing operations. The BOM for products released to manufacturing is a key part of the MRP systems database. Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II) is the same as MRP, except that the concepts are broadened and MRP II systems are newer generation systems. Object Oriented Data Base Management System (OODBMS) is a DBMS in which data objects are encapsulated by classes that have pre-defined characteristics. Objects added to the database automatically acquire (inherit) the characteristics of their class. These data are accessible only through messages which they recognize. Object Oriented Databases are expected to be more frequently used in future PDM systems. See Design Variant. Mechanisms to classify parts and other elements of a product by their function or by the processes used to manufacture them. Part classification is used to find PDMmanaged components to use in a product design or PDM-managed processes to use in the design of similar processes. Also called Group Technology. A set of data (information) about a part which serves as the control definition of the part. This might include information such as part number, date created, currently active revision level, department responsible for design changes, etc. The Part Master will have relationships to other information which describes the parts use in assemblies, etc. The act of moving a piece of product information from one Promotion Level or state to another in a PDM-managed approval process. Product information is assigned to Promotion Levels. These are defined and named by the system administrator. Examples names are Preliminary Release, Prototype Release, and Production Release. Each Promotion Level has its own set of authorizations for access and approval. Relational Data Base Management Systems (RDBMS) are database management systems that maintain data records and indices in tables. Relationships may be created and maintained across and among the data and tables. Messages sent to people whose action is required as part of a release process. Synonym for Promotion Level. A process in which one or more persons checks changed documents or data to determine if the changes have been correctly performed. Messages sent to people whose review is required for a defined release procedure. Is a modification of any product data after that data has been released for use. A proposed international standard (ISO 10303) to facilitate the storage and exchange of all types of information related to products. STEP defines formats of product data for all types of products as well as for specific industry sectors. A part which is approved to be used in a specific design instead of a preferred part, if conditions warrant.

Option Part Classification

Part Master

Promotion Promotion Level


Release Action Notice Release Level Review Review Action Notice Revision Standard for the Exchange of Product (STEP) Substitute Part

PDM: The Definition

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Trigger Vault Version WBS

A mechanism that detects some activity, or change in state of some object, in the PDM system and as a result, can initiate some subsequent action. The PDM systems computerized data storage area and databases. Information stored in PDM vaults are controlled by system rules and processes. Versions of an object or product structure are used to represent the different objects or structures as they change during their life as an object or product. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is used to plan and manage the process of developing a product design, to produce a product, and to support it. A WBS is a mechanism for breaking work (generally related to some specific project) into smaller elements which can be used for assigning resources, budgets, schedules, etc. The WBS provides a basis for controlling projects. The interaction of people working with product data according to the predefined business processes of an enterprise to achieve corporate objectives. Repetitive workflows and processes can be programmed as part of a PDM system to route data and work packages automatically, to control and monitor processes, and to provide management reporting. Change control is a workflow that is common in most enterprises, but other workflows exist for design release management, bid preparation, engineering reviews, purchasing, problem tracking and resolution, and contracts management. See also, Change Control. Any group of people working toward a common goal as a team. An enterprise will typically have a number of workgroups involved in a product development project.

Workflow and Process Management


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PDM: The Definition

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