May 17, 2023
PTC has come a long way from its CAD and PLM roots. The now $1.9 billion software giant tied its burgeoning product portfolio to industrial companies’ next-generation digital transformation efforts, now encompassing reshoring, resilient supply chains, intelligent product design, and enabling more efficient manufacturing.
On stage in person at LiveWorx 2023, the first time since 2019, PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann called this the greatest period of change for industrial companies that he’s seen, going beyond initial digital initiatives aimed at accelerating time-to-market or lowering costs. “We’re helping leading edge companies move with greater speed and agility and creating a digital thread that runs across their entire product lifecycle,” Heppelmann told the audience. “We’re also tackling the ultimate transformation, which is moving to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).”
SaaS dominated Heppelmann’s keynote presentation and is a core plank of PTC’s product strategy going forward. Heppelmann said PTC was fully committed to SaaS across its entire portfolio, leveraging the acquisition of OnShape and Arena and creating Atlas, its common platform for delivering SaaS across the entire software portfolio. Heppelmann said 25% of PTC’s current business is now SaaS and is outpacing its traditional on-premise software sales. “CAD and PLM software isn’t known for SaaS,” Heppelmann acknowledged, “but that’s changing and the pace of change is accelerating dramatically.”
A Plus for On Demand
The new PTC + strategy, which brings SaaS to life across all of PTC’s mainstream digital thread products got a recent boost with the addition of Creo+, version 10 of the CAD software now designed as a native, multi-tenet application for cloud, and accompanying SaaS versions of PTC products like Windchill+, Vuforia, ThinkWorx, and KepWare.
Specifically, Creo+ borrows from OnShape to deliver real-time design collaboration and branching tools that enable multiple team members to review, explore, and edit product designs simultaneously, using a dedicated workspace. The PTC Control Center, powered by the PTC Atlas SaaS platform, enables simple deployment and management of software licenses for cloud-based tools, minimizing the time spent installing, configuring, and updating software. Creo+ delivers all of the new features of Creo 10, including features for designing and simulating composite materials, ANSYS-powered thermal stress and non-linear materials and contact simulation, new ECAD capabilities, and model-based definition improvements, among other enhancements.
In other Creo-related news, PTC showed off a fully 3D printed micro turbojet engine, designed in the CAD software as a single, complete assembly, including all rotating and stationary components. The eight-pound engine, printed in Inconel, was intended as a proof point to demonstrate the potential of AM for parts reduction and to transform complex assembly processes as well to showcase Creo’s advanced design for AM capabilities.
PTC made LiveWorx news on the sustainability front, expanding its relationships with Ansys and aPriori to help manufacturers reduce the environmental footprint of their products. PTC and Ansys will deliver more integrated workflows between Creo and Windchill and Ansys’ Granta MI materials information management solution. The seamless workflows are intended to make it easier for design engineers to assess how materials choices impact a product’s performance, embodied carbon, and recyclability. PTC and aPriori are working towards greater interoperability between Windchill and aPriori’s software, enabling a workflow where designs are reviewed in CAD and PLM, analysis generated for part costs, manufacturability, and environmental footprint, with improvements recommended to meet environmental targets.
PTC also signed the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) commitment letter, pledging to drive near-term emissions reductions and meet long-term net-zero targets.
In one final announcement, PTC introduced Step Check, a new AI-enhanced visual inspection solution for quality control. Step Check, part of Vuforia Expert Capture SaaS AR solution, guides workers through inspection tasks with context-aware, step-by-step AR work instructions overlaid on the physical part or product. The underlying AI detects improper assemblies or missing or misaligned parts, displaying color-coded pass/fail graphics on the part to alert workers as to inspection status.
For a deeper dive on Creo 10 and Creo +, check out this video.
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About the Author
Beth Stackpole is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].Follow DE