Windchill 10.0 offers much more than a flashy new user interface. This article will delve into some of the major beneath-the-hood changes such as product structure viewing and editing, change management and configuration management. I spoke to PTC Product Management Director Jeff Zemsky, to find out what’s new in these areas.
Windchill 10.0 provides a new HTML based Product Structure Browser (PSB) that handles nearly all product structure viewing and editing tasks from a single environment. “The new PSB enables you to view and edit at multiple levels within a product structure allowing one to navigate from one level to another with a single mouse click,” Zemsky says. “PSB provides an embedded product view window giving you dynamic visualization of your product structure.”
Product Structure Browser includes a visualization tab
The tool is HTML based and offers high performance for almost all structure editing needs. The PSE is still available in Windchill 10.0 for the handful of tasks where it is required.
“One of the key items for PSB is to make it easier for users to work with their data,” Zemsky says. For example the Find-in-structure tool enables you to easily search for a text match within the structure and navigate forwards and backwards to the next match through all levels of the structure. The Uses tab provides in-line editing similar to an Excel spreadsheet so that you can use the tab and arrow keys or click on a cell to navigate. Type-ahead in the Uses tab allows you to rapidly add existing parts by typing just parts of a name or number.
Configuration management has also been upgraded in Windchill 10.0. Zemsky points out that configuration specification attribute and spatial filters can be combined to produce robust combinations of parts. The configuration specification can include criteria for the latest, baseline, date effectivity and promotion request and now supports multiple configuration specifications. The attribute filter can use any part or usage attributes. You can define a spatial filter based on a box, sphere or proximity to a part. The filter results can include items that are either partially or completely within the region specified by the spatial filter criteria.
Configuration specification, attribute and spatial filters can be combined to produce robust combinations for configuration management needs
The new structure compare tool compares the same or different parts across multiple levels of product structure. The structure compare tool highlights differences in structure, uses attributes and replacements. Differences between the two structures are highlighted visually and you can easily navigate from difference to difference.
Change management capabilities in Windchill 10.0 have been enhanced to extend change management across the enterprise and improve communication of change related information. “Process speed is improved because partners, vendors and customer can initiate a closed loop change process rather than waiting for someone on the inside,” Zemsky notes.
To enable this, Problem Reports, Deviations and Waivers can now be created in Projects and tied to Change Requests in Products or Libraries. This allows you to run the full change process and enables partners more entry points into the process.
Change management reporting has been substantially improved. Enhanced summary reports are available for problem reports, change requests, change notices and variances out of the box. New implementation status reports show change task information by assignee, reviewer, state, name and description. These reports are all easily accessed on the changes.
Change tasks can now be sequenced so that, for example, the manufacturing engineer does not get her task until the design is completed. This feature uses the Windchill ProjectLink sequence engine so it requires a Windchill ProjectLink license. Change activity flexibility has been improved by making it possible to create a task without an assignee, which can be filled in at the appropriate time. The reviewer step can also be made optional so that simple tasks do not require review.
Change tasks can be created without requiring a review
The Promotion Request process has been updated to reduce the number of steps by 50% and simplifies the process flow. You can also easily add additional items to the Promotion request. Mass changes have been updated to include documents and provide the ability to filter parts by view.
After speaking with Zemsky, I was left with the feeling that the product structure editing, configuration management and change management improvements in Windchill 10.0 are well worth taking a close look at.