The Future of PLM: Validating the Physical World through the Virtual Experience
Keywords: 3D Virtual Environment, Virtual Simulation, Virtual Lifecycle, Experience Economy, Information-Driven Manufacturing, Virtual Plant Operations.
What we commonly refer to today as "product lifecycle management," or "PLM," is the result of years of evolution of the technology that digitized the process of product design. Initially, simple 2D drawings emulated basic drafting views. This progressed to 3D wire-frame models, which, in turn, led to 3D solid models with surfaces and multiple geometric features and parametric modeling. In this manner, the technology of computer-aided design (CAD) steadily progressed.
Another major milestone for digital product design was the ability to create a complete digital mockup (DMU) of a complex product such as an automobile, aircraft, and other complex assemblies. This was the real beginning of the concept of building a virtual product that could validate the physical version before it was actually built. In parallel, the need for a single repository for all design/build information became today's product data management (PDM) systems. These formed the basis for PLM as a set of lifecycle domains that began as product concept and progressed through design and manufacturing. Currently, PLM technology and applications extend to production systems and factory floor operations, supply chains, and service and maintenance.
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