It’s been more than 3 years.

Wow. Can you believe that? It’s now been over 3 years since Siemens PLM came out with their HD-PLM strategy. I wrote about it back then, back when it was first launched. But I have to admit going back and reading that post that it still wasn’t quite clear how HD-PLM would manifest itself in Siemens PLM’s products. So, today, that’s the purpose of this post. We now have a lot more clarity about what does what.

So let’s dive in.

Capabilities Provided by HD-PLM

Before we dive into more details, here’s a little context.

What does HD-PLM do?

HD-PLM is a Siemens PLM product strategy. The central concept behind it is to take information that exists in Teamcenter, their PLM offering, and make it available through 3D models as a medium. How? Well, in a few different ways?

  • The 3D model can be interrogated for information that comes from Teamcenter. Basically, the ability to search and filter is expanded significantly beyond what is simply stored in the 3D model.
  • Visual Reports can be defined that color code the 3D model based on values and properties in Teamcenter. In one scenario, all released parts could be colored red while WIP parts are red. In a different scenario, all parts with validated requirements could be colored green, in process validated parts colored yellow and failed validated parts in red. In yet another scenario, parts passing materials compliance could be in green, parts that fail could be red.

Obviously, there are many different scenarios that could play out in Visual Reports based on PLM information that exists in Teamcenter.

Now, these capabilities shows up as two different places in Siemens PLM portfolio.


An obvious fit for HD-PLM is within Siemens PLM’s CAD software application, NX. CAD users can interrogate the model for deep PLM information that exists in Teamcenter. They can also set up the Visual Reports as described above. Think of this as the typical CAD-PLM integration, but on steroids. You can see and do a lot more than normal.

HD-PLM for Teamcenter: Active Workspace

Now, of course, not everyone that needs access to PLM information in Teamcenter is a CAD user. In fact, many of them will likely not know how to use CAD much less have access to it. Of course, they could navigate the traditional interface for Teamcenter. However, putting that PLM information into the context of a 3D model makes it more consumable for anyone, not just designers and engineers that use CAD.

So Siemens PLM created a new app that is something of an extension of Teamcenter called Active Workspace, which they refer to as AWS. Basically, this is a visualization application for 3D models upon which they added the HD-PLM capabilities described above. The 3D model can be interrogated for PLM information. Visual Reports can also be defined and used.

In the last year, they’ve been enhancing AWS with a new look and new capabilities as well. Here’s some of those enhancements, which I got to see at the Siemens PLM analyst event in Boston, MA.

Seeing this actually in work is impressive. Metro is the interface offered through the latest version of Microsoft Windows. In this context, it really does work well, especially for users that aren’t as familiar with how to use something like Teamcenter.

Geolus is a Siemens PLM acquisition from years past. This technology essentially assesses the geometric shape on the screen and finds other components with similar geometry. That matching can be used in numerous places such as search and filtering. It applies well for departments like procurement where they need to consider functional alternatives for cheaper components.

Last but not least, AWS generates materials in formats that are easily accessible for users. That’s essential.

Commentary and Analysis

OK. We’ve talked about what this HD-PLM strategy does with respect to Siemens PLM products. However, we haven’t talked about the value it provides. Let’s get into that now.

The idea here is simple: providing PLM information through a 3D model medium enables better decision making. The rationale is that PLM information in the context of a 3D model can be consumed far more easily than through other mediums. People who are better informed can make better decisions. However, it’s not just about quality of decisions, it is also about speed. Mapping this on top of a 3D model makes such information accessible more quickly than otherwise.

There is specific value that different roles in product development can get out of HD-PLM as well. You can find of that in my original post from 3 years ago, but here’s a few snippets.

For CAD Users: However, you definitely need access to broader product information to support design decisions along the way. How do you get it? Login and textually navigate the PLM system yourself or track down someone that can. And let’s be honest, either way is painful and/or time consuming. The new capabilities in NX provides a means to look for information in the PLM system through an application with which you are familiar, CAD or CAE, in a medium with which you probably most comfortable, 3D design or simulation models.

For Engineering Managers: How do you, as a manager or executive, get development project summaries today? If you’re like most, you have someone in your team or organization pull together, either manually or with some automation, a report on a daily or weekly basis. It takes time to do. Its a resources dedicated to administrative work, not new development. The information can be difficult to conclusively verify. These new capabilities provide an alternative to that approach.

Summary and Questions

Time to recap.

  • Siemens PLM’s HD-PLM strategy, announced 3 years ago, layers PLM information from Teamcenter on top of 3D models.
  • Such information can be interrogated through the 3D model or accessed through something called Visual Reports.
  • These capabilities are accessed through NX, in a concept known as HD3D, as well as Active Workspace, referred to as AWS, as a Teamcenter application.
  • The concept here is that PLM information layered on top of a 3D model can enable better and faster decisions in product development because it is easier to consume and easier to access.

Alright folks. Let’s hear your thoughts! Will accessing PLM information through 3D models make for faster and better decisions?

Take care. Talk soon. And thanks for reading.