XR, THE DISRUPTOR TO PLM
Many organisations will have had a robust and well-established product lifecycle management process in place for many years. Designs are created, checked in, and out, as they are developed with all of the associated metadata being carefully tied together so throughout the products life, everything is kept where it should be.
But along comes this potentially disruptive force that is XR. The PLM manager is carefully controlling all the data that relates to the company’s products, and then a new department is asking for the CAD models which they want to take outside of this process. Moreover, they intend to create new digital assets from this CAD for use in an XR experience!
The challenge to the PLM manager now, is how can they possibly be in control of this?
There are solutions that can connect to the PLM system and “check-out” the CAD model so that other users are aware that the product (or an element of it) is being worked on. The Theorem XR Visualization Pipeline can do just this.
Moreover, following an immersive design review, the associated media (notes, photos, videos) can be saved and returned to the designer. So not all is lost then?
Maybe, but unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that. These new digital assets have been created and used for a process, and information as an output from this has been documented, but this cannot be checked back into the PLM system. Unlike with CAD data, where there is a CAD manager that knows exactly what it is looking at, there is currently no XR asset manager. Accordingly, the PLM doesn’t know what this new type of asset is, nor what to do with it.
The important thing to consider before an organisation starts to implement an XR solution is whether all other processes have been identified, and the appropriate stakeholders have been engaged with, before implementing something that can be considered to be highly disruptive to an otherwise fine process.
In the case of a PLM process, until such a time that someone has created an add-on that will manage your new XR assets, these will need to be managed outside of this process.
However, this does not mean that organisations should not adopt XR. The benefits of working in context and at full scale are significant, and many companies that have implemented this will point to any ROI given. For example, one of Theorem’s customers are expected to make savings of almost £400K in the first year, giving an expected full return on investment in just 2 months. Surely, with this level of pay-back, it is worth having a look at your existing PLM processes?