11 great improvements in Windchill 11 – Part 1 of 2

This is part 1 of my Windchill blog review of the improvements in PTC Windchill 11.0 (PTC Windchill PDMLink), the top highlights – Improved Search, Promote during Check In, New Smart Rename, Common numbering for Top down and Bottom up design and Managing flexible components with base numbers.

Version 11 of our PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) system Windchill was launched in the beginning of 2016 and with M010 released just before summer there is really no reason to wait! Here is my personal view of the top 11 improvements that I think will be appreciated by the daily Windchill user.
Improved Search
The new search contains a number of great enhancements that will affect the daily work for most users:

Faceted search, allows us to write a criterion and then further dynamically filter the result from a list of common attributes, similar to narrowing down to a product on an ecommerce website. Furthermore, to better understand the result, the keyword search will present a preview or Hit Highlighting of the text content where the found keyword is present.
Nested queries, where any number of AND/OR criteria can be created in a nested manner as well as the ability to search based on object relationships. This enables searches and even object relationships like: “Show me all standard parts that have an associated datasheet” or “show me all Parts of given criteria that are resulting from a Change Notice and of type Buy”.

The search now also includes built-in Windchill PartsLink capabilities with the classic search, making it easier to search for classification and attributes simultaneously (for customers using Windchill PartsLink).

What are the benefits?
Faster and easier to find and refine searches, easy to examine and understand results and even to do searches that needed deep investigations and customizations before.
Promote during Check In
An eagerly awaited feature is the ability to automatically create a Promotion Request upon check in from workspace. Items from the check in form will automatically be added to the Promotion Request. Also there is a new additional comment field to describe the changes for each item.

What are the benefits?
Streamlined process with less navigation. No need to leave the workspace and find the objects in common space and then promote.
New smart Rename
Rename now supports multi select of combinations of parts and CAD documents. Rename also includes collector support, so you can easily collect whole structures of parts and related CAD documents. When renaming, new part numbers can be auto generated while CAD document numbers are taken from the related part while automatically including the file extension.

What are the benefits?

Apart from being easier and more efficient to mass rename objects, this feature also enables commonly required use cases. For example, some customers do not get the final part numbers until the design is approved or users wish to start with dummy numbers in the concept phase and then generate real numbers where the CAD document number is inherited from the part number.
Common numbering for Top down and Bottom up design.
In the past we had to choose between using auto numbering or part/CAD synchronized numbers. Now we can use a mixed Top down/Bottom up process combining auto numbers and synchronized numbers:

Top down: use Auto generate number for the part while creating a CAD document with the same number + extension.
Bottom up: create an auto numbered CAD document and get a new part with the same number using auto associate.

What are the benefits?

We can now have synchronizing of part and CAD numbers automatically, no matter whether we start by creating the item structure first (Top down) or we start our design in the CAD tool (Bottom up).
Managing flexible components with base numbers
Multiple CAD documents can now also be automatically associated to the same part using “Base numbers”. This would enable an assembly with components “hose.prt” and “hose_otherside.prt” to be automatically associated to part “hose” by an owner and image link respectively. A pattern for what is considered a base number can be defined as a preference. This enables automatic flexible component management, where different CAD models that represent the same part are associated to the same part while maintaining the quantity.

What are the benefits?

Imagine you are assembling multiple occurrences of a flexible component or a mechanism in the same assembly. You can now number these different CAD-models for example 12345, 12345_2, 12345_3 and automatically have them linked to the same Part object showing the combined quantity in the part structure.

There were the first five great improvements in Windchill 11. In part two, I will be discussing six additional improvements that will make CAD/PDM life more fun and efficient.

All the best!
Nicklas Miller