So you’re an executive at a manufacturing company. You make things that are useful to your customers and you return profits to ever-demanding shareholders. You have probably heard of PLM before; perhaps your staff have mentioned the acronym. But how badly do you need it?

Here are 10 indicators that you definitely need PLM:

  1. Your engineering organization is often late meeting customer deadlines. This results from poorly executed projects, inefficient processes and lack of clear deliverables. All of these problems can be addressed by a PLM system supporting the engineering organization.
  2. Warranty costs are creeping up. One of the largest contributors to poor product quality is sloppy design and incomplete engineering definition. Installing appropriate PLM technology to support design activities results in a better specification been communicated to manufacturing.
  3. Factory scrap rates are above industry standards. For example, scrap and rework is often traced back to a wrong drawing, an incorrect dimension or a poorly specified component. Complete and accurate product design is supported by a robust PLM system.
  4. R&D costs as a percentage of revenue are excessive. Engineering and design activity is bloated with too much headcount and overhead. Yet they are late with deliverables. PLM means efficiency in R&D.
  5. The organization struggles with coordination. It appears as if manufacturing and engineering are always at odds with both departments blaming one another for mistakes. PLM can offer objective data to resolve these issues.
  6. There is no accountability in the organization. It is difficult to diagnose where mistakes were made and who is responsible. People are always blaming other departments. A PLM system can provide objective data that allows the root cause to be addressed.
  7. Expedited freight costs are bleeding away your profits. Excessive expedited freight costs are common in companies that are late with deliveries and have to ship under duress to avoid customer penalties. Better upstream engineering supported by PLM can improve this problem.
  8. Your competitors always beat you to market with new products. Is innovation management and new product introduction a problem for your organization? A better PLM system can make dramatic differences in this area.
  9. Customers complain that they do not get the information they need. You owe your customers information at various stages during the engagement cycle and they never get it in a timely manner. A suitably configured PLM system can improve this dramatically.
  10. Your suppliers provide the wrong information. This can be a common problem diagnosed by your engineering staff. But do your suppliers have the right request to begin with? PLM technology can bridge this gap

Do you have three or more of these issues keeping you up at night? Time to take a serious look at a PLM system.


From a packaging perspective, Abaqus includes a user interface called Abaqus CAE and a solver that includes implicit, explicit, and computational fluid dynamics capabilities. The post-processing or result visualization can be done in either Abaqus CAE or Abaqus Viewer, which is the visualization module of Abaqus CAE. Collectively, these products are called the Abaqus unified FEA suite of products.

From a licensing perspective, the Abaqus pre-processor, solver, and viewer are available in two different configurations: Analysis pack and portfolio pack.

Analysis pack and analysis tokens

In an analysis scheme, Abaqus CAE\Abaqus Viewer are available as an independent seat. This means that the number of user interfaces that can be run concurrently depends on number of seats available in the license.

The solver works on the concept of tokens. The user utilizes a certain number of tokens depending on simulation needs. Each token has all three functionalities of solver: implicit, explicit, and CFD. Each single core non-linear job of Abaqus consumes five tokens. With a greater number of cores, the token consumption varies, as shown in the illustration below. The analysis pack is the pre-requisite configuration that includes one seat of Abaqus CAE and five analysis tokens. This means that the analysis pack is enough for a concurrent session of a single user interface and a single core Abaqus job. More user interfaces can be added in license as separate seats of Abaqus CAE. More solver functionality for multiple cores can be added as separate analysis tokens. More post-processing interfaces can be added as separate seats of Abaqus viewer.

Portfolio pack and portfolio tokens

In a portfolio scheme, Abaqus CAE, Abaqus Viewer, and the solver all work on tokens. The token utilization for a single session of Abaqus CAE and Abaqus viewer are mentioned below. The portfolio pack is the pre-requisite configuration that includes five portfolio tokens. This means that a portfolio pack can be used to run either a single core Abaqus job or one Abaqus CAE at a time. More functionalities for concurrent sessions of Abaqus CAE or multi-core jobs can be added through additional portfolio tokens as add-ons to the portfolio pack. The token consumption number as a function of multiple core jobs remains the same for portfolio configuration as for analysis configuration.

Program Portfolio Tokens Used
Abaqus/CAE 4
Abaqus/Viewer 2


  • T = INT(5*N^(0.422))

T = number of tokens consumed

N = number of cores utilized in a single Abaqus job

^ = power function

INT = greatest integer function that converts a real number to the equivalent integer number

This equation is used to estimate token consumption based on given number of cores. The first table mentioned in the article is a direct derivative of this equation.

  • 1 QAP = 1 QAE + 5 QAT

QAP = abbreviation for analysis pack

QAE = abbreviation for Abaqus pre-processor

QAT = abbreviation for Abaqus analysis token

This equation means that a single analysis pack configuration contains one interactive seat of Abaqus pre-processor and five Abaqus solver tokens. These functionalities are sufficient to execute one Abaqus pre-processor and one single core Abaqus job concurrently.

  • 1 QPP = 5 QPT

QPP = abbreviation for portfolio pack

QPT = abbreviation for Abaqus portfolio token

This equation means that a single portfolio pack configuration has five portfolio tokens inside it. These tokens are enough either to execute a single core Abaqus job or a single session of Abaqus pre-processor but not both at the same time.

Do you have any questions, or need assistance figuring out which configuration you need? Leave a comment or click on Contact Us at the top of the page to talk to someone directly.

Whether you are brand new to Inventor or a seasoned veteran, your most common task is likely navigating parts, assemblies, and drawings. The following are the picks, clicks, keys, and techniques to maneuver through Inventor’s different environments.

Mouse Commands
The four built-in functions to the mouse are:
1. Zoom In/Out
i. Rolling your middle mouse button forward or backward will zoom-in or zoom-out. By default, you pull the model toward you and push the model away. To reverse this behavior (and have the zoom behave like Google Maps) go to Tools > Application Options > Display and check “Reverse Direction” under “Zoom Behavior”. Note: Zooming by scrolling zooms toward and away from your cursor is pointed.

Image 1

2. Zoom All
a. Double Clicking the middle mouse button will zoom to fit everything in view.

3. Pan
a. Clicking down the middle mouse button will pan the model.

4. Rotate (Orbit)
a. Holding the shift key and middle mouse button will rotate the view.


Image 2

The view Cube is another method of navigating 3D space in Inventor. It is, by default, in the top right-hand corner of the graphics window.

There are quite a few ways to interact with the ViewCube: […]

Any organization managing product introduction must have an underlying project plan determining how this is going to happen. Any design process goes through various stages from initial concept to final product. A generic process is illustrated below:


Now, this may be simple at a concept level, but can become incredibly complex at an execution level. Consider if you had a 500-person team working on a project and all of their activities needed to be coordinated. Even more crucial to the overall success is the management of deliverables – has every participant delivered his or her contribution to the project on time and to the required quality?

This is where an integrated PLM and project management system can be a powerful tool. In such a system, engineering and design deliverables are attached to tasks in a project plan, and the associated task can only be considered complete once this has occurred. If project management is executed using a standalone system, there is no link between task and deliverable; no way of knowing for certain if what is reflected in the project plan corresponds with reality.

So as a project manager, which would you prefer?

  1. A project plan that is disconnected from the required deliverables and may or may not reflect reality.
  2. An integrated system where the project plan is tied to engineering and design deliverables.

There are several consequences of such an integrated system:

  1. Project managers can immediately see if deliverables have been fulfilled. No requirement to verbally or formally query a project participant
  2. Milestone reviews can be conducted efficiently; either the milestone deliverable is in the system or it is not.
  3. Project managers are presented with real time status reports and dashboards. As a deliverable is attached to a task, the report is updated.
  4. There is no hiding the dates for completing a task. The timestamp of when a deliverable is completed is visible for all to see.

All of this allows for what the PLM world calls “automatic” or “invisible” project governance. Projects are self-governing, with all participants being aware of status in real time.

Wouldn’t you want this kind of system?

Follow along with one of our SOLIDWORKS experts while they explore multiple surfacing techniques to create a detergent bottle. In this session you will learn how to insert a sketch picture, create reference geometry, sketch splines, extrude surfaces, and create complex surface lofts. This will be the first in a three-part workshop, taking you through all the steps required to model the complete bottle along with appearances.

Watch the recording of this session here:

This course was created to teach you how use the tools provided in SOLIDWORKS for sheet metal part design. Learn how to create drawings of sheet metal parts as well as how to create sheet metal parts using top-down design techniques. Additionally, a number of specialized and unique applications of sheet metal parts are covered, including shell features, cylindrical parts, conical parts, lofts, reverse fold solutions, vents, and flat patterns. Upon completion of this course, you`ll be ready to create your own sheet metal parts in SolidWorks 2016.

SOLIDWORKS 2016 Sheet Metal Design Course

We are busy wrapping up our New User Express series of training for CATIA V6 R2015x and the first two courses are now published.  i GET IT Basic and Professional subscribers can gain access to “Getting Started with the V6 Interface” and “Basic Sketching”, which are the first two of a five part New User Express series.  Users can watch video lessons and practice along with our Try It’s.  The remainder of the New User series training will be available by end of July.  More information can be found by clicking on the links below.

Getting Started in CATIA V6 R2015x

Basic Sketching in CATIA V6 R2015x


i GET IT has just released a new Basics of FEA (Finite Element Analysis) course for subscribers.  The course has 2 hours of video-based instructional lessons to teach engineers an understanding of FEA and is a valuable part of our skills offering.  All i GET IT
Professional Subscribers will have access to this course.

If you would like to find out more about this course, follow this link:


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