Autodesk Fortifies Cloud PLM Position

Upchain acquisition bridges gap between data management and process management technologies in an effort to boost product development collaboration.

Upchain acquisition bridges gap between data management and process management technologies in an effort to boost product development collaboration.

Autodesk took another step to fortify its cloud-based design and manufacturing platform with its acquisition of Upchain, a unified cloud platform that eliminates many of the data sharing and collaboration constraints of conventional PDM and PLM.

Upchain started with a mission to leverage the cloud to promote better collaboration and sharing of product-related source data in contrast to the often siloed approach favored by traditional PDM systems. Once those data sharing and integration capabilities were well established, the platform was expanded in areas more commonly associated with process-oriented PLM solutions, including quality and supplier management.

Autodesk currently offers the Vault on-premises PDM solution as well as PLM capabilities as part of its cloud-based Fusion 360 integrated CAD, CAM, CAE, and PCB platform. However, the Upchain platform’s open approach to data and modern, instant-on cloud model enhances the firm’s ability to offer a robust, end-to-end design and manufacturing platform, according to officials. “By integrating Upchain with our existing offerings, Autodesk customers will be able to easily move data without barriers,” said Andrew Anagnost, president and CEO of Autodesk, in a press release announcing the merger. “They will be empowered to unlock and harness valuable insights that can translate to fresh ideas and business success.”

The traditional design-to-manufacture workflow is inefficient, plagued by disconnected processes, data loss, and re-work, much of it due to collaboration challenges associated with disparate file formals, incomplete or misplaced data, and the on-going trend of distributed teams. The advent of mechatronics products and the involvement of an extended supply chain required to develop more innovative products “requires a more collaborative platform that can share information in real time with a distributed value chain,” notes John Laslavic, Upchain’s founder and CEO. “It’s been a struggle to share data across different silos both internally between different departments of an organization and across the value chain,” he contends.

In addition to Upchain’s robust CAD integrations, modern SaaS architecture (including a multi-tenant model, and rapid-deploy capabilities), Autodesk also views Upchain as an asset for accelerating customers’ on-ramp to the Fusion 360 cloud platform. The firms are working to integrate Upchain with Autodesk’s Forge data backbone to achieve tight connectivity with the rest of the Autodesk design and manufacturing software suite and will rationalize any overlap in product functionality over time, officials say.

“Upchain takes us one step further to helping converge data and processes that run through the entire manufacturing enterprise,” says Scott Reese, Autodesk’s executive vice president of product development & manufacturing solutions.

For a basic backgrounder on UpChain, check out this video.

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Beth Stackpole's avatar
Beth Stackpole

Beth Stackpole is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].

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