Imagine if you could manage quality, reliability, and risk at every stage of your product’s life cycle. You could reduce costs, speed innovation, and enhance next generation products. PTC’s product lifecycle management (PLM) software, Windchill, lets you do just that. 

Want to see an example of how Windchill software is used? See how Virnig Manufacturing uses PTC Windchill to change the way their data is delivered within their organization.

Already using Windchill and need help with admin and support? You’ll want to check out our Alliance Program,  provided to our customers for on-going technical support, business process consulting, and mentoring services on a monthly basis.

Already using Windchill but you or some of your team member don’t use it often, therefore, it gets confusing? You’ll want to check out our role-based apps for casual Windchill users – EAC Productivity Apps or ThingWorx Navigate will help you.

Don’t know what the heck PTC Windchill is? Then read on.

What is PTC Windchill?

PTC Windchill is a product lifecycle management (PLM) application suite that leverages a consolidated view of product information through multi-system data. It’s a systemic enterprise wide approach to maintaining product and process quality throughout the entire product lifecycle. 

PTC Windchill PLM software provides a complete functionality dimension to help organizations capture product structures from computer-aided design tools, transform them into full engineering bill of materials (eBoMS), to manufacturing bill of materials (mBoMS), to service bill of materials (sBoMS) all while retaining the linkages between different perspectives on the product. Windchill solutions break down organizational barriers, allowing teams to work faster and more accurately all while reducing time-to-market and cutting costs.

The Windchill Product Lifecycle Management system can help streamline your product development and service information processes. It’s a system that can help your organization create better products, with more variations, faster, at a lower cost. As a manufacturer, your pressures are not only continual – they’re mounting. Your industry is changing. Your customers’ requirements are evolving. And your supply chain is constantly adjusting to compete in today’s environment. In the middle of all this, more is being demanded of you and your entire organization.

Windchill helps with exactly that. As an integral component of PTC ’s Product Development System, Windchill manages all product content and business processes throughout the product and service lifecycle. And it has a robust, high-performing architecture to help you today – and to prepare you for tomorrow’s uncertainties. Windchill provides a rich systematic approach for creating, configuring, managing and reusing product structures and associated content, such as CAD files, documentation, requirements, manufacturing information, service information, part/supplier data, calculations and illustrations.

Windchill can also play an important role in increasing your company’s competitiveness by allowing continuous improvements and automation of business processes and procedures. Windchill is an integral suite of products that address the needs of product development. The Windchill family is composed of products that help support product data management, collaboration, product analytics, service information, product quality, and integrations. Check out the PTC Windchill Data Sheet to learn more.

PTC Windchill Cost

PTC Windchill made updates to their PLM packaging and pricing – which means you can customize dashboards and product data more than ever before at a cost that makes sense for your organization. Here is a breakdown of the new PLM structure.

PTC Windchill Certification

Once you’re ready to purchase the software, you’ll need to make sure it’s learned and understood in a timely manner and without frustration. We have a few options:

Short-Term Support: EAC’s Product Development System Services Team has a long track record of successfully implementing Windchill products.

Long-Term Support: Check out our Alliance Program – EAC’s PTC Windchill system administration and support services for on-going technical support.

Support at your own pace: Your team can get PTC Windchill certified by taking our classes we offer for end users and managers. Check out our training schedule.

The Windchill Products Explained: 

Windchill products are application modules that offer users specific sets of features and capabilities within the Windchill application suite.  Some of the most common Windchill PLM modules include: 

      • Windchill PDM Essentials 
      • Windchill PDMLink 
      • Windchill ProjectLink 
      • Windchill PartsLink

What is Windchill PDM Essentials? 

PTC Windchill Product Data Management (PDM) Essentials is built on PTC’s production proven PTC Windchill software. 

Windchill PDM Essentials simplifies data management activities by transparently incorporating them into the design process. It manages all forms of information such as CAD drawings, customer requirements, schematics and Bill of Materials (BoMs) that are generated during product development.

This modern product data management solution makes it easy to manage, share, and review your data. It’s finally possible to have a single view of the latest product data, along with tighter integration to major end CAD vendors, Microsoft Office, and desktop tools. Plus, it allows your users to save time with better version control, automated data release, and simple search capabilities. Learn more by reading the PTC Windchill PDM Essentials Data Sheet.

What is Windchill PDMLink? 

With an abundance of data dispersed throughout your organization, how do you maintain the integrity of your product information when multiple people are working on the same files? The solution is easy – Windchill PDMLink. 

Windchill PDMLink is a Web-based, industry-proven Product Data Management (PDM) system that supports geographically dispersed teams while managing critical processes such as content, change and configuration management. Windchill PDMLink maintains the integrity of your product information by storing master data in a secure area where you can control, monitor, and record all changes. 

When a change is made to your data, Windchill PDMLink stores a modified copy of the data, signed and dated, in a secure area alongside the old data, which remains in its original form as a permanent record. In addition to providing change control management, Windchill PDMLink enables you to manage your product’s release cycle as well as its configuration. Check out the PTC Windchill PDMLink Data Sheet for more information.

What is Windchill ProjectLink?  

Windchill ProjectLink is a collaborative product development web-based environment that automates and tracks projects. 

ProjectLink provides a common workspace where you and your team can share and discuss documents and product structures, hold meetings, and communicate and track progress on tasks. From private exchange environments to public business to business (B2B) exchanges, ProjectLink is a secure web-based system that can easily be used in any collaboration environment.

It can also be used well beyond the engineering and manufacturing departments of your organization. Any project that requires team members to share electronic information such as writing annual reports to creating training materials, can be managed with Windchill ProjectLink.  For more information read the PTC Windchill ProjectLink Data Sheet here.

What is Windchill Partslink? 

Windchill PartsLink is a module for PDMLink that adds part classification-based features. 

PartsLink enables you to perform parametric attribute searching and manage your results through convenient navigation and searching. You can search parts by typing a free-form product description or a part number in the search criteria text box. You can browse the hierarchically organized structure of your parts using text and images. You can also refine your search by constraining parameters in a parametric search. 

Windchill PartsLink enables your team to perform similar part searches, expanding your search to look for matching parts that have parametric attributes that are within a certain percentage or absolute tolerance of the selected part. Additionally, you can export the result set to a file.

Many companies lack a comprehensive part search system and as a result they lose the benefits of reusing product components. Criteria-based searching limits the result set, which helps a great deal in reuse decisions. PTC Windchill PartsLink helps solve that problem. 

What is Windchill Quality Solutions? 

Depending on your specific Windchill Quality Solutions suite (Windchill Quality Solutions 10.1 Desktop, Windchill Quality Solutions 10.1 Administrator, Windchill Quality Solutions 10.1 Web Access) you may have access to one or more applications. 

Windchill Quality Solutions, the desktop version, is the cornerstone of the Windchill Quality Solutions suite. It is available in both the team and enterprise additions and is the feature rich windows application for all of your reliability and maintainability activities. 

Available in the enterprise addition you will also find Windchill Quality Solutions Administrator which provides you options for administrative controls including options to support secure login. 

Windchill Quality Solutions Web Access available specifically for Windchill FMEA infractions in the enterprise edition, allows you access for data entry, filtering, graphing, reporting and more. 

Is there other Windchill Software for product data management and process management?

  • Windchill MPMLink acts as an integral solution for Manufacturing Process Management.
  • Windchill FlexPLM is a product lifecycle management solution that is widely used for retail, footwear & apparel and consumer product companies.
  • Windchill Requirements Management is a combination of PTC’s Integrity product and Windchill PDMLink that manages product data software and hardware requirements.
  • Windchill PPMLink is a program that provides portfolio management capabilities to discrete manufacturers.
  • Windchill Service Information Manager creates associative, interactive service parts information used throughout a product’s serviceable lifecycle.
  • Windchill Service Parts improves service operations by enabling service information to be organized and optimized for accuracy, applicability, and rich, graphics-driven delivery.

Want to see a PTC Windchill tutorial to see the software in action? Watch this on-demand video of Windchill’s basic software capabilities.

Watch this on-demand webinar recording to learn more about Windchill software.

Creating Ideal Translation Workflows for Optimum Results 

In Part Two of this post on coupling products for translation, we’ll discuss the specific steps that are required to implement complete translation projects – from managing technical content objects to managing costs and file collaboration. Refer to Part One for the overall solution design which shows the strengths of PTC’s Translation Manager, Windchill ProjectLink, workflow, reporting, and multi-lingual publishing and how they can be leveraged for translation.

The Process 

There are six process components to the overall translation solution. The process starts and ends with PTC’s Translation Manager. Windchill ProjectLink is nested in the middle of the process to facilitate the business project, cost collaboration, and file transfers with Translation Service Providers.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

Step 1. Designate Objects for Translation 

The first step of the process begins with source content that is ready for translation to the target language(s). The content is stored in Product or Library folders in Windchill/Arbortext Content Manager. Here the project owner identifies complete document structures or document objects to be translated. A translation work package is created for the objects. The Translation Service Provider and target language(s) are designated with the creation of the translation package. Languages and Translation Service Providers are configurable.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

At the completion of this step, the content is prepared for translation. It results with a collection of XML objects to be translated in a zip file. The source objects are set to the In Translation lifecycle state and the source content continues to be managed in relation to other content and states.

 

Step 2. Create Translation Project 

In the second step, ProjectLink is used to create a translation project that contains any business-related activity required for traceability. This activity includes deadlines and due dates, assign internal resources to the project, and expose the project to Translation Service Provider(s) or other external users outside your firewall. Any cost information, such as Requests for Quote and quotations received can also be stored under the project.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

To start, the translation zip package is posted to the project. From here, the package is available for workflow and lifecycle activities as well as for collaboration with Translation Service Providers. If a process for approving translation costs is required, the cost approval workflow would be executed on the translation package stored in the project. Providers will be able to see the source content in order to estimate the level of effort and designated project participants can see cost approved or not approved activity.

 

Step 3. Route Objects for Translation 

This step in the workflow is for actual translation activities. Here Translation Service Providers can:

  1. Checkout and Download the package when it is ready to translate and
  2. Checkin and Upload the package when the work is complete.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

This activity makes use of the translation package on ProjectLink so that collaboration with users outside your firewall can work on the project. The user interface is self-serving and provides traceability out-of-the-box. The zipped file is automatically iterated and historical versions are maintained on checkin so that everyone on the project is aware of the project status. Users can schedule alerts to immediately know when a critical threshold is reached. Therefore having the lifecycle states in ProjectLink enables real-time reporting on activities to show key performance indicators. Is the project on time? On budget?

 

Step 4. Route Translated Collateral for Approval 

The approval workflow activity in step four supports reviewing translated content delivered by the Translation Service Provider. Reviews may be performed by local native language review teams or it may include users that have other roles on the project. This activity uses the translation package on ProjectLink so that collaboration for users inside or outside of your firewall can continue to work on the translation. As a result of this workflow, updates can be made either by the Translation Service Provider or by home team members.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

Once the translation is approved, the translation project can be concluded and all ProjectLink activities closed. Even so, an organization may still elect to store invoices and final cost information in the project for matrix reporting and future planning purposes.

 

Step 5. Store Objects in Translation Library 

After objects are translated, the final translation zip package is returned to the Translation Library where XML objects and images are stored. Here the translated target objects are bound to specific revisions and iterations of source objects for each language. For clarity on object status, objects are marked “Translated” or “Translated, Ready for Publish”.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

When the objects are returned to Windchill/Arbortext Content Manager they can be published, updated, and iterated just like any other object. This is important since changes may be necessary to:

  1. validate the markup;
  2. facilitate aesthetics for publishing;
  3. change product names, service marks or other marketing decisions;
  4. change dates or other metadata.

 

Step 6. Route Assembled PDF Document for Approval 

In an environment with shared document components, status checks are necessary to verify that all objects included in the document are ready for publishing. This is a key element of the process since some objects may be In Translation, others may be at earlier iterations with no recent updates, or they could be universal images that require no translation. When all objects in the translated document are Ready for Publish, the published document is created, and routed for review and approval. This may be the first time that a translated document is being reviewed as a whole, thus it may be the first time that all content is reviewed relative to the content around it. At this point, it is expected that any changes made during this stage would be made by the home team for content stored securely behind the firewall.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

The document review and approval process should be the same as your usual published document review process with different resources for languages. Documents can contain a single language or there may be multiple languages per document depending on the style guidelines for your organization.

 

Summary

For anyone that has been involved in the translation process, you can likely sympathize on how complex and challenging the tasks can be. By putting ProjectLink to work in your translation process, it does not have to be the case. With PTC’s Translation Manager and Windchill ProjectLink, workflow activities can be more transparent, helping to streamline the translation process across all documents and languages that need to be managed. If you have questions about how ProjectLink, Translation Manager, or multi-lingual publishing solutions can be integrated into your organization, be sure to contact the EAC Product Development team from the links below.

Learn More

Be sure to read Part One of this post to learn more about the solutions being deployed in the workflow being described.

Why Translation Workflows Matter

For companies who require product documentation to be localized for regional use, the sheer number of translated objects makes translation management very important to the business and organization as a whole. Suppose, for the purpose of simple math, that you are translating to 9 languages. One source language plus 9 target languages is 10 languages total. That means up to 90% of the content you are managing is translated. 10% of those objects could be global images that do not require translation, which would drop managed translated content to 80%. In global companies, it is fair to say that a large majority of the content you are responsible for is translated.

translation management workflow

One might think that the translation process would simply involve handing off copies of documents to translation teams and then waiting a few days/weeks for the local language versions to arrive, but in reality this process is much more complex. Even when the material is developed in a sophisticated technical documentation tool like PTC Arbortext, it remains necessary to closely administer this activity to avoid risks associated with mandates that vary in different geographies, inefficient file tracking, incomplete reviews, and delays throughout the translation lifecycle.

This is the first of a two part series that discusses how to optimize translation processes by coupling two complementary tools, PTC Translation Manager and PTC ProjectLink. By combining these tools, organizations can overcome several obstacles that either slow workflow processes or increase costs during the translation of technical documentation. Part one outlines these tools and the processes they are designed to address. Part two details how more efficient translation workflows can be arranged in order to expand past administering translated XML objects, to include management of peripheral translation activities such as cost quotations, file sharing, collaboration with translation service providers, and quality assurance processes.

Arbortext Translation Manager Workflow

PTC’s Translation Manager

Translation Manager is a component of the PTC Windchill Service Information Manager. The Translation Manager prepares content for translation by identifying document components to be translated, creating work packages for translation or translation service providers, and setting the InTranslation lifecycle state. Key features include:

  • Automate the creation of translation packages using workflows
  • Restrict creation of translation packages to authorized translation users
  • Generate a translation package from a Publication Structure or an Information Structure or
  • include select document objects by assigning the proper translation attribute and life cycle state
  • Automatically associate translated dynamic documents with their source objects
  • Identify whether a translation exists for a source document or not
  • Bind specific revisions and iterations of source objects to translated target objects
  • Publish translated dynamic document structures.

translation management workflow

Post-translation, the Translation Manager stores content by linking translated objects to source document objects in the translation library and sets the Translated lifecycle state.

Windchill ProjectLink

ProjectLink enables defining and executing project plans as well as associating project tasks with product deliverables. Through a self-administered virtual workspace, ProjectLink provides project management capabilities and access to accurate product information for resources inside or outside of your firewall.

translation management workflow

In this solution, Windchill ProjectLink is featured to facilitate translation tasks outside your organization.

translation management workflow

Windchill Workflow and Reporting Features

Workflow and Reporting are core features of the PTC product suite and are available in all Windchill-based products including Arbortext Content Manager, Service Information Manager,  and ProjectLink.

Workflow

Windchill Review and Approval Processes are used to automatically set the state of objects to the target lifecycle state and invite a list of Reviewers to provide comments.

translation management workflow

Reporting

Windchill offers multiple tools to help decision-makers easily visualize trends, patterns and relationships using graphical and drill-down reports of key performance indicators. Simple and easy-to-use reporting and charting tools enable users to configure and save reports.

translation management workflow

Publishing

PTC Arbortext Publishing Engine is a server-based system that assembles XML content and automatically publishes the content in both print and electronic forms, all with high-quality layout and formatting.

Stylesheets

Predefined stylesheets are used for layout and page composition. There can be different formatting options based on the language attribute assigned in the XML file.

translation management workflow

XLIFF for Generated Text

Text that is generated by the stylesheet is translated once and stored for future use in an independent file. For example, text like the word “Table” is not translated with content. This is supported using XLIFF technologies. XLIFF is the XML Localization Interchange File Format which is used to store extracted text and carry the data from one step to another in the localization process.

translation management workflow

Summary

As you can see, there are some pretty sophisticated tools available to support the translation process. The challenge is knowing how to leverage these tools to create a process that maximizes efficiency. Stay tuned, because we will be discussing just that in part two.