Product lifecycle management (PLM) systems formally represent product information across the different functional departments of an organization throughout an entire product lifecycle. Integrating the PLM systems with the emerging semantic web will improve the knowledge management capabilities of these systems. In recent works, the authors have developed the e-Design framework, a collaborative web-based semantic environment for improving communication by formally defining an information model for documentation and sharing of engineering design knowledge throughout the entire design process.
This paper addresses the integration of the e-Design semantic framework with a commercial PLM system. A key feature of this integration approach is a semantic extraction process that executes the interface from commercial PLM software to a framework compatible with the semantic web, while maintaining the PLM’s multilevel bill of materials (BOM) structure. This extraction process includes application of semantic queries to categorize information imported from a PLM system. The development and implementation of this semantic extraction process for integrating product information from PLM systems into the e-Design framework is demonstrated with the aid of an illustrative case study using PTC’s Windchill PLM system. Our findings show that the resulting design execution within the e-Design framework facilitates dynamic linking of product information throughout the design process. It also preserves and propagates the BOM related information from PLM in all design phases.