Product Data Management Explained with PTCU Instructor Syed Hussaini

Written by: Tiffany Bailey
1/30/2023

Read Time: 4 min

It’s no secret that companies who are designing products have a large volume of product data to manage, which includes many data types. Product Data Management (PDM) is the use of software to help connect and communicate product data across globally distributed teams that might be using multiple product development tools.

PDM is important. After all, engineers without access to a robust PDM system could spend 25 percent more time on nonproductive data management tasks.

For organizations using the PTC Windchill PDM solution to manage design data, PTC University offers courses that cover the Windchill data management process. Keep reading as Syed Hussaini, a PTCU Technical Instructor, shares bit about what students can expect from the Windchill CAD Integration courses offered by PTCU.

Thanks for meeting with us today, Syed. Can you start by introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about your background, how you came to PTC, and how you started your work with PTC University?

When pursuing my master’s degree in the area of Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD/CAM), I worked on my thesis on the topic of PDM. At the time the concept of using a web-based system to manage product data was just emerging. It was something that could make the design process more collaborative—creating a single source of truth for any particular set of data, especially the design data—and that was exciting.

As part of my degree program, I worked at a small startup company, with a CAD data management solution. Based on that work, I had the opportunity to join PTC in 2006 as a mechanical engineer with the R&D group. I think I worked in that role close to eight years. I worked on the different areas of Windchill, like installation, business administration, system administration, and BOM (Bill of Materials) management.

I eventually took a different role where I worked for about a year and half for an engineering consulting company. However, in 2016 I re-joined PTC. This time I joined the technical enablement team. I worked on some specialized topics, like Windchill and ThingWorx Navigate integration using Single Sign-On (SSO) capabilities. I also worked on some advanced topics, such as Windchill options and variants. And BOM management, where you use the enterprise top-down/bottom-up approach.

I worked on that technical enablement team for several years, and then I heard about an opportunity in PTC University. Working for PTCU has given me a chance to leverage my extensive background and experience and interact with customers.

I started delivering Creo trainings for PTCU, and now I’m also delivering Windchill courses. I also work as a lead for my team, helping train new instructors on Windchill and supporting our Windchill content development team.

When I look through the schedule of virtual instructor-led training courses, I see you’re teaching Windchill courses on Creo Parametric Data Management. Can you talk a little bit about those courses?

Sure, so there are two courses that are part of the Windchill CAD Integration topic—Creo Parametric Data Management 1 and Creo Parametric Data Management 2.

These two courses primarily help people build the fundamental knowledge and get started with PDM. And specifically, they cover the Creo Parametric integration with Windchill.

In the courses, we talk about Creo Parametric as a standalone application. It can be used for creating 3D parts, assemblies, and more, right? This work generates design files and product data, which can be managed on each designer’s computer or in some type of shared storage. However, it’s possible to centralize the data. By integrating Creo with Windchill, you can streamline PDM and work collaboratively on designs. So, these two CAD Integration courses cover the fundamentals of how to get started and understand this integration between Creo Parametric and Windchill.

I see in the Windchill Training Catalog that there’s a Windchill CAD Integration specialization exam. For that particular specialization exam, is the prerequisite simply those two classes you mentioned?

Yes, these are the two classes that are the prerequisite for that exam. However, before someone takes the CAD Integration courses, they should definitely have some fundamental knowledge of Windchill, as well as Creo.

That makes sense. So someone might need to take some fundamentals courses before they take the CAD Integration courses. Switching gears, why would you say someone should take these particular courses?

If an organization is transitioning from any non-PTC CAD application to Creo Parametric, and if the organization uses Windchill, as well as Creo, then these are the go-to courses to get up to speed on how to efficiently manage or create designs.

Additionally, these courses will be the building blocks on how to effectively use a CAD-centric approach for creating and managing the BOM in Windchill.

Then, after someone completes the CAD Integration courses, as they mature, they will gain a solid foundation that will help them as they pursue other Windchill courses, such as Advanced BOM Management with Connected CAD Structures.

Oh, I see. After someone completes these courses, they might want to move on to the BOM Management courses?

Exactly, the BOM Management courses in the Windchill Training Catalog. Because after someone learns how to manage CAD data (that is Creo Parametric data) with Windchill with the CAD Integration courses, then they can use the BOM Management courses to learn how to build their Windchill part structures.

Great, so talking more generally, what kind of students do you usually find in these CAD Integration courses? Do they already have an instance of Creo and Windchill, or are they coming into the courses completely blind? Or, maybe they were using other solutions?

I have students with a variety of backgrounds. Some have knowledge of Creo. Their organization maybe recently transitioned to Creo and they’re also using Windchill as their data management solution. Those students might be designers. They might be interested in the course because they want to better understand the typical structure that gets created in Creo, and how that data/structure is managed in Windchill. There also might be people in the courses who are completely new to CAD in general, and Creo in particular. They might be starting their journey with Windchill.

There might also be students who are CAD administrators. These students might want to see data structures and integrations. They might want to know how the organization can effectively manage their data in Windchill.

I see another type of student who is involved in the implementation part of it. For example, they might be part of our partner community. These students are taking the courses to learn functionality and how it works, so they can support the customers who are implementing CAD integration. They might also need to do some coding or customization on the Windchill side, so they need to know more about how the integration works.

Can you explain what students can expect out of these specific courses?

Students who take these particular courses should have familiarity with Creo and Windchill before taking these courses. So, with the prerequisite in mind, I’d say students can expect a real-life experience. In other words, they’ll have access to the live Creo application. Right from the start, we cover how to register the Creo application with Windchill, and how to manage the data. For example, someone might want to do some work offline. Then once it’s done, they might need to know how to sync that data up with their virtual applications, etc. So, in the course there are practical exercises covering scenarios like this.

What do you hope students take away from the CAD Integration classes?

When a student completes both of these courses—for example, a designer who’s using Creo and their data is being maintained in Windchill—I hope that they come away with an understanding of how to efficiently manage their designs in Creo and Windchill.

We focus on fundamental capabilities, and we also look at more advanced topics related to Creo. For example, we look at family tables. We talk about best practices around how to manage them in Windchill. We also talk about how to effectively utilize features in Creo and Windchill.

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Tags: CAD Connected Devices Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Creo Windchill Education Training

About the Author

Tiffany Bailey

Tiffany Bailey is a content writer and editor for PTC. She has more than a decade of experience as a technical writer/editor. And over 5 years of experience writing about mechanical engineering, 3D CAD, and PDM. Her work spans topics like data migration and management, IoT and big data, IT security, additive manufacturing, simulation, and SaaS. She especially enjoys interviewing customers, product managers, and thought leaders to uncover new ideas and innovations.