We have all experienced the fast, incremental value that the Apple and Google App Stores deliver us on our smartphones. Smartphone users handpick apps from a broad selection, procure them inexpensively (or for free), and install them immediately (without restarts). These apps don’t regress other apps, and users launch them right away with little or no training.
PTC adopts a similar approach to provide additional value to our product lifecycle management software customers on Windchill. Windchill Extensions are purpose-built for Windchill expert users. We now host a Windchill Extension Center where Windchill administrators may browse and select extensions. Some extensions are free, others require a subscription. All offer free trials. These extensions install (and uninstall) without requiring a Windchill system restart. They are also fully technically isolated from your Windchill instance, so they will not cause regressions or other issues. Users need little or no training to use these extensions.
As Windchill Extensions are released, they are available to customers immediately, without upgrade, for Windchill systems on 11.0 and higher.
PTC will offer 25-30 of these Windchill extensions within the first 12 months of the program, starting with the following three available now in North America (global launch is in October):
- Capability: Access PDFs in one click. Select and add a “PDF” column through the Windchill out-of-the-box (OOTB) Edit View wizard. The new column will appear in any table where a Part, Drawing or Document is configured to show.
- Benefits: Save 4-7 clicks (about 8 seconds) per PDF access. Typically saves several hours per year per user.
- Promotion Validate – Standard
- Capability: Before promoting content, automatically checks customer-defined validators to ensure data consistency. Returns errors and warnings for issues with the data to be promoted.
- Example of OOTB Validator: CheckPartState/CheckCADState Validator - This validator will check the states of the latest children components and CAD-related references of the objects to be promoted. The promotion will fail depending on the values defined in the properties.
- Benefits: Compliance and efficiency.
- SiliconExpert Connect – Standard
- Capability: Within a Windchill part workflow, select and evaluate fit/risk of SiliconExpert’s electronic components. Displays the search for Silicon Expert part data within a table in a custom part tab in Windchill.
- Benefits: Reduce errors and rework costs while more efficiently selecting components.
In the Windchill Extension Center, you will also see “Coming Soon” previews of the next wave of extensions. These extensions will release in October:
- Watermark – Standard (Free) – Securely share parts representations to reduce the risk of IP leaks and misuse of pre-published content.
- Assembly Where Used (Free) – Save many clicks and manual filtration to present “where used” impact.
- Representation Export - Standard – Export released content for users outside of Engineering, using just 2-3 clicks instead of 500 for a structure of 100 elements.
- Representation Export – Advanced – Adds on-demand exporting by selecting items from a list.
- Change Analysis – Reduce the effort to understand a change and avoid printed material while reviewing change summary and history. Save 50% on change review (up to 200 hours per reviewer annually).
- Promotion Validator – Advanced – Ensure compliance with your company’s standards to prevent promotion from starting until automatically validated. Advanced enables administrators to configure their own rules, whereas Standard only offers a set of rules to select from.
- Watermark - Advanced - Includes additional 10 layout choices and more configurable templates with new API workflow features that remove or replace watermarks without republishing.
PTC sources the development of this program to our partner, Wincom. Wincom has a decade of success delivering extensions to over 100 Windchill customers. So, this extension program is already field-validated for performance and value. This program offers Windchill Extensions in addition to PTC’s internal development capacity that remains focused on core Windchill enhancement. Together we accelerate the pace of Windchill’s innovations.
Stay tuned for follow-up posts on Windchill Extensions, which will include the next round of extensions as well as field tip and tricks for the released extensions.