John Downing

Technical Marketing Communications Specialist

“I’ve been working in materials information technology since 1987 and the last year has been notable for greatly increased interest and engagement from companies who want to integrate managed materials information with their PLM and enterprise CAD process.”  So said Granta’s Dr Arthur Fairfull as he introduced his presentation to an impromptu crowd of around 200 on the show floor at this week’s PTC LiveWorx event in Boston.


A crowded Granta booth at the PTC event was further evidence of this interest, following on from similar interest at the recent Siemens PLM Connection in Orlando—an event which included a number of in-depth sessions on materials information management.



Standing room only at Arthur Fairfull’s talk, ‘Materials knowledge management – for engineering, cost, and sustainability – for Creo and Windchill’ at LiveWorx.


I caught up with Arthur, who is Product Director for Materials Strategy & PLM Integration at Granta, to ask him about the latest trends and what is driving the greater focus on materials.


“There is a growing awareness within enterprises of their materials information challenges, and the need for a systematic approach to addressing them, integrated with their design and product development software environment,” he explains. “People are saying to us: ‘We need help to integrate materials information management with our CAD and PLM’. They know that challenges like substance legislation compliance, lightweighting, and cost reduction all depend on materials.”


At the recent conferences, Granta was presenting two major enhancements in materials support for CAD, CAE and PLM that provide product development teams with enhanced access to reliable, controlled materials data, thus saving time and improving the consistency and quality of materials decisions.


The first was the latest version of GRANTA MI:Materials Gateway embedded applications for direct end-user access to corporate materials information from within a broad range of CAD, CAE, and PLM systems, supporting fast product analytics and accurate simulation. Version 4.1 further enhances the user experience, including extremely responsive database browsing, and tools to allow new material requests directly from the CAD or PLM environments. The second enhancement was a new integration option, MI:Enterprise Connect for Teamcenter®, that enables automated enterprise-level synchronization of approved materials datasets from the GRANTA MI materials information management software into Teamcenter PLM.


Materials information management needs to support and fit the real-life environment—most manufacturers have several different CAE tools, often more than one CAD system, especially if they have grown by acquisition, and in some cases more than one PLM environment. MI:Materials Gateway currently supports: the CATIA®, Creo®, Inventor®, and NX® CAD systems; Abaqus/CAE®, ANSYS®, HyperMesh® and NX® CAE software; and Teamcenter® and Windchill® PLM.



GRANTA MI:Materials Gateway allows users to access and apply vital materials data, quickly and traceably, within CAD, CAE, or PLM software.


Dr Fairfull points out that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. So the latest Granta software releases aim to enhance support for different implementation strategies and solution architectures as companies build and deploy corporate ‘gold sources’ for material intelligence.


Navigating this complex space can be difficult, so Granta have written a new White Paper, ‘Material Intelligence for Enterprise CAD and PLM’, which examines the trends and best practices in CAD, PLM, and materials information management, and identifies key requirements for integrating these technologies, along with examples of addressing this challenge using the GRANTA MI product suite.


Dr Fairfull again: “We have integrated products that embed Granta technology in CAD and PLM and enable users to have direct access to the materials information they need. As individual users they save time and, because they are following a strategy laid down by their materials experts to use preferred materials, their company also benefits from greatly enhanced consistency and traceability.”


He highlighted that the White Paper includes a checklist of considerations for organizations planning materials integration with CAD and PLM, which customers were finding particularly helpful.

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