April 20, 2005 10:18 ET

IBM, Welsh Development Agency and Swansea University Establish New PLM Centre of Excellence

Centre to Offer Welsh Businesses Access to IBM PLM Expertise

SWANSEA, WALES -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 20, 2005 -- The UK's first Centre of Excellence in Product Lifecycle Management is to be established at Technium Auto, providing Welsh automotive sector SMEs with access to some of the most sophisticated software products in the world.

The announcement was made today by Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport, and follows an agreement between the Welsh Assembly Government, IBM, Swansea University and the Welsh Development Agency.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is a set of capabilities that enables an enterprise to effectively and efficiently innovate and manage its products and related services throughout the entire business lifecycle, from conception through recycling or disposal.

The new centre will provide small and medium-sized Welsh businesses with an unparalleled opportunity to gain competitive edge by drawing on IBM's expertise in PLM to accelerate and improve product development and lifecycle management.

Under the agreement, IBM will provide advanced PLM software and IBM eServer systems, which will be used to sponsor demonstration facilities. In addition, IBM will offer education, research and training consultancy.

The agreement forms part of the £9m Technium Auto* project, which is currently under development at Dafen, Llanelli with support from Objective 1 funds. It is the latest addition to the pan-Wales network of Technium centres that are transforming the way that Wales attracts and creates high-quality employment and business opportunities.

Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport, described the investment as a superb opportunity for Welsh SMEs and an attractive magnet for inward investment:

"Whilst Wales has a strong automotive component sector, the automotive industry is highly competitive, with issues affecting car manufacturers having a direct impact on supply chain companies.

"The availability and use of this sophisticated software will not only help SMEs to maintain their vital contribution to the automotive supply chain, but also enable them to move quickly to manage change and maximise the opportunities of securing new work."

Mike Kuklenko, PLM Solutions Business Director, IBM North Region, said: "Our solutions are used by the world's leading companies to bring products to market faster; produce higher quality products and components; and, to reduce errors and costly product modifications. By helping establish this Centre of Excellence -- in collaboration with the WDA and Swansea University -- IBM will help bring this same expertise to small and medium-sized businesses in Wales, enabling them to reap the benefits of PLM."

In addition, as part of today's agreement, Swansea University will now host the first Centre of Advanced Studies in PLM. IBM will collaborate in this venture, providing PLM expertise to help design and implement coursework.

Prof. Richard B Davies, Vice Chancellor of Swansea University, described it as another highly significant development for the University: "Bringing together world-class research in the top-rated School of Engineering at Swansea and the commercial experience of a global company will enable the project to make a real difference to the economy of Wales."

Through these courses, students will be able to learn how PLM can help companies meet their business challenges and take this expertise into industry. Students will also be able to improve their skills on CATIA V5, SMARTEAM and ENOVIA, leading IBM PLM solutions, developed by Dassault Systèmes.

Prof Marc Clement, Senior Executive at the university, said the initiative would enable the University to develop advanced skills that would immediately add value to knowledge-based industry: "It directly supports the automotive, aerospace and healthcare industries which are so important to the Welsh economy."

This latest agreement follows on from IBM's collaboration with the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University, which will host a new European Deep Computing Visualisation Centre for Medical Applications and include a new IBM supercomputer.

* Technium Auto will support the performance engineering sector with a particular emphasis on automotive component design, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), modelling and simulation, electronics and telematics, as well as fatigue and durability performance of components and systems.

Notes to Editors

   PLM: an increasing importance in the industry

-- PLM is of increasing importance to a number of manufacturing sectors
   including consumer electronics.  It is particularly important to the
   automotive sector, as European directives and imminent legislation
   regarding vehicle 'end of life' places responsibility on manufacturers
   to dispose of vehicles in an environmentally sensitive way, ensuring
   component recycling.

-- This legislation can only be effective if all components are traceable
   -- with information readily available on materials used; how they can be
   disposed of safely; and, which elements are recyclable.

-- IBM PLM solutions will provide invaluable assistance in helping SMEs
   comply with these regulations, while meeting the requirements of
   manufacturers within the supply chain. It will also enable component
   suppliers to build in environmental considerations at early design
IBM's PLM product portfolio

IBM's PLM portfolio provides the tools and processes that cover the entire product development cycle -- from concept right through to end of life -- enabling companies to operate in an on-demand environment, sharing data and information throughout the supply chain.

PLM enables industrial companies to foster engineering and manufacturing excellence, increase competitiveness and enhance innovation on a market that is now more and more global. PLM has become an essential discipline, at the heart of companies' business preoccupations.

The IBM PLM software portfolio of products includes:

CATIA Solutions -- the world's leading CAD/CAM/CAE software solution that
gives customers a broad range of dedicated solutions to cover all aspects
of product design and manufacture;

ENOVIA Portfolio -- a set of product lifecycle management solutions that
support e-businesses throughout the digital enterprise;

SMARTEAM Suite -- enable business and their supply chains to gain
improvements in turnaround, comply with industry standards and short time-
IBM PLM solutions and the industry
--  IBM is the leader in automotive and aerospace. Last year, almost half
    of all vehicles produced worldwide were designed using IBM PLM Solutions
--  Nearly all automotive manufacturers consider IBM's products strategic
    to new product development.
--  100 percent of all new large commercial and regional aircraft are
    designed using CATIA.
--  IBM is the world's biggest user of IBM PLM solutions and since 1993,
    has cut its development E/R in half while reducing time-to-market
    dramatically (over 70% for high-end platforms).
--  IBM products, designed and managed using CATIA and ENOVIA, are product
    leaders in their category, including ThinkPads, e-Servers, Regatta family
    of products, storage systems, disk drives, printing systems, kiosk and
    point-of-sale systems.
--  IBM PLM serves the following key industries worldwide: aerospace;
    automotive and transportation; electronics; machinery; consumer goods,
    Chemical, Process and Petroleum...

Contact Information

  • Welsh development Agency
    Press contact:
    Shan Ekin-Wood,
    Tel: 02920 828693

    Swansea University
    Press contact:
    Mark Jones
    Director of PR
    Tel: 01792 295050

    Press contact:
    Joseph Hanley, IBM UK
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8844 6972
    Mob: +44 (0)78 0350 2318

    One Blue PR Agency
    Lindsay Back
    020 7611 3551