This article discusses the shift to product lifecycle management (PLM) systems by various mechanical engineering companies. Systems engineers and information-handling experts are joining forces to get a grip on the information explosion, thanks primarily to the timely convergence of systems engineering with digital design and development. PLM supports the extended enterprise. The rationale behind using PLM is to ensure that the ideas and information driving the development of today’s products incorporate best practices and everything learned right up to the product-release date. The rapid increase in electronic controls and software that are being built into key auto components requires that mechanical engineers and electrical engineers work ever more closely together. This highlights the need to integrate the very different approaches to development that the two disciplines use. One of the key functions of PLM is to make sure all the data in those analyses are retained, not just the conclusions.

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