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Terms and definitions to help you understand the foundational elements of PLM software


3D CAD is a robust technology that allows engineers and product developers to digitally create, test and document three-dimensional objects.

3D modeling describes the use of software tools, such as computer-aided design (CAD) programs, to create 3D digital representations of objects.

3D printing is an additive manufacturing method for the creation of a solid, three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design (CAD) digital file.

3D software development is used to build software that helps design engineers create and modify three-dimensional models and digital prototypes of new products.

Additive manufacturing refers to adding layer-upon-layer of material using data-driven automation to form a product.

CAD CAM is the integration of computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing software for easy design-change management, concurrent design conception and flexible manufacturing process configuration—especially for the design and manufacturing of prototypes and finished parts.

CAD (computer-aided design) software is used to create, analyze and change 2D and 3D designs and models in a digital environment rather than using manual drafting methods.

Component software is designed to work within a larger application to provide that application with new tools and functionality.

Computer-aided engineering (CAE) is the use of computer software to simulate performance in order to improve product designs or assist in the resolution of engineering problems for a wide range of industries.

Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) commonly refers to the use of numerical control (NC) computer software applications to create detailed instructions (G-code) that drive computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools for manufacturing parts.

Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer programs to create, modify, analyze and document 2D or 3D graphical representations of physical objects.

Convergent Modeling technology enables facet data and B-Rep models to be combined in a unified 3D modeling environment.

Design simulation helps manufacturers verify and validate the intended function and manufacturability of a product under development.

Digital manufacturing is the use of an integrated, computer-based system comprised of simulation, 3D visualization, analytics and collaboration tools to create product and manufacturing process definitions simultaneously.

A digital twin is an exact, virtual representation of a product or process used to virtually validate the performance of its physical counterpart.

Finite element analysis (FEA) is the modeling of products and systems in a virtual environment, for the purpose of finding and solving potential (or existing) structural or performance issues.

A geometric constraint solver is an application that applies parameters to geometric features in two-dimensional (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) designs.

A geometric modeling kernel is component software that provides 3D solid modeling tools to CAD software users in the manufacturing, architecture, engineering, and construction industries

Manufacturing operations management (MOM) software provides full visibility into manufacturing processes to optimize manufacturing operations performance.

Mechatronic system simulation, also referred to as one-dimensional computer-aided engineering (1D CAE), is an approach to modeling and analyzing multi-domain systems, and thus predicting their multidisciplinary performance.

Modal analysis is the study of the dynamic properties of linear structures, based on structural testing or finite element analysis-based simulation.

Model based systems engineering is a methodology that creates and shares domain models to help systems engineers to exchange information.

Predictive engineering analytics combines multidiscipline simulation, test and intelligent analytics to predict product performance throughout the lifecycle.

Product data management (PDM) is the use of software to manage product data and process-related information in a single, central system.

PLM software manages information throughout the entire product lifecycle from ideation, design and manufacture through service and disposal.

Synchronous technology connects everyone in the product lifecycle – and it connects them all without limiting any of them.

System simulation is the process of experimenting with, and studying how, changes to a complex system (or sub-system) affect the system overall.

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