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CIMdata PLM Glossary

The following terms are commonly used in discussions about PLM, PDM, CAD, digital manufacturing, and related strategies and solutions. These terms cover all areas of PLM.

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0D Model

Also known as "lumped parameter". Variables (unknowns) are not a function of any dimension. An example is F=ma, force = mass x acceleration.

See Model-Based Systems Engineering

1D Model

Variables are a function of one dimension only. Examples are flow and pressure pulsations in long pipes, or forces in structures composed of slender trusses.

See Model-Based Systems Engineering

2D Model

Variables are functions of two dimensions. Examples are axisymmetric flow. or structures composed of thin plates. The variation in one of the dimensions (thickness) is neglected.

See Model-Based Systems Engineering

3D Model

Variables depend on all three dimensions (length, width, height). This is true for most fluid flows and for "chunky" solids. Note that most automotive body analyses and aircraft structures are idealized as 2D plus thickness.

See Model-Based Systems Engineering

3D Printing

See Additive Manufacturing

4D Model

Often used for 3 physical dimensions plus time variation. For example, mold filling with molten metal and solidification.

See Model-Based Systems Engineering

Additive Manufacturing

The processes used to create a part using a 3D printer that joins materials layer upon layer to make objects from 3D model data. From a PLM perspective these processes include:

  • CAD software to model the 3D part (See DfAM )
  • Analysis software to optimize the part
  • Software to drive the printer
  • Materials selection based on part usage
  • 3D printer technology for intended implementation
  • Part attribute lifecycle management (i.e. usage, in service tracking, repair, and disposal)

Other terms for this include “rapid prototyping,” “direct digital manufacturing,” “layered manufacturing,” and “additive fabrication.”

For more information see CIMdata's Additive Manufacturing Dossier.


See Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC)


A mechanism that detects some action or change in state of some object in the PDM system and as a result, may initiate some subsequent action such as sending a message to other users.

See Trigger

Alternative Part

A part that can be used to replace another part in a product without altering the functionality of the product. The two parts may differ in material, manufacturer, or some other factors.

See Optional Part

See Substitute Part


Analytics is the use of quantitative methods to process data to reveal patterns, create new information, and support decision making. Historically the term “analytics” referred to processing structured data using solutions like business intelligence (BI) to provide such insights. However, with the emergence of social computing and other Web-based technologies the need arose to store and process unstructured data, like social media streams and comments, blog posts, and the like with similar rigor. If the Internet of Things (IoT) is to reach its full potential, analytics must also evolve to handle the huge quantities of data produced by the billions of things forecast to be actively connected in the market in the coming years.

See also Reporting and Analytics. Part of SMAC.


See Application Programming Interface (API)


A Java program that can be included in an HTML page, much in the same manner an image is included. When a Java-compatible browser is used to view a page that contains a Java applet, the applet’s code is transferred to the viewing computer system and executed by the browser.

Application Integration

An interface from an external application that provides access to the functional capabilities and database of the PDM system. The interface is usually built from a library of routines (the API) that may be embedded within other applications or programs to call PDM functions and to access or update the PDM database.

See Encapsulation

See Integration

See Interface

Application Interface

An interface to an external application that allows its users access to the functional capabilities and database of the cPDm solution and vice versa. The interface is usually built from a library of accessible functions (APIs) that may be embedded within other applications or programs to invoke cPDm functions and allow access to or updates to the managed database.

Application Programming Interface (API)

A mechanism by which an external application can interact with a system through pre-defined hooks to the system’s user interface, technical functions, and data model.


The process by which a reviewer or releaser indicates their agreement with changes to a document or controlled data item, a package of documents, creation of a new document or controlled data item, or of a proposed change.

Approval Action Notice

Messages sent to people whose approvals are required by the PDM-defined review, release, or promotion procedure.

Approval Notification

Messages sent to people telling them that an item or package has been approved.

Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC)

A class of CAD solutions used to design, engineer, build, and operate large constructed assets such as roadways, bridges, buildings, industrial process and power plants, and utility networks. They include solutions for 2D design and 3D modeling, constraint- and feature-based design, piping, process and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID), integrated engineering analysis, data management, collaboration, estimating, catalogs, and specifications.


Historical or inactive PDM data and PDM-managed files that have been removed from the system and stored on tape, optical disk, or other media for safekeeping and future use. References to the archived data and files are maintained within the active PDM system.

Asset Management

Asset management is the process of managing the physical assets of a plant, oil rig, or other facility or infrastructure including the facilities used in production. It enables companies to optimize and improve maintenance productivity and facility uptime.

Attribute Field

A field in the meta-database containing information related to managed data, files, or parts. Examples are: Release Date, Designer, Material Code, Authorization Class, Promotion Level, etc.


The level of functionality and access to PDM-managed information granted a specific user. Examples of access authorization include read, write, update, copy, and view. Examples of functional authorization include the ability to add users, review or release items, or launch an application.


The process of copying a subset of files to a secure medium to be used for data recovery in the case of system or data loss. Typical customer environments have formal procedures for daily, weekly, and monthly back-ups.


An established configuration definition and associated items (specifications, documents, CAD designs, drawings, etc.) that becomes a point from which configuration changes will be tracked and documented. Multiple baselines are generally established. Examples of baselines are: functional, allocated, prototype, and production.


The comparison of an internal process or practice to those employed by one or more external organizations to determine how the existing process or practice can and should be improved. Ideally, one of those external organizations being evaluated should be recognized as having an industry “best practice” for the process or practice.

Bill of Material (BOM)

An ordered list of the parts, sub-assemblies, assemblies, and raw materials that define a product. Normally created and maintained within the Project Structure Management function, it defines the type, number, quantity, and relationships of parts and assemblies.


See Building Information Management (BIM)

Bottom-Up Design

A structured approach to organizing design data where the lowest level primitive elements are defined first, and then the higher level functions are built using these elements. As the hierarchical definition process concludes, the overall design structure is expressed in terms of high level functional blocks and their interconnections.

See Top-Down Design

Building Information Management (BIM)

Management of information specific to buildings, plants, and other facilities. Typically used in conjunction with AEC design capabilities.

Bundled PDM Systems

PDM systems available only as an integral part of another software application. For example, some PDM systems are only available as an option to a CAD/CAM system.

Business Rules

The policies and procedures of an enterprise. In PDM systems, business rules are used to define the relationship(s) between entities. They specify the business-imposed constraints on the data relationships. Examples are: released data cannot be modified without an engineering change request, only engineering managers can approve mechanical designs, only program approved standard parts can be used within products.


See Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

CAD Framework Initiative (CFI)

An industry initiative to provide guidelines for design automation frameworks which enable the co-existence and cooperation of a variety of tools. The CFI initiative has begun to define industry requirements for the database consistency and inter-tool communication needed to track and control complex design data. The focus of this initiative has been on ECAD design environments.


See Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE)


Continuous Acquisition and Life-cycle Support is a DoD digital data transfer protocol. It is intended to provide standard mechanisms for the delivery of digital data and enabling concurrent engineering for DoD sponsored developments and procurements. The CALS initiative has endorsed IGES and STEP as formats for digital data. CALS includes standards for electronic data interchange, electronic technical documentation, and guidelines for process improvement. CALS was known formerly as Computer Aided Logistics System.


See Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM)


See Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE)


See Concurrent Engineering (CE)


A modification to a part, component, configuration, or document from currently defined and approved status. Changes cause version or revision levels of affected items to be updated.

Change Control

The process and procedures that manage how changes are proposed, reviewed, and approved, and then incorporated into a product and its associated documentation. Change Control is a part of overall configuration management and uses review and release processes to enforce compliance with company change policies.

Change Package

A group of documents defined by an ECO that must be modified as a group to effect a change.


The process of placing new or returning modified product data or information under PDM control. If a new revision is being created this procedure usually initiates a review/approval process controlled by the PDM system.


The process of accessing PDM-managed product data or information under PDM controlled procedures. This access may be for viewing, reference and use in another design or manufacturing task, or for making a design change. The PDM system prevents multiple, simultaneous change activities in order to maintain product data integrity.


See Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM)


See Customer Integrated Technical Information Service (CITIS)


The assignment of attributes and other defining metadata to managed objects and information maintained within a PDM system. The metadata for classification may include definition of complete classification tables or hierarchies, which define relationships between various classes of objects. These metadata are then used for finding data with similar characteristics. Classification is also used to create and maintain standard part and information libraries.

See Group Technology (GT)

See Part Classification


Refers to both the hardware and software used in a distributed, client-server architecture where the server provides clients with data and information on a demand basis. Typically the trend is to use non-proprietary Web browser software on the client hardware to access cPDm managed data and services.


Cloud computing is a type of Internet-based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand. It is a model for enabling ubiquitous, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., computer networks, servers, storage, applications, and services), which can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort. Part of SMAC. Source: Wikipedia.


See Configuration Management (CM)


Configuration Management II


Working as a team to execute some process such as design or engineering change approval. Asynchronous collaboration allows a team to work serially on something such as an approval, where the data being worked on is sent from one person to the next until the process is complete. Synchronous collaboration allows a team to work simultaneously on a process, seeing each other’s data and comments, allowing the team to reach a consensus quickly

Collaborative Commerce

c-Commerce is a form of electronic business (e-Business); conducting business on the Internet, not only buying and selling but also servicing customers and collaborating with business partners. Collaborative Commerce is conducted via inter-enterprise Internet connections and enables multiple enterprises to work interactively online to find ways to save and make money and to solve business problems.

Collaborative Product Commerce (CPC)

Enterprise-capable Web-based solutions that use the Internet to allow employees, customers, and suppliers to collaboratively develop, build, manage, sell, and support products throughout their lifecycle. These solutions are enablers for c-Commerce.

collaborative Product Definition management (cPDm)

cPDm is a strategic business approach; applying a consistent set of business solutions that collaboratively manage the product or plant definition lifecycle across the extended enterprise.

Compliance Management

Compliance management includes definition, tracking and reporting of all product-related information and activities required to confirm that a product meets certain regulatory compliance metrics, e.g., REACH, WEEE, and RoHS.


One of the hardware, electronic, software, or documentation items (e.g., parts, sub-assemblies) that make up a system. A component may be subdivided into other components.

Component Data

All the information that describes a component. This data should contain the information required by all design disciplines.

Component Supplier Management (CSM)

Systems that support the classification and retrieval of standard and common parts, components, and assemblies that are used in product designs. These systems may also support monitoring and ranking suppliers. CSM systems use hierarchical classification schemes to facilitate finding components.

See Group Technology (GT)

See Part Classification

Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM)

A standard that defines the format of electronic vector-based graphical data. The MIL-STD for CGM is MIL-D-28003.

Computer Integrated Manufacturing Open Systems Architecture (CIM-OSA)

A European initiative sponsored by AMICE Consortium (a European ESPRIT project) to develop a reference architecture for information systems.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

The process of using computer-based tools that assist in the design, drafting, and physical layout of mechanical and electronic products.

See Electronic Computer-Aided Design (ECAD)

See Mechanical Computer-Aided Design (MCAD)

Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE)

The use of computer-based tools to assist in analyzing one or more aspects of a product design such as structural and mechanism analysis.

See Simulation & Analysis

Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM)

The use of computer-based tools to program, direct, and control production equipment in the fabrication of manufactured items. CAM includes applications that support manufacturing engineering, such as NC programming, process planning, factory layout, and simulation.

Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE)

The use of computer-based tools to aid in the software engineering process. CASE tools are used in software design, database design, configuration management, requirements tracing, code production, testing, document generation, and other software development activities

Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM)

An approach to product design, development, and manufacture that encompasses the use of computers and computer-based tools for all aspects of the product life cycle.

See Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

See Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE)

See Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM)


The occurrence of two or more activities within the same period of time, achieved either by interleaving the activities or by simultaneously executing the activities.

Concurrent Engineering (CE)

Defined by IDA Report R-338 as a “systematic approach to the integrated, concurrent design of products and their related processes, including manufacture and support. This approach is intended to cause the developer, from the outset, to consider all elements of the product life cycle from conception through disposal, including quality, cost, schedule, and user requirements.”

Concurrent Engineering Environment

The collection of services and the culture necessary to support concurrent engineering. The four CE environment factors are: organization, communication infrastructure, requirements, and product development.


The grouping of a component or product as defined by the number, nature, and interconnections of its constituent parts.

Configuration Audit

Checking an item for compliance with the configuration identification.

See Configuration Management (CM)

Configuration Control

Controlling changes to the configuration and its identification documentation.

See Configuration Management (CM)

Configuration Identification

Selection of the documents that identify and define the configuration baseline characteristics of an item.

See Configuration Management (CM)

Configuration Item (CI)

Any object, component, part, product, or document that is to be configuration controlled. Examples are: engines, cars, computers, planes, toys, and publications.

Configuration Management (CM)

An engineering discipline that provides direction and monitoring of configuration items including processes for defining and controlling product structure (configuration) and its related documentation. CM includes maintaining revision control and history information about all changes to a document or product. CM responsibilities include activities to identify, document, and control changes to functional and physical characteristics; to document change processing and implementation status; and to verify compliance with specified requirements (configuration identification, configuration control, configuration status accounting, configuration audit).

See Configuration Control


A process or tool used to define product configurations that may be built-to-customer order. Configurators allow customers to select appropriate options and assure that the configuration is complete and correct according to a company’s product configuration rules.


A class of PLM user who accesses and uses information to perform their assigned work tasks but who is not a primary data creator.

See Creator

See Reviewer

Content Management

The management and control of all forms of electronic data and information. Content management includes data storage, access control, and some level of version control.

See Data Vaulting

See Image Management


See Collaborative Product Commerce (CPC)


See collaborative Product Definition management (cPDm)


A class of PLM user who creates and edits information that is stored in the PLM environment.

See Consumer

See Reviewer


See Customer Relationship Management


See Component Supplier Management (CSM)

Customer Integrated Technical Information Service (CITIS)

A service in which customers maintain databases of information for a program and provide electronic access to that database to government agencies and suppliers working on that program.

Customer Relationship Management

A computer-based system used to manage data and processes about the lifecycle of the interaction between an organization and its customers, which can include marketing management, the sales cycle, and post-sales customer service and support.

Customer Requirements

The performance, features, and general characteristics of a product as defined by a customer.


The act of modifying or extending a PDM system by writing additional modules or routines that are added to, extend, or replace standard PDM system functionality.

Data Dictionary

A repository for the definition of data elements: their attributes, representations, and descriptions.

Data Model

The definition of all data elements (and their relationships) to be maintained within a PDM system. The data model defines the database schema for the PDM system.

Data Translation

Translation of data from one format to another via converters such as IGES or vendor- and user-supplied translators.

Data Transport

The action of moving PDM-managed information to meet the needs of distributed environments. Information may be either moved or copied. Unlike data translation, data transport maintains a consistent data format.

Data Vaulting

The process of controlling and securing product definition information. Components of data vaulting include a secure database and file servers, management of linked or related data, check-in/check-out functions, release level maintenance, access security, and promotion authorization.


See Discounted Cash Flow (DCF)

Decision Support

Design decision made with the aid of on-line data. For example, a decision support tool could determine component selection based on factors such as cost and availability.


The process of defining the architecture, components, interfaces, and other characteristics of a system or component. Design can also refer to the result of this process

Design Capture

The process of preparing a design in an electronic environment, as when a person uses a computer-aided tool to draw a solid model, schematic, or other drawing.

Design Cycle

The sequence of phases through which a design evolves. For example: concept, design, analysis, simulation, and test.

Design Element

Explicitly identifiable portion of a design that can be described and modeled as an entity. Design elements may be primitives, interconnections of primitives, or interconnections of larger elements.

Design for Manufacturability (DFM)

A design process whereby deliberate effort is expended to assure that a product may be easily and effectively manufactured.

Design for Testability

A design process whereby deliberate effort is expended to assure that a product may be thoroughly tested with a minimum effort, and that high confidence may be ascribed to test results.

Design Release Management

The process of controlling design data. Components include check-in, check-out, release level maintenance, access security, and promotion authorization.

Design Variant

Used in the product structure to indicate a different view of the product structure as used by different disciplines. Examples are: an engineering functional structure, a manufacturing assembly structure, or others. These views “present” the same product according to different organizations of the structure.


Advance permission to purposely not comply with one or more requirements of the product specifications on a limited basis.


The process of moving information from paper to digital forms (e.g., computer files, connected data elements representing a product, managing a configuration and all its dependencies) to transform business; moving to a digital business.

Digital Manufacturing

Solutions that support collaborative manufacturing process planning between engineering disciplines, such as design and manufacturing. The solutions use best practices and access to the full digital product definition, including tooling and manufacturing process data that support integrated tool suites that work with the product definition to support visualization, simulation, and other analyses necessary to optimize the product and manufacturing process design.

Digital Mockup (DMU)

Computer systems that allow users to view and manipulate three-dimensional representations of product models for the purpose of verifying product design accuracy and integrity. DMU systems typically provide assembly collision detection, disassembly, and visualization of product models.

Digital Thread

The creation and use of cross-domain common digital surrogates of a system to allow dynamic, real-time assessment of the system’s current and future capabilities to inform decisions throughout the entire life cycle. Digital thread is enabled and supported by a robust systems model and MBSE processes.

Digital Twin

A physics-based description of a system resulting from the generation, management, and application of data, models, and information from authoritative sources across the system’s lifecycle. The Digital Twin must be more than just a descriptive model or collection of related digital information (e.g., a SysML model). It is a complete physical description of a system including all its behaviors.

Direct Modeling

A form of CAD design development in which users interact directly with geometric elements of a design, manipulating them by pushing, pulling, or otherwise changing them in a WYSIWYG manner.

See History-Based Modeling

See Parametric Modeling

Discount Rate

The rate used to discount future cash flows. Often an organization’s cost of raising capital. The discount rate is used to determine the Net Present Value of an organization’s investments.

See Net Present Value (NPV)

Discounted Cash Flow (DCF)

A valuation of the future net cash flows of an endeavor, discounted to their present day value.

See Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

See Net Present Value (NPV)


See Digital Mockup (DMU)

Document Management

The processes, procedures, and tools focused on creating, maintaining, and managing documents. Comprehensive applications are available that provide authoring, scanning, structuring, rendering, and printing of documents.


Autodesk’s Drawing Interchange Format that stores AutoCAD drawings in ASCII (text) format. This format has become a de-facto standard for moving geometric data among low-end CAD systems.


Engineering Bill Of Material defines the configuration of a product as it was designed.


See Electronic Computer-Aided Design (ECAD)


See Engineering Change Notice (ECN)


See Engineering Change Order (ECO)


See Engineering Change Request (ECR)


Electronic Design Automation is another name for Electronic Computer-Aided Design.


See Engineering Document Management (EDM)


An indicator in a product structure that specifies when a specific component part is used. These indicators generally specify a range of either dates, serial numbers, or build lots. Effectivity indicators are typically considered as “conditions” on the parent-child relationships in a standard product structure.

Electronic Computer-Aided Design (ECAD)

Computer applications used to design and analyze electronic and electrical products, parts, and components.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

The exchange of information in electronic form.

Electronic Design Automation (EDA)

Electronic Design Automation is another name for Electronic Computer-Aided Design.

Electronic Design Interchange Format (EDIF)

The EIA-548 Standard for interchanging electronic data among CAD/CAE tools and systems. EDIF gives users the ability to move graphics or data between different tools and includes a way for updating, improving, and maintaining the format. Standard formats are ANSI X.12 in the U.S. and EDIFACT in Europe.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

The exchange of information in electronic form.

Electronic Mail (Email)

A service that allows users and organizations to communicate electronically. This may include distribution of formatted documents and messages to mailboxes (special computer files) and notifying users of incoming mail. PDM systems use E-mail to route action notifications.

Embedded Software

Software that is used to control a product system and is written into the firmware of the product.


The simplest form of application integration. Encapsulated applications can be launched by the PDM system, and a data file can be passed to the application, but data does not dynamically flow between the PDM system and the application.

See Integration

See Interface

End Item

A product sold as a completed item or repair part. End items are subject to a customer order or sales forecast.

Engineering Bill Of Material (EBOM)

Engineering Bill Of Material defines the configuration of a product as it was designed.

Engineering Change Notice (ECN)

A document that formally releases an engineering change or change package for inclusion into the product.

Engineering Change Order (ECO)

A document that identifies and describes a change to configuration(s), component(s), or document(s) in response to an ECP or ECR. ECOs identify all affected items and may also identify related items affected by the change. Additionally, metadata about the change are also defined, e.g., change class, requester, approver, or program. An ECO is generally the defining document for a change or release package.

See Release Package

Engineering Change Proposal (ECP)

A document requesting proposed changes to a configuration(s), component(s) or document(s). ECPs may be submitted by customers, vendors, suppliers, and any member of the product owning organization such as engineering or manufacturing.

Engineering Change Request (ECR)

See Engineering Change Proposal (ECP)

Engineering Data Management (EDM)

Similar to Product Data Management except generally limited to managing engineering and design information.

See Product Data Management (PDM)

Engineering Document Management (EDM)

Similar to Product Data Management except generally limited to managing engineering drawings.

See Product Data Management (PDM)


A portion of a company that is related by a common interest in a product or group of products. An enterprise may also logically include a network of subcontractors involved in the common product. PDM systems are often applied across an enterprise.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Systems that help organizations plan their manufacturing processes and control how products are created. ERP systems typically allow companies to control all aspects of manufacturing including inventory, purchasing, process planning, warehousing and delivery, human resources, finance, configurations, effectivities, etc.

See Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II)

See Materials Requirements Planning (MRP)

Enterprise Simulation Management (ESM)

Integrates and manages simulation and analysis data and processes across the product development processes. ESM’s primary components include knowledge capture and replication and integrated simulation management. Also called Simulation Data Management or Simulation Lifecycle Management.


See Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)


See Enterprise Simulation Management (ESM)


The information modeling language used to implement STEP data structures.

Extended Enterprise

An enterprise that logically includes a network of contractors, suppliers, business partners, and customers involved in creating, defining, producing, operating, or supporting a common product. A supply chain is considered part of an extended enterprise.

External Digital Data

Data that was not generated as part of a PDM environment. For example, a spreadsheet file is external digital data relative to a bundled MCAD PDM system.

Feature Modeling

The construction of a geometric model by combining form features (holes, counter-bored holes, slots, bosses, etc.) with a base model. Features can be positioned and sized in relationship to other features or a geometric datum. Feature modelers may capture design intent and process as well as the geometry of the object.

Federated Data Architecture (FDA)

A form of system structure that accommodates multiple heterogeneous databases. FDA recognizes that information required to execute business processes usually resides in multiple repositories, which often represent a completely heterogeneous mix of technologies and implementation approaches.

Formula Management

See Specification Management


A common user environment for cooperative use of tools to support a type of user. The environment is built from a collection of software program facilities and a set of extensible services. For example, an electronic design framework provides a common environment for the use of tools needed to perform the design function. Key facilities are common design data management process management, and a common user interface.

Geometric Model

A mathematical, graphical, or logical representation of the shape of real or conceived physical objects. The shape may be described in 2-dimensions (as in an engineering drawing) or 3-dimensions (as in a surface or solid model). Geometric models include wireframe, surface, and solid models.


The data that defines the spatial placement and shape of the boundaries and surfaces of a geometric model.

Graphical User Interface (GUI)

A user interface to a computer program that includes windows, menus, dialog boxes, icon palettes, and other point-and-select command selection methods, and the use of graphics to present and manipulate information. GUIs contrast with text- and forms-based user interfaces found on “dumb” terminals and in most mini- and mainframe-based computing systems.


A catch-all term used to describe categories of actions or solutions that support environmental compliance or environmentally-friendly practices.

Group Technology (GT)

Formalized methods and algorithms for defining and classifying parts based on a set of attributes.

See Component Supplier Management (CSM)

See Part Classification


See Graphical User Interface (GUI)


Describes a computing environment in which dissimilar hardware and/or software are used to perform related tasks.

History-Based Modeling

A form of CAD that maintains a hierarchical, ordered record of all geometric manipulations of elements and features created and modified during a mechanical design process.

See Direct Modeling

See Parametric Modeling


See HyperText Markup Language (HTML)

HyperText Markup Language (HTML)

A structured format that allows for the construction of Web pages that contain hyper-links and data that can be accessed in a computer-independent format. HTML is based on SGML.


ICAM DEFinition language is a data modeling methodology based on the Structured Analysis and Design Technique (SADT) used to define data and data relationships. IDEF was developed under U.S. Air Force initiatives and is widely used in government and commercial programs to determine what data must be managed and how it will be managed.


An ICAM data modeling language that is based on entity-relationship methods.


An extension to IDEF1.


See Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES)

Image Management

The management and control of raster images generated by image scanning and raster conversions of electronic data created in other formats.

Independent PDM System

PDM systems that are available as independent products distinct from any other application. These systems may be integrated with any number of other applications (such as CAD/CAM), but they may be purchased and installed independently and do not require purchase of some attached application. These systems contrast with Bundled PDM Systems.

Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES)

A standard (ASME/ANSI Y14.26M-1989) for interchanging electronic data among CAD/CAM systems including geometry, dimensions, notes, and tolerances. STEP is the planned replacement. The MIL-STD for IGES is MIL-D-28000.

See STandard for the Exchange of Product Data (STEP)


This term is used differently in product design systems, in PDM product structure functions, and in image management systems. An instance, as used in product design, is a reference to a geometric object that allows the same geometry to be located at several places in a geometric model assembly without actually copying the geometry. When the original geometry is modified the modifications automatically appear at every instance location. Similarly, in product structures, an instance is a reference to a Part. It allows the same Part to be used in several assemblies without copying all part information into the assembly. In image management, an instance is an occurrence of an image in some format. An image management system may maintain multiple instances of the same image in distributed locations to improve access performance.


Tightest method to interconnecting application programs. Both the PDM system and application look as though they are the same program. One set of user interface menus are used to perform common tasks in both programs so that the user does not have the perception that they are leaving their tool. All types of data are shared directly (that is, native to both), including metadata, documents, product structures, etc.

See Encapsulation

See Interface


The middle level of application interconnection in which the application’s menus may contain direct calls to PDM functions (such as check-in) and at least some types of application data pass automatically between the PDM system and the application. Data sharing is typically more limited than in a full integration.

See Encapsulation

See Integration

Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

The true rate of return at which the Net Present Value of an investment is zero. This is calculated backwards from Discounted Cash Flows.

See Discounted Cash Flow (DCF)

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the use of computing networks (including the Internet) to connect devices such as machines, each with some embedded intelligence and sensors, so they can collect and share information.


The ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged. For example, interoperable tools have access to and use the original data, not translated data or copies of the data.


See Internet of Things


See Internal Rate of Return (IRR)


Documentation of a problem or action that needs to be taken to resolve that problem or complete some actions required to complete a process or activity.


International Traffic in Arms Regulations is a set of US Government regulations that control access to, exporting and importing defense-related information based on a person’s nationality, physical location, security classification of the data and other factors. Similar security methods are applied by other countries, such as “UK Eyes Only.”

Item Master

A set of data that describes an item (file) managed by the PDM system, not a part.

See Part Master

Just-In-Time (JIT) Manufacturing

A production system where material or parts used in manufacturing are brought to the work site just as they are needed for assembly, not maintained in inventories. JIT provides for the elimination of buffer stock and minimizes inventories during manufacturing.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A metric that is important to the business. One KPI can be made up by combining a number of other metrics.


See Local Area Network (LAN)

Legacy Systems

In-place computing and application systems that are currently being used within an organization to perform defined functions and tasks.


The description of the distinct phases through which each product passes during its product life. This includes phases such as requirements definition, concept design, production, etc.

Local Area Network (LAN)

Communications facilities allowing locally connected computer systems, workstations, and terminals to interact. Ethernet is the dominant LAN for workstations.

Local Data Manager

Software modules normally provided by product information authoring tool vendors to manage and control access to files and data structures created by those tools. The trend is to integrate local data managers into cPDm solutions, as they tend to offer good management capabilities for proprietary data models and file dependencies.

Long Term Archiving And Retrieval (LOTAR)

Archival and retrieval mechanisms for long-lived product and technical information stored in digital media.


See Long Term Archiving And Retrieval

Maintenance, Repair & Operation (MRO)

A strategy for keeping equipment and facilities in working order once implemented in the field. Includes managing the information (instructions, replacement parts, etc.) required to perform scheduled and preventive maintenance. Sometimes called service management.

Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO)

See Maintenance, Repair & Operation

Managed Data

The product data maintained within the PDM system. Examples are product structures, ECOs, release packages, business rules, and administrative information.

See Managed Files

Managed Files

The elements of product data released to and controlled by the PDM system. Examples are CAD/CAM files, FEM models, NC programs, raster images, and text files.

See Managed Data

Management Data

Information required for proper control of product development. Examples include scheduling and audit history information.

Manufacturing Bill Of Material (MBOM)

Manufacturing Bill Of Material defines the configuration of a product as it is intended to be manufactured.

Manufacturing Execution System (MES)

Control systems for managing and monitoring work-in-process on a factory floor. MES is used in manufacturing to track and document the processes from raw materials to finished products. MES provides information for manufacturing users in real time or near real time to see current conditions on the plant floor and how to optimize resources (e.g., people, machines, processes).

MES operates across multiple function areas: resource scheduling, order execution, production analysis, equipment availability, quality, material tracking, and exception processing. MES creates the “as-built” record, capturing the BOMs' data, processes, and outcomes of the manufacturing process.

MES’s relationship to PLM is a bidirectional interface with PLM hosting the product definition and version and MES returning the as built definition.

Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP)

Similar to MRP, except the concepts are broadened considerably. MRP II systems are newer generation systems than MRP systems.

See Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

See Materials Requirements Planning (MRP)


To put comments and annotations on overlays of a graphic or textual object without changing or modifying the original. Generally, markup refers to annotating images for use in change processes. Multiple overlays and colors are used to allow many persons to input their annotations, comments, and proposed changes. A user requests the original and the overlays in order to review all comments.

See Redline

See Viewer

Materials Requirements Planning (MRP)

A methodology and system used to plan and manage manufacturing operations. The BOM for products released to manufacturing and the product routing definition are key parts of the MRP system’s database.

See Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

See Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II)


See Model-Based Definition


See Model-Based Engineering and Model-Based Enterprise


Manufacturing Bill Of Material defines the configuration of a product as it is intended to be manufactured.


See Model-Based Systems Engineering


See Mechanical Computer-Aided Design (MCAD)

Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF)

A measure of the reliability of a product (or process) that uses the time from implementation of the product and when an issue arises that causes the product to no longer work properly.

Mechanical Computer-Aided Design (MCAD)

Computer-based tools for designing and analyzing mechanical products, assemblies, and components.

Mechanical Computer-Aided Engineering (MCAE)

See Simulation & Analysis


A product development environment that supports the design and analysis of products that are comprised of mechanical, electronic, and software components. Mechatronics can be considered a subset of Systems Engineering, an interdisciplinary approach and means for enabling the realization and deployment of successful systems that include mechanical, electronic, and software components.


See Manufacturing Execution System


Information about the data controlled by the PDM system. For example, drawing number is metadata about a drawing. This definition differs from that used by information systems professionals as a definition of a database’s underlying schema.


A quantitative measurement of a system, component, or process to determine the degree to which it possesses a given attribute. Metrics are often used to measure quality and process improvement.

MILitary STandarD (MIL-STD)

The set of standards issued by the U.S. DoD that specify how information and products are to be delivered to and supported for U.S. military agencies. Some applicable MIL-STDs are MIL-D-28000 (IGES), MIL-D-28001 (SGML), MIL-D-28002 (raster images), and MIL-D-28003 (CGM).


A bundle of complex technologies that are most often delivered on a device that can be easily transported by a person and generally with a touch screen interface. Mobile devices include mobile telephones and tablet computing devices. These powerful computing devices can also have high resolution still and video cameras, local storage and compute services, WiFi and Bluetooth connections, accelerometers, and other hardware. The devices have a range of purpose-built applications that leverage some or all of the hardware capabilities. Part of SMAC.

Model-Based Definition (MBD)

Model-Based Definition, also known as digital product definition (DPD), is the practice of using 3D solid models to document additional information about a design, such as PMI (product manufacturing information) and associated metadata. The PMI information is embedded directly in the solid models and is associated with the geometric elements of the design.

Model-Based Engineering (MBE)

Model-Based Engineering is an approach to engineering that uses mathematical models (not only CAD models) as an integral part of the technical baseline definition that includes the requirements, analysis, design, implementation, and verification of a capability, system, or product throughout the acquisition lifecycle. The design may be documented in associated drawings or as Model-Based Designs. Models are the authoritative definition of the system. Recent references to model-based engineering have focused on “Model-Based Systems Engineering.” This definition is based on:

Model-Based Enterprise (MBE)

An integrated and collaborative environment founded on 3D product definition detailed and shared across the enterprise—to enable rapid, seamless, and affordable deployment of products from concept through life. The foundational elements of a Model-Based Enterprise is the use of configuration controlled digital master data set containing the 3D model and all necessary product data in a managed secure and controlled environment that supports maximum data reuse for all aspects of development, production, maintenance, and operations.

MBE is a methodology that leverages enterprise platforms including the Product Innovation Platform to manage complexity of data and processes that develop, represent, produce, and service the product; abstracted into connected systems and subsystems. Modeling and simulation capabilities enable full lifecycle optimization to maximize performance and profitability with minimum risk.This Model-Based Enterprise definition is adapted from:

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)

Model-based systems engineering is the formalized application of various levels of modeling to support system requirements, design, analysis, verification, and validation activities beginning in the conceptual design phase and continuing throughout development and later lifecycle phases. (INCOSE Systems Engineering Vision 2020. INCOSE-TP-2004-02. San Diego, CA. September, 2007.) In its most direct form, MBSE applies a continuous modeling paradigm (0D, 1D, 2D, 3D...) to define systems, progressing from the most simple (0D) form to a fully defined 3D representation, and on to higher order models to understand temporal issues. This is done in addition to and in the context of written requirements and 2D and 3D CAD designs. The models are used to validate from very early stages that the system will function as conceived and defined by its requirements.


See Maintenance, Repair & Operation


See Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) and Manufacturing Resource Planning


See Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II)

National Initiative for Product Data Exchange (NIPDE)

National Initiative for Product Data Exchange is jointly sponsored by the US DoD and US Department of Commerce to lay out how the multitude of international data exchange standards (STEP, IGES, VDA, SET, and others) can be consolidated.

Net Present Value (NPV)

The value that results from discounting all cash inflows and outlays for an activity by the activity’s discount rate.

See Discount Rate


See Net Present Value (NPV)

Object-Oriented Database Management System (OODBMS)

A DBMS in which data objects are encapsulated by classes that have pre-defined characteristics. Objects added to the database automatically acquire (inherit) the characteristics of their class. These data are accessible only through messages which they recognize.

Office Document Interchange Format (ODIF)

A set of standards that define the electronic formats to be used to interchange standard business information such as purchase orders, invoices, etc.

On-Premise Software

A means of software delivery in which most or all functionality is delivered using programs that are locally installed on a client or server at the using organization.

See Software as a Service (SaaS)

Open Software Foundation (OSF)

An industry group that promotes a standard, interoperable computing environment.

Open Systems Interchange (OSI)

The communications interchange definition and standards established by the International Standards Organization. OSI is used in the DoD GOSIP standard.

Optional Part

A replacement option is an optional part of a structure that, if selected, replaces some other part of the structure. A second type of option includes additional items in the structure if the option is selected, but does not specifically replace any other items. This type of option supports defining multiple models of the same end item each having a different BOM. For example, a 4-cylinder auto versus a 6-cylinder auto. Design options may include multiple changes to the product configuration such as 6-cylinder engine, 4-speed transmission, anti-lock brakes. Selecting or viewing a specific design option displays all the related changes to the product structure and configuration.

See Alternative Part

See Substitute Part

Outside Operation

Access to the PDM system functions and managed information from applications and systems not executing under PDM control.

Parametric Modeling

A form of CAD product design in which surfaces, features, and other design elements can be defined by a set of mathematical, geometric and logical functions that describe the relationships among these elements. This approach enables models that can be semi-automatically updated based on changes to the underlying parameters used in the embedded geometric, logical, or mathematical functions.

See Direct Modeling

See History-Based Modeling


A discrete item that is included in a design, such as a mechanical, electrical, or software item. Parts combine into sub-assemblies and assemblies to define products. Parts are often assigned unique identifying numbers, often called part numbers.

See Component

Part Classification

Mechanisms to classify parts and other elements of a product by their function or by the processes used to manufacture them. Part classification is used to find PDM-managed components to use in a product design or PDM-managed processes to use in the design of similar processes.

See Component Supplier Management (CSM)

See Group Technology (GT)

Part Master

A set of data (information) about a part that serves as the control definition of the part. This might include information such as part number, date created, currently active revision level, department responsible for design changes, et cetera. The Part Master will have relationships to other information that describes the part’s use in assemblies.

Part Referencing

Instancing of a virtual image of data from one file into another without copying the original. CAD systems that utilize standard parts are examples of part referencing applications.


See Product Data Management (PDM)


See Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)


See Product Manufacturing Information (PMI)

See Project Management Institute (PMI)

Point Translator

A commercial or user-built system to translate CAD/CAM or other files from one specific application’s format to another. Point translators do not use a neutral definition.

Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX)

A standard that defines a common interface to an operating system. Any application built using POSIX standards should execute on any POSIX-compliant operating system.

Procedural Interface

A set of calls that invoke standard PDM system procedures. Procedural interfaces are normally part of an Application Interface.


(noun) An ordered sequence of steps performed for a given purpose, such as the software development process.

(verb) To perform an operation on data.

See Product Development Process


A generic term for whatever is produced by a process, whether goods or services. Any deliverable item of a project or program.

Product Data

A set of data that uniquely defines a product for the enterprise in the environment for its intended use. The expression of what a products is, ideally, with sufficient clarity to be able to manufacture the product.

Product Data Browser

A tool that can perform a non-sequential query or search of a product database. An example would be to find parts based on a specified range of characteristics.

Product Data Exchange using STEP

The United States activity in support of the International Standards Organization (ISO) technical committee standard known as STEP.

Product Data Management (PDM)

Solutions and methodologies used within an enterprise to: 1) organize, access, and control data related to its products, and 2) manage the lifecycle of those products. A single PDM solution may work with CAD, CAM, CAE, other software applications, and with traditional non-computer systems that generate or use product data (such as paper documents). It also provides access and security controls, maintains relationships among product data items, enforce rules that describe and control data flows and processes, and provides notification and messaging facilities. PDM systems are used by managers, administrators, and end-users.

Product Development Process

The set of activities, tools, methods, and procedures by which customer needs are translated into a product. This process involves translating customer needs into product requirements, transforming the requirements into a design, implementing and testing the design, and then transferring the design data to production.

Product Innovation Platform

A product innovation platform is a set of functional domains—process, lifecycle stage, and technical domains such as system ideation, profitability management, and quality and compliance, that would support all product related disciplines and users through the entire product lifecycle. These are orchestrated by the platform with a “system of systems” approach that, in essence, makes a product innovation platform the enabler of the next generation of PLM-enabling solutions needed to develop and produce products. An effective platform optimizes across these multiple lifecycle domains from a product’s conception through its entire life.

For more information see CIMdata's PLM Platformization Dossier.

Product Lifecycle

See Lifecycle

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

A strategic business approach that applies a consistent set of business solutions in support of the collaborative creation, management, dissemination, and use of product definition information across the extended enterprise, and spanning from product concept to end of life—integrating people, processes, business systems, and information.

Product Manufacturing Information (PMI)

Data pertinent to manufacturing a product including information such as tolerances, reference dimensions, datum points for quality processes, surface finish, material specifications, etc. This data has historically been included in drawings to be used in manufacturing operations. MCAD solutions may also store the PMI in the 3D CAD model, from where it can be added automatically to drawings or accessed by viewing the 3D CAD model.

See Model-Based Definition

Product Portfolio Management

Focuses on identifying, evaluating, and managing the “family” or portfolio of products that a company develops, offers, and maintains

Product Structure

Embodies the organization of all of the design and production data for a product. It includes hierarchical relationships of the assemblies and other parts that comprise a product. It may also include references to associated items such as documents, files, processes, etc.

Product Structure View

A specific way of interpreting product configuration information. Product structure views may be quite different for different disciplines such as design assembly, manufacturing assembly, purchasing, documentation, maintenance, etc. Parts can have different representations in two views, for instance a weldment may be treated as a single part in the design assembly and as several parts in the manufacturing assembly.

Program Management

The planning, directing, and controlling of human and non-human resources to achieve specific program or project objectives. Program management tracks factors such as technical performance in terms of cost and time and generally includes a work breakdown structure of tasks and sub-tasks. Also known as Project Management.

Program Portfolio Management

Focuses on managing the group of projects (a program) that a company executes to create, build, and support their product suite.

Programmatic Interface

See Application Interface

Project Management

See Program Management

Project Management Institute (PMI)

A professional organization that provides information related to managing projects. PMI also has a certification program for project management professionals. See


The process of moving product information from one defined Promotion Level to another. Promotion generally includes review and approval of information being promoted as part of the promotion process. Promotion includes enacting all access and control changes associated with the new Promotion Level.

Promotion Level

The state, status, or access level of product information at a point in time during its life cycle. Promotion levels are defined according to organizational business rules. Example level names are Preliminary Release, Prototype Release, and Production Release. Each Promotion Level has its own set of business rules that describe authorizations for access, use, and approval.


The degree to which a system, component, or process meets specified requirements or meets customer expectations.

Quality Assurance (QA)

A planned and systematic approach to determine that a product conforms to established technical requirements.


Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals. A European Community regulation that is intended to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on substances. Manufacturers and importers are required to gather and report information on the chemical substances used in their products and manufacturing processes. REACH also calls for the substitution of the most dangerous chemicals when suitable alternatives have been identified.

Recipe Management

See Specification Management


To annotate a graphic or text object such as a drawing by placing comments either on the original or on overlays with the original.

See Markup

See Viewer

Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS)

Database management systems that maintain data records and indices in tables. Relationships may be created and maintained across and among the data and tables.

Release Action Notice

Message sent to people whose action is required as part of a release process.

Release Level

See Promotion Level

Release Package

See Change Package

Release Status

The current status of an object being reviewed and released. Examples are: submitted, pending release, rejected, and approved.

Reporting and Analytics

The process and tools that support analyzing and searching through data and producing reports based on the results.

Requirements Management

Gathering and managing user, business, technical, and functional requirements within a product development project. Four types of requirements must be considered: user requirements, business requirements, technical requirements, and process or operational requirements.

Return on Investment (ROI)

The value of an investment’s return to the organization, expressed as a percentage.


A process in which one or more persons check changed documents or data to determine if the changes have been correctly performed.

Review Action Notice

Messages sent to people whose review is required for a defined release procedure.


A class of PLM user who is responsible for reviewing information or changes to information to ensure that the information or change is correct.

See Consumer

See Creator


A modification of an item during the process of developing a product. Many organizations use some form of code in the item number to indicate which revision of the item is being examined. Item revisions may also produce a variant item, that is one that is different for some specified reason.

See Variant

See Version

Revision Level

The current authorized and documented level of a component, configuration, or document. Revision Levels are defined and updated according to configuration management change control rules including review and approval of the changes to affected items.


Requirement, Functional, Logical, and Physical: An acronym from the Systems Engineering community that refers to defining requirements, and then mapping those requirements to the functional, logical, and physical instantiations of that system.


Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) is initially a European Union directive to ensure that electrical and electronic equipment produced or sold in the EU does not contain any of six banned substances: cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, mercury, poly-brominated biphenyls (PBB), or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), in quantities exceeding a maximum concentration value. This directive is being adopted by many countries outside the EU.


See Return on Investment (ROI)


Describes responsibilities associated with a specific job type. Examples include project manager, designer, and reviewer. In cPDm solutions, a role is used to assign authorization and access restrictions. Users are assigned to roles to inherit the authorizations and access restrictions required to perform the assigned work of that role.


Simulation and Analysis.

See Computer-Aided Engineering


See Software as a Service (SaaS)

SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition)

A system that supports industrial communication and control of industrial equipment. The control system may be combined with a data acquisition system to gather information about the status of equipment and processes.


Simulation Data Management.

See Enterprise Simulation Management (ESM)

See Simulation Lifecycle Management


See Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML)

Shape Search

The act of searching for 3D data based on its geometric shape. Solutions can find parts and assemblies that exactly or closely match a given 3D shape.

Simulation & Analysis

Modeling, exercising, and analyzing a design’s behavior without physically building the design. The simulator and simulation model have all the necessary attributes of the physical design.

See Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE)

Simulation Data Management (SDM)

See Enterprise Simulation Management (ESM)

See Simulation Lifecycle Management (SLM)

Simulation Lifecycle Management (SLM)

See Enterprise Simulation Management (ESM)


See Structured Generalized Markup Language.


See Simulation Lifecycle Management (SLM)


Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud—see each.


Small to Medium Business, variously defined as companies with revenues lower than a certain threshold (e.g., US$1B).


Social computing systems are related to the intersection of computational systems and social behavior, and based on creating and recreating different aspects of human social behavior and interaction as they are impacted by the use of software and technology. Blogs, email, social networks, instant messaging, and many different kinds of social interaction apps are examples. Different from, but related to things like SIGCHI, where psychologists and computer scientists interact across their disciplines. (Adapted from Wikipedia) Part of SMAC.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

A means of software delivery in which all functionality is provided over the Internet or Virtual Private Network.

See On-Premise Software

Specification Management

Used within process industries in a similar manner that product structure management is used within discrete industries. A recipe or formula defines the components of a product, how the product will be “assembled” and all the specifications and requirements associated with those products and their relationship and interdependencies. Also known as Formula Management and Recipe Management.


See Supplier Relationship Management

Standard d’Echange et de Transfert (SET)

A European standard for the interchange of CAD/CAM data, particularly used in the aerospace industry.

STandard for the Exchange of Product Data (STEP)

An evolving international product data representation standard (ISO 10303). STEP is being designed top-down to represent data from all aspects of the design and manufacturing processes and for different product types. STEP focuses on exchanging digital product models with sufficient information content so they can be interpreted directly by advanced CAD/CAM/CAE application programs. STEP will support a wide range of geometric and non-geometric data such as manufacturing features, tolerance specifications, material properties, configurations, specifications, and surface finish specifications. STEP is based on a neutral mechanism capable of completely representing product model data throughout the life cycle of a product.

Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML)

An ISO standard (ISO 8879:1986) that provides a formal notation for the definition of generalized markup languages. HTML, SGML, and XML (Extensible Markup Language) provide for structuring and hypertext linking documents and database information in a vendor and computer-neutral, human-readable format.

See HyperText Markup Language (HTML)


See STandard for the Exchange of Product Data (STEP)

Structured Query Language (SQL)

The ANSI standard data access (query) language for relational database systems.

Substitute Part

A part that is approved to be used in a specific design instead of a preferred part, if conditions warrant.

Supplier Relationship Management

A computer-based system to manage data and processes about the lifecycle of the interaction between an organization and its suppliers, which can include requests for proposal, information, or quotation (RFP, RFI, RFQ), supplier qualification, and supplier quality management functions.

System Administrator

The person who sets up, manages, and customizes the PDM system to meet the enterprise’s needs.

System Requirements

The required performance, features, and characteristics of a complex system or product. These requirements lead to the system specification.

Systems Design

The act of designing a complex system that entails many components and subassemblies and involves several engineering disciplines.

Systems Engineering

Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary approach and means to enable the realization of successful systems. It focuses on defining customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle, documenting requirements, and then proceeding with design synthesis and system validation while considering the complete problem: operations, cost and schedule, performance, training and support, test, manufacturing, and disposal. Systems Engineering integrates all the disciplines and specialty groups into a team effort forming a structured development process that proceeds from concept to production to operation. Systems Engineering considers both the business and the technical needs of all customers with the goal of providing a quality product that meets the user needs. (INCOSE. What is Systems Engineering? 14 June 2004.)

A system is a combination of interacting elements organized to achieve one or more stated purposes. It may also be an integrated set of elements, subsystems, or assemblies that accomplish a defined objective. These elements include products (hardware, software, firmware), processes, people, information, techniques, facilities, services, and other support elements. An example would be an air transportation system. (Haskins, Cecilia, Ed. Systems Engineering Handbook. INCOSE‐TP‐2003‐002‐03.2.1. San Diego, CA. January 2011.)


Changing the defaults and options of a PDM system by setting preferences. Tailoring is done without writing or integrating code that modifies the PDM system.

See Application Interface

See Customization

Technical Data Management (TDM)

A synonym for Product Data Management.

See Product Data Management (PDM)

Technical Document Management (TDM)

A synonym for Product Data Management.

See Product Data Management (PDM)

Technical Information Management (TIM)

A synonym for Product Data Management.

See Product Data Management (PDM)


See Technical Information Management (TIM)

Top-Down Design

A design method that combines the use of divide-and-conquer techniques with one of adding increasing detail as the design processes. Top-down is typically used at the beginning of the design process.

See Bottom-Up Design

Total Quality Management (TQM)

A broad approach to quality including product quality, but extending well beyond to virtually everything done by an organization for external as well as “internal” customers (what marketing does for manufacturing for example) that encourages an enterprise-wide emphasis on quality and doing the job right the first time. Continuous improvement is sought toward measurable, ever-more-difficult quality targets.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

A communication standard for connecting computing systems. It includes interactive, file, and mail interchange standards.


A mechanism that detects some activity, or change in state of some object in the PDM system and as a result, can initiate some subsequent action.


Synonym of version.

See Revision

See Version


The PDM system’s computerized data storage area and databases. Information stored in PDM vaults are controlled by system rules and processes.


A variation of an approved and controlled item. Multiple versions of the same Revision Level may be created. Versions allow variations of components, configurations, and documents to be developed and used without requiring formal changes to the Revision or Baseline of an item.

See Revision

See Variant


Application used to display graphical objects, generally in raster format. Viewer applications allow users to zoom, pan, and otherwise modify the display of the object.

See Markup

See Redline

Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML)

A standard that enables designers to create interactive, animated 3D virtual worlds that can be explored through various display technologies including virtual reality caves.

Visualization and Simulation

Systems that allow users to see all types of product data without having to have access to the data’s authoring application. This includes 3D CAD models, assemblies, drawings, and any type of documents. Typically these systems allow users to view, manipulate, annotate, and transmit data to other users. Some systems also allow users to create animations or simulations of product designs that can be viewed in motion.

See Digital Mockup (DMU)


Approval to deliver a product when it has been found during inspection or testing that a Configuration Item does not comply with the requirements of its technical documentation.


See Wide Area Network (WAN)

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is a European Union directive intended to reduce the amount of electrical and electronic equipment being produced and to encourage its recovery, reuse, and recycling. The WEEE directive also intends to improve the environmental performance of businesses that manufacture, supply, use, recycle and recover electrical and electronic equipment. This directive is being adopted by many countries outside the EU.


See Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Wide Area Network (WAN)

A communication network that spans a large, geographically distributed, multi-site environment. WANs typically use protocols that provide higher transmission rates than LANs.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Used to plan and manage the process of developing a product design, to produce a product, and to support it. A WBS is a mechanism for breaking work (generally related to some specific project) into smaller elements that can be used for assigning resources, budgets, schedules, etc. The WBS provides a basis for controlling projects.


Any group of people working toward a common goal as a team. An enterprise will typically have a number of workgroups involved in a product development project.


A system consisting of a desktop or desk-side computer, a set of applications or tools, and integrated interactive graphics capabilities primarily used by one person. Also known as Engineering Workstation.


Being better than or as good as every other company in your industry in at least one important performance criteria of manufacturing such as cost, quality, dependability, flexibility, or innovation.


“What you see is what you get,” and acronym used to denote a form of computer user interface in which users see onscreen elements, text, and graphics as they would be shown, for instance, in a printed format.


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