We have been using Windchill since day one. Our intent was to migrate all forum activity and sharing of resources over to this site instead of sponsoring our own forum and sharing email attachments. We spent time at two meetings showing students how to navigate around and find important info.
As mentors, we saw this as a great way for our students to see how industry communicates and shares ideas. Unfortunately the migration over to Windchill from our students has been slow at best. Students comment that they have a hard time navigating around and find it a bit confusing.
I’m hoping that traffic picks up at kickoff BUT I’m concerned that I have invested several hours of work putting (IMHO) important documentation on the site and no one is reading it (or very few).
What have others found? Is your team using it? Did you do anything special to promote it?
We have also just started getting our Windchill going, and so far I think it is going to work great for our needs. I was very concerned about our team this year because I’m going to be in Rochester for much of the build time, but I can see where we will be able to use Windchill to let me keep abreast of the designs they are contemplating, put in their part orders and just in general keep tabs on them to help them out.
My only concern is that they are prepared for the traffic they could get from all of us if Windchill really takes off with everyone in FIRST. Hopefully it will work for everyone. I'm going to keep on my team to get everyone on there and I think that when actual building starts, they will see the benefits.:yikes:
We tried and played around with it quite a bit when it was first introduced and one of the parents on our team uses Windchill at his company and we came to the decision that it was too late in the season to learn a new system and we would be spending more time just getting everything set up right than actually managing the team. So, we are going back to Google Docs (which we’ve used for two years…).
We also use Solidworks for all our modeling and it didn’t integrate nice enough to make a benefit.
Your main contact should have received the info via email. I cannot send you a link right now because our school district server is down.
Some sound bites from Windchill…
Whether you are the Project Manager or a team member, you will be able to utilize and take advantage of all the capabilities of Windchill ProjectLink. It’s a tool that will be your design environment throughout the FRC 2008 competition.
Windchill ProjectLink is accessed through the Internet. Therefore, anywhere you can get access to the internet; you can access your project.
Windchill ProjectLink enables organizations to easily execute projects, and inspires collaboration among members of the extended FRC team. It facilitates innovation by providing Web-based product development with all the tools necessary to bring globally dispersed design teams together as if working in the same room.
With Windchill ProjectLink, it’s never been easier to engage the whole FRC team for faster, smarter robot development that yields better products on schedule and within budget.
Windchill ProjectLink provides the proven solution manufacturers need to support product development collaboration, and project management and execution during every step of the product lifecycle.
• Simple, easy-to-use interface and light weight visualization enables effective collaboration with cross-functional internal teams – as well as suppliers, manufacturing partners, and customers
• Powerful collaboration facilitated through discussion forums, automated change notices, subscription, notification, and project management tools
• Connected with Pro/ENGINEER and Autodesk Inventor
• Optimize critical processes such as Product Development Collaboration and Project Management & Execution
This is a threadthat discussed the PTC collaboration software Windchill that we have been talking about. They have also included access to PRO Engineer and Mathcad as well as the Windchill software, although I haven’t had time to download or look at any of the other materials yet.
Has any team other than ours used Windchill effectively? I use the term effectively as we have critical documents maintained there and have access to them from anywhere there is an internet connection. As a project manager I feel we have just scratched the surface of what Windchill can do. I personally would like to have FIRST pursue having this available for next year so we can tap into more of the capabilities of the tool.
We used Windchill from the start. It was a good tool but it is surprisingly
rough around the edges. It’s Explorer/Microsoft centric and not very
intuitive for most of our students/teachers and mentors. The inability to
list people by name (instead of cryptic e-mail address) rendered it useless for many
tasks. It’s incompatibility with the current version of Inventor also made it
very much less useful than it could have been.
Nevertheless, I think most of these problems could be overcome if it was
available to teams year round so that they could get through the learning curve
before the build season and fix some issues that seem to be associated
only with the FIRST setup. We even experimented with
PRO/Engineer looking for better integration but we found the restrictions on
the student version too crippling.
Since we don’t know how long it will remain operational, we are presently
moving our stuff off the site and will probably move to a different solution
for collaboration. We used sharepoint last year with about the same net
results although Windchill could have been much better if the aforementioned
problems were solved.
I do commend PTC for making this available. It’s really nice to have some
choice of Solidworks, PRO/E, and Inventor solutions available
I evaluated Windchill at the beginning of the season for use by our team. I liked the idea of having a central repository for all the teams documents and CAD files so they could be accessed anywhere. However, in spite of the great support emails from Mark Fischer at PTC, Windchill was still confusing and took too much time to set up. The web interface was not at all user friendly and I determined that it was too cumbersome and time-intensive to train our students in its use. I had a team alumnus look at the site too and he came to the same conclusion as I did - it was just too hard for the average student user to easily navigate.