How to manage typed links?

In our last post we talked about product structure made of assemblies and parts. This structure shows the physical links between parts. But what if you want to highlight other links? In special cases, you may want to show a part electrical relationship to another, for example. Linking parts with an electric point of view will result to a complete new data structure, that looks similar to a fault tree analysis and will help you detect power cuts.

Thanks to the DocDokuPLM platform, you can define new trees with typed links. Let’s work on a very simple example: an office. Here is its complete product structure:

product structure
As we can see, that structure does not explain the electric links between parts. To define an electric link between 2 parts, select those parts in the tree and press the “Typed links” button. Then simply add a new typed link and enter type’s name and description. The source part is the first part you checked in the product structure. The target part is the other one. If needed, you can invert the 2 parts.

typed links
Each typed link created with the “electric” type belongs then to a complete new tree. Choose this type on the above menu to display to new defined product connections.

alternative breakdown


This new typed tree shows the electrical links between parts and makes it easier to fix bugs.

Feel free to add as many typed links as you want between 2 parts (any energy link, any dependency link…). However it is impossible to create a loop (cyclic link) with the same type of link. In that case, the system will detect the cyclic link creation and reject it automatically in order to avoid infinite loop.


How to manage product configuration?

This article talks about how to manage product configuration inside DocDokuPLM platform.

The product structure is made of assemblies and parts. Configuration management is the activity of selecting the constituent components of the product that was designed as configurable. In our software, the product configuration management is based on 2 concepts:

  • Optional usage links
  • Substitute links

As we can guess an optional usage link is not mandatory, thus a viable product structure instance could exist without it.


A substitute link is the object which holds the alternative link to a sub-component of a given assembly. It carries the identity of the variant part as well as the quantity and the unit which hence could be different from the substituted usage link. For example, the screenshot above shows that the assembly could be composed of one LG or one Samsung screen.

Therefore, configuring a product consists of making all those choices, selecting or not the variants, retaining or not the optional parts. The role of the baselines is to capture those product configurations.


Baselines freeze a PBS (Product Breakdown Structure) in order to subsequently create one or more instances of product without any ambiguity on their composition.
Apart from the configuration choices, they encapsulate the precise version of each component. A baseline has to be complete and self-sufficient in the sense it must fully set up the product.

There are two kinds of baselines : “latest” and “released”.
The first one includes the parts in their latest version while the second gathers only part versions which have the “released” status. Creating a baseline is straightforward and does not require any user interaction if the PBS does not define neither variant nor optional part. Otherwise the user will have to determine himself:


In the previous example, part P0888 (called “TABLE”) is an assembly which is composed of either part P777 (SCREEN SAMSUNG) or part P779 (SCREEN LG). The baseline creator must choose. After that, we can see two optional parts P99A and PLLK.

Once all the choices have been made, the  baseline can be created.


The baseline creation process just described will be repeated every time we want to create one. This could be cumbersome and error prone. In fact, it is easy to create inconsistent and unsustainable configurations.

That is why, it is interesting to save these choices in a “Configuration” type object. These objects can then be applied later when creating baselines.

The configurations and baselines creation look similar but the main difference is that configurations do not need to be complete, they can capture only a subset of the choices which have to be made the rest will be provided by the creator of the baseline.

Real-time product design review on the web

We have just implemented a great new functionality that allows to perform real-time product design review on the web.
Basically it works like a screen sharing application but in reality it is much more than this.
The feature is highly scalable, can easily manage room with several people and obviously is developed only with web technologies and hence no plugin installation is required. Moreover the module offers all the security we can expect: the meeting attendees will never see parts which they are not allowed to see.

The video below (raw material recorded on a phone) demonstrates the functionality. The computer on the right initiates the meeting room and invites the user connected on the other PC:

Case study: Improve the quality management inside an industrial company


Mia electric designs and builds only electric vehicles made totally in France. Based in Cerizay in the Deux Sevres the Company provides emission free mobility at an affordable price, accessible to all, to respond to the realities of Urban and suburban transport needs and the ever higher price of fossil fuels.


In 2010 the construction plant was entirely re-equipped, the team reinforced to reach 16 designers and an R&D department of no less than 80 engineers. The Production capacity is now 12,000 vehicles per year – 1200 per month. Obviously all of this should conform to the most demanding aspects of current legislation with certification to ISO 9001 and 14001 standards.
To raise such challenges a robust PLM solution was needed.


We deployed DocDokuPLM on a tailored high availability and secure private cloud infrastructure. We also developed some small extensions that permitted the car maker to successfully passed crucial certifications.


Case study: Spread the DMU (Digital MockUp) across the enterprise


Airbus is the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer whose customer focus, commercial know-how, technological leadership and manufacturing efficiency have propelled it to the forefront of the industry.


Display the DMU on a regular web browser without any plugin, be able to mix data on top of the 3D models ala Google Maps

How can you easily access PLM and DMU data if you are not an engineering designer?

That was the question which was asked to us. We worked closely with Airbus, leveraging our DocDokuPLM platform to deliver the perfect solution that fits gracefully on the complex aircraft maker environment made of various existing PLM systems and CAD tools, Catia by Dassault Systèmes notably.


We deployed a disruptive solution that relies solely on standard Web technologies making hence the service widely available on any desktop OS (Windows, Mac and Linux) as well as on popular mobile systems. Through a sophisticated chain of treatment, deployable on an enterprise grid computing, the 3D Catia models and the associated metadata are imported in order to be then delivered on a simple web browser without any plugin.

By the help of the web services and JavaScript API, we created mashup applications which mix PLM, 3D models and content coming from heterogeneous software.


Chat and video calling


Collaboration is essential for most enterprise software. One of the keywords of DocDokuPLM is “social”. Hence, we implemented a chat and video/audio calling feature that allows to quickly contact the author of a document or the person who modified a part design.
Obviously no Skype, no plugin is needed, only a modern web browser!

Try it :

View the DMU


When visualizing a 3D scene like a DMU (Digital Mock-Up) or something else, it’s not always easy to find the right position to see what you want. That’s why in our software, we define two mode:

  • Trackball mode, activated with the ‘magnet’ button
  • Free flight mode, selected by pushing the ‘flight’ button

Trackball mode is mostly used when we want to examine a manufactured product of medium size. In this mode the camera targets a fix point. Use the wheel (or swipe down and up two fingers if you have a trackpad) to zoom in and out, right clic to rotate the product (actually that’s the camera which moves around) and the left click to move the object (in reality to slide the camera).

The Free flight is perfect to navigate inside a huge product (like a cruise ship, a building or an A380). This mode works exactly as if we were inside a FPS game like Quake. Use the keys up and down to move forward and backward, the keys left and right to strafe and ‘R’ and ‘F’ to go up and down. At last, use the mouse, keep the right click pressed, to rotate the camera on the selected point.

Don’t hesitate to test it on our public cloud with user ‘demo’ and password ‘demo’. Once logged select ‘Bike’ product then check the main part on the left.

DocDokuPLM winner of the Open World Forum Demo Cup 2012

That’s with a great pleasure that we received an Innovation Award for the demo cup at the Open World Forum which took place the 11, 12 and 13th october 2012.

The demo cup consisted of presenting our open source software in a time boxed format of 7 minutes! That was a very funny and challenging exercise, especially with a jury composed of experts and an audience hard to impress.

So, I made a live demo of DocDokuPLM.

DocDokuPLM - Digital MockUp inside your browser

I started with the classical login screen, then quickly went through the document management module. I didn’t take much time on this part of the software as document management is becoming a commodity nowadays. However I explained that our DM is not as classical as it seems in the sense that it follows the PLM industry terminologies and definitions, especially those defined in the “OMG PLM services” and the STEP standards.

After that, I came to what was the heart of my presentation: the DMU (Digital Mock-Up) inside the browser without any plugin. I demonstrated how we can rotate, zoom in or out and move the product model. I showed how to hide/display specific assembly parts just by clicking on checkboxes.

Then I played with the layers and markers functions of our tool that allow to pin notes directly on the model.

At last, I finished my demo with an impressive mashup feature that permits to publish the whole model in any blog, wiki, forum exactly like what we can do with youtube or dailymotion videos.

Finally we were the first team to be called on stage to receive our prize quickly followed by Blue Mind that proposes a messaging and calendar solution and by Hippo with their HippoCMS which is a context sensitive CMS system.

DocDokuPLM - OWF2012 democup winner