Daimler To Replace CATIA With NX

Yesterday Siemens PLM announced that starting in the summer of 2012, Daimler AG would be using NX as their new platform for worldwide car and truck development. According to the press release, the decision to move away from CATIA was mainly due to the need for tighter integration of their CAD system with Smaragd, their home grown PLM system based on TeamCenter from Siemens PLM.

To give you an idea of the size and complexity of Smaragd, consider this. It is a global PLM system running on 100 servers and has four integrated databases. It is used by 8,000 engineers spread across the world along with designers, staff at production facilities and even members of the executive board. Its support center is located in the Daimler plant in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Smaragd, which means emerald in German, has been deployed for use in hundreds of projects. It manages data for hundreds of thousands of components, tools and 3D models. The design data itself is more than 30 terrabytes. Although the support for Smaragd is offered from Brazil the servers and databases are located in Kosice in Slovakia. So if Daimler needed to standardize on a single supplier, common sense dictates that they would be better off keeping their existing PLM system and switching their CAD system.

Today Dassault Systemes issued a terse press release stating their displeasure with Daimler’s decision to dump CATIA for NX. The press release said, “V6 openness to other PDM systems is part of PLM V6 R2011x, which was announced yesterday“. In the press release, Dassault Systemes almost denigrated Smaragd by calling it a “home grown PDM system”, which clearly it is not. If Dassault Systemes really believes that Smaragd is merely a PDM system, then it may explain why they cannot understand why Daimler wants to stick with it.

Dassault Systemes also noted in their press release that Daimler had not performed an evaluation of CATIA V6. The thing with CATIA V6 is that if you really want to make full use of its collaborative environment it needs to use ENOVIA V6 as its PLM backbone. I guess mere “openess to other PDM systems” will not do. Otherwise you will end up with a PLM system that is basically a big patchwork and has the potential of creating more problems than it solves.

A couple of months ago Daimler renewed its CATIA contract with Dassault Systemes for 5 years. So obviously this announcement came as a blow to them. Daimler has also kept Dassault Systemes in the dark as to whether they will continue to use the ENOVIA, DELMIA, SIMULIA and 3DVIA solutions that have currently implemented.