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PROSTEP makes Daimler's PDM system fit for the future

By Gaby Kath

For five years, PROSTEP has been the general contractor responsible for further development of the Smaragd software. With more than 15,000 users and a data volume in excess of 5 terabytes, this software is Daimler AG's central PDM backbone. Now, the leading carmaker has entrusted PROSTEP with the overall responsibility for further functional development and the development of the new Smaragd architecture. PROSTEP will continue to modernize the already successfully deployed PDM system and make it fit for a future of digitalization and smart engineering.

New aspects such as e-mobility and autonomous driving demand even greater integration of the development of mechanical and electrical components, electronics and software, for example in order to be able to use digital twins to validate the behavior of vehicles with ever greater numbers of variants. Daimler's central PDM backbone, Smaragd, already provides extremely good support for the development of mechanical components and is today the data hub for innovation-driven vehicle development. But the system also needs to be continually developed in order to provide optimum support for interdisciplinary collaboration going forward. Daimler therefore decided to modernize the software architecture during live operation.

Following comprehensive analysis of various options, the carmaker entrusted PROSTEP with the task of developing the new Smaragd architecture and at the same time integrating the existing client/server environment efficiently. This is one of the biggest contracts the PLM consulting and software house PROSTEP has been awarded in its entire history of more than 25 years. 

At the same time, this contract is also a huge motivation for the dedicated team of software architects and developers to build on their successful work with Smaragd and take it forward to further success in the future. 

One of Daimler's key requirements with regard to the new software architecture is that it should have a modular structure to allow them to respond more rapidly and specifically to users' needs and add new functions for innovative fields of application in shorter release cycles. At the same time, modularization will allow gradual migration of the comprehensive Smaragd functionality to the new architecture. Daimler believes that PROSTEP's many years of experience in the field of data integration and migration make them ideally suited to the task.

The new Smaragd solution should remain as lean as possible and should fit into the existing IT environment seamlessly. Another requirement that must be met by the new solution is openness; after all, Daimler does not want to reinvent all its wheels. For example, there will be new interfaces to complement the existing integration with the BOM management system DIALOG and with the EPDM system for managing electrical and electronic components. The modular architecture, the new tools and the agile software development methods will allow integrations such as these to be developed, rolled out and, where necessary, adapted faster than has been possible in the past.