The UK's first centre of excellence in product lifecycle management (PLM) is to be established at the Technium Auto project at Swansea University.
Technium Auto is providing Welsh automotive sector small and medium-sized enterprises with access to sophisticated software products, and is sponsored by IBM, the Welsh Assembly and the Welsh Development Agency.
PLM is a set of capabilities that enables an enterprise to efficiently innovate and manage its products and related services throughout the entire business lifecycle, from conception through to recycling or disposal.
The new centre will provide small and medium-sized Welsh businesses with an opportunity to use IBM PLM software and IBM eServer systems. In addition, IBM will offer education, research and training consultancy.
The agreement forms part of the £9m Technium Auto project, which is the latest addition to the pan-Wales network of Technium centres that are designed to attract and create high quality employment and business opportunities to the principality.
Andrew Davies, minister for economic development and transport, said, “Whilst Wales has a strong automotive component sector, the automotive industry is highly competitive, with issues affecting car manufacturers having a direct impact on supply chain companies.
"The availability and use of this sophisticated software will not only help SMEs to maintain their vital contribution to the automotive supply chain, but also enable them to move quickly to manage change and maximise the opportunities of securing new work," he said.
Swansea University is also now hosting the first centre of advanced studies in PLM as part of the deal.
Students will be able to learn how PLM can help companies meet their business challenges and take this expertise into industry. Students will be able to improve their skills on Catia V5, Smarteam and Enovia systems, all leading IBM PLM products which were developed by Dassault Systèmes.