Inforbix Cracks Next Generation Search for SolidWorks Users

February 13, 2012

Search means advertising to most Google users. In an enterprise—according to the LinkedIn discussions about enterprise search—the approach is anchored in the 1990s. The problem is that finding information requires a system which can handle content types that are of little interest to lawyers, accountants, and MBAs running a business today.

Without efficient access to such content as engineering drawings, specifications, quality control reports, and run-of-the-mill office information—costs go up. What’s worse is that more time is needed to locate a prior version of a component or locate the supplier who delivered on time and on budget work to the specification. So expensive professionals end up performing what I call Easter egg hunt research. The approach involves looking for colleagues, paging through lists of file names, and the “open, browse, close” approach to information retrieval.

Not surprisingly, the so called experts steer clear of pivotal information retrieval problems. Most search systems pick the ripe apples which are close to the ground. This means indexing Word documents, the versions of information in a content management system, or email.

I learned today that Inforbix, a company we have been tracking because it takes search to the next level, has rolled out two new products. These innovations are data apps which seamlessly aggregate product data from different file types, sources, and locations. The new Inforbix apps will help SolidWorks’ users get more out of their product data and become more productive while improving decision-making. Plus, Inforbix said that it would expand the data access to SolidWords EPDM, making it possible for SolidWords customers to get more from data managed by their PDM system.

The two products are Inforbix Charts and Inforbix Dashboard. Both complement Inforbix Tables which was released in October 2011.

Oleg Shilovitsky, founder of Inforbix, told me:

Manufacturing companies are drowning in the growing amount of product data generated and found within different file types, sources, and company data-silos. They are increasingly using a mix of vendor packages and solutions, all which generate, contain, manage, or store product data, creating a hodgepodge of resources to be combed through. Product data generated in a typical manufacturing company can be both unstructured (valuable BOM and assembly information spread out across different CAD drawings) and structured (CAD drawings within a PDM or PLM system). Our apps are tools that address specific product data tasks such as finding, re-using, and sharing product data. Inforbix can access product data within PDM systems such as ENOVIA SmarTeam and Autodesk Vault and make it available in meaningful ways to CAD and non-CAD users.

When I reviewed the system, I noted that Inforbix’s apps utilize product data semantic technology that automatically infer relationships between disparate sources of data. For example, Inforbix can semantically connect or link a SolidWorks CAD assembly found within EPDM with a related Excel file containing a BOM table stored on a file server in another department.

Inforbix Charts visualizes and presents data saved from Inforbix Tables. The product data is presented in charts that include information to help engineers better manage and run processes by identifying trends and patterns and improving data control. For example, Inforbix Charts visually presents the approval statuses of CAD and ECO documents by author, date approved, last modified date, etc.

Inforbix Dashboard dynamically collects and presents important statistics about engineering and manufacturing data and processes, such as how many versions of a particular CAD drawing currently exist, how many design revisions did it take to complete a CAD drawing, or the number of ECOs processed on time. Easy and intuitive to use, Inforbix Dashboard is an ideal tool for project managers.

SolidWords users can access Inforbix apps and their product data online. Current Inforbix customers can immediately begin using the Inforbix iPad app, available for free on the Apple App Store at Account access taps existing Inforbix credentials. New users are encouraged to register with Inforbix to enable the iPad app to access product data within their company. The apps soon will be available on Android devices.

A video preview of the iPad app is posted at For more information on Inforbix apps, visit

Inforbix is a company on the move.

Stephen E Arnold, February 13, 2012

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