May 14, 2019

Autodesk Forge partner, coolOrange, releases a Vault Fusion Lifecycle Connector

Autodesk Vault is our product data management software that helps designers and engineers organize design data, manage documentation, and track revisions and other development processes. Vault customers can create better designs, reduce errors, and build more efficient development cycles using Vault's ability to track revisions and manage release processes. Vault is typically hosted on a company's own servers on their company intranet.

When people hear Autodesk Fusion, they typically think of Autodesk Fusion 360 that combines designing, engineering, and manufacturing into one cloud-based CAD platform; however, there's more to Fusion than that. For example, there's Autodesk Fusion Lifecycle that is cloud-based product lifecycle management that accelerates product development processes across all departments and locations by automating workflows, key tasks, and delivering timely information because Fusion Lifecycle is on the cloud. Via the cloud, everyone has access to the data they need anytime, anywhere.

Some Autodesk customers use both Vault and Fusion Lifecycle. For example, Aclara Technologies is a supplier of smart infrastructure solutions to about 780 water, gas, and electric utilities. The company creates smart meters, advanced metering infrastructure, and software that enable utilities to predict and quickly respond to all conditions. Aclara uses Vault for fast and accurate data analysis during its product design and manufacturing process. With multiple locations across the globe and contract manufacturers producing their products, Aclara uses Fusion Lifecycle for supply chain collaboration and information sharing as part of its product lifecycle management process. Coordinating data between these two systems could have been a chore. Luckily there was a remedy.

"Have your application call my application. We'll do lunch."

A user directs what a computer application does via its user interfaces (UI) such as a clickable menu or enterable command. For one application to direct what another application does, it uses an application program interface (API). Developers specifically add APIs to applications so that one program can communicate with another on behalf of the user instead of forcing the user to provide the direction via its UI.

Autodesk Forge is our API platform and supporting materials (sample code, manuals) as well as a community of developers who uses those APIs. Although Forge is intended for our customers and 3rd party developers to be able to use our web services, we use Forge for our development of the cloud-based services that we offer. Although Microsoft coined the phrase "Eat our own dog food," we like to say "Drink our own champagne." Autodesk customers and partners can leverage Forge in the same ways that we do to develop solutions tailored to their specific workflows.

coolOrange develops tools and apps that make it easy to deal with complex technologies in a simple way. In 2009, they were founded by a former product manager, product designer, and developers from the Autodesk Data Management team and decided to build a company that helps resellers and customers overcome complexity and get more out of their Data Management implementations. They are located in Italy, Germany, and the United States and work with Autodesk resellers and Autodesk Consulting around the globe. As an Autodesk Forge partner, coolOrange used Forge to develop and release the Vault Fusion Lifecycle Connector that eliminates the chore of coordinating two separate systems.

As its name suggests, The Vault Fusion Lifecycle Connector (Vault FLC Connector) allows the exchange of data between Vault and Fusion Lifecycle. It is a solution for the following scenarios/workflows:

  • Project Synchronization: Synchronizes FLC items to Vault folders/projects using Vaults "Scheduled Jobs."
  • File Transfer: Transfers Vault file metadata and file attachments to FLC items at Vault file lifecycle state changes.
  • File Bill of Materials (BOM) Transfer: Transfers Vault file BOM and drawing attachments to FLC items at Vault file lifecycle state changes.
  • Change Management: Map FLC Change Order states to Vault Lifecycle states, managing approvals and signoff of Vaulted designs from Fusion Lifecycle
Download Vault and Fusion Lifecycle customers can download Vault FLC Connector from the coolOrange Download Zone.

Although Autodesk customers could develop their own solutions using Forge, coolOrange has done so on their behalf. With Vault FLC Connector, Autodesk customers simply define a configuration instead of coding their own solution. Autodesk Global Go To Market Business Strategy Manager for Data Management and Collaboration, Brian Schanen notes that Vault FLC Connector:

  • Increases efficiency and consistency in deployment and delivery.
  • Focuses on core repeatable use cases typical to Vault and Fusion Lifecycle customers.
  • Embraces future-proof technology such as Forge and the V3 API of Fusion Lifecycle.
  • Is already compatible with latest Vault 2019 and Vault 2020+.

Autodesk has always been an automation company. Today, more than ever, that means helping our customers automate their design and make processes. We help them embrace the future of making, where they can do more (e.g., efficiency, performance, quality), with less (e.g., energy, raw materials, timeframes, waste of human potential), and realize the opportunity for better (e.g., innovation, user experience, return on investment). The ability for customers and partners to customize solutions to fit their workflows provides the opportunity for better.

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