Huntsville, Alabama-based Baron is replacing the end-of-life PLM system with modern OpenBOM Web Services and uses REST API to migrate and consolidate product data

Baron Weather
Baron Weather

I’m Steve Hess and I want to preface this story with a personal experience….. In the late 80’s (that’s the 1980s) as a young engineer, I was visiting a supplier in Hunstville, Alabama when I was awoken by a car alarm.  Naturally, I phoned the hotel front desk asking “Can someone please turn off that darn car alarm?”

The voice on the other end asked “Where are you from”, I replied “Malibu, California”. “That’s a tornado alarm”, she said, “Get to the basement”.  And I did.

Huntsville, Alabama-based Baron is a leading provider of all things tornado, radar detection & warning systems, graphic and imaging processing hardware and software, meteorological processing, and much much more.

Founded in 1989 by local TV meteorologist and weather personality, Bob Baron to deliver life-saving meteorological tools for those moments when it matters most.  The company has gone on to become a leader in the industry.

As the company’s Engineering Manager, John Ellis leads a team of Hardware, Analog, Digital, and Radar Engineers, and has been with Baron for over 15 years. He has seen the company modernize its engineering and data systems and OpenBOM is happy to play an important role in that evolution.

According to John, “our 6000+ unique parts were totally unmanageable, we needed to greatly improve the way we manage our parts and BOMs at Baron.”

Like many companies, Baron had a practice of putting BOMs on the face of drawings. And lacked any meaningful way to manage parts and items, literally, they wrote the part information on the drawing.

“We had to open a drawing and print it to find out what we needed to buy”, he says.  “OpenBOM has solved all that for us, and much more.”

On top of the need to modernize, Baron had a specific requirement that their new system must replace their existing (and now discontinued) PLM system by migrating all their existing information to the new system.

“We were also looking to replace our aging FusePLM system as it is now end-of-life”, John explains.

“OpenBOMs modern REST API was just what Baron was looking for.”

“We hired an intern to manage the migration of all our component information from FusePLM.”

“We conditioned the FusePLM full data export using Python to add important features like data references to our Zoho repository and then loaded it into OpenBOM using the OpenBOM public API’s.  The documentation is online and we found the process met our needs.”

“We bought OpenBOM because we needed to bring all our FusePLM data forward to a modern system.  As of now, we have completely migrated from FusePLM to OpenBOM.”

“With OpenBOM we can support our sales team with accurate, reliable product cost and component information.“

“Prior to OpenBOM, we didn’t really know how much an assembly cost. We had the components but couldn’t track or rollup any cost information to the upper levels. When you have thousands of parts, that cost many thousands of dollars each, it is important to get that right!”

With their catalog of parts and products fully represented in OpenBOM, Baron can now manage parts and BOMs, and costs, as their business requires.

“OpenBOM helps us with alternate and replacement parts as well. We find and change a component in one place, and it ripples through all the BOMs. Pulling 5 drawings to make a change was crazy.”

“The where used is awesome”, he says.

“With OpenBOM now fully implementedand FusePLM backed up and turned off, we are removing BOMs from our drawings and completely utilizing OpenBOM to manage parts and BOMs.”

I asked John what he liked most about the migration from FusePLM to OpenBOM; “The OpenBOM API and help documentation is plentiful and the training videos are helpful and short.  The monthly updates always have new features and don’t require any effort on our part.”

To learn more about Baron, please visit

To learn more about OpenBOM, please visit

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