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Jeffrey Rowe has over 35 years of experience in all aspects of electro-mechanical design, engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 500 articles for CAD and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the MCAD community. As editor … More »
MCADCafe e-Magazine: ASCON Releases Geometric Kernel As CAD Component
May 21st, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
ASCON Group, developer and integrator of professional MCAD and PLM solutions, announced that it is making public its proprietary geometry kernel C3D as the foundation for creating computer-aided design systems and applications. The kernel is also well suited for designing computer-aided engineering (CAE) software, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programs for CNC machines, and modeling of engineering processes for product lifecycle management (PLM).
Development of the geometric kernel began in 1995, and then in 2000 ASCON released KOMPAS-3D v5.9, the first computer-aided design software system based on its C3D. Since then, the company has updated the kernel, and is now launching it as a separate product for the CAD component market. It handles all aspects of a CAD system: 2D drawing and sketching, 3D hybrid and solid modeling, parametric constraints, and translation.
“The decision to open access to our technology was the next logical step in our on-going development of the geometric kernel,” said Maxim Bogdanov, CEO of ASCON. “We are confident in the quality of C3D. For more than a decade, it has been the basis of our own line of successful CAD/CAM software.
“We see great prospects for its use, as new players appear on the market needing components for their CAD systems,” he added. “Standard 2D systems will inevitably switch to 3D, and consequently require a fundamental change to the core of the systems — or else find a replacement. The CAD component market is changing, and so there is a place for a Russian company with 17 years experience in geometric kernel development, and whose mathematical quality is recognized throughout the world.”
The main feature of ASCON kernel is that it is complete. The core of C3D combines everything necessary for the development of application solutions, as follows:
C3D Modeler is the geometric modeler with functions for 3D solid and hybrid modeling, sketching, and 2D drawing
C3D Solver is the parametric constraints solver with functions for creating and solving parametric constraints on 2D and 3D geometry
C3D Converter is the translator module that reads and writes geometric models in all primary exchange formats
Potential users for the C3D kernel are developers of CAD, CAM, and CAE systems and related applications requiring the processing of 3D models and 2D graphics. Among them are large industrial companies who often create software for internal use. Third-party developers can use the ASCON kernel to extend functions and abilities, increase performance and reliability, quickly create 3D modelers based on existing 2D systems, and reduce cost of development of their products.
Even before C3D was released officially, an early tester was already putting it to real-world use. “We were among the first to work with ASCON’s geometric modeling kernel,” explained Andrew Lovygin, CEO of LO CNITI and the official distributor of Esprit CAM in Russia. “In just four months, we embedded a full 3D solid modeler in our CAM system. Our choice of C3D was driven by ASCON’s flexible pricing policy and quality technical support. I am confident that ASCON will achieve excellent results with its kernel on the international market.”
C3D was first announced in April at the Congress On the Future of Engineering Software (COFES). C3D kernel is available now for limited licensing based on individual requests. Full access will be opened in January, 2013.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
When you think of geometric modeling kernels, does anything immediately come to mind? For most of us who have been long enough, the ones probably at the forefront are ACIS and CGM (owned by Spatial Corp., a part of Dassault Systemes) and Parasolid (owned by Siemens PLM Software). Now, though, ASCON has entered the arena.
There was a time when geometric modeling kernels were the keystones of the MCAD industry. Most CAD vendors then relied, at least to some degree, and licensed them as engines for making their software applications go. While newly developed and released kernels were a good thing, some CAD developers felt that they were held hostage by the release cycles of their geometric kernel developers.
Times have changed, though. Today, an increasing number of vendors have undertaken the enormous task of developing, maintaining, and supporting their own geometric kernels. However, not all CAD vendors have gone the independent route, because it is such a huge and costly undertaking. However, I’ve also been impressed with how loyal many kernel customers have been over the long haul. Admittedly, though, changing kernels mid-stream is not an easy thing to do.
Today, as has been the case for quite some time, two of the major major players in the geometric kernel market are ACIS (owned by Dassault) and Parasolid (owned by Siemens PLM Software), but, of course , there are others, such as ASCON’s C3D. I’ve thought it ironic that SolidWorks (also a Dassault company) uses Parasolid from a Dassault competitor as its underlying geometric engine, and not ACIS (although it will eventually use Spatial’s CGM somewhere down the road), but that’s another story.
Simply put, geometric modeling kernels are the software components that make 3D solid modeling possible. Geometric modeling is one of the three legs of the triad that makes CAD possible – the other two being design and computer graphics. Geometric models are what make CAD really useful beyond basic drafting purposes and for engineering applications, as well. For them to be truly useful, geometric models must be unambiguous representations of objects. This demands that the 3D model satisfy comprehensive engineering functions from documentation (drawings) to simulation/analysis to manufacturing. That’s a pretty tall order, but is absolutely essential for the utility of CAD data that can be repurposed.
So, how significant or insignificant are software components, including geometric modeling kernels today? While it’s true that few users really care about the origin of the modeling kernel in their CAD tool, software component kernels are still relevant and significant for the following reasons:
Maybe geometric kernels don’t get quite the attention that they used to, but they remain an essential component (literally) for moving the MCAD industry forward. They have been and will remain a vital part of the MCAD industry for a long time to come.
3D software components and the vendors that supply them will continue to be in business for a long time to come. As they were in the past, software components will remain significant and relevant into the future for the MCAD industry. At some time in the near future, I’ll compare the specs and capabilities of ASCON’s C3D, Spatial’s ACIS and CGM, and Siemens’ Parasolid, just to see how they stack up feature-for-feature side-by-side. I’ll tell you what I find out.
The Week’s Top MCAD Stories
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the news items that were the most viewed during last week.
Anark Corp. and Geometric Ltd announced their new 3D Model Based Enterprise (MBE) authoring and viewing capability that integrates into existing PLM enterprise infrastructure. Anark Core MBEWeb is a HTML publishing capability for Anark Core software, allowing users to transform native 3D CAD parts and assemblies, together with their attributes, dimensions and tolerances, product views, and other model based definition (MBD) information, into high-resolution and high-quality 3D HTML MBE documents with support for interactive ASME Y14.41 visual response. These documents are free to view within standard HTML web browsers, and can support a number of downstream manufacturing use cases. MBEWeb can also transform native JT parts and assemblies with MBD (popular in the automotive industry) into high quality and interactive 3D HTML MBE documents. 3D Model Based Enterprise is a term coined by the U.S. Department of Defense and adopted by many commercial manufacturing companies to define:
CAPVIDIA announced a new service On-Line Viewer that lets users view any 3D CAD data, without installing any software. The service is accessible through CAPVIDIA’s website and is free of charge. With On-Line Viewer you can access any 3D model with associated metadata PMI, GD&T and more, from both native and neutral CAD data formats, such as CATIA V5, SIEMENS NX, UGS and Pro/Engineer including Creo 1.0. The On-Line Viewer has the same functions as ViewVidia visualization and collaboration. It gives you the ability to rotate, zoom, pan, change rendering mode, add annotation, dimensions, construct dynamic cross-sections to your 3D models. This new service means that your model data structure is accessible through the project tree, giving direct access to each entity. You can open either single parts or complex assemblies. The entities in the project tree are automatically linked with the 3D entities in the graphical window for identification and searching.
Siemens PLM Software announced Version 45.0 of the 3D D-Cubed software components. Highlights of this release include extended support for the recently introduced spin surface geometry type and improved over-defined model diagnostics for the 3D DCM. Further algorithms have been multi-threaded in the CDM and HLM, improving performance when computing clearance (also known as closest approach) in the CDM, and when working with large tolerant models in the HLM.
Aras announced the Aras Innovator platform and solution suite on Microsoft’s SQL Server 2012. Aras enabled on SQL Server 2012 offers a new level of scalability with high availability, including on-demand scaling, next-generation performance capabilities and the ability to extend data from on-premise implementations to cloud deployments. SQL Server 2012 enhancements include:
• On-Demand Scaling – Scale beyond the constraints of any one deployment environment by taking advantage hybrid IT opportunities with a common architecture that spans traditional servers, appliances and the cloud.
• Open Portability – Gain operational flexibility with proven Microsoft cloud offerings, private or public, which deliver interoperable deployment options with open portability for the ability to freely move PLM applications and data quickly and easily from instances on-premise to private and public cloud environments.
• Accelerated Performance – Next-generation performance with SQL Server 2012’s xVelocity in-memory technologies and data compression capabilities that reduce growing volumes of data by 50-60%.
• Powerful Business Intelligence – High performance BI with reporting cubes that can scale to 10’s of Terabytes, expanded support for up to 640 logical processors, and massively parallel processing that scales to 600+ TB.
• Security and Compliance – Built-in encryption capabilities help protect confidential information without changes to the application.
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