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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has almost 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design … More »

Siemens Goes ECAD With Mentor Graphics Acquisition

 
December 1st, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

By acquiring one of ECAD’s giants, Mentor Graphics, Siemens continues to round out its design capabilities far beyond its MCAD roots as part of its Vision 2020 quest. Siemens says the acquisition is an extension of “shaping the Digital Industrial Enterprise by expanding its portfolio for industrial software.”

Under terms of the agreement, Siemens will acquire Mentor for $37.25 per share in cash, which represents a value of $4.5 billion. The offer price represents a 21% premium to Mentor’s closing price on November 11, 2016, the last trading day prior to the announcement.

Siemens Logo

Major Mentor shareholder Elliott Management has committed to support the transaction. In many ways, I don’t think Mentor had much of a chance of fending off the acquisition, as its profits were minuscule (and had been for some time), and got strong-armed by Elliott who owns a good chunk (~8%) of Mentor. By the way, Elliott blessed the offer.

Elliott Management, run by billionaire Paul Singer, said when it raised its stake it saw numerous opportunities to boost Mentor’s “deeply undervalued” shares and had started talks with the company’s management and board. According to the company, the acquisition is a “great outcome” for Mentor shareholders as the company will benefit from Siemens’s increased scale and greater resources.

Mentor Graphics Logo

The acquisition extends Siemens’ Digital Enterprise Software portfolio with Mentor’s electronics IC and systems design, simulation, and manufacturing software – capabilities essential for smart connected products, such as autonomous vehicles.

“Siemens is acquiring Mentor as part of its Vision 2020 concept to be the Benchmark for the New Industrial Age. It’s a perfect portfolio fit to further expand our digital leadership and set the pace in the industry,” said Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG.

“With Mentor, we’re acquiring an established technology leader with a talented employee base that will allow us to supplement our world-class industrial software portfolio. It will complement our strong offering in mechanics and software with design, test and simulation of electrical and electronic systems,” said Klaus Helmrich, member of the Managing Board of Siemens.

Read the rest of Siemens Goes ECAD With Mentor Graphics Acquisition

Looking Ahead: 2017 MCADCafe Editorial Lineup

 
November 24th, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

It’s almost the end of November, so with just over a month left of this year, it’s not too early to start thinking about what we’ll be covering in 2017. The calendar below reflects what we perceive as some of the most important topics today, as well as feedback from our readers and other supporters.

The main theme for each month will be covered in an extended article or series of articles so that the topic can be covered in a more comprehensive way. We’ll also be covering some of the major MCAD events throughout the year, reporting what we see and hear from vendors, partners, and attendees.

We’ll also be covering some of the major MCAD events throughout the year, reporting what we see and hear from vendors, partners, and attendees. All of the events we attend will include daily written coverage and Tweets throughout event days, as well as video and audio interviews.

If you have any thoughts of topics you would like to see covered in 2015, feel free to contact me at jeff@ibsystems.com or 719.221.1867.

We look forward to an exciting 2017and providing you with the MCAD content you want most for improving your design, engineering, and manufacturing processes.

Keep MCADCafe.com your source for all things MCAD because 2017 is going to be a great year!

2017 MCADCafe Editorial Calendar of Monthly Topics

January 2017 – CAM Trends

February 2017 — Cloud Computing with MCAD Applications

Show Coverage — SolidWorks World 2017

March 2017 — Product Data Management (PDM) & Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) for SMBs

April 2017 — 3D Scanning and Reverse Engineering

Show Coverage — COFES

May 2017 – 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing

Show Coverage — SME RAPID

Show Coverage – PTC LiveWorx

June 2017 – The Internet of Everything

Show Coverage – HxGN Live

July 2017 – Metrology and Inspection

Show Coverage — CMSC

August 2017 – Industrial Design

Show Coverage — SIGGRAPH

September 2017 – CAM Trends PartII

Show Coverage – Westec

Show Coverage – EMO

October 2017 – Mechatronics — The Convergence of MCAD/ECAD/EDA In Product Design

Show Coverage – 3D CIC

November 2017 — Maker/DIY Movement

Show Coverage — Fabtech

Show Coverage — Autodesk University

December 2017 – CAD/CAM/CAE Industry Trends/Year In Review

Throughout the year, and where possible, we will conduct and publish product reviews. Some possibilities include:

  • Multi-platform apps
  • CAD software
  • CAM software
  • CAE software
  • Cloud-based software
  • Online educational opportunities for engineers
  • 3D scanning and point cloud processing software
  • Rendering software
  • AR/VR systems
  • Desktop and mobile workstations, and tablets

We Have A Winner!

Last week at our exhibition booth at Autodesk University we solicited business cards from attendees for a chance at winning a random drawing for a Kindle Fire.

Our randomly chosen winner was Steve Peterie who has been using AutoCAD since 1993. Currently, he is the Design Manager for O’Reilly Auto Parts and has been with the company for over 20 years. He uses AutoCAD every day to design site layouts and floor plans for new store and Distribution Centers. He also oversees all the architects and engineers for all new store growth in 47 states.

Congratulations Steve!

Are We Finally Witnessing the Future of Making Things?

 
November 17th, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

Along with almost 10,000 other attendees, I was in Las Vegas this week at Autodesk University and am still trying to comprehend if I’ve just seen the future of manufacturing.

To a large extent, Autodesk’s vision for the future of making things stems from what it calls generative design.

So what is generative design? According to Autodesk’s official definition, generative design mimics nature’s evolutionary approach to design.

AU 2016 2

AU 2016: The Future Of Making Things

In the digital realm, designers and engineers input design goals into generative design software, along with parameters, such as manufacturing methods, materials, and cost constraints. Using cloud computing, the software quickly explores all possible permutations of a solution, generating design alternatives. The software then tests and learns from each iteration what works, what doesn’t, and what works best.

In other words, with generative design, there is not necessarily a single solution to a problem, instead, there are potentially thousands of solutions that address the initial problem.

Read the rest of Are We Finally Witnessing the Future of Making Things?

MBD Finally Gaining Momentum for Smart Manufacturing

 
November 10th, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a very interesting event called the 3D Collaboration & Interoperability Congress 2016 (3D CIC) that was hosted by our colleagues at Action Engineering. The actual conference event was two days, but was preceded by a SOLIDWORKS user group meeting that focused exclusively on model-based definition (MBD) for an entire day. Myself, along with about 60 other attendees got a good look at MBD, not just SOLIDWORKS’ perspective, but a broader view, as well.

I was fortunate to sit next to Oboe Wu, product manager at SOLIDWORKS who is a huge proponent of MBD. With SOLIDWORKS MBD, you can communicate product and PMI directly in 3D, bypassing time-consuming 2D processes, in other words, drawings.

SOLIDWORKS MBD sets data such as product models, dimensions, geometric tolerances, surface finishes, welding symbols, bills of material (BOM), callouts, tables, notes, Meta properties, and other annotations within the SOLIDWORKS 3D environment in 3D PMI. Because all the information needed to guide the operation is integrated with the 3D models, traditional 2D drawings are no longer needed (at least in theory).

With MBD, 2D drawings become less necessary and meaningful. Instead of having a 3D model and a 2D drawing in a traditional workflow, the model is the drawing in an MBD workflow. The MBD approach provides a direct connection and single digital data thread from design to engineering to inspection.

SOLIDWORKS MBD 2017

In our conversations, SOLIDWORKS’ Wu was quick to point out that while MBD promotes more clear communication, it is not yet a total replacement for 2D drawings for many customers, but rather a peaceful coexistence between model and drawing. In other words, MBD is not just going paperless, it’s much broader than that. With MBD, he said that the full potential of 3D models is just now beginning to be realized by a wider customer base, with a younger workforce being more accepting of 3D models and MBD. In his opinion, he said that some of the biggest drivers for MBD and its direct design-to-manufacturing connection are additive manufacturing, as well as conventional machining.

Read the rest of MBD Finally Gaining Momentum for Smart Manufacturing

One Year In, HP Inc. Continues To Reinvent Itself

 
November 3rd, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

If there ever was a company that has struggled to reinvent and find itself, as well as its former stature in consumer and commercial technology, it’s HP.

There was a time when HP had no equal in several product segments, such as test & measurement, calculators, pocket PCs/personal assistants, etc., but those days are long gone. Sure, the company reigns in printers, and their desktop and mobile workstations are good, but not nearly as compelling as in the good old days.

HP’s reign as the world’s largest manufacturer of personal computers came to an end in the second quarter of 2013. At the time sales figures showed that Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo shipped more computers during that period than HP, which had held the crown as the largest PC maker since at least 2006.

In an attempt to return to its former glory days, HP split into two public companies with one side focusing on its cloud and enterprise market (Hewlett-Packard Enterprise), and the other on personal systems (computers) and printers (HP Inc.). To make this happen, the company also cut thousands of jobs in the process.


Read the rest of One Year In, HP Inc. Continues To Reinvent Itself

Wakeup Call For One Of IoT’s Biggest Nightmares – Denial of Service

 
October 27th, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

Well, it was only a matter of time before what happened last Friday happened. I’m talking about the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) incident on server farms of a key internet firm, Dyn, that repeatedly disrupted access to major websites and online services including Twitter, Netflix,GitHub, and PayPal across the U.S. and Europe last Friday. The White House called the disruption malicious and hacker groups have claimed responsibility, though their assertion is not yet verified.

The event involved multiple denial-of-service (DoS) attacks targeting systems operated by Domain Name System (DNS) provider, Dyn, that rendered major internet platforms and services unavailable to large swaths of North America and Europe.

“The complexity of the attacks is what is making it so difficult for us,” said Kyle York, Dyn’s chief strategy officer. “What they are actually doing is moving around the world with each attack.”

As a DNS provider, Dyn provides to end-users the service of mapping an Internet domain name—when, for instance, entered into a web browser—to its corresponding IP address. The DDoS attack involved tens of millions of DNS lookup requests from a large number of IP addresses. The activities are believed to involve a botnet coordinated through a large number of IoT devices that had been infected with the Mirai malware.


Read the rest of Wakeup Call For One Of IoT’s Biggest Nightmares – Denial of Service

Apple Adding To Computer Product Line Minus Ports

 
October 20th, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

According to an article this week in Engadget, Apple reportedly plans to eliminate the USB 3.0 and Magsafe ports on its next-gen MacBook, and kill the 11-inch MacBook Air altogether. That’s according to Macotakara, the Japanese rumor site that was among the first to predict that the company would kill the traditional headphone jack on the iPhone 7. It also claims that Apple will unveil a 15.4- and 13.3-inch MacBook Pro at a new product launch event next week.

If the report is accurate, MacBook Pros will only have USB Type C and Thunderbolt 3 ports. As with the new MacBook, you’d presumably charge it through the USB-C port and connect peripherals via Thunderbolt 3. That means you’d need some kind of USB 3.0 adapter, since the majority of storage and other peripherals still use the traditional standard. For the MacBook, Apple sells a $79 USB-C dock that gives you USB 3.0, USB-C for power and an HDMI connection.

Mac USB Ports

Are These Ports Gone In The New MacBook Pros?

The company will also release a new 13.3-inch MacBook Air, but discontinue the 11-inch model, according to the report. That squares with previous rumors that Apple would kill the smaller Air model, since it has been made effectively redundant by the 12-inch MacBook. However, it also shows that it isn’t discontinuing the MacBook Air completely, as some feared (including me).

Read the rest of Apple Adding To Computer Product Line Minus Ports

Dassault Systemes Helps Drive Driverless Vehicle Development With 3DEXPERIENCE

 
October 13th, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

When it comes to product manufacturing, consumers have zero tolerance for errors, and even less when it comes to vehicles. As we enter into a new generation of vehicle R&D with connected and autonomous cars, these expectations will only increase. What will this mean for automotive manufacturers and how will it change the traditional design and development processes?

Enter 3D modeling, simulation, and virtual reality (VR), things that Dassault Systemes knows something about.

Two announcements made recently by Groupe Renault and PSA Group demonstrate how Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform is helping car companies to use several 3D technologies to design, create, and visualize innovative transportation products, including autonomous vehicles, to meet the demand of their customers with what it calls its Target Zero Defect platform.

Dassault Systemes’ Target Zero Defect Collaborative Platform

The transportation and mobility industries are continually impacted by broad social and economic trends. Concern for the environment is currently the top influencer. The push for improved fuel efficiency has received unprecedented attention, with government agencies worldwide imposing increasingly strict regulations. Environmental friendliness has also become a purchasing concern of consumers, who also demand the same web connectivity and entertainment options they experience at home and on their mobile devices. And then there’s connected/autonomous/driverless vehicles.

Dassault Systèmes is responding to these business and technical challenges with its Transportation and Mobility Industry Solution Experiences. The “Target Zero Defect” Experience builds upon the 3DEXPERIENCE platform with a series of industry-tailored process modules that empower users with the tools needed to address many industry concerns. For customers in the transportation and mobility industry these modules can help initiate the product development process flow using company-established knowledge and best practices that ensure and sustain competitive advantage. Through the full cycle of development from conceptual engineering to component design, manufacturing, and final assembly, the Dassault Systèmes industry process modules are designed to allow users to target zero defects in product delivery.

DE_3D_EXperience

Target Zero Defect Modules Span the Automotive Product Lifecycle

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Stratasys Shows Off Unique 3D Printing Demonstrators At IMTS

 
October 6th, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

IMTS Logo

Last month at IMTS 2016 we checked out a lot of new and improved manufacturing technologies, including several innovative developments in 3D printing/additive manufacturing. A couple of the most unique technology introductions were from Stratasys.

The company demonstrated its next-generation manufacturing technologies as part of its Shaping What’s Next vision for manufacturing that builds on its industrial FDM 3D printing expertise in response to the needs of customers’ most challenging applications, addressing manufacturers’ needs to rapidly produce strong parts ranging in size from an automobile armrest to an entire aircraft interior panel.

Stratasys developed two new prototype machines that they called demonstrators to prove their practicality – the Infinite Build 3D Demonstrator and the Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator.

Stratasys CMO, Tim Bohling, Leads Tour of Company’s 3D Printing at IMTS 2016

The Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator

The Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator was designed to address the requirements of aerospace, automotive and other industries for large, lightweight, thermoplastic parts with predictable mechanical properties. The 3D Demonstrator featured a new approach to FDM extrusion that increases throughput and repeatability. The system also employed a unique “infinite-build” approach, that prints on a vertical plane for parts that are virtually unlimited size in the build direction, such as entire airplane panels.

The Infinite-Build demonstrator is called that because, by flipping the vertical FDM process on its side, “We’re able to print parts in that vertical plane direction essentially as large as we want,” said Rich Garrity, president of Stratasys Americas.

Read the rest of Stratasys Shows Off Unique 3D Printing Demonstrators At IMTS

CAM Software Developments at IMTS 2016 – Part 2

 
September 29th, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

IMTS Logo

During the course of IMTS 2016 we visited and talked with several CAM vendors on what they specifically were showing at the event, as well as their take on the CAM industry in general.

In Part 2 of a series started last week, what follows are the results of some of the conversations we had while looking for the newest and most innovative in CAM software at IMTS 2016.

MachineWorks

MachineWorks functionality offers real-time simulation and verification for virtually any type of CNC machining, including kinematics, multi-axis, mill-turn, robotics, Swiss-type turning, Wire EDM, hybrid machining (subtractive + additive manufacturing) with features such as on-the-fly crash and gouge check, target part comparison, material removal and infinite zooming.

The forthcoming MachineWorks release contains many developments, one of the most significant being the support of cloud-based applications for CNC simulation and verification. This new feature allows networked devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops to visualize MachineWorks simulations running in the cloud.

MachineWorks Verification Software Showing Clash Detection

A new geometry query API makes rendering integration much easier for applications. It has been designed to be future-proof and flexible.

Read the rest of CAM Software Developments at IMTS 2016 – Part 2




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