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Apple Adding To Computer Product Line Minus Ports

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

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).


Dassault Systemes Helps Drive Driverless Vehicle Development With 3DEXPERIENCE

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

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.


Target Zero Defect Modules Span the Automotive Product Lifecycle


Stratasys Shows Off Unique 3D Printing Demonstrators At IMTS

Thursday, October 6th, 2016


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.


CAM Software Developments at IMTS 2016 – Part 2

Thursday, September 29th, 2016


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 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.


CAM Software Developments at IMTS 2016 – Part 1

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016



IMTS is all about the many aspects of manufacturing from a technology standpoint, so it’s only natural that a lot of the major CAM vendors were represented on the exhibition floor.

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.

Almost without exception, every CAM vendor we spoke with talked of faster rates for increased efficiency/productivity, greater levels of automation with less operator intervention required, better integration with CAD, ability to handle a broader range of machines, tools, and materials, new roughing and finishing strategies, and so on. Some touted cloud-based capabilities and the ability to exploit the benefits of model-based design. Admittedly, though, with fancy new wrappers, some of the CAM tools were basically repackaged with aging technology more than a decade old underlying a new user interface. However, there were some notable exceptions, and these really stood out from the pack as CAM innovations.

What follows are the results of some of the conversations we had while looking for the latest and greatest in CAM software and what was truly new.


At IMTS 2016 Autodesk ushered in its new 2017 CAM products for many advanced manufacturing applications ranging from CNC mill- and lathe-programming to complex mold and die manufacturing that combine the legacy in CAM software from Delcam with Autodesk’s 3D design and manufacturing software.


IMTS 2016: Exhausting, But Exhilarating

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

IMTS LogoHeld every two years at McCormick Place in Chicago, the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) is the one of the largest (over 110,000 attendees), most comprehensive (~2,400 exhibitors), and longest (six days) manufacturing shows conferences in the world, certainly North America. This year’s event marked IMTS’s 31st edition. First timers and long timers are overwhelmed by the sheer size of this event. At over 1.3 million square feet, you better dress comfortably and prepare for an overload of manufacturing technology sights and sounds.

Because IMTS is so comprehensive and massive, planning is everything, and as you walk around the various pavilions, you start to get a sense of trends and likely future impact of just about all of the technological aspects of design, engineering, and manufacturing.

IMTS Balloon

Below are the major manufacturing trends that I experienced this week. Starting next week I’ll detail what I considered to be the most significant technologies and products showcased at IMTS this time around. Next week, I’ll also go over the major software developments that were introduced — mostly CAM, but some significant stuff.


QIF: A Realistic Framework For The Future Of Manufacturing

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Interoperability, collaboration, inspection, quality, standards, proprietary data, neutrality, competition, and innovation – these are words and realities that all manufacturers deal with daily. Over the years there have been myriad attempts to bring this stuff together, all while protecting IP. However, as we know, while the attempts to make this happen have often been valiant, too often they have fallen well short, or worse, failed altogether.

That failure may be on its way to being a thing of the past with the advent of the Quality Information Framework (QIF), an ANSI standard that supports digital thread concepts in engineering applications ranging from product design through manufacturing. Based on the XML standard, it contains a Library of XML Schema ensuring both data integrity and data interoperability in Model Based Enterprise (MBE) implementations.

Changing Of the Guard At ANSYS

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

For only the fourth time since its inception, earlier this week ANSYS announced a leadership succession plan with a new CEO. James E. Cashman, who has served as ANSYS’ CEO since 2000, will step down as CEO and become Chairman of the Board of Directors effective January 1, 2017. Dr. Ajei S. Gopal, a technology industry veteran who has served as a member of the ANSYS Board since 2011, has been appointed President and CEO effective immediately and will continue to serve on the Board. Dr. Gopal will become CEO on January 1, 2017. Ronald W. Hovsepian, who currently serves as Chairman of the ANSYS Board, will assume the role of Lead Independent Director as part of this transition.



Will Vuforia Bring Augmented Reality Euphoria To PTC?

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

As part of its ongoing acquisition quest, less than a year ago PTC acquired Vuforia from Qualcomm Connected Experiences for $65 million. What a difference a year has made!

Vuforia is an augmented reality (AR) technology platform, that PTC is betting will enrich its technology portfolio and further foster its strategy to provide technologies that blend the digital and physical worlds. In other words, the next phase of the Internet of Things (IoT).

When it was first reported that Qualcomm was soliciting bids for Vuforia as part of its effort to cut costs and focus on its key mobile business, PTC surprisingly was the ultimate suitor for the company and its technology.

Vuforia is a software platform that democratizes AR development. According to PTC, Vuforia is the most widely used AR platform in the world, powering more than 80% of AR apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play. In fact, more than 30,000 Vuforia-powered applications have been published on the App Store and Google Play – and have led to more than 275 million app installs. Vuforia also supports an active developer ecosystem with more than 250,000 registered developers, and more than 30,000 projects in development.

Vuforia Logo



Part 2: Is It Really Smart To Buy Totally Into IoT?

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

For the past several years we all have heard the non-stop hype from a number of different sources that the Internet of Things (IoT) is the thing that will change everything and improve our lives in ways that are still unimaginable to us. That may be true, but relatively little attention is paid to the converse – what are some of the not so great things that could result from IoT? This darker side of IoT, of course, includes security, but how about data handling, infrastructure, privacy, and the inevitable question of who actually owns the data generated from and for IoT. All of these issues are problems now and will only continue to grow unless and until they are adequately addressed.

IoT Part 2

This week I’ll cover IoT data handling and data infrastructure, both critical if the IoT is to proliferate as many vendors hope and hype.

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