Jeff's MCAD Blogging
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 »
November 20th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
It seems that one of the most talked about events in the engineering software space this year has been Autodesk’s acquisition of HSMWorks. The misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding this acquisition have been amazing.
In an attempt to get a better handle on the reasons and implications for the acquisition, I spoke briefly with Carl White, Director of Manufacturing Engineering Products at Autodesk.
He said the primary reason for the HSMWorks acquisition was to get into production workflows that previously had been untouched (from Autodesk’s perspective). He feels that the acquisition will help round out Autodesk’s Digital Prototyping philosophy, since he believes that HSMWorks is oriented to both CAM programmers and designers.
For the near term, White said that Autodesk is looking hard at the best way to integrate HSMWorks into the workflows of Autodesk (Inventor) customers. He said that Autodesk intends to keep improving the underlying HSMWorks kernel and will remain neutral and CAD agnostic. OK, I’ll buy that for the time being.
Longer term, he said that Autodesk would be exploring more cloud options with HSMWorks, but couldn’t elaborate at this time. There’s that cloud thing again . . .
He said that the HSMWorks channel is viable and still running, but didn’t elaborate too much on that point.
In closing, White said that Autodesk realizes that it is largely dealing with mixed, and not exclusive, CAD environments. He maintained that Autodesk is not in the business of acquiring technology companies to shut them down.
This is an example of Autodesk making an acquisition as part of its strategy to becoming a bigger presence in the plug-in software business. White said that Autodesk is committed to continuing to develop HSMWorks to benefit both Inventor and SolidWorks users.
So, after talking with Autodesk’s Carl White about the fate of HSMWorks product and customers, I came away with a feeling that it may not be the doom and gloom situation purported by some, but this is one to watch closely to see what actually happens as we move forward.
November 8th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Siemens is expanding its portfolio of industry software by acquiring LMS International NV (Leuven, Belgium), a leading provider of test and mechatronic simulation software including model-based systems engineering to the automotive, aerospace and other advanced manufacturing industries. With this acquisition, Siemens will become the first product lifecycle management (PLM) software company to provide a closed-loop systems-driven product development solution extending all the way to integrated test management. The integrated solution will increase simulation accuracy, which improves decision making and enhances customers’ ability to design the product right the first time. The decision making process is underpinned by a deep and accurate virtual analysis linked to the physical world.
Siemens is the leader in next generation product development, through a strategy that unites the virtual and real worlds and is well positioned in integrating virtual product development with physical manufacturing. The complexity of today’s products demands a systems driven approach to product development. A key element of this approach is systems engineering which requires the merging of the virtual and physical domains for product development. With the acquisition of LMS, Siemens can provide a complete suite of virtual design, simulation and physical performance testing applications intelligently integrating all aspects of the product development process.
“With the acquisition of LMS, we are expanding our portfolio of industry software in an area that is critical for many customers. They will now be able to simulate, test, optimize, and produce their products in a unified, consistent data environment. This will make them faster, more efficient, more flexible, and more cost-effective,” explains Anton S. Huber, CEO of the Industry Automation Division.
“By acquiring LMS we continue to deliver on our goal of providing the full breadth of product development solutions, from the virtual to the physical. This will enhance our core competencies by adding model-based simulation, design, test and measurement capabilities to both the virtual design and physical test process. Integrating the full environment gives our customers the ability to bring together information from the logical model, physical model and functional model to refine and optimize designs and measure results, which transforms decision making in product development. It’s something our customers appreciate today and will even more fully appreciate tomorrow. We are committed to investing both organically and through acquisitions to achieve our vision, which includes providing world class simulation solutions,” said Chuck Grindstaff, CEO and president of Siemens’ PLM Software Business Unit.
“We will continue to focus on our core strength of test and mechatronic simulation,” said Urbain Vandeurzen, Chairman and CEO of LMS. “In combination with the entire Siemens PLM Software portfolio we plan to further expand our leading position in the automotive, aerospace and other advanced industries. We are confident that the strong market recognition of LMS’ engineering excellence will continue to be visible and to appeal to customers in all industries.”
The manufacturing industry faces a significant challenge of efficiently developing the right products while mastering the growing complexity of next generation products. One aspect of this growing complexity is the rapid expansion of products integrating mechanical systems, electronics and software, referred to as mechatronic systems. With the acquisition of LMS, Siemens is well positioned to deliver PLM solutions where the mechatronic systems in a new design will simultaneously be optimized.
This acquisition builds on Siemens’ HD-PLM vision of providing an immersive, decision-making environment to help customers make smarter decisions resulting in better products. Siemens and LMS are both committed to providing open solutions, which allow customers the flexibility to integrate with existing systems to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their product development and manufacturing processes.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
In what has been a banner year for acquisitions in the engineering software arena, yet another notable acquisition is about to go on the books for 2012. This time it’s Siemens PLM Software acquiring LMS, a leader in test and mechatronic simulation widely used in the automotive and aerospace sectors. With a unique combination of mechatronic simulation software, testing systems and engineering services, LMS addresses diverse engineering attributes, ranging from system dynamics, structural integrity and sound quality to durability, safety, and power consumption.
We have followed LMS for several years and have been impressed by the breadth, depth, and uniqueness of its product offerings. Based on what LMS has to offer and what Siemens PLM Software has been looking for to expand its offerings in CAE and simulation, this looks like a good deal for both parties.
For several years, we have considered one of the most prominent aspects of LMS to be its Virtual.Lab, LMS’ simulation environment for functional performance engineering. LMS Virtual.Lab is an integrated software suite that simulates the performance of mechanical systems with regard to attributes such as noise and vibration, durability, ride and handling, and dynamic motion. LMS Virtual.Lab covers virtually all the critical process steps and required technologies to perform an end-to-end assessment of designs in key disciplines that are especially important to the automotive and aerospace markets. The last time I checked, LMS Virtual.Lab suite’s modules were based on CAA (Component Application Architecture), the open architecture PLM system from Dassault Systemes. Whether this is still the case and/or will continue into the future remains to be seen.
Virtual.Lab provides a digital engineering process for refining critical functional performance attributes before committing to physical prototyping. For example, LMS Virtual.Lab lets users accurately assess such things as the radiated noise of a new engine design, the vibration handling and associated comfort levels of a complete vehicle, or the fatigue resistance of an aircraft landing gear. Using Virtual.Lab, you can analyze a multitude of design options, and drive major design choices from the perspective of key performance attributes.
As it has for some time, Virtual.Lab offers application-specific modules for areas, such as powertrain acoustics, powertrain dynamics, vehicle dynamics, full-vehicle noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH), component and system-level durability. Some of the modules available with LMS Virtual Lab include:
LMS Virtual.Lab Finite Element Method (FEM) Acoustics — LMS Virtual.Lab FEM Acoustics offers an advanced method for simulating acoustics using FE meshes while still modeling the propagation area. Since these types of models tend to be large, advanced computing techniques and solvers are essential. With LMS Virtual.Lab Rev 9, FEM acoustics provides more solver options and high-tech routing features to solve practically any application regardless of size or frequency range.
LMS Virtual.Lab Boundary Element Method (BEM) Acoustics — Time domain BEM is a new time-based method for acoustic wave propagation applications. Users can see how the acoustic waves spread throughout an acoustic field. It is a way to efficiently solve problems such as high-frequency acoustic structural radiation issues.
LMS Virtual.Lab Source Identification — Source identification is an inverse acoustic technique that accurately determines vibration sources for a better understanding of noise problems and ultimately better noise and vibration system optimization. By coupling a near-field measurement with Inverse Numerical Acoustics, users can simulate vibration sources to use as loads for accurate forward acoustic predictions (near field measurement applied for far field simulation).
LMS Virtual.Lab Aero-Acoustics — Enhanced for aero-acoustic applications, LMS Virtual.Lab Aero-Acoustics now contains a variety of features to reduce flow-induced noise, including conservative mapping, quadrupoles including truncation, and confined fan.
LMS Virtual.Lab Motion — Addresses real-world problems, such as driving dynamics, aerospace, wind, powertrain, tracked vehicle and functional and physical (1D/3D) co-simulation.
LMS Virtual.Lab Durability — Thermal fatigue methodology analyzes the impact of changing temperatures on fatigue behavior both by modeling the effect of temperature on the fatigue material properties, as well as accounting for the influence of temperature cycles on fatigue performances. This is a good way to accurately evaluate fatigue for engine parts, exhaust systems, turbo chargers, and other parts that are influenced by cyclical temperatures.
For some time, LMS Virtual.Lab has integrated Design of Experiments (DOE), Response Surface Modeling (RSM) and advanced optimization techniques. These capabilities let Virtual.Lab users automatically assess several design alternatives, and use design methodologies to assess the influence of real-world variability in a search for safer, higher-quality, and better performing products.
For automotive and aerospace design simulation, the LMS Virtual.Lab suite remains one of the most comprehensive, capable, and versatile packages we have seen. Of course, Siemens is acquiring much more than Virtual.Lab, and this should be an excellent addition and complement to its high-end NX CAD line. As good acquisitions (mostly) should, this one will let each organization continue to do what they do best, hopefully in the best interest of each other’s customers.
The Week’s Top 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.
A new module has been made available for the latest version of Delcam’s PowerINSPECT inspection software that allows the software to create efficient inspection sequences for use on dual-column CNC coordinate-measuring machines (CMMs). The combination of a dual-column CMM and PowerINSPECT enables inspection times to be reduced by allowing the simultaneous measurement of different features on larger parts. Using this new module provides the ability to measure parts on these devices in a single coordinate system without repositioning. In general, the dual-column mode works in a similar manner to the single-column CNC version of PowerINSPECT: models are loaded in the same way; inspection items are created using the same methods and so on. An additional programming operation is needed to distribute the various items to be inspected between the two columns. Additions to the offline-programming and program-running capabilities provide tools for moving inspection items between the two columns to balance the inspection time needed for each one. The user can switch columns in much the same way that they switch probes or tools.
Red Cedar Technology has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Comet Solutions to integrate HEEDS multi-disciplinary design optimization technology with the Comet Performance Engineering Workspace. The Comet Performance Engineering Workspace leverages a proprietary Abstract Engineering Model to enable both process automation and multi-fidelity models. By linking this with the revolutionary technology in the HEEDS multi-disciplinary optimization software, the design space of a complete CAD and CAE system model can be quickly explored and the design can be efficiently optimized.
Granta Design announced a new software product to provide vital materials data for simulation engineers, developed through Granta’s partnership with ANSYS. The new GRANTA MI:Materials Gateway for ANSYS Workbench enables validated materials property models to be quickly and consistently accessed and applied from within ANSYS software, providing full traceability of the materials inputs to simulations. Working with some of the world’s top engineering enterprises, Granta has developed GRANTA MI, a system to capture, analyze, and manage all of a company’s corporate materials data – for example, from testing, R&D, or previous design experience. This data is complemented by Granta’s catalog of materials property reference data, which covers metals, plastics, ceramics, composite materials, etc. With the new MI:Materials Gateway any authorized ANSYS Workbench user can browse and search all of this information resource within their routine workflows. They can then select approved CAE models and apply them directly to their simulation projects.
GstarCAD released GstarCAD MC PRO for Android provides users many functions, such as browsing, editing, sharing and saving CAD drawings on a mobile device. GstarCAD MC PRO adds some innovative functions, including reading .dwg drawings directly without conversion and complete offline functionality.
Product and Company News
Related MCAD News
October 30th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
At the recent International Manufacturing and Technology Show IMTS) in Chicago, ThomasNet.com formally relaunched its free platform for supplier discovery and sourcing of components, equipment, MRO products, raw materials and custom manufacturing services. The new ThomasNet.com offers users an even wider range of content, tools and resources. Engineers, purchasing professionals, and facilities managers can quickly find suppliers, source products, and access CAD models and product news.
For those of you not familiar with it (or old enough) and before going online, the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers, were known as the “big green books” and “Thomas Registry”, a multi-volume directory of industrial product information covering distributors, manufacturers, and service companies within over 60,000 industrial categories. It was first published in 1898 by Harvey Mark Thomas as Hardware and Kindred Trades. The company stopped publishing its print products in 2006 due to declining circulation as Internet searches eroded the products’ usability.
1905 Thomas’ Register of American Manufacturers
Since then, Thomas moved its database online as ThomasNet, published and maintained by Thomas Industrial Network. ThomasNet has expanded to provide not only product and company information, but Online catalogs, computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, news, press releases, forums, and blogs.
After IMTS I spoke with Tom Greco, VP of ThomasNet ThomasNet with one main question: With so much available online, why should I feel compelled to use ThomasNet.com? He said that the one of the most compelling reasons for using the ThomasNet.com platform is Product Search (ps.thomasnet.com) that enables users to find the specific components and products they are looking for.
Thomas’ team of content engineers has aggregated detailed information and line item detail for over 100 million parts from over 30,000 suppliers. Product Search allows users to specify the product they are looking for using groundbreaking taxonomy-powered search and navigation features. Specifiers can find the product that meets their requirements by defining precise product attributes such as applications, materials, dimensions and tolerances.
The new site also makes it easier for buyers to find local suppliers, quality certified suppliers, and companies that meet their supplier diversity requirements. Whether searching for women-owned businesses, an ISO-certified custom manufacturer, or nearby distributors, the new ThomasNet.com makes it easier to hone in on exactly what you need and create a supplier short list.
“We make it our business to understand the challenges our users face when sourcing, and the new ThomasNet.com is designed to address them. Product Search combines semantic search technology with curated content to create an unparalleled sourcing tool,” said ThomasNet’s Greco. “Product Search is a perfect companion to our improved supplier directory and 2D/3D CAD model library.” According to Greco, interestingly, he said that some 80% of product decisions and purchases are made based on the huge volume of CAD drawings that are available.
Greco said that the new ThomasNet.com platform includes a suite of applications, including:
As for the future, Greco said that in the next 12-18 months extensions will be made to Thomas.Net to what exists today, including additional marketing and product services, as well as additional search utilities targeted to solving specific engineering problems. He also said there will be two to three major upgrades to ThomasNet.com in the next 12 months.
Even with all that is available on the Internet, I still consider ThomasNet.com the “go to” application for product and service discovery and sourcing during the product development process.
Check it out for yourself at: www.thomasnet.com
October 18th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
CONCORD, MA, October 10, 2012 – SpaceClaim, the leading provider of flexible and affordable 3D for engineering, design, and manufacturing, today announced the immediate availability of SpaceClaim Engineer 2012+. This release introduces significant new capabilities for manufacturing, simulation, concept development, and mesh remodeling. These enhancements will help all engineers work more effectively in 3D, without the high cost and complexity of traditional CAD.
SpaceClaim has revolutionized modern mechanical design by providing an easy-to-use and affordable way for engineers and product teams to create, modify, repair, and enhance 3D CAD geometry, without compromising existing processes and methods. SpaceClaim users can leverage existing 2D and 3D designs, including customer and supplier models, analysis and simulation results, mesh and STL data, and surface models, along with PMI and tolerance data, in all their work.
SpaceClaim adds value to existing CAD and PLM infrastructure while removing the waste and rework caused by incompatible file formats. In stark contrast to overpriced and inefficient history-based solid modelers, SpaceClaim works with foreign CAD data as easily as it does its own. It directly opens and edits all leading 2D and 3D CAD file formats as well as neutral file formats, such as JT (with PMI), STEP, and 3D PDF.
SpaceClaim Engineer 2012+ enables small and large manufacturers competing in a global market to get parts out the door faster, finish projects on budget and ahead of schedule, and win more business. SpaceClaim makes it easy for companies specializing in CNC machining, tool and fixture design, injection molding, sheet metal, and production automation to communicate more efficiently with their customers, focus on value-added work, and increase production rates.
“SpaceClaim provides discrete manufacturers with the competitive edge needed in today’s tough global economy,” said Chris Randles, SpaceClaim President and CEO. “Access to 3D is not the same as access to traditional CAD. The benefits of 3D solid modeling extend far beyond detailed design, but it is impossible for companies to make the large investments required to deploy expensive and complicated CAD and PLM systems to every user. Traditional CAD plays a valuable role in the detailed design process, but SpaceClaim Engineer is the first and only product that enables all members of a product team to use 3D to do their jobs more effectively.”
New capabilities in SpaceClaim 2012+ include:
In addition to appealing to a wider range of end-users with this release, SpaceClaim is continuing to expand its partner and OEM channels. SpaceClaim’s direct modeling technology better serves independent software vendors, as its technology is easily adapted to specialized and proprietary tools and processes. In addition, SpaceClaim’s modern and extensive API makes it the most flexible 3D platform for third-party customization, and the fastest route to market for ISVs. New Solution Partners include fluid simulation experts Simerics, EDM provider First Trace, and 2D drafting provider SofTech. AMC Bridge is a new Software Development Partner offering services to develop SpaceClaim customizations for end-user customers and partners.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
The day before this announcement was made, I spoke with Blake Courter, Director of Customer Development at SpaceClaim. He walked me through some aspects of SpaceClaim’s business, what’s new in SpaceClaim Engineer 2012+, and demos of some of the newest features and capabilities. I’ve known Blake for a number of years at SpaceClaim, as well as previous employers, and his enthusiasm and understanding of the technologies he is representing and presenting have not diminished.
Founded in 2005, it’s hard to believe that SpaceClaim Engineer 2012+ is the tenth version of the software, but it is. How time flies. From the beginning as a CAD technology, SpaceClaim has had a different philosophy and market target than most of its competition. The company has never been shy about how it stacks up against and bests the competition with regard to cost and ease of use, and continues to do so with this release.
In SpaceClaim’s way of thinking, CAD is NOT the center of the universe. CAD does not translate to customers and actual business needs, and is not a business driver.
Rather, according to Courter, SpaceClaim has humility, but an understanding of what its customers need because it attempts to truly understand their business problems. In other words, SpaceClaim doesn’t let its collective ego get in the way. SpaceClaim views its software products not so much as a traditional design tool for just engineers, but more of a competitive weapon for sales to be employed by under-served software users. Targeted at the traditional CAD non-user (or non-traditional CAD user), one of the main focuses of the 3D modeling tool has been to make it as intuitive as possible for users new to CAD or those who had experienced difficulties with it in the past, meaning that it is “design oriented,” and not necessarily “operator oriented.” Definitely a different and refreshing take on CAD tools.
Also, SpaceClaim positions direct modeling as its product, and not just a feature or capability. A high stakes bet, because direct modeling is all they do, but one they seem to be winning.
I had forgotten, but Blake reminded me of the tight relationship that SpaceClaim has with Dassault Systemes Spatial Technologies. SpaceClaim still happily integrates Spatial’s ACIS modeling kernel into its products. So happy, in fact, that SpaceClaim has no plans at present to switch to Spatial’s CGM technology, because “it’s not time yet,” said Courter.
In the past, while I have been somewhat skeptical about SpaceClaim’s long-term prospects, I have tracked the company and its products and have seen how well they have fared in specific segments of the MCAD marketplace. SpaceClaim has always done things a little differently than the competition and maybe that’s a good thing because maybe the MCAD industry as whole should be doing things a little differently.
In a few weeks I’ll gets some hands-on time with SpaceClaim Engineer 2012+. I haven’t personally spent much time with it for a couple years and am anxious to see how it has evolved since then.
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
Autodesk has completed the acquisition of Qontext, enterprise social collaboration software, from India-based Pramati Technologies. The acquisition of the Qontext technology and development team will accelerate Autodesk’s ongoing move to the cloud and expansion of social capabilities in the Autodesk 360 cloud-based service. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Autodesk intends to use the Qontext technology to add new social capabilities to Autodesk 360, a cloud-based platform that offers users the ability to store, search, and view critical design data improving the way they design, visualize, simulate and share work with others at anytime from anywhere.
3D Systems announced that it acquired Rapidform, a leading global provider of 3D scan-to-CAD and inspection software tools, located in Seoul, South Korea for $35 million in cash, subject to final closing adjustments. Rapidform’s reverse engineering and inspection software combines scan data processing, mesh optimization, auto surfacing and CAD modeling in a single, integrated tool. 3D Systems expects Rapidform to contribute $15 million of revenue and deliver between $0.06 and $0.09 in earnings per share to its 2013 non-GAAP results. With the addition of Rapidform, 3D Systems has secured the cornerstone of its fifth growth initiative: to create a seamless, digital scan, design and print platform for the benefit of its customers. This important growth initiative is consistent with the company’s overall drive to democratize and deliver integrated 3D content-to-print solutions. Rapidform broadens 3D Systems’ range of capabilities with complementary products and technology, and extends its coverage and breadth globally with a significant foothold in South Korea and Japan.
Delcam has launched the 2013 version of Delcam for SolidWorks, the integrated CAM system for SolidWorks. The new release includes a new entry-level 3D milling option, plus many of the enhancements made to the 2013 version of the FeatureCAM feature-based programming system on which it is based. As a Gold Partner CAM product, it is, of course, fully compatible with the latest release of SolidWorks. The new entry-level 3D option includes all the 2D and 2.5D strategies available in Delcam for SolidWorks, plus the 3D single-surface strategies for Z-level roughing, with either offset or raster, and finishing with raster, isoline or spiral. It is intended mainly as an introductory level program for companies new to 3D machining but will also be useful for users that only have an occasional need for 3D capabilities or that only machine softer materials. A number of new strategies have been added to the high-speed machining module in Delcam for SolidWorks. Step cutting has been added within area clearance to remove large terraces that can be left on the part when using deeper roughing cuts. Extra toolpaths can now be generated that step back up the terrace with the existing large tool, adding extra cuts at intermediate levels. This results in more material being removed, using the same tool within the same toolpath. New five-axis strategies available in Delcam for SolidWorks 2013 include flowline machining between two curves, pencil machining and corner re-machining. These options for simultaneous five-axis machining allow a better surface finish to be achieved as well as ensuring access to more areas within the part in a single set-up. Delcam for SolidWorks is fully integrated into the SolidWorks environment so that the program looks and behaves like SolidWorks. It offers full associativity so that any changes in the CAD model are reflected automatically in the toolpaths. However, this associativity is more intelligent than that offered in many other integrated CAM systems.
Siemens Building Technologies announced today it has introduced the Environmental Impact Calculator, a new application now available free-of-charge through the Apple Store. Siemens’ new tool allows energy engineers, facility managers and others to estimate a building’s baseline carbon footprint from purchased electricity, natural gas and heating oil. In addition, users can measure the impact of energy efficiency improvements on an annual basis or throughout the length of a given project’s term. The calculator will convert building energy consumption data into relevant comparisons including the number of cars and light trucks removed from the road, the number of acres of forest absorbing carbon, and barrels of oil consumed. Results can be used to communicate reduction targets, develop a greenhouse gas reduction strategy or support a range of initiatives to reduce a building’s environmental impact. The app, compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad with iOS 4.0 or later, is available free-of-charge from Apple Store’s iTunes.
Product and Company News
Related MCAD News
October 11th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
3D Systems continues on its 2012 acquisition quest that started in January of this year when it closed on Z Corp. (a 3D printer manufacturer) and Vidar Systems Corp. (medical and dental optical imaging). It has also acquired some other complementary companies and technologies along the way since then.
This week, 3D Systems announced that it has acquired Rapidform, a provider of 3D scan-to-CAD and nspection software tools, located in Seoul, South Korea for $35 million in cash. 3D Systems expects Rapidform to contribute $15 million of revenue.
For those of you who might not be familiar with it, Rapidform develops reverse engineering and inspection software. It combinines scan data processing, mesh optimization, surfacing, and CAD modeling in a single, integrated workflow.
In its press release, 3D Systems said, “With the addition of Rapidform, 3D Systems has secured the cornerstone of its fifth growth initiative: to create a seamless, digital scan, design and print platform for the benefit of its customers. This important growth initiative is consistent with the company’s overall drive to democratize and deliver integrated 3D content-to-print solutions. Rapidform broadens 3D Systems’ range of capabilities with complementary products and technology, and extends its coverage and breadth globally with a significant foothold in South Korea and Japan.”
According to 3D Systems, the acquisition of Rapidform is part of an ongoing growth initiative that includes integrating CAD, capture, inspection, and manufacturing tools by:
3D Systems acquired the Rapidform product portfolio that includes:
What all this means is that 3D Systems now has the ability to cover capturing, processing, and printing 3D objects. That’s a pretty wide spectrum.
Like seemingly all sectors of engineering software, and increasingly hardware, market consolidation marches on. How this will impact current and future customers remains to be seen. However, don’t expect this to be the end of 3D Systems’ acquisition strategy.
October 4th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Autodesk has acquired certain assets of HSMWorks Aps, a developer of computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software. Through the acquisition of the HSMWorks technology, Autodesk will add software to control machine tools and related machinery to its portfolio of software for manufacturing. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“The acquisition of the HSMWorks technology brings machining expertise and next-generation CAM technology to the world’s most comprehensive portfolio of manufacturing software,” said Buzz Kross, Autodesk senior vice president, design, simulation and lifecycle products. “Autodesk has a long history of making design and engineering technology more accessible, and we look forward to bringing HSMWorks’ CAM technology to a broader group of users.”
Autodesk intends to integrate the HSMWorks technology with its industry leading software and cloud services for manufacturing, and will make current HSMWorks products available for purchase and HSMXpress available as a free download. Existing SolidWorks customers using HSMWorks will continue to receive support and product updates. HSMWorks Aps is based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Over the years I’ve seen CAD/CAM/CAE customers blindsided by vendors, but this acquisition may well take the cake. It was announced on October 1, but when I went to the HSMWorks website on October 3 to look for some background company information, the only information available was about Autodesk. That was quick.
I talked briefly with Noah Cole, Autodesk Corporate PR, on the acquisition. I asked him about what Autodesk actually acquired when the press release says “certain assets.” Cole said that specifically what Autodesk acquired were the HSMWorks technology and development team. When asked who within Autodesk would head up HSMWorks going forward, Cole said that was still being decided and that no organizational structure had been announced yet.
I think the biggest consequence of this acquisition is what happens to SolidWorks customers who have HSMWorks as an integral part of their businesses? After all, until a few days ago, HSMWorks was a SolidWorks Partner, and a Gold Partner at that, but no more. Keep in mind, though, DS SolidWorks is the “decider” when it comes to partner status.
How about these sentences, though, from the HSMWorks website: “Autodesk HSMWorks is designed from the ground up to work inside SolidWorks, providing a logical extension of the parametric SolidWorks assembly environment into the CAM world. Experienced SolidWorks users will feel right at home working with Autodesk HSMWorks and will be able to create high-quality toolpaths within minutes.” Takes a little getting used to seeing Autodesk and SolidWorks in the same sentence.
The HSMWorks website also includes something I thought I’d never see in the graphic below:
The question has to be asked, how long will Autodesk continue to support HSMWorks for SolidWorks once it is integrated into Inventor? I’m sure both SolidWorks and HSMWorks customers would love to know the answer to this question.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great acquisition for Autodesk, but you have to wonder, did Dassault Systemes SolidWorks have the opportunity to make the acquisition? With HSMWorks being a SolidWorks Gold Partner, DS had to have known that the company was in play. Did they choose not to act? And if so, why?
The following is from Tom Mortenson, an HSMWorks insider on the “official” Autodesk HSMWorks forum:
“What happens to HSMWorks?
Aside from the obvious name change, nothing. The product will continue under the new name, Autodesk HSMWorks, but the technology remains the same.
Will Autodesk HSMWorks continue to be developed and Will I Get Updates?
Yes, and yes. Autodesk HSMWorks will continue to be developed and we will continue to release updates. Autodesk HSMWorks 2012 R5 is now available and supports SolidWorks 2013. Autodesk HSMWorks 2013 will be released in the near future.
Will you be able to purchase new licenses?
Yes. Autodesk HSMWorks represents the very best of integrated of CAM for SolidWorks and there are no intentions of discontinuing the product.
What about support?
Support will continue through the existing channel of resellers, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the Autodesk HSMWorks forum (forum.hsmworks.com).
What are Autodesk’s plans for the HSMWorks technology?
Autodesk intends to integrate HSMWorks technology into the Autodesk portfolio of software, suites, and cloud services for manufacturing.
Does this mean that HSMWorks technology will be integrated with Autodesk Inventor, similar to its current integration with SolidWorks?
Autodesk is not providing specific details of future product plans at this time. The intention is to leverage the HSMWorks technology across their entire manufacturing portfolio.”
However, all may not be lost. While they were rebranded with the Autodesk name, the company still sells and supports applications such as Moldflow, T-Splines, and Algor to users of CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER, and SolidWorks, etc. Will that be the case with Autodesk HSMWorks? There’s no way of telling, but that might just end up being the case.
I guess a more unsettling aspect of the acquisition is that reseller contracts with HSMWorks have been discontinued effective immediately that will provide product support only through October 31, 2012. What happens after that, especially with contracts that are still in force?
Will this latest acquisition by a competitor be reason for some customers to jump ship to a completely new CAD platform? A few might, but I suspect relatively few. However, I suspect a larger number of current HSMWorks customers will be shopping for standalone CAM alternatives, but might include an associated CAD alternative, as well.
So, the march of CAD/CAM acquisitions and market consolidation goes on. Is this necessarily a bad thing? That all depends which side of the fence you’re on. Could this be a good thing? That depends on how Autodesk decides to treat current HSMWorks users – continue to support SolidWorks users for a steady income stream or discontinue support and force the hand of current users to make major decisions about CAD and CAM software. That’s all in Autodesk’s hands now.
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
MSC Software has acquired e-Xstream engineering, a spin-off of the Division of Applied Mechanics at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), renowned for multi-scale simulation. e-Xstream’s software platform, Digimat, is the reference solution for manufacturers and research scientists allowing them to design high performance composite materials more quickly and at lower cost by means of an accurate and reliable computational approach. The cplatform for modeling composite materials developed by e-Xstream offers advanced technology to materials suppliers, automotive and aerospace industries, and consumer product manufacturers as a way to innovate and reduce cost. Digimat multi-scale simulations can predict the physical behavior of a composite material from numerical simulations, the properties of its constituents, and the morphology of its microstructure.
INUS Technology released a new version of its inspection software, Rapidform XOV3. With this release, Rapidform XOV becomes a full-fledged contact inspection platform, with support for every major portable CMM device on the market. The completely new LiveInspect system, unique to Rapidform XOV, offers an automatic measurement guide that makes inspecting parts with a probe easy. After defining dimensions and tolerances on a nominal model, the software guides the operator how to measure a part and then generates a report automatically. Calculations are up to 10x faster than before, making the process of aligning, deviation analysis and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) faster. XOV is also the only native point cloud software with in-depth GD&T support for every callout in the ASME Y14.5 standard. Highlights of the 50+ enhancements include:
As Quantum International works to deliver robotics innovations to customers, the market is trending toward smaller, more user-friendly robots designed to work alongside humans—not replace them. “Small manufacturers are the future for industrial robotics,” said Quantum CEO Robert Federowicz. “We’re exploring the development of smaller, safer assembly line robots that you won’t need a hard hat to get near. Smartphones and tablets like the Apple iPad could provide the ideal interface for these new machines.” This more affordable, more flexible generation of robots could help bring more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., eliminating the need to outsource complex, repetitive tasks in the manufacture of electronics such as smartphones and laptops to countries with low wages. “The next generation of industrial robots will be closer to iRobot’s Roomba than the one-armed giants welding cars together today,” Federowicz said.
PTC has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Servigistics, developer of a suite of service lifecycle management (SLM) software solutions. The combination of the two companies firmly establishes PTC’s market presence in SLM by positioning PTC with the most comprehensive “system for service” in the industry. By adding Servigistics, PTC is now fully able to help global manufacturers service those same products. From a technology perspective, PTC’s SLM solution portfolio is now covers technical information, service knowledge management, service parts management, warranty and contract management, field service management, and service logistics. With its comprehensive SLM capabilities, PTC is now positioned to help discrete manufacturers transform their service strategies and operations into a true source of sustainable competitive edge – what PTC describes as “service advantage.”
Stratasys and Objet Ltd. announced that the closing of their pending merger will not occur during the third quarter as previously announced, as the process under the Defense Production Act of 1950 is not yet complete. The statutory period for completion of the process under the Act has extended beyond the end of the third quarter. Stratasys and Objet expect a conclusion in the fourth quarter. Since the parties did not close the merger by the end of the third quarter, Stratasys and Objet have agreed to amend their merger agreement to extend the end date under the merger agreement to October 19, 2012. Under the merger agreement as amended, either party can terminate the merger agreement if the merger is not completed on or before that date. As announced on April 16, 2012, Stratasys and Objet entered into a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will combine in an all-stock transaction with a combined equity value of approximately $1.4 billion, based upon the closing price of Stratasys’ common stock on April 13, 2012. The transaction has received HSR approval and also been approved by Stratasys stockholders.
Product and Company News
Related MCAD News
September 27th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Big Performance in a Small BOXX
BOXX Technologies is an interesting company that builds a diverse range of desktop and mobile workstations geared for high-performance applications, such as CAD and CAE. This time around, we’re putting the GoBOXX G1840 through its paces, a machine the company classifies as a mid-range mobile workstation. Mid-range was fine with us because we hoped it would provide a good balance between performance and price. Ultimately, the GoBOXX G1840 exceeded our expectations for its price/performance ratio.
This machine will appeal to those users who need high levels of performance, as well as mobility. In other words, big performance in a small package at a reasonable price. So, let’s see how it fared.
Specifications and Build Quality
The GoBOXX G1840 we received has the following specifications as supplied:
CPU: Intel Core i7 – 3920XM (2.9GHz); Quad-core
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
RAM: 16 GB DDR 3 (4 DIMMS)
SSD: 240 GB SATA
Connectivity: 2 SATAIII ports internal; 1 MSATA port; 1 IEEE 1394 port; 1 eSATA port; 1 USB 2.0 port; 3 USB 3.0 ports; 1 HDMI; 1 external DVI; 1 display port; Ethernet
Other: 8X DVD Multi-drive; 9 in 1 Flash memory reader; 2MB digital video camera; fingerprint reader; Kensington lock port;
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 64-bit
Dimensions:16.22” (W) x 10.87” (D) x 1.75” (H)
Weight: 8.60 pounds (with battery)
Warranty: One-year limited
Default resolution of the full-HD glassview LCD that measures a whopping 17.3″ is 1,920 x 1,080. Screen resolution and clarity are excellent and comfortable for a full day of work.
Even when pushing the unit during demanding benchmark testing, it remained relatively cool and the fans ran very quietly with no annoying whine.
I guess the only complaint I would have, and this goes for all mobile workstations, is the physical size and weight of the AC adapter. I know there are physical limitations for power considerations, but with the miniaturization of just about everything else electronic, it amazes me that these things are still the size and weight of house bricks.
Overall, though, the feel and build quality of the GoBOXX G1840 is very solid and substantial. There is no keyboard flex when bearing down on the keys and the backlit keyboard is an excellent ergonomic touch, especially in the low light conditions that I often prefer to work in. A very well thought out and nicely executed quality package.
When we received the GoBOXX 1840, we had high expectations for performance, largely because of the high levels of performance we have experienced in the past with other machines from BOXX. The objective (formal documented generic benchmarks) and subjective (actual design and engineering software applications) tests we ran confirmed our expectations and didn’t disappoint.
However, keep in mind that the tests were performed with the GoBOXX 1840 “out of the box,” as we received it – nothing was tweaked or optimized to distort the performance numbers (such as enabling multi-threading) in a positive or negative direction. I actually get more out of the subjective testing because it’s more “real world,” but the raw numbers from the benchmarks are also useful as a means of objective comparison with other machines in the class. Your evaluations will probably differ from mine, but they do provide a point for comparison.
For objective testing, we ran two benchmarks NovaBench (geared more toward overall performance) and SPECviewperf 11 (geared more toward graphics performance).
NovaBench Benchmark Test
16281 MB System RAM (Score: 244) – this was better than recent desktop workstations evaluations
CPU Tests (Score: 779) – this was comparable to most recent desktop workstations evaluations
Graphics Tests (Score: 90) – this was a bit lower than recent desktop evaluations, due to graphics card used
Hardware Tests (Score: 36) – on par with recent desktop evaluations
Total NovaBench Composite Score: 1,149
The 1,149 composite score is impressive because it is within 22% of the score of recent best desktop workstation evaluations.
SPECviewperf 11 Benchmark Test
The scores for the various demanding SPECviewperf 11 suite tests (CATIA, SolidWorks, Lightwave, Ensight, NX, and Pro/ENGINEER) run at 1,280 x 1,024 resolution (without multi-threading enabled) were among the best I have ever seen on a mobile workstation that I have benchmarked and reviewed.
For subjective testing, I ran Autodesk Alias Design, Inventor, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, and 3ds Max. I used data sets of standard models that I have created over the years for this testing, including a model with 70,000+ parts, renderings of complex surfaces, and animations. The GoBOXX 1840 performed very well and did not seem to grind through any of the subjective tests. I’ll be using the GoBOXX 1840 over the course of the next several months for upcoming MCAD, CAE, and visualization evaluations/reviews to get a better sense of how it fares over a longer haul. I’ll update as I go because I’m looking forward to a continued good experience with this computer.
Although there is certainly a case to be made for stationary desktop workstations, just as strong a case could be made for mobile professionals and mobile workstations. Even though mobile workstations have come a long way in the past few years, there is often still a huge price premium to pay for mobility. However, with the quality and performance of the GoBOXX 1840, I think there is a relatively small price premium here and is definitely worth the price. The GoBOXX 1840 offers desktop-level performance in a portable and well-executed mobile platform.
BOXX Technologies GoBOXX G1840 Mobile Workstation
Pros: Excellent performance; solid build quality with backlit keyboard; connectivity options; configurability.
Cons: None experienced.
Price (As configured for review): $4,669
Final Grade: A+
For More Information: BOXX Technologies; 512.835.0400; www.boxxtech.com
September 20th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
On September 10, 2012 Dassault Systèmes introduced SolidWorks 2013 with new and improved design applications to enhance collaboration, speed model creation and simplify the product development process. With more than 200 customer-driven improvements including powerful design tools and new drawing capabilities, sub-model simulation, cost estimation, network rendering, and wider sharing and increased connectivity, Dassault Systèmes is demonstrating its commitment to helping its SolidWorks customers create the right value for their own users.
Powered by Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, SolidWorks 2013 combines ease of use with broad customization allowing new users to learn fast, and experienced users to quickly become more productive at previously complex and sophisticated tasks. Building on the success of the last 20 releases, the new offering covers the range of SolidWorks applications for 3D design, simulation, technical communication, product data management, and sustainable design.
“SolidWorks allows me to get my job done faster than any other CAD package on the market,” said Robert Conley, owner of Interactive Cad Solutions. “In my line of work, I have to get jobs done quickly to make a profit, and SolidWorks allows me to do that. I’m really looking forward to the Previous Release Interoperability feature in SolidWorks 2013 to allow me to better share designs with my customers and more quickly get to a final product.”
“With SolidWorks 2013 we’ve upheld our tradition of listening to our customers by providing enhancements and functionality to help them simplify their lives and create the best products. The new additions to core geometry and expanded product offerings demonstrate our continuing investment in our flagship product,” said Bertrand Sicot, CEO, SolidWorks, Dassault Systèmes. “SolidWorks 2013 empowers innovative design with application specific tools that help users quickly define, share and validate the form, fit, and function of their designs. We look forward to watching our customers make their ideas a reality at a more rapid pace.”
SolidWorks 2013 highlights include:
SolidWorks 2013 makes it easier to bring engineers’ ideas from concept to manufacturing with new tools for more efficient simulation, and expanded environmental and cost analysis. In addition to the following enhancements, the recently announced SolidWorks Plastics and SolidWorks Electrical packages help users make more informed decisions that result in simplified designs, reduced mistakes, and faster time to market.
Additional new offerings help users create and modify complex geometries faster and easier, providing more efficient 3D models and 2D drawings.
The following new tools allow users to optimize the performance of a SolidWorks installation and maximize design team productivity.
To address the dispersed nature of most design teams, SolidWorks 2013 optimizes collaboration with improved connectivity, enhanced viewing capabilities, and expanded sharing of designs and data.
Availability and Pricing
For more information about SolidWorks 2013, including video demonstrations, visit: http://www.solidworks.com/launch. SolidWorks 2013 is available worldwide through SolidWorks authorized resellers. Contact a SolidWorks authorized reseller for pricing. To locate an authorized reseller in your region, please visit: http://www.solidworks.com/locateVAR/
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Right after Labor Day, I, along with a number of other CAD media members (old school press, new school bloggers) were invited to an pre-launch event sponsored by Dassault Systemes SolidWorks at its new HQ in Waltham, MA. The purpose of the event was to introduce SolidWorks 2013, the 21st edition of the software. The new facility is quite modern, but the former one in Concord had more personality as an historic building and setting, but that’s just me. Oh well, time marches on. It was also strange not to see the SolidWorks name on the new building, but that is because the company is co-locating other DS divisions within the building (such as 3DVIA, ENOVIA, etc.), as is done at other DS facilities around the world, so Dassault Systemes is the name on the building.
It’s hard to believe that SolidWorks is in its 21st release, but it is. According to Bertrand Sicot, SolidWorks’ CEO and Gian Pallo Bassi, SolidWorks’ VP of R&D, the 2013 release is “the best ever,” and a “very good vintage”. Outwardly, at first look, these claims seemed a bit of a stretch, but upon closer inspection throughout the day, SolidWorks 2013 does have significant additions and enhancements, including (just to name a few, since there were over 200 in SolidWorks alone):
SolidWorks Costing – Something I consider to be the “sleeper” capability of 2012 because of its potential impact the top and bottom lines, as well as an engineering tool that upper management can understand and appreciate. It’s gotten better and more comprehensive for 2013. Automatic cost estimation estimates part manufacturing costs using built-in cost templates. These manufacturing templates are customizable, allowing entry of specific manufacturing costs and data, such as material, labor, machine speed and feeds, and setup costs.
Sketcher Conics – Conics are planes through cones that produce three conic sections – ellipses, parabolas, and hyperbolas. These can be mathematically complex but are very useful for controlling shapes for smooth transitions between existing geometries. Nice time saver while sketching.
Interoperability – You can open SolidWorks 2013 files directly with SolidWorks 2012 (SP5). This was done to ease the transition to the latest release. Still, no native interoperability with CATIA and nothing appearing on the horizon.
SolidWorks Plastics – SW Plastics is an extension of SolidWorks’ simulation business and is available in two flavors:
Prices for the various plastics packages range from ~$5000 to $14,995.
SolidWorks Electrical – A database system for electro-mechanical design available in three flavors:
Prices for the various electrical packages range from $5995 to $9995.
SolidWorks as a company said that it has a goal of attaining 2,000,000 users by end of 2012. I believe, like the competition, the 2 million figure is cumulative from Day 1. Even so, that’s a pretty heady goal, and remember, the majority of Solidworks seats are educational, but the company seems determined to meet the number by the end of this year. Speaking of SolidWorks ongoing education mission, the company said it continues to strive to prepare qualified students for commercial customers, and continues to develop education advocates at all grade levels. Overall, customer satisfaction stands at 94%, which is up 5% since 2007.
Looking to the future, the company was careful not utter a word about the “cloud” or V6. The only brief allusion to the “Next New Product” was that it will be complementary to SW, launch in May 2013, and targeted to conceptual mechanical design needs. End of story for now. Bet on it not to be built around the Parasolid modeling kernel (licensed from rival Siemens PLM Software), but rather, CGM from DS sister company, Spatial, and will probably have a V6 moniker. When they say it will be for “conceptual mechanical design,” I take that to mean advanced sketching, and not conceptual in an industrial design context. However, time will tell. Whatever comes out next spring will be interesting.
While eDrawings for the iPad was recently introduced, SolidWorks has big future plans for mobility. Rick Chin, SolidWorks’ Director of Innovation, demonstrated augmented reality on an iPad – a 3D digital product model in a real world context that will be useful to designers and engineers. The model casts shadows and “respects” the positioning of the floor plane (you can’t push the model through the floor). It allows you to interact with the product model and complements prototyping. No time frame was given on when this lab project might hit the market, but it was impressive, nonetheless.
With this pre-launch event, it became obvious that Solidworks is becoming much more than just a traditional CAD tool — other capabilities (costing, simulation, sustainability, etc) work with core SolidWorks capabilities for more closely interacting with the business environment. Throughout the event several company spokespersons said that modeling is NOT design, and vice versa. They also stressed that the design process is a balancing act, and truer words could not be said.
Editor’s Note: When I get signed up for working copies of the above software applications, I’ll provide details on many of the aspects briefly discussed above.
The Week’s Top 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.
Siemens PLM Software announced the latest release of NX software, NX 8.5, that includes enhancements and new capabilities that provide increased flexibility and productivity across product engineering and manufacturing.
NX 8.5 for Design – Streamlined workflows and an enhanced user experience help improve productivity, minimize input, and reduce the effort required to accomplish design tasks. NX 8.5 continues to leverage synchronous technology, a Siemens PLM Software innovation that combines direct modeling with dimension driven design, to provide designers and engineers a better way to create and edit designs.
NX 8.5 for Simulation – New optimization tools such as NX Shape Optimization, suggest specific, detailed improvements to an existing design to reduce stress concentrations. NX 8.5 also includes improvements in simulation modeling, structural, thermal, flow, motion and multi-physics analyses to help prepare more accurate analysis models faster, and speed solution time by as much as 25 percent.
NX 8.5 for Manufacturing – NX 8.5 includes the full release of volume-based 2.5D Milling. Also new are functions to support and automate multi-part and multi-stage machining.
NX 8.5 is expected to be available in October. For more detailed information on all the new functionality in NX 8.5, please visit www.siemens.com/plm/nx85.
Boeing Co. has signed a five-year contract to extend the use of Dassault Systèmes’ applications at both Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Dassault Systèmes and Boeing’s “Working Together” partnership began over 25 years ago and has resulted in numerous breakthroughs in the development and early deployment of powerful technologies that make game-changing innovations possible. “Boeing and Dassault Systèmes have enjoyed a long working relationship, and we are pleased to extend our contract. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Dassault Systèmes to create and leverage new innovations that will enhance our product design and manufacturing capabilities,” said Nancy Bailey, Boeing vice president of IT Product Systems. “Dassault Systèmes continues to evolve and mature their solution portfolio to more completely address our needs across the entire product value stream. The Dassault Systèmes PLM solution suite will continue helping us create additional business value for our company.” “Boeing and Dassault Systèmes have enjoyed a unique partnership for over 25 years,” stated Bernard Charlès, president and CEO, Dassault Systèmes. “Both companies share a passion for innovation and for producing breakthrough experiences for our customers. We have also shared a common vision of how we can evolve our applications and Boeing’s processes to fuel remarkable innovation. Boeing has heavily influenced the evolution of Dassault Systèmes’ strategy, from 3D Design to DMU to PLM – and now to 3D Experience. We look forward to our continued partnership.”
LMS International released LMS Virtual.Lab Rev 11, a new version of its solution for 3D functional performance engineering. LMS Virtual.Lab is a multi-attribute engineering platform, combining high accuracy with superior speed, and a highly efficient process for structural integrity, multibody dynamics, noise and vibration and durability. LMS Virtual.Lab integrates a scalable solution for structural modeling and analysis, with advanced model creation and manipulation tools to efficiently generate component, subsystem and full-system models, always innovative for enhancing the user’s experience. LMS Virtual.Lab Motion embeds the new LMS Virtual.Lab Composer supporting drag-and-drop GUI creation, for customization of industry-specific applications and streamlining the multibody dynamics simulation process. For Noise and Vibration, Rev 11 integrates a comprehensive structural FEM solver (coming from the recent SAMTECH acquisition) for fully coupled vibro-acoustic analyses. In addition, supporting high frequency acoustics, the Ray-Acoustics solver extends into the ATV technology. Running acoustic simulations up to the audible frequency range can be done more accurately and simply than ever before, an example being sound system design in vehicles. LMS Virtual.Lab Durability supports more accurate and faster simulation of seam welds through new technologies allowing the inclusion of size effects for seam welds and automatic identification of all typical seam weld topologies in an FE-mesh.
Autodesk unveiled Autodesk Simulation 360—a comprehensive set of tools delivered securely in the cloud with a pay-as-you-go pricing model that enables any company to make simulation part of their everyday design and engineering processes. Architects and engineers can gain deeper insight into how buildings, including plants, will perform by simulating air flow to help ensure thermal comfort; analyze environmental effects on bridges and buildings; and test the behavior of structural materials including concrete — all before anything is ever built. Autodesk Simulation 360 is the latest offering to build upon the Autodesk 360 cloud-based platform. By performing computationally intensive simulation tasks in the cloud, designers, engineers and analysts can test multiple “what if?” design scenarios in parallel. The computational power of the cloud also eliminates the need for specialized hardware, thereby removing previous limitations and helping to increase productivity. The Autodesk Simulation 360 software portfolio includes a wide range of cloud-based mechanical, fluid flow, thermal and plastic injection molding tools at an affordable price. Additional benefits include direct geometry exchange; robust meshing tools; extensive material libraries; and proven solver technology to improve simulation accuracy in the areas of greatest concern. In contrast to traditional perpetual licensing, Autodesk Simulation 360’s easy and affordable, pay-as-you-go model simplifies access and offers unparalleled flexibility. For additional information on how to access Autodesk Simulation 360, visit www.autodesk.com/simulationliberation. Additional resources such as simulation experts, on-demand videos and tutorials are available at www.autodesk.com/simulation-360.
Product and Company News
Related MCAD News
September 5th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Autodesk continued its strategic investment in product lifecycle management (PLM) and has announced it has acquired certain assets of Inforbix, LLC. Inforbix is a software company focused on cloud-based SaaS solutions aimed at increasing the value of product data, productivity, and improved decision making for manufacturing-based companies. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. As a part of this acquisition, Autodesk also announced that it appointed Oleg Shilovitsky as Senior Director of PLM and Data Management. Shilovitsky is a co-founder of Inforbix, LLC.
“Oleg Shilovitsky is an established PLM thought leader who brings deep industry experience and a history of innovation to his new role at Autodesk,” said Buzz Kross, senior vice president, Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk. “Since the launch of Autodesk PLM 360 last year, we have introduced thousands of new users to the power of cloud-based PLM. We are thrilled to welcome Oleg and under his leadership look forward to continued innovation and driving greater adoption of Autodesk PLM 360.”
Autodesk plans to incorporate Inforbix technology for indexing, search, personalization and data visualization into Autodesk PLM360, which will help to accelerate the vision for the Autodesk 360 cloud services.
Oleg Shilovitsky co-founded Inforbix in 2010 and served as CEO. He was Inforbix’s strategist, technologist, and ideologist and also an author of the PLM Think Tank and Beyond PLM blogs. Prior to Inforbix, Shilovitsky worked for Smart Solutions, SmarTeam, Enovia and Dassault Systems.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Well, summer’s (almost) over, and we’ve had a relative dearth of news coming out of the MCAD industry the past several weeks, but this acquisition is a big deal for both Autodesk and Inforbix.
Inforbix is a developer of software that lets users access and view product data from multiple sources without any confusing data extraction, import, or conversion required. The software also helps connect product data elements that may or may not be similar in character. Because it has always been cloud-based, Inforbix software is relatively easy to deploy and much less costly than traditional PLM applications – two characteristics also shared and touted by Autodesk’s cloud-based PLM 360.
To expand its PLM product offerings, Autodesk is acquiring “certain assets” of Inforbix. Although terms of the transaction were not disclosed (which is not all that unusual), the deal is not expected to have any impact on Autodesk’s future earnings guidance issued earlier on August 23, 2012 (see The Week’s Top MCAD Stories below). Requests for information regarding the “certain assets” and financial terms of the acquisition are still in the works, and we’ll report back what they are when Autodesk gets back with us.
It’s not too surprising that Autodesk plans to integrate Inforbix software into its PLM 360 (its cloud-based PLM suite launched in early 2012). It’s also not too hard to imagine that the Inforbix acquisition will expand the PLM 360 suite’s indexing, searching, personalizing, configuration, and data visualization capabilities.
MCADCafe Weekly (8/26/12): PTC Acquiring Servigistics For Increased Presence In Service Lifecycle Management
August 23rd, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
PTC announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Servigistics, Inc., developer of an innovative suite of service lifecycle management (SLM) software solutions, for approximately $220 million in cash. Pending regulatory approval and satisfaction of other customary conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed in September 2012.
The acquisition will greatly enhance PTC’s existing portfolio of SLM solutions which, today, includes robust capabilities in the areas of warranty and contract management, service parts definition, and technical information – including mobile delivery. Servigistics is recognized as a technology leader in complementary areas such as service parts planning, management and pricing, field service management, returns and repair management, and service knowledge management. In combination, the solutions will dramatically accelerate PTC’s ability to help discrete manufacturers transform their service strategies and operations into a true source of sustainable competitive edge – what PTC describes as “service advantage.”
“Over the past few years, Servigistics has earned a reputation for innovation in helping companies maximize their global service businesses through increased profitability, cash flow, and customer loyalty,” said PTC president and CEO Jim Heppelmann. “Their customers are at the leading edge of a global trend to take service from a cost center to a profit center, and SLM technology has been a critical driver. This acquisition should make clear just how serious PTC is about helping its customers achieve lasting service advantage.”
For leading manufacturers, getting their service strategy right presents a multi-billion dollar, high-margin revenue opportunity to differentiate themselves in the market from their traditional product-oriented competitors. As an enabling technology, SLM helps manufacturers and their service network partners optimize the customer experience by ensuring service is systemically planned, delivered, and analyzed to continually improve performance and maximize customer value. Yet, few manufacturers have either a coordinated strategy or the integrated technology suite needed to capture this new market opportunity – with many manufacturers realizing as little as 25% of the total service value in their products’ service lifecycle.
PTC has long been known for its world-class technology solutions that optimize the way companies create products. With this acquisition PTC will significantly expand how it helps companies service those same products. In fact, starting with the acquisition of Arbortext in 2005, PTC has been developing solutions that enable manufacturers to plan and analyze service based on how their products are designed and built. This service-focused strategy has driven PTC to deliver specialized solutions that are the result of innovative technology development combined with capabilities gained through the acquisition of companies such as ITEDO, LBS and 4CS. By adding Servigistics to this portfolio, PTC will be able to deliver a complete system for service – providing market-leading capabilities across all key components of the service lifecycle.
With Servigistics, PTC’s SLM solutions will provide global manufacturers with a real-time, single view into the extended service environment to identify and respond to areas for improvement, opportunities for new business, and risks to avoid. Only with a connected service network – supporting the owner/operator, distributor, dealer, service partner, field service force, repair depots, and warranty desk – can the OEM plan, deliver and analyze all necessary resources to ensure that service performance and overall value is meeting or exceeding their customers’ expectations. In addition, this acquisition further enhances PTC’s ability to help customers gain competitive advantage throughout the entire product lifecycle – from conception and design to sourcing and service.
“At Servigistics, we share PTC’s vision for helping to transform the way companies execute their service strategies,” said Eric Hinkle, Servigistics president and CEO. “We anticipate that our clients will reap great benefits from the synergies of this shared vision and are pleased to help PTC secure a strong technology and thought leadership position in SLM.”
Over the past 12 months, privately-held Servigistics generated approximately $80 million in revenue. In connection with this acquisition, PTC is increasing its previous preliminary FY’13 non-GAAP EPS target of $1.70 to $1.80 by a range of $0.02 to $0.05. PTC expects to draw on its credit facility to finance this transaction.
RBC Capital Markets Corporation is acting as financial advisor to PTC. Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P. is acting as financial advisor to Servigistics and its owner Marlin Equity Partners.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Not all that long ago, who could have predicted that like PLM, service lifecycle management (SLM) could contribute to a company’s top and bottom lines? To its credit, PTC saw this opportunity and jumped on it. This acquisition of Servigistics reinforces PTC’s commitment to SLM as an important aspect of its overall business, as well as a differentiator in a crowded marketplace