Jeff's MCAD Blogging
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 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 … More »
January 17th, 2013 by Jeff Rowe
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Are you involved with or interested in the mechanical design flow from concept to manufacturing? If you are, then make Mechspot your mech-community home base.
All are welcome to join the MechSpot.com community – students, schools, educators, professionals, companies, organizations, DIYers, hobbyists, and enthusiasts. There is something for everyone at MechSpot.com!
Experience and contribute to a growing collaborative knowledge base.
Receive the benefits of Mechspot membership including peer feedback, unlimited uploads and downloads, a growing creative collaborative community, streaming video, news, jobs, your own customizable portfolio, and much more!
You might be asking yourself, “Why should I join MechSpot.com?” The following are just some of the reasons why the MechSpot community is the right place for you and your work:
Another question you might be asking yourself is, “Does MechSpot cost anything?” The answer is, no. It is absolutely free to sign up for an account and use. Everything on the site is 100% free to view and download, drawing a large potential audience, and giving your work the exposure it deserves.
So, what are you waiting for? Join us today and sign up now for your free account.
MechSpot.com’s official launch date is January 28, 2013, but you can become a member right now. After the site launches, additional functionality will be added, including enhanced social connectivity and a member-customizable newsletter, and that’s only the beginning. MechSpot is a dynamic community that will evolve along with our members’ needs.
If you’ll be attending SolidWorks World 2013 in Orlando, stop by and see us in Booth #308 for a personal demonstration of Mechspot.com and how you can benefit from being a part of this exciting new venture. Sign up and come join us today!
Explore & Learn!
January 10th, 2013 by Jeff Rowe
3D Systems Acquiring Geomagic
3D Systems announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Geomagic, Inc., a leading global provider of 3D authoring solutions including design, sculpt and scan software tools that are used to create 3D content and inspect products throughout the entire design and manufacturing process. This acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2013, after those conditions are met. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The combination of Geomagic’s powerful sculpting, modeling, scanning and inspecting software tools with 3D Systems’ portfolio strengthens its 3D authoring platform and positions the company for accelerated growth in the fast-growing, 3D content-to-print space. The transaction adds complementary products and technology, increases the company’s reseller coverage globally and is expected to be accretive to its non-GAAP earnings in the first full year following the completion of transaction.
“Geomagic represents the perfect strategic fit for us and we will be thrilled to welcome 3D pioneer and Geomagic Founder and CEO Ping Fu as our Chief Strategy Officer once the deal has closed,” said Abe Reichental, President and CEO, 3D Systems. “Our complementary capabilities in product development, channel coverage and marketing combined with greater efficiencies are sure to result in more affordable and user friendly solutions that will delight our customers and could present attractive long term shareholder value. In line with that, we intend to expand the range of our 3D authoring solutions further into new manufacturing and consumer applications and concurrently maintain and enhance the existing Geomagic and Rapidform product lines.”
“We have worked with 3D Systems for many years to accelerate adoption of 3D content-to-print solutions and believe that now is the right time to combine our efforts to further democratize access to design and 3D printing,” said Ping Fu, Founder and CEO of Geomagic. “Joining 3D Systems provides us with the scale, resources and strategic platform to realize our shared vision of delivering functional, affordable and extensible 3D authoring solutions for the benefit of professional designers and engineers, as well as the exciting maker’s movement.”
Strategic and Financial Benefits
Bend Not Break – A New Book by Geomagic CEO, Ping Fu
Geomagic is proud to announce that our CEO and co-founder, Ping Fu, is releasing her book today. “ Bend Not Break” (Penguin) is a story of personal resilience and of business success by someone who is almost an accidental entrepreneur. A heartbreaking history living through Mao’s cultural revolution, her family is forcibly split up, and an 8 year old Ping is raising and protecting her 4 year old sister. Exiled from China in her early twenties, with no money and little English, Ping manages to make it through with waitressing jobs and university in the U.S., a focus on computer science education and unexpected encounters with innovators and entrepreneurs. From those combined experiences, Ping created an innovative and industry leading 3D software company, Geomagic, which delivers 3D imaging and design technologies to the world.
New York Post, Dec 30 2012
“Today, Ping Fu is the CEO of tech firm Geomagic, which she founded with her husband. She’s come a long way. At 8, her family in Shanghai was torn apart by the Cultural Revolution — she and her younger sister sent to a re-education camp in another city. Ping was forced to eat what she calls “bitter meals” of dirt, animal dung and tree bark. She was raped at 10, a political prisoner at 25. Finally deported to America, she arrived her with just $80 and knowing almost no English. Her success at the American Dream is a real triumph.”
Booklist – Starred Review
“Fu speaks to the need for humanity to practice love in business relations in order to avoid inflicting pain on future generations. This well-written tale of courage, compassion, and undaunted curiosity reveals the life of a genuine hero who remains committed to making the world a better place.”
“The book reflects the tone of its author: clear, honest and unassuming.”
“Ping’s eloquent prose and remarkable attitude shine through in every word—and her compelling story will remind more than one reader to be thankful for what they have.”
Ping and her book will be featured soon on Bloomberg news, BBC world News and more across the coming weeks. To order a copy please go to: http://www.bendnotbreak.com/purchase.html
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
What a month it’s been for Geomagic and its Founder and CEO, Ping Fu:
The acquisition of Geomagic by 3D Systems continues to consolidate the 3D scanning software sector by yet another player. The acquisition of Geomagic comes on the heels of a competitor. Just three months ago, 3D Systems acquired Rapidform, another global provider of 3D scan-to-CAD and inspection software tools.
With the additions of Rapidform and now Geomagic, 3D Systems has secured a cornerstone of its self-proclaimed 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.”
What all this means is that 3D Systems now has a greater ability to capture, process, and print 3D objects. That’s a pretty wide spectrum of capabilities, but one that is tightly tied together from both the software and hardware sides.
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, as I’ve said in the past, don’t expect this to be the end of 3D Systems’ acquisition strategy.
With the acquisition, Ping Fu’s title and functions changes from CEO to Chief Strategy Officer, but I’m pretty confident that she’ll continue to have tremendous influence on Geomagic’s direction and purpose in the 3D Systems scheme.
I’ve read excerpts of the book, Bend Not Break, and have found it to be both interesting and inspiring. Ping Fu came to the U.S from China in 1983 on a student visa with no virtually money or English language skills. She went on to earn BS and MS degrees in computer science, as well as co-found Geomagic in 1997. At the time she wanted to develop software that could take 3D scanner data, process it, and output it on 3D printers. Her ultimate goal was to do for 3D printing what Adobe did for desktop printing/publishing.
Overall, it’s a fascinating story of the birth of an industry, including all of its triumphs, innovations, as well as roadblocks. Through it all, though, she has proven to be a very smart technology proponent, but also very grounded with unshakeable integrity. Although I’ve only read portions of the book, I am anxious to read it in its entirety and highly recommend it, even if you’re not necessarily a “tech-oriented” reader.
Lastly, being introduced later this month, Geomagic Spark enters a competitive market, but as unique 3D software that combines a live 3D scanning interface, 3D point and mesh editing capabilities, modeling design, assembly modeling, and 2D drawing creation in one comprehensive application. While traditional CAD packages have modeling capabilities, (with few exceptions) they lack the tools to process 3D scan data into usable 3D for modeling. Geomagic Spark, however, incorporates 3D scan data functionality, integrating Geomagic’s scanning technology with direct modeling capabilities, using the SpaceClaim platform. With this combination, you can create accurate, manufacturable solid model parts and assemblies using combined scan and CAD data in the same application. Partial scan data also can be used for creating models.
I’ve met with Ping Fu a few times over the years and have always found her to be intelligent, engaging, and honest. We wish her and Geomagic the best in future endeavors going forward.
Product and Company News
VCollab and intrinSIM announce new partnership with MSC Software CorporationDassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Platform Adopted by Olympus Technologies Singapore to Accelerate Medical Device Time to Market
Related MCAD News
Corporate Moves, Views, and News
December 31st, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Well, another year is just about over, and what a year it’s been for the MCAD industry. Let’s qualify that statement, though. Busy, yes. Innovative and disruptive? With relatively few exceptions, not so much.
Granted, a lot went on, but the magnitude of the events just seemed smaller this year than in recent years past.
With that said, let’s take a brief look at some of the major things that did transpire in 2012:
There were a number of incremental technological advances, but the two that really caught our eye this year were:
Direct modeling that continues to attract proponents from a list of MCAD vendors that continues to grow every year, and 2012 was no exception.
Reverse engineering and 3D modeling contained in one package — Geomagic Spark — an innovative scan-to-cad platform that incorporates SpaceClaim as its CAD engine.
Autodesk acquired HSMWorks (CAM software),Inforbix (PLM software). To complement its “virtual prototyping” initiative, Autodesk also acquired Qontext and its enterprise social collaboration software technology.
3D Systems continued its buying binge that began a couple years ago by acquiring Z Corp., Vidar, Rapidform, Viztu Technologies, FreshFiber, and a couple major service providers.
PTC acquired Servigistics for its service lifecycle management (SLM) software that could change how traditional PLM is viewed.
New Computing Platforms
Although not really new, tablets continued to make their way into the tool palette for designers and engineers. They are still used mostly for viewing and markup, but some interesting sketching, conceptual design, and rudimentary simulation showed up on tables in 2012. The future of tablet engineering software applications is tied closely to the next category, the cloud.
It wasn’t all that long ago that an MCAD executive referred to the cloud as “mere vapor,” but that is rapidly changing as real engineering applications become available.
Autodesk 360 is a cloud computing platform suite of services that include PLM, simulation, rendering, and conceptual design. Will these cloud-based services ultimately replace traditional applications that reside on users’ computers? That remains to be seen, although Autodesk has not made a definitive statement one way or the other.
Kenesto is a cloud-based service for social business and process collaboration. A socially oriented PLM, if you will that is an interesting approach. With Michael Payne and Steve Bodnar on board, this company and technology could be poised to go places.
This segment of the larger rapid prototyping/additive manufacturing industry really took off, thanks largely to MakerBot’s Replicator 2 machine. 3D printers distinguish themselves by being lower in cost (less than $5,000), but also (for the most part) producing less than stellar parts.
A New Kid on the Block?
Several of the founders and early employees of SolidWorks, including Jon Hirschtick, Dave Corcoran, Scott Harris, and John McEleney are back together again. They have formed a company with a venture known as Belmont Technology. What they are up to remains to be seen, but there is strong speculation that they are developing an innovative approach to 3D design (no surprise there). Absolutely no details have been disclosed to date, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be a cloud-based platform. This will be one to watch as an encore from some very smart guys.
That’s anybody’s guess, but look for huge news from DS SolidWorks, starting with the product announcement(s) it is likely to make at its annual user conference in late January. Expect to see more of a presence of Solid Edge in the MCAD market. Autodesk should make its intentions more clearly known on its future software offerings — whether they will be on-premise, cloud-based, or a combination of the two. 3D printing will continue to proliferate because of prices that continue to plummet and quality that incrementally improves. Interoperability will continue to be a major challenge for mixed CAD environments. Look for more native engineering software available on the Mac platform.
Whatever happens in 2013, the technical/engineering software industry will continue to be a fascinating and vital place to be, and I’m glad to be a part of it.
December 20th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
We have seen a lot of interesting things happen in the MCAD industry this year – everything from acquisitions to new products. One of the things that I’ll remember this year for is an especially innovative product that was announced this month and will be introduced in January – Geomagic Spark.
Geomagic Spark enters a competitive market, but as unique 3D software that combines a live 3D scanning interface, 3D point and mesh editing capabilities, modeling design, assembly modeling, and 2D drawing creation in one comprehensive application. While traditional CAD packages have modeling capabilities, (with few exceptions) they lack the tools to process 3D scan data into usable 3D for modeling. Geomagic Spark, however, incorporates 3D scan data functionality, integrating Geomagic’s scanning technology with direct modeling capabilities, using the SpaceClaim platform. With this combination, you can create accurate, manufacturable solid model parts and assemblies using combined scan and CAD data in the same application. Partial scan data also can be used for creating models.
Geomagic Spark is well-suited for engineers and manufacturers that design in 3D from existing objects or those that need to finish or modify scanned parts.
Geomagic Spark can handle scan and mesh data from both parts and assemblies
Geomagic Spark is the result of a collaborative effort between Geomagic and SpaceClaim, a company known for its 3D direct modeling capabilities. The companies’ partnership began when Geomagic introduced its initial SpaceClaim integration in the 2012 release of Geomagic Studio. Based on user feedback, both realized that a fully integrated application was viable and could change the landscape of designing directly from 3D scans. This resulted in the creation of Geomagic Spark.
“Geomagic Spark, in a single application, introduces a whole new paradigm for the capture/modify/make process. It can be used by CAD professionals but, more importantly, by the millions of manufacturing engineers who are not CAD experts,” said Tom Kurke, president and COO, Geomagic. “The high level of support, technical expertise and the quality API from SpaceClaim allowed Geomagic Spark to come to market quickly.”
Geomagic Spark’s integrated package includes point cloud, mesh, and CAD modeling in the same user interface. You can scan directly into Geomagic Spark or load an existing point cloud or polygon mesh. From there you can choose from the range of automated tools used to convert and edit data into a polygon mesh: sampling, noise reduction, wrap, mesh simplification, etc. Geomagic Spark’s solid modeling tools simplify the process of creating solid geometry from the mesh, with curve, surface, and solid extraction. Once a solid model is created, you can compare the solid model to the mesh upon which it is based, identifying areas of deviation. 2D drawings with annotations and dimensions are available and can be created interactively with the 3D data. This combination of 3D data processing and CAD functionality promotes process efficiency in reverse engineering, production-focused manufacturing, prototyping, concept modeling and creation, documentation, and production.
Geomagic Spark makes scanning and designing in 3D a more straightforward process. With SpaceClaim’s direct modeling you can interact with models without the complexities and limitations of a multi-level feature tree.
Geomagic Spark follows the typical Geomagic workflow logic, starting with Spark and transitioning over to SpaceClaim in a seamless process under the same UI.
Some of the features in Geomagic Spark include:
According to Evan Fader, Geomagic regional manager, Geomagic Spark was not created to replace other Geomagic products, such as Qualify and Studio, but rather, to complement them. In a nutshell, Spark is intended to quickly reverse engineer and model parts and assemblies. Beyond availability as a standalone product, Geomagic Spark also will be available as part of Geomagic’s new Enterprise Bundle, which will also include Geomagic Studio and Geomagic Qualify.
When it hits the market early next year on January 28, 2013, the price for Geomagic Spark will be $9,900, plus $1,800 maintenance.
I’m on the list for a software trial when Geomagic Spark is released next month. Based just on a brief Web demo, this is one I’m looking forward to because it could really be a game changer for directly converting scanned data into 3D models.
December 11th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
With SolidWorks 2013 now available, the roll out of partner products is just beginning. One of the first we’ll cover is InspectionXpert for SolidWorks 2013, an add-in for SolidWorks 2013.
InspectionXpert for SolidWorks is first article and in-process inspection software that automatically creates bubbled print and inspection reports for quality control inspection purposes. This automation minimizes time-consuming, error-prone processes for (according to the company) a time savings of more than 90%.
Integration into SolidWorks ensures direct access to the necessary dimensions, tolerances, units, and custom properties of SolidWorks 3D models and 2D drawings, so ballooned drawings and inspection reports can be created quickly.
InspectionXpert’s Characteristic Tree displays the dimensions, geometric tolerances, notes, hole callouts, weld and surface finish symbols extracted directly from SolidWorks drawings. Filtering capabilities enable specification of which types of drawing annotations to include in an inspection form. This alone can be a big time saver.
Inspection characteristic data is saved in a SolidWorks file for reuse or subsequent updates. InspectonXpert revision changes require just a refresh of an inspection project with InspectionXpert when a revision change is made. Accept the changes to re-balloon a drawing or model, as well as export the updates to a new inspection report form. Another time saver.
InspectionXpert integrates with quality systems including a direct publish to Net-Inspect and synchronization with CEBOS MQ-1. Because InspectionXpert exports to Excel/CSV inspection data can be imported into almost many database or other software programs, including CMM, ERP, MRP, etc.
I’ve reviewed InspectioXpert in the past and have found it to be one of the easiest to use and comprehensive first article inspection programs available.
The price for InspectionXpert for Solidworks 2013 is $1,395 for the license and $279 for first year maintenance — a total of $1,674.
For more information on InspectionXpert for SolidWorks: http://www.inspectionxpert.com/
November 29th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Autodesk Ushers In New Era of Cloud Based Design
Autodesk previewed Autodesk Fusion 360, the world ’s first comprehensive cloud-based 3D modeling offering, at Autodesk University.
Autodesk Fusion 360 allows design and engineering professionals to more easily create 3D product designs and collaborate with others in the cloud. The cloud technology behind Autodesk Fusion 360 offers anytime, anywhere access, from virtually any mobile device or web browser and puts essential data at the center of the design experience. It also supports an open design environment, allowing designers to readily incorporate and modify CAD data from virtually any source.
“Data is at the center of the product design process, and the cloud frees that data to be accessible anywhere, anytime, ”; said Robert “Buzz ” Kross, senior vice president, Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk. “Autodesk Fusion 360 will give designers and engineers the first powerful, easy-to-use and complete cloud-based design solution.”
Autodesk Fusion 360 leverages the Autodesk 360 cloud-based platform and adds to Autodesk ’s cloud portfolio for manufacturers, which includes Autodesk PLM 360, a cloud-based product lifecycle management offering, and Autodesk Simulation 360, a comprehensive set of simulation tools delivered securely in the cloud.
3D Industrial and Mechanical Design in the Cloud
A comprehensive product design tool geared toward small business professionals, Autodesk Fusion 360 capabilities span all aspects of industrial and mechanical design, melded with anytime, anywhere access to data, collaborative and social development capabilities the cloud has to offer. Autodesk Fusion 360 also connects to advanced capabilities such as large scale mockup, simulation, PLM and rendering.
Next Generation User Experience
Autodesk Fusion 360 offers a radically different user experience through an intuitive interface that conforms to the role and level of user expertise. Autodesk Fusion 360 provides built-in guidance to novice users to speed the learning curve, and the ability to turn off guidance and access deeper functionality for design experts. Regardless of their level of expertise, users can start designing in a matter of minutes and begin to leverage Autodesk Fusion 360 ’s integrated social collaboration tools.
Redpoint Studios, a New England based industrial design and product engineering consultancy, recently adopted Autodesk Fusion 360 to help their clients bring compelling new products to market faster. “The learning curve is phenomenal. In a matter of days I was modeling blends and transitions that would take months, if not years, of skill building to achieve in a NURBS modeler, ” said Matthew Harris, Industrial Designer, Redpoint Studios, LLC. “The potential for this product is huge and I can ’t wait to see what ’s next. ”;
Autodesk Fusion 360 will be available on a term basis making it affordable to businesses of all sizes. This delivery model will provide maximum flexibility and eliminate the high upfront costs of software license purchases, as well as the annual expense of software updates and upgrades. It is an ideal fit for professionals and small businesses seeking flexibility to scale their product design tools to fit changing project needs.
Autodesk Fusion 360 is expected to be generally available next year. For more information and a chance to experience Autodesk Fusion 360, visit www.autodesk.com/fusion360.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Although I couldn’t attend Autodesk University this year, it didn’t stop me from briefly speaking with Keith Perrin, Autodesk Senior Industry Manager about Autodesk’s Fusion 360 the day before the official announcement at AU. I actually spoke with him on an Amtrak train between Chicago and Detroit while passing by the steel mills in Gary, Indiana. Somewhat fitting.
What was Project Forge when I spoke with Perrin the day before the announcement became Autodesk Fusion 360 the next day at AU.
I had been wondering about what plans Autodesk had for T-Splines after acquiring it, and the answer came in the form of Fusion 360. Also in the mix is Autodesk’s direct modeling technology, Fusion. It seems that Fusion 360 is intended to appeal to users who may or may not have other CAD experience. It combines capabilities for conceptual design for the industrial designer, as well as design refinement capabilities for the design engineer.
Fusion 360 is an extension into CAD of some other cloud-based technologies that Autodesk already offers for simulation and PLM. Perrin said that Fusion 360 is an example of another one of the jigsaw pieces coming together for Autodesk’s Digital Prototyping initiative in the cloud.
With functions coming from both T-Splines and Fusion, Autodesk Fusion 360 will offer a hybrid modeling approach with explicit, direct, and parametric modeling capabilities.
The UI sounds interesting as Perrin said it would be gesture based with relatively few buttons and pulldowns. He also said that the UI would lend to Fusion 360’s discoverable approach with no formal training required. The “training” is embedded in the application and provides self-paced guidance. Exactly what this is remains to be seen, but sounds like an interesting approach.
Because Fusion 360 is intended to work in mixed CAD environments, interoperability was a big deal and got a lot of attention during development. Built-in translators residing in the cloud will provide for import and export of design data in most major formats.
Fusion 360 is due out as a marketable application in early 2013. Going forward Fusion 360, because of its cloud/online nature, will be frequently updated throughout the year, and not restricted and subject to Autodesk’s annual major release cycle.
For now, Fusion 360 is being developed for and will initially be available for PC and Mac desktop platforms, but should be available for iOS, Android, and Windows tablets down the road. Ultimately, this will provide for design and collaboration capabilities on both desktop and mobile platforms.
When asked about pricing, Perrin said that it would be “aggressive,” but had yet to be determined.
Although I’m not totally sold on the cloud concept for design work, Autodesk Fusion 360 might be a game changer as it combines various aspects of conceptual design and design refinement. I’m anxious to sign up for a trial and experience what design in the cloud is all about.
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.
Geomagic announced Geomagic Spark, the newest addition to the company’s line of 3D scan, design and inspection applications According to the company, Geomagic Spark is the only 3D software that combines a live 3D scanning interface, robust 3D point and mesh editing capabilities, comprehensive modeling design, assembly modeling, and 2D drawing creation in one complete application. While traditional CAD packages have modeling capabilities, they lack the tools to process 3D scan data into usable 3D. Geomagic Spark, however, incorporates 3D scan data functionality, integrating Geomagic’s advanced scanning technology, 15 years in the making, with the direct modeling capabilities of the SpaceClaimplatform. Now, users can create accurate, manufacturable solid models and assemblies using combined scan and CAD data in the same application, even with partial scan data.
OPEN MIND, developer of hyperMILL, software for programming CNC machine tools, and CGTech, developer of VERICUT software for simulating CNC machine tools, announced today a renewed agreement between their two companies. As part of this relationship, the two companies work closely to provide integration between their products and customer support. CGTech and OPEN MIND have already worked together to create an interface between hyperMILL and VERICUT. The interface, which continues to be enhanced, is designed to help their mutual customers create a better machining process by providing an easy way to verify hyperMILL’s post-processed machining paths in VERICUT.
Additive manufacturing and machining are usually regarded as competing processes. However, the two technologies are being combined in a project at the French research centre PEP, where Delcam’s PowerSHAPE CAD software and PowerMILL CAM system are being used to finish machine parts created by laser sintering. PEP is the main technical centre for innovation in the French plastics industry, specializing in the injection molding of thermoplastics. The main areas of expertise of PEP’s researchers and engineers include design and simulation of parts and processes, injection molding processes and tooling, and plastics materials.The Delcam software was first chosen by PEP for PLATINNO, a technological innovation platform for tooling undertaken in association with CETIM, France’s main research centre for mechanical engineering. The aim of the project is to provide support – technical, human resources and financial – for companies working in the French plastics sector. With support from CETIM, which has undertaken research into high-speed machining for many years, PEP was introduced to all the main CADCAM vendors to assess their systems. The organisation particularly liked the Delcam software, not least because the company could meet all of its needs. It acquired PowerSHAPE, PowerMILL, PowerINSPECT and ArtCAM.
Aras announced the launch of a new solution designed specifically for companies that run Autodesk Vault with Inventor and AutoCAD. Aras VPLMTM for Autodesk Vault provides packaged functionality out-of-the-box for corporate-wide PLM business processes, enabling global companies that run Autodesk software to improve product quality, accelerate time to market and achieve greater profitability.Built on top of Autodesk Vault Professional, Aras VPLM extends the capabilities of Autodesk Vault to drive PLM processes throughout a company and its supply chain for collaboration across organizations including product development, operations, quality, purchasing, sales & marketing and other groups worldwide. Scalable and secure, Aras VPLM is a business-ready solution for New Product Development and Introduction (NPDI), Complex Configuration Management, Enterprise Change Management, Outsourced Manufacturing, Quality Compliance and more.
Product and Company News
Related MCAD News
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
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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.
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