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 MCADCafe Editorial
Wolfgang Gentzsch
Wolfgang Gentzsch
Wolfgang Gentzsch is president and co-founder of the UberCloud Online Marketplace for engineers and scientists to discover, try, and buy computing on demand, in the cloud. Wolfgang was the chairman of the International ISC Cloud Conference series from 2010 to 2015. Previously, he was an Advisor to … More »

MCADCafe Industry Predictions for 2019 – The Uber Cloud

 
January 7th, 2019 by Wolfgang Gentzsch


Many industry predictions for 2019 are talking about the wider and growing acceptance of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Industry 4.0, Digital Twins, 3D Printing, and Cloud Computing; no surprise, as this is a continuation of 2018. But behind all these trends and ‘techniques’ is one big common trend fueled by the engineers’ desire to make their complex and demanding tools and techniques more applicable, economical, user-friendly, intuitive, and automatic, to be finally used by every engineer. This broader trend is now well-known as Democratization, Appification, Revolution in Simulation, Containerization, and more. In our CAE community, we see this trend greatly supported by NAFEMS, COFES, ASSESS, Rev-Sim, UberCloud and others, and by many outstanding individuals and groups.

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Collaborate to Innovate with Simulation Applications and Digital Twins

 
January 4th, 2019 by Brianne Christopher

Multiphysics software is invaluable for simulating designs, devices, and processes in engineering, manufacturing, and scientific research. One of the greatest challenges of incorporating simulation into product development is making it accessible to everyone involved. COMSOL turns this challenge into an opportunity with tools for creating and deploying simulation applications and digital twins.

For simulation to be beneficial to the broader organization, it must be accessible in two distinct ways. First, team members in R&D, manufacturing, laboratory testing, and design should be able to run analyses without relying on simulation experts. The Application Builder, available in the COMSOL Multiphysics® software, makes this possible. Applications provide all collaborators with the capability to perform simulations, avoiding bottlenecks in the development process.

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MCADCafe Industry Predictions for 2019 – Request for Submission

 
December 19th, 2018 by Sanjay Gangal

ATTENTION ALL VENDORS AND TECHNOLOGISTS!

Please send me (sanjay@mcadcafe.com) your industry predictions for 2019 by January 7th for inclusion in an editorial to be published in January. Please keep your submission to 100-500 words, with author’s name, email address, photo and short bio.

The editorial will be included in the MCADWeekly e-Magazine sent to our 30,000 subscribers.

Do have a safe and wonderful holiday season and look forward to hearing from you in or before the New Year!


Sanjay Gangal
President
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Customers and Partners Demonstrate Continued Confidence in ESPRIT CAM Software

 
November 8th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

A couple times this year, I have met up with CAM developer DP Technology. Each meeting impressed me with the company itself and where its ESPRIT CAM Software product line is heading.

DP Technology is the developer of the diverse ESPRIT CAM Software system sold and supported via the company’s regional offices and its network of resellers throughout the world. ESPRIT has also developed close partnerships with several leading milling, turning, and wire-EDM machine tool manufacturers, such as Okuma, Mazak, DMG Mori, Citizen, Mitsubishi, and GF AgiCharmilles.

From the beginning and still one of the company’s main goals is ease of use, and greatly reducing the learning curve, which Don Davies, VP of Americas, DP Technology Corp., said is usually on the order of a year or more for most competing CAM products. Learning is one thing, mastering is another, and DP Technology is more interested in providing its customers the potential at mastery.

Video Interview with Don Davies of DP Technology at IMTS 2018

When asked about the state of the CAM market, Davies said that it is largely fragmented into distinct segments – integrated CAD/CAM vendors, and independent CAM vendors. He said each has its own advantages but thought that the dedicated efforts that independent companies specializing in CAM bring the most to the table, and obviously, he felt that DP Technology had the ability to serve up the most comprehensive product/technology lineup in the competitive CAM market.

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Altair Acquires SIMSOLID

 
November 1st, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

Altair, a company that promotes and enables “Simulation-Driven Innovation” has acquired  SIMSOLID, a company founded by asking a simple question:  “Why does the geometry used in the Design and Structural Simulation worlds have to be so different?”

SIMSOLID works on full-fidelity CAD assemblies to provide fast, accurate, and robust structural simulation without requiring geometry simplification, cleanup, or meshing.  Its underlying technology is based largely on the work of Dr. Victor Apanovitch, a former professor at Belarus Polytechnic University and the cofounder of SIMSOLID Corporation.
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Bricsys Acquisition Could Challenge Autodesk

 
October 25th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

At its annual user conference this week in London, Bricsys, a developer of CAD software that has provided open, collaborative construction design technology since its founding in 2002, announced that it had been acquired by Hexagon AB and will become a part of Hexagon PPM (Plant, Process & Marine). With the Bricsys acquisition, Hexagon strengthens its construction solutions portfolio and position for the Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC ) market.

The acquisition should help Bricsys make inroads to the North American market, and could prove to be a great opportunity for gaining prospective current (disgruntled) Autodesk customers, developers, and resellers. It will be interesting to see how Autodesk responds as this looks to be a real challenge to its historical territory.

The acquisition also brings potentially strong implications to Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence, but more about that later.
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Some Second Thoughts About Onshape and Magic Leap

 
October 18th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

Last week I covered the new partnership between Onshape and Magic Leap with a 3D design app for Onshape’s spatial computing initiative. The new CAD app is being developed for the Magic Leap One Creator Edition, a lightweight, wearable computer and headset for a unique mixed reality user experience.

When wearing Magic Leap’s Lightwear headset, which allows users to see contextually aware digital objects in the real world, engineers will be able to bring life-size 3D CAD models into their physical surroundings and collaborate on design changes. “We’re excited to bring the many benefits of modern CAD to engineers in the Magicverse,” said Onshape CEO, Jon Hirschtick. “For more than a half-century, CAD users were confined to working on a flat screen. The Magic Leap One will push product design into a whole new stratosphere.”

It seems that Magic Leap’s focus with LeapCon was software over hardware. Given that the platform is in need of content, that’s probably a good idea.

All of this might be OK for developers (such as Onshape) and early adopters, but I don’t think it’s very consumer-friendly at this point for reasons I’ll discuss below. Having thought it over, I think healthy skepticism seems appropriate at this juncture.

As great as it initially sounded, I reflected on exactly what was meant by the announcement because it’s such a new development platform and few details were provided. With that in mind, I contacted Onshape about any enlightenment they could provide about the announcement.

Below are some responses to questions I posed to an Onshape spokesperson regarding the technology and partnership:

Can you provide any details on what the app will actually do?
Onshape: The vision is that this app will extend Onshape’s full capabilities to the Magic Leap platform, just like we have with our iOS and Android mobile apps for phones and tablets. This will NOT be a simple CAD-viewing tool. When this app is released, engineers will be able to model and edit within the Magic Leap mixed-reality universe – and collaborate with their design and manufacturing teams, and outside partners, just like they currently do with Onshape.
When will the app be available?
Onshape: We have not announced a release date. Jon Hirschtick’s presentation at Leap Con was an industry preview of the app and the first public announcement of the Onshape-Magic Leap partnership, which has been in stealth mode for many months.
What will the app be called?
Onshape: “Onshape for Magic Leap”
Approximately what will the app cost?
Onshape: This app is still in development and there has been no announcement about cost.
How does Onshape envision the app working for multi-party collaboration? 
Onshape: Collaboration through the “Onshape for Magic Leap” app would work exactly the same way as collaboration works with Onshape currently. Every member of a team would instantly see design changes in real time as they are made. The only difference is that Onshape users would be able to their life-size models in a richer, more immersive environment than they do on the flat screens of their laptops, phones, or tablets. 
How about a public demonstration on how this all works?
Any public demonstration will depend on our development cycle, which isn’t public.
So there you have it from the source. While my questions cleared up a couple things, I thought about the bigger picture and the implications of the partnership.
Needless to say, Onshape was not the only technology demonstrated at last week’s conference. In fact, the demonstrations were all over the place, ranging from Star Wars to porgs to controlling in-home devices, such as speakers and lamps.
Of course, if you buy in, you’ll have to lay down $2,295 for the privilege of wearing the computer and headset. Any way you look at it, that’s a lot of money for a product still in its early stages. Although corporations could afford this, much as the CAVE walls of the past, I don’t see this as affordable and accessible enough for the masses yet.
The announcement that Onshape made last week with Magic Leap  does indeed mark a real advancement for product design on what could be regarded as a new development platform that combines mixed reality and CAD. Onshape has been at the forefront of cloud-based design, but the announcement shows that they may really be on to something that truly sets them apart in a space that is becoming increasingly crowded with “me-toos,” but that remains to be seen.
Honestly, though, at this stage of development and price point, I’d consider the Magic Leap device experimental and out of step with reality (pardon the play on words). However, done right, this technology and those that will will follow, the possibilities for mixed reality experiences are almost endless.
Of course the company says that the technology could be used for just about everything, but from what I’ve seen, read, and heard, there is still a long way to go.

Onshape Teams Up With Magic Leap For New Spatial Computing CAD App and Hardware

 
October 11th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

Onshape, developer of a 3D cloud-based CAD system also called Onshape, is partnering with  Magic Leap on a new 3D product design app for its spatial computing initiative. The new CAD app is being developed for the Magic Leap One Creator Edition, a lightweight, wearable computer that lets digital content step out of the screen and into the real world for a unique user experience.

Onshape CEO Jon Hirschtick previewed “Onshape for Magic Leap” at the L.E.A.P. Conference. Magic Leap
streamed its keynote addresses at  www.magicleap.com/LEAPcon.

When wearing Magic Leap’s Lightwear headset, which allows users to see contextually aware digital objects in the real world, engineers will be able to bring life-size 3D CAD models into their physical surroundings and collaborate on design changes.“ We’re excited to bring the many benefits of modern CAD to engineers in the Magicverse,” says Onshape CEO Jon Hirschtick. “For more than a half-century, CAD users were confined to working on a flat screen. The Magic Leap One will push product design into a whole new stratosphere.”
Read the rest of Onshape Teams Up With Magic Leap For New Spatial Computing CAD App and Hardware

Frustum Generate: A New Take On Generative Design and Topology Optimization?

 
October 4th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

Frustum Inc., developer of what it calls the industry’s first interactive generative design solution, this week announced a new release of its Generate software. According to the company, Generate represents a new paradigm for design, interactive generative design, which fundamentally alters how products are modeled for manufacture by allowing engineers to interact and iterate in real time with generative design models. As a result, engineers can develop multiple well designed and optimized models to identify the best solution literally in minutes versus hours or days.

The origin of the company’s name was kind of intriguing to me because a frustum is a mathematical term and is the portion of a cone or pyramid that remains after its upper part has been cut off by a plane parallel to its base, or that is intercepted between two such planes. Frustum examples include:

  • On the back (the reverse) of a United States one-dollar bill, a pyramidal frustum appears on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, surmounted by the Eye of Providence.
  • The John Hancock Center in Chicago, Illinois is a frustum whose bases are rectangles.
  • The Washington Monument is a narrow square-based pyramidal frustum topped by a small pyramid.
  • Buckets, lampshades, and shot glasses are examples of conical frustums.
  • Rolo brand chocolates approximate a right circular conic frustum.

If all the edges are forced to be identical, a frustum becomes a uniform prism.

OK, enough of the fun with math, let’s get back to Frustum’s technology . . .

A General Electric Bracket With Frustum’s Generative Design and Topology Optimization Applied To It

Designed to meet the complex needs of design for manufacturing, Generate is a 3D design software that provides interactivity with generative design models. It combines the creativity of the engineer with artificial intelligence to significantly shorten the time of designing products – effectively delivering a near real-time interaction with a generative design model, generating designs by functional requirements and producing a result that is ready for manufacture. Parts and products designed through this process are [theoretically] lighter, stronger, and use less materials than those designed using traditional CAD software.

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A Quick Look At SOLIDWORKS 2019

 
September 27th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

A couple of weeks ago Dassault Systèmes launched SOLIDWORKS 2019, and just before the launch I spoke with Manish Kumar, an R&D vice president at Dassault Systèmes, for a briefing on the 2019 product line. On the call, Manish provided me an overview of the new features and updates in SOLIDWORKS 2019, including enhanced performance, added depth to functionality, and opportunities to incorporate new technology and workflows into the design-to-manufacture process. With all of the ew features and enhancements, Manish said the pricing for SOLIDWORKS 2019 would remain the same from 2018.

This time around, SOLIDWORKS says its design-to-manufacturing process provides the tools needed to implement a comprehensive design-through-manufacturing strategy, all inside the SOLIDWORKS environment. These tools let you work without having to export and import data from one system to another. With IP embedded in a 3D design model, and at the center of the model-based definition (MBD) process, and thanks to associativity, changes from design or manufacturing are automatically reflected in all related CAD models, CAM programs, drawings, and documentation.
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