September 20, 2004
ImpactXoft Partners With RAND Worldwide
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by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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ImpactXoft Partners With RAND Worldwide

ImpactXoft, a provider of collaborative 3D product design environments, announced that Rand A Technology Corporation (TSX: RND), operating as RAND Worldwide, has signed a master agreement to sell ImpactXoft's IX SPeeD V5 Suite in select countries outside of North America starting with Australia and New Zealand. RAND Worldwide, one of the world's leading providers of professional services and technology to companies looking to improve their competitiveness and profitability by enhancing key aspects of their product planning, product development, and product management, has an impressive network of over 70 international sales and client services centers in 23 countries. Along with this
agreement, RAND Worldwide's partner, Incorporated (TSXV: EGN), developer and owner of the online resource and business for engineers, will sell the IX SPeeD V5 Suite in North America.

The Functional Modeling and collaborative design capabilities of ImpactXoft's IX SPeeD V5 Suite allow product developers to rapidly create designs that are easily understood and provide the ability to apply and communicate design changes with others during the highly iterative work in progress phase. ImpactXoft's breakthrough approach to accelerating the collaborative design process has attracted reseller partners across the U.S. to join its Need SPeeD Reseller Program. The partnership with RAND will now provide manufacturers across the globe access to the IX SPeeD V5 Suite.

"As an organization focused on providing practical, Best-in-Class solutions that help to drive the profitability of our customers, we are very pleased to add ImpactXoft's suite to our arsenal," said Frank Baldesarra, President and CEO of RAND Worldwide. "We look forward to assisting our new partners to deliver these excellent tools to the global product development marketplace."

"We're thrilled to have a powerhouse like RAND join our channel sales program to help us reach an international audience," said Attilio Rimoldi, president and CEO of ImpactXoft. "RAND has continually demonstrated the ability to provide services and products that solve mission critical problems and increase the profitability of their corporate clients around the world. Their business savvy and expert technical knowledge make them the clear choice to deliver our IX SPeeD V5 Suite to the global engineering and manufacturing communities."

ImpactXoft is a private, venture-funded software company providing a suite of products that enable Simultaneous Product Development (SPD). The IX SPeeD V5 Suite for collaborative 3D design delivers a new way to manage engineering design changes that fosters innovation, accelerates the product development cycle, and reduces design costs. It is based on two key technologies unique to ImpactXoft: IX Instant Participation enables real-time or on-demand parallel product development, while IX Functional Modeling enables a flexible, behavior-driven design approach. ImpactXoft has formed strategic partnerships with Dassault Systemes and Toyota Caelum Inc.

There is more to this announcement than meets the eye. ImpactXoft's IX SPeeD V5 is a collaborative design environment that is now natively interoperable with Dassault Systemes' PLM portfolio of products, including CATIA V5. Native interoperability means that no file translations are necessary and no design data is lost (theoretically) when working on the same file in either application, and this can obviously be a big time saver if you use more than one MCAD package. The formal relationship between ImpactXoft and Dassault began about a year ago with the signing of a strategic development agreement under which ImpactXoft joined Dassault Systhmes' CAA V5 Software Community Program as a Gold Software Partner. The partnership extended their Original Software Developer (OSD) agreement signed in 2002. Under the latter agreement, ImpactXoft delivered a new version of its IX SPeeD Suite software for Simultaneous Product Development based on Dassault Systhmes' Component Application Architecture (CAA V5). In addition to the modeling and collaboration capabilities offered by IX SPeeD V5, add-on modules complemented IX SPeeD V5 for specialized design and analysis tasks such as machining, sheet metal design, and structural analysis. ImpactXoft offered these specialized CAA V5 based modules as add-ons to IX SPeeD V5, enabling the company to provide its users with a fuller range of product development tools within a collaborative environment. At the time of the agreement, Attilio Rimoldi, president & CEO, ImpactXoft said, "This partnership will allow us to provide IX SPeeD users with the best of two worlds. It will combine the specialized engineering of Dassault Systhmes V5 solutions with our design software that was created from the ground up to effectively design products and apply, share and merge design changes." The new relationship with RAND Worldwide is interesting because RAND is one of the world's biggest providers of professional services and technology, including reselling Dassault's CATIA. So, this complex relationship has kind of come full circle and
should continue to benefit ImpactXoft in a positive way.

Good Turnout At IMTS 2004

The 2004 manufacturing revival is rewarding exhibitors at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS 2004), September 8-15, at McCormick Place in Chicago. The largest industrial exposition in the Americas, this eight-day show offered manufacturers unmatched comparison shopping.

"The tempo here is upbeat and positive. Serious shoppers are back and, as a result, a large number of show models now bear 'sold' signs," says John B. Byrd III, President of AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the show's sponsor. "Evidence of today's manufacturing revival exists at most every exhibit. This revival has the potential to reach 25-year highs."

Exhibitors report strong buyer interest in replacing older equipment with new, more productive machines. At the Marvel Manufacturing Company exhibit, from Oshkosh, Wis., for example, high-production cut-off saws are what customers are looking for as they add a higher level of efficiency to cut-off operations.

Sales are significantly exceeding 2004 projections, according to owner Robert L. Beach. "They have since March," he says.

On the heels of a September 2003 bottom, some models now are sold out into 2005, adds Beach. Marvel tries to maintain a normal delivery schedule of 4-6 weeks. "The challenge is in meeting deliveries. We serve a large number of vertical markets," he says, "and it seems all are improving."

Launched in 1927, IMTS has become the largest industrial trade exhibition in the Americas and among the largest in the world. The Show, then and now, has exhibited the latest technology at the time. IMTS is held every other year at McCormick Place in Chicago. Recognized as one of the world's preeminent stages for introducing and selling manufacturing equipment and technology, IMTS attracts more than 100,000 visitors from some 40 countries.

Who said trade shows are dead? We did not attend this year's edition of IMTS, but we have spoken to some folks who did. Generally, they said attendance was good and many of those in attendance (as well as many exhibiting companies) were upbeat about the future of manufacturing in general and the likelihood of new tooling purchases. Of course, these are only very preliminary indications of what might happen in the world of manufacturing, but any positive indication is encouraging given the recent past and current mood and state of the overall North American manufacturing sector. Even a small breath of fresh air can begin to displace an atmosphere of bad air.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached here or 408.850.9230.

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