June 14, 2004
UGS Acquiring D-Cubed
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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UGS Acquiring D-Cubed

UGS announced a definitive agreement to acquire D-Cubed Ltd., a Cambridge, England-based supplier of embedded technology used by virtually all of the world's computer-aided design (CAD) application developers.

"The addition of D-Cubed products firmly positions UGS as the principal supplier of component software technology to the global PLM industry, and further validates our intention to remain the open solutions leader," said Tony Affuso, chairman, CEO and president of UGS. "The same PLM Open strategy and business model that have been so successful with our Parasolid software and JT Open initiative will continue to be employed with the D-Cubed family of products."

"As we begin our new chapter as an independent company, we welcome the world-class team of D-Cubed professionals to our UGS family," continued Affuso. "Uniting D-Cubed with UGS is an important part of our R&D growth strategy and we will continue to pursue the best ways to enhance our portfolio, build on our superior technology platform and add value for our customers."

The transaction is expected to close within 45 days, pending satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

D-Cubed develops and markets a suite of software component products that manage various aspects of geometric modeling functionality. The components are licensed by software development organizations for integration into their own end-user products. The majority of the world's leading mechanical CAD applications - including AutoCAD, CATIA, Inventor, IronCAD, Mechanical Desktop, One Space Designer, Pro/Desktop, Solid Edge, SolidWorks, thinkdesign, Unigraphics NX, and many more - contain one or more D-Cubed components, making its solutions the de facto industry standard.

"UGS' unmatched reputation for quality and integrity in supplying the PLM industry with component technology makes this transaction a perfect fit for D- Cubed," said D-Cubed president John Owen, who will continue working with UGS. "UGS' history of offering products like the Parasolid geometric modeling kernel on a 'level playing field' policy was a significant factor in our decision to work with UGS. We look forward to the increased market opportunities for D-Cubed technology that will result from this acquisition."

Concurrent with the announcement, UGS also introduced the product family name "PLM Components" as part of its growing business for industry standard component software products. The PLM Components product suite, which D-Cubed products will join upon the closing of the transaction, promote open innovation throughout the community of component adopters and enable seamless interoperability among applications in the PLM market. UGS plans to market its PLM Components products as part of the company's innovative PLM Open strategy - UGS' open approach to doing business and developing technology - while continuing to employ the company's unique level playing field business model.

PLM Components - UGS' fifth product suite in addition to Teamcenter, NX, Solid Edge and E-factory - consist of:
  • Parasolid - a geometric modeling kernel
  • PLM Vis - enterprise product visualization technology embedded in all UGS products and many partner applications
  • JT Open Toolkit - software to enable collaboration and visualization that powers the JT Open program
  • PLM XML SDK (software development toolkit) - technology that implements UGS' open data model for customers and third parties.
  • "We welcome and look forward to serving the D-Cubed customers, many of whom are already UGS customers using one or more of the products in our PLM Components suite," said Chuck Grindstaff, executive vice-president of PLM Products for UGS. "We will continue to provide these customers with the outstanding technology and product support they are accustomed to."

    "As our industry's leading voice for openness to promote standardization and interoperability, UGS will continue to leverage the D-Cubed components that are already fully integrated into our NX and Solid Edge family of products," added Grindstaff.

    This has certainly been a busy past few months for UGS and its communications staff. First, the acquisition by private investors, renaming the company, and now the acquisition of D-Cubed. This is really a big deal because, unlike the ACIS or Parasolid geometric modeling kernels that are found in some CAD products, technologies from D-Cubed are working behind the scenes in virtually all CAD applications. Are many or any of UGS' competitors concerned about the acquisition? Apparently not (and they really shouldn't be because the D-Cubed technologies will continue to provide a nice revenue stream for UGS). We received an email from Autodesk that stated, "As you may already know, Autodesk has an agreement to license component technology from D-Cubed, as well as a consulting arrangement. We want to reassure you, our customers and partners that we believe this new development will not affect our current solutions or our future product offerings. We will continue to work with D-Cubed and look forward to building a successful relationship with UGS." If anybody should be concerned, it should be SolidWorks, because it licenses both Parasolid and D-Cubed software components. However, at a press event hosted by SolidWorks, John McEleney, SolidWorks CEO, said that he was not concerned in the least and looked forward to a continued relationship with the technologies, regardless of
    its ownership. Right now it looks like business as usual, and only time will tell if any of the vendors have any reason for concern, although I don't believe that anything will change that would negatively impact any CAD product or company.

    SolidWorks 2005 Launched

    SolidWorks Corp. announced the newest version of its flagship software, solidifying it as the number one choice in the mainstream 3D mechanical design market. SolidWorks 2005 software delivers powerful drawing capabilities, unparalleled ease of use, and a host of new productivity features, accelerating the adoption of 3D design and speeding the pace of industry.

    SolidWorks 2005 includes more than 250 customer-requested features and enhancements that help machine designers, mold designers, consumer product designers, and others become faster, more accurate, and more productive as they bring their innovations to market. These enhancements make SolidWorks 2005 the most expansive product in its market and the only one to encompass 3D design, analysis, product data management, collaboration, and injection-molded plastic part validation software in a single offering. Key improvements include:
    • An extensive design library for machine designers
    • The first mold design validation tool built into a solid modeling environment
    • Enhanced loft features for consumer product designers;
    • Application-specific user interfaces;
    • An embedded editor for AutoCAD files; and
    • A time-saving Task Pane on the SolidWorks desktop.
    • "SolidWorks 2005 makes significant advances in the area of advanced modeling," said Mark Biasotti, CAD discipline lead at IDEO, an award-winning Palo Alto, Calif., design firm. "Designers doing complex part design should find this an important release. SolidWorks has made many enhancements to the loft feature, making it an even more powerful and general-purpose surfacing tool. A new smart selection will help reduce the amount of reference features that are needed to create geometry. This, coupled with the enhancements in surface features, should reduce the complexity of the model by 30 percent or more. Also, many of us in the consumer products sector that design injected-molded rubber parts
      will appreciate the new Flex feature. We can create the part in its molded state, yet can use this feature to 'flex' it by bending, stretching, or twisting the part in its "used" state. For the kind of work that I do, this is one of the most significant releases I've seen."

      SolidWorks 2005 includes significant new features specifically for machine designers, mold designers, and consumer product designers.

      Machine Design - New for SolidWorks machine designers is a library that aggregates, in an on-screen window, hundreds of pre-designed parts that machine designers use most. These include ports, seal grooves and rings, and slots consistent with Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) specifications; parts that users have created themselves; 2D annotations and blocks; parts from the SolidWorks 3D ContentCentral service repository; and parts consistent with the authoritative Machinery's Handbook. Users can drag commonly used features from the library directly into their designs rather than searching for files or redesigning them from scratch. New weldment features automatically generate
      cut lists, dictate mitred/angled cuts, and for the first time enable the quick creation of curved segments.

      Mold Design - Building on the momentum of mainstream analysis software and the success of the COSMOSXpress embedded analysis product, SolidWorks 2005 now includes MoldflowXpress, a unique new feature for mold designers. The first mold design validation tool built into a solid modeling environment, MoldflowXpress enables mold designers to quickly and easily validate whether a plastic injection-molded part can be filled. The software breaks down traditional communication barriers between product designers and mold makers, saving time, eliminating errors, and fostering collaboration. SolidWorks 2005 also offers a new side core feature for mold designers that
      automatically creates all side core and lifter geometry necessary to extract finished parts from molds.

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      -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

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