March 13, 2006
Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 Launched
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor


by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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PTC has launched Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0, a major release of its MCAD/CAM/CAE software and an integral component of PTC's Product Development System. Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 helps users get their jobs done faster and easier, with best practices in mind. Additionally, PTC is delivering the highest-quality new release of Pro/ENGINEER in the company's history.


Today's increasingly complex product development environment requires that engineers shorten time-to-market by compressing development cycles without compromising results. To successfully meet these challenges engineers are seeking solutions which enable them to increase their personal productivity and the efficiency of the processes they employ throughout the product development cycle. Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 focuses on solving these specific challenges.


Highlights of the new release targeted at improving personal productivity include:
  • Fast Sketcher--a reduction in the number of menu picks required to use and exit the sketch environment improves performance with large sketches up to 80%.
  • Fast Assembly--the modernized user interface and optimized assembly workflow dramatically increase the speed of assembly, up to five times faster, while new support for Windows(R) XP 64-bit systems enables retrieval of very large assemblies.
  • Fast Drawings--the ability to add shaded views to traditional 2D drawings helps clarify design concepts faster and removes ambiguity. Improvements in the drawing environment will yield an increase in productivity benefits up to 63%.
  • Fast Sheetmetal--the capability to interpret design intent enables the creation of sheetmetal features up to 90% faster, while also reducing the number of features by up to 90%.
  • Fast CAM--enhancements to the manufacturing user interface speed the creation of manufacturing geometry by up to three times.
  • "The new sketcher palette in Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 is a welcome addition to the product!" said Mike Brattoli, engineering systems administrator, Moen. "The palette also provides an easily accessible central location to save our sections. This will shorten up our design time considerably."


    Process productivity is the second area targeted for improvement with Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0. Key features include:
  • Smart Process Wizard--the inclusion of a new, customizable Process Wizard allows companies to capture expert knowledge and leverage their best practices and recommended approaches for different processes.
  • Smart Model--the ability to embed manufacturing process information into the model makes it easier to design for manufacturability and helps promote best practices.
  • Smart Sharing - the introduction of portable workspaces that track all changed, new and unchanged files facilitates offline access to CAD data and helps improve collaboration with external parties.
  • Smart Interoperability with Windchill and Pro/INTRALINK - automated reporting of bulk items, item check-out on-the-fly only when changes are made, and the addition of a status column in the model tree to report the database status of an item provide a streamlined process for accessing information.
  • "The Process Wizard in Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 is going to be extremely useful in our environment," said Vaughn McDaniel, mechanical engineer, JR Automation. "We have a couple of FEA experts who use the application regularly, but the majority of the engineers don't use it that often so they always need to refresh themselves on exactly what needs to be done. With the wizard, you have that refresher at your fingertips, so any engineer can just jump in and start with the analysis."


    "Our customers need solutions that enable them to optimize their product development processes and get their products to market faster and at lower costs," said Mike Campbell, vice president product management, PTC. "Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 delivers capabilities that remove impediments to personal and process efficiency during product development. "


    "Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 represents a tremendous investment by PTC. We are very pleased with the results and the customer feedback we have received," said James E. Heppelmann, executive vice president, software products, and chief product officer, PTC. "Also, we've reaffirmed PTC's commitment to quality, ensuring that Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 delivers the highest quality of any new Pro/ENGINEER release."


    Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 will be available later this month. Active Pro/ENGINEER customers will automatically receive this new release free of charge under their current maintenance coverage.


    I attended a product briefing on Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 late last week conducted by a PTC MCAD Group Leader, Lino Tozzi. He's a very adept demo person and things went smoothly as he went through the new aspects, features, and capabilities of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0. The software build he had, although not final production, behaved and performed quite well.


    Although there are, indeed, several new features and capabilities (listed above), I was at least, if not more impressed with some other things - the software's stability and consistency. Don't get me wrong, there are some very cool things in the new release, but PTC has wisely listened to its customers and instead of piling on new stuff just for the sake of piling it on, has made the core product easier to use. The user interface, for example, is much more consistent and Windows-compliant than it's ever been across functional tasks, making these tasks easier and more efficient to accomplish. Many of these tasks are admittedly routine, but tasks that are performed by the vast majority of
    users. Doing it this way, however, provides a higher return on investment for everybody - customers are more satisfied so vendors feel their development dollars are better spent.


    Of course, PTC isn't the only software company taking this approach, but does represent a pleasant trend that customers are increasingly getting what they want and pay for. Namely, more stable, and therefore, more reliable software.


    When we receive a shipping version of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0, we'll take a closer look at some of the new and improved features in sketching, patterning, dealing with complex shapes, sheetmetal, drawings, annotation, and presentation. There is also a nice embedded PDF export option and analysis process guide that walks you through some fairly sophisticated static and dynamic analyses. All in all, I'm looking forward to checking out the newest version of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire.

    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.



    IBM and Dassault Systhmes announced Styled Plastic and Packaging (SP&P), a new integrated solution for consumer goods businesses that design styled products. Manufacturers of styled products face growing pressure to differentiate their products and increase their responsiveness to global market pressures. Development processes are often disjointed, inefficient and complex, resulting in an inability to deliver the right products on time, and potential loss of revenue and market share. The SP&P solution combines CATIA V5 for product design and simulation; SMARTEAM for business process and lifecycle management; and a unique and evolving set of dedicated DS PLM Practices, developed by Dassault
    Systhmes. Advanced training, based on extensive knowledge of customer experiences, has been developed to facilitate quick, easy and successful solution implementation. The Styled Plastic and Packaging Solution's capabilities comprise the Industrial Design tools of CATIA V5: Imagine & Shape (IMA) and Functional Molded Parts (FMP).



    The Eastec show ushers in the latest CAD/CAM software from CNC Software Inc. - where
    Mastercam X's Maintenance Release (MR1) will be showcased. Seven new toolpaths (2 roughing and 5 finishing) have been incorporated into the MR1 release, and include a new interface for toolpath creation. These new toolpath types are tailored to high speed machining and hardmilling. They offer a smooth cutting motion along with smooth entry/exits. They are also useful for many applications by offering several cutting styles, the ability to change the cutting style, and having controls like steep/shallow angle limits, rest passes, and holder gouge checking. Additional strategies and capabilities include:
  • Core Roughing
  • Area Clearance
  • Waterline
  • Scallop
  • Horizontal Area
  • Raster
  • Pencil

  • Proficiency announced that Dr. Richard Riff, Henry Ford technical fellow at the Ford Motor Co., has joined the company's Board of Directors. Dr. Riff is the Director of Ford's PLM and Digital Product Creation initiatives and Technical Fellow for Virtual Product Creation and PLM, one of five Technical Fellows at Ford. As a well-recognized industry leader, Dr. Riff brings a valued perspective on the product data integration needs of the automotive industry and will play a key role in formulating Proficiency's strategic direction. The role of Ford's Technical Fellows is to provide understandable, technically sound advice to the chief technical officer and to the company as a
    whole, influencing strategic direction on key product and process matters, contributing to corporate technical strategies, using competitive benchmarking to analyze and improve products, technologies and processes, and ensuring the transfer of knowledge across organizations and the continued growth of the company's in-house expertise.


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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


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