September 18, 2006
Ford Implements BUNKSPEED’s Visualization Software
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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BUNKSPEED, the fastest growing provider of high-end visualization software and services, announced that Ford Motor Company has selected BUNKSPEED's software solutions to be implemented globally in the product design and development process. The initial agreement for 150 licenses of software for Ford and all its subsidiaries including Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin as well as Mazda, is expected to grow significantly as deployment is completed.

Ford chose BUNKSPEED because it needed an open and ease-to-use system, that allows the design and development team to uniquely visualize many concepts or themes in real-time, in motion, and in a variety of environments and simulated natural light. In addition, BUNKSPEED solutions easily and effectively support collaborative design reviews across multiple locations.

According to Ford Motor Company, "The speed and accuracy delivered via the Bunkspeed system, which is used in studios that design Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar and Volvo products, translate into significant time saved in the design process. Designers can also share information quicker".

Since its foundation in 2002, BUNKSPEED has been working closely with Ford and the Premier Automotive Group. The overall capabilities and ease-of-use of BUNKSPEED's solutions have compelled many design departments in the industry to rethink their design development workflow. By reducing the dependencies on physical prototypes, companies are finally realizing significant cost savings throughout their design processes.

"BUNKSPEED is proud to work closely with a forward thinking company like Ford, and we're very pleased that our solutions are having such a positive impact on Ford's vehicle design programs," said Philip Lunn, founder and CEO of BUNKSPEED. "This is perhaps the largest implementation of pure visualization software in recent history and is a win for both companies. Our expanded relationship will allow us to work together on new projects that will further help Ford excel - in its design, as well as its overall product development process."

The software has shipped during Q3 of BUNKSPEED's fiscal year 2006, and is available immediately for deployment.


by Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

I'm in the Detroit area right now, and this is about the only bright spot I've seen or heard regarding Ford of late.

BUNKSPEED is a unique player in the visualization software arena. The company is poised to really take off as it provides and advances visualization by developing several interesting technologies for decision making in the digital design process, as well as bridging the traditional gaps between design, engineering, and eventually, marketing and sales.

I spoke with Thomas Teger, BUNKSPEED's Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning about some of the details regarding the Ford announcement. He said that the specific BUNKSPEED product currently deployed at Ford is UDRIVE, the company's flagship product for rendering and animation. With it, you import models, paint them by applying colors and textures, set up an environment for the model, and then visualize it in real time. You can actually "drive" the model in a scene by connecting a PlayStation. You can also record the process for other purposes.

According to Teger, UDRIVE is being used by Ford throughout the entire design process covering the following stages for both automotive exteriors and interiors:
  • Concept design review - analyzing vehicle proportions and shapes for further refinement
  • Theme review - color and material studies; output is often sent to focus groups
  • Design verification - evaluate final designs
  • UDRIVE is used to present to groups ranging from studio designers to the board of directors throughout the design process.

    Unlike most other high-end rendering products, the typical UDRIVE user is not a rendering specialist, and this opens up the potential market to a much larger audience. Teger said the learning curve is a fraction of what is required for most other rendering products at this level of capability, and has been successfully used by those with and without previous digital design experience. He said that ultimately, UDRIVE will be viewed as an authoring tool that can be used by a much wider user base. In other words, it doesn't take years to master.

    Teger said he is pleasantly surprised at the amount of excitement and positive feedback that BUNKSPEED has generated so far with its products, and has high hopes for what might happen down the road. He expects the visualization market to change dramatically with regard to expectations and results.

    Although the company has targeted the automotive market up to now, in the future expect to see it branch out into several additional areas of industrial design, including consumer products, footware, etc. in the future.

    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.

    The Open Design Alliance announced that its DWGdirect software libraries now support the 2007 version of the DWG file format, as used by Autodesk's most recent AutoCAD application. The new release of DWGdirect incorporates support for all the new features and entity types introduced in AutoCAD 2007, including what Autodesk has been calling "Trusted DWG." ODA President Evan Yares reports, "Trusted DWG is the marketing name for a series of secret codes used by AutoCAD to detect DWG files that were written by applications from companies other than Autodesk. It has nothing to do with determining if a DWG file is trustworthy, and serves only to unnecessarily alarm users, warning
    them that perfectly good DWG files 'may result in stability issues' when used with AutoCAD."

    Building on more than two years of collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), HelioVolt announced it will extend the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) for research carried out at NREL's facilities to include the development of non-vacuum nanomaterial-based deposition processes optimized for HelioVolt's proprietary FASST manufacturing technology. HelioVolt is enabling new paths to solar energy marketability by building on its knowledge of the unique characteristics of the Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) material system. When made under the proper conditions CIGS spontaneously arranges itself at the nanoscale to create a percolation network
    that drastically reduces losses, making the material the most efficient and reliable thin-film for photovoltaics.

    Vero International Software announced the latest addition to its product range, VISI-Flow a product for mold flow analysis. VISI-Flow analyses the flow behavior of molten plastic as it enters a mold cavity using FEA technologies to assure the quality of the final part and the productivity of the injection molding process. It covers the complete process for plastic injection molders, from fill (flow) analysis, to tolerance, warpage, cooling and cycle time analysis. VISI-Flow simulates the behavior of all types of plastics in their filled and unfilled states. The database guides the identification of molding parameters to obtain required part quality. There are no limits to the shape,
    complexity and size of the molded part. In addition to the simulation of conventional injection molding, VISI-Flow can analyse all types of runnerless systems such as hot and insulated nozzles. Specific options are provided for the sequential (cascade) technology and for the family mould where different parts positioned in the same tool are balanced with the programmed opening and closing of valve gates.

    Fluent Inc. announced the release of Fluent Connection 1.1 software that helps streamline the process of creating simulation models based on design data from leading CAD packages. Integrating core CAE technologies with the most popular independent design tools has been a key part of the ANSYS strategy for nearly a decade; this latest release brings direct integration to the Fluent products as well. The Fluent UGS NX Connection, Fluent Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire Connection, and Fluent SolidWorks Connection products operate within the CAD system user environments and provide tools for checking and conditioning the 3-D geometry model in order to ensure that it has been properly prepared for the next step in the simulation process. Using Fluent Connection, users can eliminate or repair geometry issues that would otherwise impede the simulation process. By providing a well-defined way to check the CAD model for possible simulation-related issues, Fluent Connection helps engineering organizations ensure a streamlined hand-off between CAD and simulation. In addition to enhanced functionality for conditioning of the geometry, Fluent Connection provides the ability to launch Fluent's FloWizard 2.1 or GAMBIT 2.3 simulation environment directly from a CAD system. The CAD model is automatically loaded into the Fluent environment using native
    readers that eliminate the need for translation of the geometry data.

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    -- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.

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