PTC Automotive Manufacturing Study Links Product Development And Financial Performance

In the demanding world of surfacing for the automotive industry, specifically for Class A surfaces, there have been two games in town for a number of years - ICEM and Alias. While they both have outstanding surface development capabilities, they also have the reputation of taking days or weeks to learn, but years to master. ICEM Surf was originally developed by Volkswagen in an internal development project designed to create software for use in vehicle body design and engineering. ICEM and Alias have also had interesting business sides, as well, with acquisitions, buyouts, spinoffs, etc. As a matter of fact, just last month Accel-KKR, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Alias management announced the completion of the acquisition of Alias from SGI for $57.5 million. Alias will now operate as an independent company. Just a couple of years ago, PTC sold the ICEM business it had previously acquired in a buyout led by Lee Cureton, acting general manager of ICEM, and Indigo Capital, a leading UK-based financing provider to European businesses. The agreement to sell the ICEM business was initially announced in November 2001. The sale by PTC of ICEM Surf was touted as another step in PTC's efforts to focus on its strategic core technology (actually, it helped both companies focus on what they do best). PTC then continued to offer surfacing capabilities as part of Pro/ENGINEER by integrating Pro/E and ICEM Surf.

IntelliCAD Technology Embedded In SolidWorks 2005

The IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC) announced that its IntelliCAD technology was a critical component of the new DWGEditor functionality incorporated into the latest release of SolidWorks (SolidWorks 2005) software. The ITC is an independent organization of commercial software developers established specifically for the purpose of licensing and coordinating broad future development of CAD technology. The ITC licenses IntelliCAD technology to commercial members, who in return receive source code, documentation, installation, developer support, etc. to develop the technology into commercial CAD products. These members are authorized to provide end user sales and support.

The SolidWorks DWGEditor gives users the ability to edit 2D DWG files in their native format without conversion or data loss. The tool is ideal for design engineers who use 3D design software but still need to edit and maintain legacy DWG data. When a user of SolidWorks 2005 opens a DWG based drawing, the IntelliCAD technology is invoked to provide editing capabilities in an AutoCAD-like interface.

Robert McDonald, Product Manager at SolidWorks Corporation stated, "The DWGEditor is part of our commitment to support our customers, many of whom still need to make quick changes to legacy DWG data and do not want or need to translate these files into SolidWorks software. IntelliCAD's technology was instrumental in developing this new functionality in SolidWorks."

"The integration of IntelliCAD technology into the new DWGEditor demonstrates IntelliCAD's power to provide native DWG support within CAD applications," said Scott Hucke, operations manager at ITC. "IntelliCAD enabled SolidWorks Corporation to bring powerful, native DWG format editing to market in record time."

IntelliCAD is an alternative development platform for CAD application developers that provides .DWG file compatibility, as well as support for AutoCAD commands, menu files, script files, shape files, text styles, hatch patterns, linetypes, LISP programs, ADS/C++ programs, and VBA.

Embedding IntelliCAD was a pretty shrewd move by the folks at SolidWorks for wooing and making current 2D users 3D converts. When I first saw the SolidWorks DWGEditor in a beta version of SolidWorks 2005, I was amazed at how true the interface was to a still widely used 2D CAD application. IntelliCAD is also highly compatible with the AutoCAD command set, menu files, and scripts, as well as with AutoLISP and Autodesk ADS. Since IntelliCAD's native file format is .DWG, you can open and save any existing Autodesk AutoCAD file (V2.5 through 2004) with no file conversion required or data loss. Because the documents are maintained in the .DWG and .DXF formats, they can be opened again in AutoCAD. Geometry also can be cut and pasted from the DWGEditor into SolidWorks.

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

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