Well, if you're hoping to read about the next 'big thing' -- whether that means the next Autodesk, the next PTC, or the next SolidWorks -- each of which, in effect, transformed the CAD industry through either technology leaps or value-based pricing--I wouldn't say that there were any definitive 'new industry leaders' unveiled at this year's National Design and Engineering Show (NDES) exhibit and conference, held in conjunction with National Manufacturing Week in Chicago during the week of March 3rd - 6th. The conference did, however, offer more than a few interesting tidbits -- some of which relate to product enhancements and new product introductions, and some of which simply fall under that category -- 'wow, that's really clever. Is anyone else doing this?' Perhaps even more importantly, there seemed to be a sense of urgency regarding the need for innovation and productivity across the manufacturing enterprise to enable companies to compete more effectively in a global marketplace.
In terms of truly 'new' products, there was actually one very interesting CAD program that caught my eye. Iced*CAD, short for 'intelligently created engineering drawings from CAD', enables users to 'automatically' generate a drawing or assembly model directly from BOM data, working alongside all of the popular CAD programs such as Pro/Engineer, AutoCAD, Solidworks, CATIA, and Unigraphics. Developed by a company called QSSolutions, which has worked for several years on this concept, the secret behind Iced*CAD is the underlying layer of programming that makes this intelligent 'rule-based' system work. At this stage, Iced*CAD doesn't come cheap -- a custom system could cost your company as much as $400,000 or more. But if the ability to generate assemblies on-the-fly from bill of materials information makes it faster and easier for your company to do business, and at the same time frees up your design engineers to focus on more valuable tasks. like new product development, it might be worth considering. QSSolutions just might be onto something big here. To learn more, see www.icedcad.com.
In terms of 'new and improved' products, EDS PLM Solutions introduced SolidEdge v14 ( www.eds.com) with its advanced surfacing capabilities and systems libraries, and PTC was showing Pro/E Wildfire ( www.ptc.com), the 'new and improved' version of Pro/Engineer that features built-in Web connectivity and greater ease-of-use. Autodesk ( www.autodesk.com) not only reiterated its commitment to desktop PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) with its 3D modeling Inventor 7.0 software and web-enabled PLM system, Streamline but also announced the acquisition of the assets of three software companies -- trueEInnovations, Inc., VIA Development Corporation, and Linius Technologies, Inc. VX Corporation ( www.vx.com) was also debuting its latest -- a new graphical CAM interface integrated directly into VX CAD/CAM to provide greater control over the manufacturing process and ImpactXoft ( www.impactxoft.com), which recently announced a strategic partnership with IBM/Dassault Systemes, was showing the latest enhancements to its IX SPeeD software for simultaneous product development. Building on the success of the retraining program that it launched last year, SolidWorks ( www.solidworks.com) announced an innovative new 3D training program, called the SolidWorks® 3D Skills program, which includes free SolidWorks software, plus introductory training and support. And Elysium, ( www.elysiuminc.com) a leading provider of digital design data exchange software, announced the CADpdm synchronization tool, for correlating all the product structure information that must be 'synchronized' when different PDM systems must 'talk' to one another.
Beyond the latest developments in CAD modeling and related product data management software and services, it was also interesting to see the progress being made in the area of connecting buyers to suppliers, particularly with respect to streamlining what can often be a very time-consuming task, the quoting process. Here, rapid prototyping specialist, Xpress3D ( www.xpress3d.com) has come up with a fast, simple, and secure means of quoting rapid prototyping services without leaving the CAD environment; MfgQuote.com ( www.mfgquote.com) has made some inroads with both buyers and suppliers in the manufacturing marketplace and is hoping to further extend this with its new 'supplier discovery' capability; and Resinate ( www.resinatecorp.com), makers of Resinate Material Advisor (RMA) for rapid selection of plastic materials, is now planning to offer an ASP service, which will allow the user to access the material database over the Internet.
Also, on the other side of the aisle, at the National Enterprise IT show and conference, Microsoft was promoting its Industrial IT Alliance -- a manufacturing IT solution that extends from the 'shop floor to the top floor' through partnerships with such companies as EDS-PLM Solutions, ABB, Intel, Accenture, and SAP.
Interestingly, in spite of the flagging economy (or perhaps because of it), attendees at this year's NDES conference and exhibit seemed to be more engaged than ever, and more informed as well. Translation? This year, it seemed, attendees came to NDES to get the answer to one basic underlying question -- how can our organization be more competitive? Are there any new tools or technologies that we need to know about? Are there any strategies that others have used in our industry that our company should consider using? Is there some magic way to reduce our design and manufacturing costs?
In upcoming issues of MCAD Weekly Review and as part of our ongoing efforts to continually add to our resources on MCADCafe, we will attempt to address these and other questions related to the challenges facing mechanical engineers involved in product design and development today. So, stay tuned. And please let us know how we can best serve your needs, as we continue to expand our coverage of the latest MCAD tools, technologies and 'best practices' across the industry.
Comments? Feedback? Email Contact to tell us what you think about this topic or if you have additional information you'd like to share on this subject!
Amy Rowell is the managing editor of MCADCafe, and the editor of MCAD Weekly Review.
- Autodesk Moves Forward to Fulfill its Mainstream Product Lifecycle Management Strategy with New Asset Acquisitions [04 Mar 2003]
- CIMdata.s 2003 PLM Market Pricing Analysis Report Sheds Light on Understanding PLM Investments [05 Mar 2003]
- COSMOS Forms Advanced Analysis Group [28 Feb 2003]
- EDS PLM Solutions Announces Systems Libraries Capability with Solid Edge Version 14 [03 Mar 2003]
- Elysium Announces CADpdm Synchronization Tool for Digital Design Data Exchange [03 Mar 2003]
- Integrated Testing and Virtual Prototyping Solutions From The SmartSim Community Proven To Accelerate Vehicle Development Process at Daimler Chrysler [04 Mar 2003]
- PTC's Breakthrough Product Development System Makes Product Lifecycle Management Accessible [03 Mar 2003]
- Resinate Launches ASP Service for Leading Material Selection Product [03 Mar 2003]
- SolidWorks Offers 3D CAD Skills to More Than 1.5 Million Design Engineers [03 Mar 2003]
- 3D Systems and University of Texas at Austin File Action Against EOS GmbH [03 Mar 2003]
- AMR Research Serves as Exclusive Analyst Sponsor for National Manufacturing Week 2003 [03 Mar 2003]
- ANSYS Announces CFX-TurboGrid 2.1; The Next Generation in Grid Generation for Turbomachinery CFD [04 Mar 2003]
- ATI and 3Dlabs Announce Collaboration to Accelerate Advancement of Shaders Using Industry-Standard Languages [05 Mar 2003]
- ATI Bridges Gap Between Offline and Real-Time Rendering [05 Mar 2003]
- Cadpo Outlines Knowledge Management Distribution Strategy for the SolidWorks Mainstream Design-Centric Market [03 Mar 2003]
- CFdesign v6 is Certified for Autodesk Inventor 6 [03 Mar 2003]
- Cimmetry Releases AutoVue for Unix-Servers [04 Mar 2003]
- COSMOSDesignSTAR 4.0 Unveiled at NDES [03 Mar 2003]
- D-Cubed release 2D DCM version 44.0 [06 Mar 2003]
- Delcam provides complete solution for patternmakers [28 Feb 2003]
- Elysium Announces Feature-based Translation Technology [03 Mar 2003]
- Epicor Unveils Product Strategy and Roadmap for Midmarket Manufacturing Industry [05 Mar 2003]
- Gamma Technologies Unveils GT-SUITE 6.0 - Integrated Simulation Toolkit For Engine & Powertrain Design [03 Mar 2003]
- IronCAD, LLC Ships InnovationSuite 2003 [06 Mar 2003]
- HP Expands PC Market Share with Small- and Medium-sized Business Segment; Retakes Leadership Position in Asia Pacific Plus Japan [03 Mar 2003] Cyco Software to Provide Full Support for AutoCAD(R) 2004 [04 Mar 2003]
- HP Holds No. 1 Worldwide Position for UNIX, Windows and Linux Server Revenues [28 Feb 2003]
- New ESPRIT SolidMillTurn Product Line on Display at WESTEC Trade Show Marks Major Milestone in Programming Multi-Function Lathes and Mill-Turn Machine Tools: CAM system programs any combination of mill-turn (2-5 axis) and turning cutting cycles [03 Mar 2003]
- PTC(R) and Thomas Register(R) Launch Pro/Engineer(R) Wildfire(TM) Component Portal [04 Mar 2003]
- Rand Worldwide® Announces Fourth Quarter 2002 Results [PDF File] [03 Mar 2003]
- SAP Announces Strategic Solution for Industrial Machinery and Components Industry [03 Mar 2003]
- SAP Expands Smart Business Solutions with New Vertical-Industry Offerings for Small and Midsize Businesses [04 Mar 2003]
- Sun Microsystems Makes the Net Secure for Manufacturing [03 Mar 2003]
- Thomas Register Announces Support for Autodesk's Manufacturing Design Solutions [03 Mar 2003]
- Visiprise and EDS Form Global Alliance [05 Mar 2003]
- Autodesk Inc. to Present at Lehman Brothers Global Software and IT Conference [06 Mar 2003]
- Boeing/DARPA Successfully Complete Major Milestone in Development of Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles [05 Mar 2003]
- Delphi Engineer Wins SAE Award for Young Engineers [05 Mar 2003]
- Moldflow Announces New Manufacturing Track and Panel Discussion at 2003 International User Group Conference [28 Feb 2003]
- Creation Technologies Purchases eMPower Execution Systems Products From Tecnomatix [04 Mar 2003]
- DW Product Development Uses Moldflow Software to Help Redesign Black & Decker Workmate 375 [04 Mar 2003]
- ESA-ESTEC Selects LMS Test.Lab Environmental LMS Systems Used to Qualify European Spacecrafts [05 Mar 2003]
- Miba Implements PTC's Windchill(R) DynamicDesignLink(TM) for Design-to-Order [05 Mar 2003]
- Nilfisk-Advance Expands Product Lifecycle Management Solution from IBM and Dassault Systemes [03 Mar 2003]
- PTC Receives $2.4 Million PLM Order from RWTH Aachen, Leading Engineering University [05 Mar 2003]
- Renault F1 Team Signs $1.4 Million Order from VISTAGY, Inc. [03 Mar 2003]
- World Renowned Lighting Manufacturer, Lightolier, Reports 35 Percent Productivity Increase with Autodesk Manufacturing Solutions [05 Mar 2003]
- World's Leading Ladder Manufacturer to Increase Product Development, Reduce Time to Market with SolidWorks 3D CAD Software [04 Mar 2003]
- article: Cadalyst announces MCAD Caddies winners [06 Mar 2003]
- article: CADENCE Awards Five Show Stoppers at NDES 2003 [06 Mar 2003]
- article: Goodyear and TRW to Collaborate on Vehicle Handling Development [07 Mar 2003]
- New White Paper Shows Convergence of Innovative Technologies Driving Wireless Manufacturing to the Shop Floor [03 Mar 2003]