ECAD Continues To Expand Into The MCAD Arena

Just imaging the complexity of specifying, routing, and keeping track of the hundreds or thousands of wires found in a typical car or truck with entertainment, navigation and safety systems. Then, imaging at least a magnitude greater for an aircraft. As the electrical wiring systems in the transportation industry become increasingly complex, so does the need for design software to manage this complexity. Change management for these mechanical/electrical systems also becomes important because a change in one will probably affect a change in the other.

Ok, so we've briefly discussed MCAD vendors embracing ECAD. What about the converse? As it turns out, a very prominent company in EDA, Mentor Graphics, is doing just that - supporting an initiative that integrates the design and engineering of mechanical and electrical systems. It has partnered with some of the big MCAD guns, such as Dassault, UGS, and PTC to tackle the enormous challenges of integrating MCAD and ECAD into a cohesive endeavor.

Mechanical things have become so electrical, that the integration of the two is becoming increasingly critical, not to mention complicated. This is such an important and growing area that in the coming weeks we will be discussing how the integration and complexity management processes are progressing as we interview executives from Mentor Graphics and some of its MCAD partners.

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.

UGS Reports Continued Quarterly And Year-Over-Year Growth
UGS Corp. announced financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2005. In the third quarter, UGS marked its ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year total revenue growth and expanded its market leadership position in the high-growth collaborative Product Development Management (cPDM) space with a year-over-year 73.8 percent revenue increase including acquisitions, or 45.9 percent without acquisitions. UGS' performance was driven by continued growth in its two key product segments (cPDM and CAx) and growth in each of its geographic regions. Total revenue increased to US$290.2 million, or 23.4 percent growth over the same period a year earlier. That includes US$89.8 million in license software revenue, or a 24.9 percent year-over-year increase. The acquisition of Tecnomatix Technologies Ltd. added US$20.5 million in overall revenue and US$7.5 million in license software revenue.

Boeing Launches New 747-8 Family
The Boeing Co. officially launched the new Boeing 747-8 program, which includes the 747-8 Intercontinental passenger airplane and the 747-8 Freighter airplane. Both versions of the new 747 will feature GE's 787-technology GEnx engines, meet Stage 4 and QC2 noise requirements, have reduced emissions, offer lower trip costs, and have an upgraded flight deck and an improved wing. The 747-8 Intercontinental passenger airplane will be stretched 3.6 m (11.7 ft) compared to the 747-400 to accommodate 34 additional seats in a typical three-class configuration. The 747-8 Freighter will be 5.6 m (18.3 ft) longer than the 747-400 freighter. Boeing forecasts the need for about 900 airplanes -- passengers and freighters -- in the 400-plus-seat segment over the next 20 years. Boeing also forecasts that large widebody freighters (65 metric tons and above in capacity) will comprise 34 percent of the freighter market by 2024.

Autodesk Joins Rockwell Automation Encompass Partner Program
Autodesk and Rockwell Automation announced that Autodesk has been accepted into the Rockwell Automation Encompass Partner program. The partnership enables customers of Rockwell Automation who utilize the Allen-Bradley brand of products to reap value from using AutoCAD Electrical software, an AutoCAD-based electrical controls design application, interoperable with Autodesk's other design applications. AutoCAD Electrical automates many tasks for electrical controls designers and provides an ideal path for designers who use AutoCAD to design control systems or generate critical reports, such as a bill of materials, by hand. AutoCAD Electrical contains libraries of Rockwell Automation components that allow users to specify Allen-Bradley product content directly from the included libraries into a design. This process automatically inserts the correct part number and product information into the bill of materials.

Libbey Inc. Standardizes On SolidWorks
SolidWorks announced that Libbey Inc., a glass manufacturer for the food service industry, is making SolidWorks the 3D design standard for its engineers worldwide. Libbey has purchased 21 licenses of SolidWorks software for mechanical and mold engineers who design products, machinery, and tooling for the company's six manufacturing plants around the world. The Libbey engineering group has already used SolidWorks in an interesting way - to transform a set of architectural drawings first created in AutoCAD software into a working, virtual 3D model of a new Libbey plant in China. Libbey mechanical engineers will use SolidWorks to design machinery for operating plants in the U.S., Mexico, the Netherlands, and Portugal. Libbey mold designers are using SolidWorks software to design blow-mold and press mold machines that produce the actual glassware. A key factor in Libbey's 3D CAD investment selection was the fact that SolidWorks software is available in the languages spoken at its existing and future plants, including Chinese, English, and Spanish.

V5 PLM Solutions Available On AMD64 Technology
Dassault Systemes announced the availability of V5 PLM 64-bit solutions on AMD Opteron processor-based systems, starting with Version 5 Release 16. The first AMD Opteron processor-based systems recently certified by Dassault Systemes to run V5 PLM 64-bit solutions are the HP xw9300 workstation and the IBM Intellistation A Pro 6217 workstation. Customers can benefit from increased maximum product model size, high levels of possible product model detail, and overall application performance.

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

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