RapidForm And VX Technologies Team Up For Reverse Engineering

VX Technologies Inc. and Rapidform Inc. announced a new joint sales promotion: Customers who buy the combination of a perpetual license of rapidformXOR and a VX StarCam system, will receive up to a $10,000 discount. This offer is valid through December 15, 2006.

Lew Turnquist, President and CEO of VX Technologies Inc., states "Manufacturers looking to quickly digitize and create accurate CAD models of physical parts have a powerful new combination of technology - our StarCam scanner bundled with rapidformXO Redesign (XOR) is an unbeatable combination for capturing the geometry of almost any part and creating useful CAD models quickly."

rapidformXOR is a new software application that allows companies to create parametric CAD models directly from 3D scan data. Using XOR, companies can digitize physical objects and generate fully parametric, editable CAD models faster and more accurately than ever before. These data sets can be transferred as native geometry from rapidformXOR into popular CAD software such as Solidworks. Unlike any other 3D scanning technology, these models are true CAD solid models that are dimensionable, constrainable, feature-driven and easily edited inside rapidformXOR or downstream CAD software.

Seockhoon Bae, CEO of Rapidform Inc., remarked "rapidformXOR is changing the landscape for 3D scan-to-CAD, and we're pleased to offer the software with StarCam 3D scanners to put this powerful new technology in more users' hands."

The StarCam family of 3D imaging and spatial measurement systems offer excellent 3D image quality and measurement accuracy, portability and a surprisingly low price. The StarCam's underlying technology is the same as the human optic system, using stereo simultaneous images of any subject's contrast, brightness and edge cues to determine depth. The StarCam's range-finding technologies support the real-time collection and use of measurement data, which in turn easily export rapidformXOR. Rivaling the accuracy of laser scanning systems, the StarCam is an obvious choice for manufacturers for reverse engineering and inspection applications.


Commentary
by Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

OK, OK, I know this is an article about a sales promotion, but this has some pretty big implications with regard to the two companies involved and the generally expanding practice of reverse engineering. At the IMTS show last month in Chicago, I visited the VX Technologies booth and was impressed with what their scanners could do. Also at the show, by accident, I ran into Rapidform's director of sales and marketing. We sat down and he demonstrated their new software product, rapidformXO Redesign (rapidformXOR). What I saw was some pretty interesting stuff.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the company, Rapidform Inc. markets, sells, and supports the RapidForm line of 3D scanning software products for reverse engineering and inspecting 3D scan data. rapidformXO Redesign (rapidformXOR) is unique in that it captures design intent and design parameters of physical parts that may have lost their defining features during the manufacturing process or may not have ever had a CAD model. The ability to generate a parametric model, including prismatic features and freeform surfaces, from scan data is a big deal for reasons of accuracy and time savings. Because the CAD models created in rapidformXO Redesign are fully parametric, the design parameters can be modified against the physical part to optimize the model for production within rapidformXO Redesign or in a downstream CAD system, such as SolidWorks or Pro/ENGINEER. Although there are other software products that hint or claim to have the ability to generate parametric models from scan data, rapidformXOR is the first one that I'm aware of that can actually do it.

Traditional 3D scan data processing software has focused exclusively on optimizing polygon mesh models or generating high quality NURBS surfaces from 3D scan data that are not parametric. rapidformXO Redesign addresses the limitations of traditional 3D scan data processing software by complementing its mesh modeling and NURBS surfacing capabilities with actual CAD modeling capabilities that let you go directly from 3D scan data to a parametric CAD model. The drill for making design modifications to reverse engineered models using most traditional reverse engineering tools consists of the following :
  1. Export an un-editable, "dumb" surface model that lack parametric characteristics and features
  2. Recreate a parametric CAD model through workarounds that can require several software applications and even then, do not ensure accuracy.
So, if rapidformXOR performs as advertised, it's going to be a big step forward for reverse engineering.

I just received a copy of rapidformXOR and will be evaluating it and its capabilities in the near future. I'll tell you how it goes.


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.

Dassault Systemes Introduces ABAQUS Student Edition V6.6
Dassault Systemes announced ABAQUS Student Edition Version 6.6. The new software offers engineering students many simulation capabilities for vibration analysis, material failure characterization, tire modeling, and visualization that were made available earlier this year in the commercial version of ABAQUS Version 6.6 software. ABAQUS Student Edition Version 6.6 complements ABAQUS Research Edition and ABAQUS Teaching Edition, which are used extensively in academic institutions worldwide to train engineers in the use of FEA to solve real-world engineering problems. We contacted Dassault about the price of ABAQUS Student Edition Version 6.6, but did not hear back before we had to publish.

Lockheed Martin Adds PTC Mathcad
PTC announced that Lockheed Martin's Engineering Process Improvement Center (EPIC) has added Mathcad to its preferred supplier agreement with PTC as a tool for critical engineering calculations. Mathcad provides capabilities to create, automate, document, and reuse engineering calculations in the product development process. PTC added Mathcad to its product offering when it acquired Mathsoft Engineering and Education, Inc. in April 2006. Lockheed Martin also uses PTC's Pro/ENGINEER, Windchill, and Arbortext.

ICEM Launches Its Ford Supplier Program
ICEM Ltd. is launching a Ford Supplier Program for its new-generation product, ICEM Shape Design (ISD). This program follows the launch of ISD in 2005, and also follows a significant acquisition of ISD licenses by Ford Motor Company in June 2006. Following 15 months of evaluation through pilot programs, Ford will deploy ISD for all future car launches. The ISD software together with ICEM services and training, will be deployed on a global basis as an integral part of its C3P-NG digital product development environment. ICEM Shape Design has been developed by ICEM on Dassault Systhmes' CAA V5 product PLM software solutions architecture to provide seamless integration with CATIA V5 and other CAA V5-based products.

OPEN MINDed About Productivity Gains
OPEN MIND Technologies recently participated in the Seco Tools Open House and announced the new working relationship between the two companies. Providing these benefits to companies such as Rolls Royce, Airbus UK and Messier Dowty is credit to the Seco "JetStream" technology and the compatibility of its product range to work with 3, 4 and 5-axis applications. The high-performance geometry oriented CAM software offers 2.5D, 3D and 5-axis machining strategies under a single interface. OPEN MIND's hyperMILL simplifies the CAD/CAM process with 40 dedicated 5-axis cycles that enables manufacturers to select the operation best suited for a job.

MooBella Uses SolidWorks For Ice Cream Machines
Imagine being able to satisfy your craving for delicious, made-to-order frozen treats delivered from a vending-style machine designed by MooBella LLC in SolidWorks. In the near future, people will be able to choose fresh, hard-packed ice cream flavors accompanying mix-ins, and have a scoop of ice cream within 45 seconds. MooBella designed the first-of-its-kind machine in SolidWorks to improve design communication with suppliers, and perfect the process of automatically mixing fresh ingredients in the right proportions within the machine. SolidWorks is also simplifying injection molding design to help MooBella with its first manufacturing run in 2007. SolidWorks' eDrawings software lets the design team share 3D models or 2D drawings with suppliers and potential customers.


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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