London. 13 February, 2003.
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ICEM announces the latest version of its flagship software suite; sets out roadmap for future product developments.
Developments to follow two parallel paths, for designers and engineers.
ICEM Ltd. today announced the latest version of its flagship software suite, ICEM Surf and set out the roadmap for future software developments aimed at taking the company into new markets and increasing the penetration of its existing markets.
Version 4.3 of the ICEM Surf software suite introduces around 100 new enhancements to the core product, including a number of new capabilities in the areas of automotive Class A surface creation and editing, tool and die production and body-in-white. In addition, there are new and enhanced facilities for applications such as digital mock-up, 3D model visualisation and for animation.
For use in design review and evaluation, the new release of the software’s Realtime Renderer module includes next generation digital mock-up and visualisation tools that provide a virtual, real-time environment for digital product model creation, review and release. New visualisation tools include real-time, dynamic self-shadowing, lens flares, model navigation for improved view handling, camera fly-through, animation and a dedicated background image facility, which enables a number of images or environments to be imported and placed on different planes. In addition, the ability to output rendered animations to video has also been included in this latest release.
Meanwhile new functions and enhancements in the surface creation and editing tools in Version 4.3 include parametric curve sketching and editing, G3 curvature matching – now an industry standard in Class A surfacing – parametric addenda creation, data registration for use in adjusting point cloud scan data and other geometry and a new diagnostics facility called Nominal Actual Value Comparison. This enables the accurate comparison of nominal CAD geometry and tolerance variants, such as digitally scanned tool and die or physical model data.
In addition, productivity improvements have been made to the user interface, with the introduction of more context menus, intelligent graphical objects such as thumbwheels, unlimited undo/redo and tabbed windows that enable menu sizes to be reduced to provide more graphics �real estate’.
Enhancements have also been made to the PDM Link and Quick Surfacing modules. PDM Link enables interoperability with all of the widely-used product data management systems in the market.
Meanwhile, Quick Surfacing enables a �first pass’ surface model to be generated quickly and automatically from 3D scan data and then to be passed to other disciplines early in the development process to enable these to begin their own work.
Further, performance has been improved in the Reference Manager module. This module enables data from a variety of sources, such as CAD/CAM systems and 3D scanners etc., to be imported into ICEM Surf and combined in order to create an assembly model. The latest release of this now includes a new �Pack’ command that facilitates the compression into one file of all geometries, materials and textures etc. that are referenced in the current session, thereby improving display performance and the exchange of data with other users and other computer systems.
Other enhancements introduced with Version 4.3 include improved translators for Catia V4, IGES and VDA/FS, plus new on-line help that supports the latest Internet browsers, such as Netscape V7 and Internet Explorer V6.
Future products roadmap.
The future development of the ICEM software products will see the company following two parallel and complimentary paths – one to satisfy the demands of engineers and the other, those of designers and stylists.
In April this year, the first release of a new viewer product for non-Class A users will be introduced. This will allow easy and high performance viewing of exported ICEM Surf visualisation sessions covering all of the functionality available with ICEM Surf 4.3 Realtime Renderer.
Then in the fourth quarter, the first release of a new product for free-form design will be introduced. This new free-form modeller will be geared more towards the needs of designers and stylists, rather than design engineers. And while it will not be dependent on ICEM Surf for its functionality, data created with the new software will be fully compatible with ICEM Surf to enable design data to be imported into ICEM Surf for further development by surface engineers before it is released to engineering for use in the detail engineering design process.
This free-form modeller will be the precursor to the next generation of ICEM Surf, intended principally for use by surface engineers. This will be based on a new, object oriented software architecture and will use parametric modelling software technology in order to build on the existing capabilities of ICEM Surf. This next-generation ICEM Surf will not only address industry needs for integration and workflow but will provide consistency and compatibility with the current version. Further, for the foreseeable future the current and next generation products will co-exist, offering total compatibility of data and modelling methodologies.
At this point on the ICEM products roadmap, the stage will have been set for the company’s software to develop along their two intended parallel routes. The ICEM Surf products will continue to be developed for use principally by engineers while the new free-form modeller is further developed into a full-blown software suite for use by stylists and industrial designers, with full compatibility between the two product sets guaranteed.
Speaking about these software development plans, Lee Cureton, ICEM chief executive, said, “This plan spells evolution, not revolution. However, it also spells the end of the divide that still exists between the styling and product design function and the design engineering function. The end of that will benefit everyone involved in the product development process.”
About ICEM Ltd.
With its headquarters on Chilworth Science Park near Southampton on the UK’s south coast, ICEM Ltd. is an independent company specialising in the development, sales and support of advanced software for use in the design and development of a product’s visible and underlying supporting surfaces.
The company’s software development group is based in Germany, while it has a network of sales and support offices and specialist distributors covering continental Europe, the USA and the Asia Pacific region.
The company’s principal market sector is the worldwide automotive industry, where it includes most of the leading manufacturers among its customers, including the Ford Motor Company, DaimlerChrysler Group, Volkswagen Audi Group, Porsche, BMW, PSA and Harley Davidson among others, as well as leading automotive industry suppliers such as Volke, EDAG, Pininfarina, Bertone, Mayflower, TWR and The Budd Company, among many others. The company also has a significant presence in the consumer durable products design market, with customers such as Wilson Sporting Goods, Salomon, Ping, WMF and Toto among them.