Ashlar-Vellum's Cobalt Helps Launch Rutan's SpaceShipOne DesignAshlar-Vellum congratulated Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled Composites for the successful launch and completion of the world's first private space mission. Ashlar is proud to confirm the use of Ashlar-Vellum Cobalt software for the design of this revolutionary spacecraft.
Rutan and the team at Scaled Composites successfully launched and completed a mission that brings them one step closer to securing the coveted Ansari X Prize designed to foster private entry into space. Today SpaceShipOne attained the required altitude of 62.5 miles into suborbital space and returned safely to Earth, putting Scaled Composites into a confident lead among 27 contenders.
Next, Rutan and the Scaled team will make a formal bid for the prize by launching the spacecraft with three astronauts aboard (or one astronaut and the equivalent weight of two more) to the suborbital altitude, bringing it safely to Earth, and then repeating the feat within two weeks using the same craft. Besides collecting the $10,000,000 X Prize, the winning team of this final leg will make history, demonstrating that civilian space travel is possible in the near future, funded not by the world's most powerful governments, but by independent entrepreneurs.
Rutan has used Vellum products for a decade. The Scaled Composite designers today confirmed that they designed the majority of SpaceShipOne and its companion aircraft, White Knight, in Cobalt. Ashlar-Vellum's president, Robert Bou, stated, "We feel proud to work with such a brilliant and innovative team of designers and to be a part of their historic endeavor." Bou adds, "I recently had the privilege of visiting the Scaled Composites team in the Mojave. They told me that when they've tried to use our competitor's software for their designs it doubled their engineering costs. Cobalt's Vellum interface so fluidly works the way they think that it allows designers to come up with multiple "what ifs", easily refining the design for winning results."
This is very interesting and exciting news on many levels, but we'll confine our enthusiasm to the MCAD side of the equation. Rutan and Scaled Composites have been good Ashlar customers for several years, most of which using Ashlar products running on Mac platforms, but recently moving over to PCs. Virtually all of the concept and design work on the White Knight and SpaceShipOne were done using Vellum Solids 2000 and Cobalt. The only other MCAD product in the mix was SolidWorks, used for designing the complex landing gear assemblies. For manufacture, the Ashlar data was transferred to CATIA CAM for NC machining (with a huge 5-axis milling machine) of the molds used for the fiberglass and composite panels of both craft. We briefly spoke with Robert Bou, Ashlar-Vellum's president who said that Rutan and Space Composites chose Ashlar products primarily because of the speed with which they could explore and refine different ideas. Cobalt is a unique variational hybrid solid and surface modeling package with associativity and a history-tree structure that encourage design exploration and alternatives. Also, Cobalt's on-demand parametrics can make creating variations on an idea relatively painless. The success of this project is big news for Ashlar-Vellum, who for many years has been a favorite tool among industrial designers and others who need to crank out and present design concepts in short order.
Proficiency Advances Feature-Based InteroperabilityProficiency announced the availability of Version 3.5 of its Collaboration Gateway feature-based CAD interoperability solution. Version 3.5 further extends Proficiency's product lead, with support for assembly constraints, surfacing features and methodology, and provides enhanced support for top-down associative design techniques. As with prior releases, Version 3.5 also incorporates an increasingly robust feature set for high-throughput exchange of mechanical CAD models between Dassault Systemes' CATIA v4 and CATIA v5, PTC's Pro/ENGINEER and Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire, and UGS' Unigraphics NX and I-deas NX Series.
Also included in Collaboration Gateway 3.5 is the Proficiency UPR Viewer, a lightweight application that allows CAD and non-CAD users anywhere within an organization to query, view, and leverage the product design data defined within CAD models and assemblies, independent of the original authoring system. Unlike other commercial viewing applications, the Proficiency UPR Viewer exposes the engineering-rich content traditionally only available through the full CAD system. Model details like the feature tree, sketch geometry, constraints, dimensions, and metadata are conveniently and graphically displayed.
"One strategy behind optimizing the overall product development cycle is to provide the various constituents of the development process access to as much product data as possible, in a format appropriate and meaningful to them," said Scott Berkey, president and CEO of Proficiency. "The Proficiency UPR Viewer allows users to access features, dimensions, constraints, metadata, and geometry - collectively known as design intelligence - any time and any where, without the need to be proficient in a CAD system. This will revolutionize the design and decision making processes in product development, encouraging innovation among OEMs and their suppliers, while driving real costs out of a product's lifecycle."
Particularly well suited for automotive, aerospace, shipbuilding, and heavy equipment manufacturers and their suppliers, Collaboration Gateway Version 3.5 highlights include:
- Support for Assembly Constraints - Collaboration Gateway Version 3.5 enables assembly constraints such as mate/contact, offset/distance, align, coincidence, fix, and coordinate systems to be interoperable between various CAD systems. Assembly constraints are used to ensure mating components remain properly aligned during parametric design model changes. Maintaining assembly constraints downstream is useful to assembly integrators for advanced digital verification applications like kinematics and mechanisms.
- Enhanced Support for Surface Methodology - Version 3.5 of the Collaboration Gateway includes new surface type support, including surface copy, surface replace, surface extend, surface trim, surface merge, as well as protrusion and cut use quilt. These are in addition to surface extrude, surface revolve, surface flat, and trim by surface features supported by previous versions of the Collaboration Gateway. Surface modeling is frequently used when designing automotive class-B components, support elements driven by nonstructural considerations, or stylized consumer products. The new support greatly reduces the typical manual rework traditionally performed on the most difficult and costly of design models to exchange - those using surface features.
- Proficiency UPR Viewer - Proficiency's industry-first, CAD-independent, parametric-based viewer allows users to query assembly structure, features, history, constraints, dimensions, and metadata without requiring that the source CAD system be present. The UPR Viewer enables users unfamiliar with the authoring CAD system to see feature-based design information and model construction techniques, thus allowing them to leverage or contribute to the collaborative product development process.