September 05, 2005
SolidWorks 2006 Gets Solids-Based Machining Capabilities With EdgeCAM
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Pathtrace announced that the latest release of EdgeCAM computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software supports SolidWorks 2006 3D mechanical design software with new capabilities for generating powerful machining strategies for SolidWorks parts.

SolidWorks 2006 features a host of new and unique capabilities to help designers and engineers bring better products more quickly to market. The software includes more than 200 customer-requested enhancements and significant innovations that break new ground in engineering efficiency. These innovations include fundamentally new approaches that allow design engineers to analyze and validate designs as they work. Design engineers will also more easily transition from 2D design and experience the speed and accuracy of 3D.

Designers and engineers will use EdgeCAM and SolidWorks software to ensure the highest level of CAD/CAM interoperability. With EdgeCAM Solid Machinist, the SolidWorks model is loaded directly into EdgeCAM without data translation, ensuring guaranteed data integrity and enabling faster NC programming. The associative link between EdgeCAM Solid Machinist and SolidWorks significantly reduces the burden of reworking NC programs, meaning that even late design changes to the SolidWorks model will not affect manufacturing lead times.

A SolidWorks Certified CAM Product, EdgeCAM allows users to easily and efficiently manufacture their SolidWorks designs. SolidWorks 2006 expands on the software legacy of ease of use, design power, and affordability by also providing users with comprehensive drawing tools and new productivity features that will speed the adoption of 3D design around the world. Accelerated product development hinges on how easy it is to translate a design into the finished product. EdgeCAM Solid Machinist and SolidWorks gives manufacturers a head start by offering an integrated environment that eliminates the interoperability issues theye wrestled with in the past by transforming their designs into physical
products faster, and with fewer errors.

"SolidWorks is the standard for 3D mechanical design software," said SolidWorks Solution Partner Program Manager Brian Houle. "Combining it with EdgeCAM gives engineers the tools they need to do their jobs faster and better by offering concurrent design and manufacturing activities."

The SolidWorks Partner Program features products and services that complement SolidWorks products. Certified Gold Products are fully integrated with SolidWorks and provide users with instant access to the partner application within the SolidWorks window. Certified CAM and Solution Partner products offer a variety of integration methods with SolidWorks software, including direct import of native SolidWorks files, the SolidWorks application programming interface (API), and established industry standard file formats. SolidWorks has more partners in the mid-range CAD market than any competing technologies, with more than 600 companies worldwide participating in the SolidWorks Partner Program.

"Pathtrace is at the forefront in CAD/CAM interoperability," says David Boucher, Pathtrace Marketing Director. "SolidWorks and EdgeCAM users benefit from a tightly integrated design and CAM solution, providing more cost effective manufacturing."

Well, once again the ongoing interoperability issue (controversy?) rears its head to strike for the common good of CAD and CAM users. We received the following interesting comment from a reader almost as soon as we posted this news item:
"Though an interesting piece of PR, this article is also misleading. Maybe I have a different definition of "tightly integrated" but file transfers, even those that directly read native data, are not tightly integrated. In addition, associativity between CAD and CAM data can facilitate semi-automatic updates of process data based on incremental changes in design, but some design changes require a new process strategy which can not be accommodated through associativity. Finally, though SolidWorksPartner Program is explained, there is no indication which category EdgeCAM falls under leaving it up to the reader to (inaccurately) deduce which it has been graded
Although I don agree with everything the reader says, because of my skeptical nature, I do tend to agree that a number of statements in this press release are not qualified and some of the claims would be difficult to substantiate without some hands-on exposure. In other words, they don have much of a basis in fact, but more in conjecture. I personally like to test EdgeCAM Solid Machinist with SolidWorks 2006 and report back on my experience. Il try and do just that and get back with you in a few weeks.

As Ie said in the past, the reaction and attitude toward true interoperability from this reader should not come as a surprise to anyone who deals with multiple formats on a regular basis. Again, it just confirms a number of things that many connected with the CAD industry (either as a vendor or customer) have known for some time interoperability is still a huge problem that does not seem to be getting any better with time in many instances, it seems to be getting worse. As the number of CAD/CAM applications and their file formats continue to grow, so do problems associated with interchanging data between them.

So, again we ask the question, "What 's going to happen with interoperability?" At this time, not much as far as simplifying things goes.

Hurricane Katrina Relief

All of us at MCADCafé and IBSystems extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all of those adversely affected by hurricane Katrina. This is an absolutely devastating event, and we are reaching out to our subscribers to be generous with donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund for humanitarian purposes at or 1-800-HELP-NOW. Instead of looking back at what might have been, we all need to stay focused on looking ahead and the rebuilding process, so please be generous and compassionate in giving to those truly in need. Thank you from all of us at MCADCafé.

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.

Lattice3D has released a new XVL Studio family of products that extends 3D XVL data into design review and interference checking, as well as improving viewing, animation creation, assembly/disassembly instructions, and creation of 2D illustrations. With this release there will be three XVL Studio products available - XVL Studio Basic, XVL Studio Standard, and XVL Studio Pro. These products integrate ultra-compressed, but highly accurate, 3D design data, as XVL format files, for use from engineering and manufacturing to technical publications, sales, and marketing websites.

ITI TranscenData, the product data interoperability business of International TechneGroup Incorporated (ITI), announced the newest release of its engineering supply chain integration tool - DEXcenter (Data Exchange Center). Files are automatically prepared and translated to the system requirements and intended usage of recipients. When product data files are ready to be shared they are transmitted via the Internet/Intranet. With Version 5, DEXcenter is now available on Windows as well as UNIX servers and provides significant load balancing enhancements to facilitate optimal resource usage.

One of the largest suppliers of automation systems and components that drive the world's manufacturing plants has produced an interactive online catalog using SolidWorks' 3D PartStream.NET service. Bosch Rexroth Corp.'s Linear Motion and Assembly Technologies Group has increased Web site traffic, sales leads, and actual sales by offering customers 3D models of machines, components, and systems that they can download into their own designs to ensure precise fit and operation.

Chrysler Group's Tom LaSorda told an automotive industry audience that in order to overcome negative economic issues, his company is redefining the OEM-supplier relationship model. LaSorda, who is currently COO and became President and CEO on September 1, explained that an essential pillar of Chrysler Group's unique approach is to build long-term relationships with key suppliers. He identified TRW and Iroquois Industries as Highly Integrated Partnership Organizations (HI-PO) and as two examples for companies which benefit from the new model. Based on their performance against Chrysler Group's objective measurements, TRW and Iroquois were awarded with early involvement in the product
development for future vehicles of the Chrysler Group, scheduled for 2006 and 2007. Both suppliers will bring their expertise in market research, design, engineering, and technology to the new products.

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-- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.


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