August 29, 2005
Autodesk Acquires Solid Dynamics For Mechanical Motion Analysis
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Autodesk, Inc. announced the acquisition of Solid Dynamics, SA, a French company whose kinematics/dynamics technology enables designers in the manufacturing market to simulate, analyze, test and optimize physical motion and loading in mechanical assemblies, a process known as motion simulation and analysis. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Solid Dynamics' technology is already in use by Autodesk customers as a certified application of Autodesk Inventor. The acquisition will allow Autodesk to integrate the technology into future releases of its design software product line.

This technology is vital to designers who want to simulate the motion of mechanical assemblies without the expense of building physical prototypes, thereby significantly reducing costs and time to market. This increased design efficiency allows designers to realize their ideas, spending more time on innovative designs that provide a distinct business advantage.

"Dynamic simulation is another example of how Autodesk is delivering highly sophisticated functionality to all manufacturers," said Robert Kross, vice president of Autodesk's Manufacturing Solutions Division. "This acquisition allows us to incorporate Solid Dynamics' technology and engineering team directly into the Autodesk family, providing highly specialized capabilities and expertise to our customers. The Solid Dynamics technology is recognized in the industry as best in class, exactly what we look for as we extend our solution capabilities and further our commitment to the manufacturing market."

Based in Roanne, France, Solid Dynamics was founded in 1992 by Dr. Fabien Chojnowski, the CEO and president; and Laurent Chojnowski, director of R&D. The company's technology is used by commercial manufacturers and in education -- notably in French high schools and universities that offer mechanical engineering training.

Not too surprisingly, Autodesk recently polled its manufacturing customers, and dynamic simulation was ranked as a key technology requirement in helping them achieve significant cost reductions and time-to-market improvements, largely due to the reduction in the number of physical prototypes required. Motion products from Solid Dynamics are available for Inventor, SolidWorks, CATIA, as well as a standalone version. The version for integration with Inventor is called MotionInventor and is an interesting tool for simulating mechanisms.

MotionInventor lets you fully define the physical environment in which an assembly will operate. You can then simulate the dynamic behavior of your model, analyze the results, and refine the design before making any physical prototypes. You can specify mechanical joints between parts with play, dry friction, torque, imposed motion, non-permanent contact, stiffness, damping, stops, locks and laws of motion. A large range of mechanical joints can be simulated, including permanent, rolling, sliding, and also non-permanent contact. You can also calculate accurate loading for FEA of components.

Large and complex moving assemblies coupled with hundreds of articulated moving parts can be simulated. The software provides interactive, simultaneous, and associative visualization of 3D animations with trajectories, velocity and force vectors, deformable springs. Graphical and numerical results are achieved using a graph generation tool for representing and post-processing the simulation output data.

I assume that MotionInventor motion/mechanism analysis will be integrated into the next version of Inventor Professional. It will provide a complement to the FEA stress analysis capability (courtesy of Ansys) that is currently in Inventor Professional and will continue to round out the overall simulation side of Inventor.

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.

The automotive, consumer goods, and transportation and logistics industries will lead the way in implementing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology solutions over the next year, new research commissioned by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) reveals. Just over one-half of more than 500 organizations surveyed in North America have either completed RFID implementations or plan to do so within the next 12 months. This includes companies that are evaluating, pilot testing, implementing, or currently using RFID. Among specific industry sectors, the most aggressive adoption of RFID is planned in the automotive industry, where 59 percent of companies surveyed said
they will deploy the technology over the next 12 months. The consumer goods industry and the transportation and logistics sectors were close behind, at 58 percent each.

Although growth in manufacturing employment slowed this month, increasing difficulty in recruiting skilled workers to fill key positions is leading some employers to offer higher starting wages. That according to new numbers from the Leading Indicator of National Employment (LINE), released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations. In addition, LINE's recruiting difficulty index-which tracks efforts by manufacturers to recruit highly qualified individuals to fill the positions most critical to a firm's success-is at its highest level in the 19 months LINE data have been recorded. Currently there is no indication
of wide spread wage inflation, but if the job market continues to tighten, there will be greater pressures on manufacturers to increase new-hire compensation.

Document3D is a series of 3D desktop publishing packages that let you create interactive Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files that include 3D objects, without the need for JavaScript programming or intermediate translations. The Document3D line of products, from QuadriSpace, lets CAD users and downstream users leverage existing 3D models and 2D drawings to create assembly instructions, technical publications, interactive training, and other product lifecycle documents.

Autodesk, Inc. announced an expanded relationship with Parker Hannifin Corp., the world's leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems. The relationship covers many areas, all aimed at enabling engineers to realize their ideas with best-in-class software and services. The companies have collaborated to include Parker component designs directly into the Content Center inside the latest version of Autodesk Inventor. This Content Center addition will speed design functions for subsequent Autodesk customers while enabling early collaborative relationships between Parker engineers and engineers who select Parker for their designs. To help accelerate innovation
across its numerous global locations, Parker has deployed Autodesk Inventor Series and Autodesk Inventor Professional software among their core design tools, and has recently signed a three-year agreement providing access to 800 of its engineers to use the Autodesk software.

Gibbs and Associates, developer of GibbsCAM, CAM software for programming CNC machine tools, and Mazak-USA (Florence, Kentucky) announced that they have entered into a strategic collaborative partnership agreement, to optimize support for Mazak's multi-task CNC machine tools, such as the Integrex, Integrex E-Series, Multiplex, Quick Turn Nexus, and Super Quick Turn (SQT) model. The companies have entered into a non-disclosure agreement which will allow them to exchange information about and collaborate on next generation solutions.

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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