November 10, 2003
A New 3D CAD Package
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor


by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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A New 3D CAD Package


EDS PLM Solutions this week launched Solid Edge Version 15, its 3D CAD system for the midrange market. The company expects the new release to begin shipping sometime this quarter, but wouldn't be pinned down on exactly when. Version 15's launch builds on the more than 10 percent revenue growth Solid Edge has enjoyed in the last 12 months (which is good), a period during which many of its competitors have reported revenue declines (which is true).


"To be able to grow sales during this challenging economic period is the hallmark of a successful product with strong customer commitment," said Tony Affuso, president and CEO of EDS PLM Solutions. "We look forward to even further expansion of the Solid Edge product in the market as the economic recovery continues and the new features of Version 15 shape the mainstream CAD market."


For Version 15, Solid Edge delivers on the Design with Insight vision by providing more access to design data, more incorporation of design intent and more industry-specific solutions.


Solid Edge recognized early on that design data management was an integral part of the design process. Solid Edge Version 15 is the first CAD application that supports Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and SQL Server 2000, important for performance, scalability, and administration.


Version 15's new interactive physical analysis of mechanisms, adjustable assemblies and assembly features all work together to increase flexibility, preserve design intent and help minimize design errors. Version 15 offers new enhancements that let manufacturers still using 2D design systems evolve to 3D design.


Version 15 expands on its innovative Rapid Blue for complex shape design for consumer products with more shape creation and analysis capabilities and new super features for cooling vents and mounting bosses. Version 15 introduces new features for automated parting edge, parting surface, and draft face analysis for mold design to service tooling suppliers in the plastics-oriented consumer products industry.


"Solid Edge is very adaptive, understanding how our systems function," said Solid Edge Version 15 beta user Emmanuel Nicolas of Rapido in Mayenne, France. "With Version 15 we can now reduce costly engineering change orders by 70 percent compared with our previous 2D design software."


The past couple releases of Solid Edge have been particularly noteworthy in what the product now contains and can do. As good as it is, though, it's curious why its parent company now wants to spin it off with its big brother, NX. All of this makes for a very interesting story that we will continue to follow. I'll also have some hands-on time with this product and will report on how it measures up to the competition.


Something New From MSC.Software - CAE Part 1


MSC.Software Corp., a provider of virtual product development (VPD) products including simulation software and services announced the release of MSC.Patran 2004. MSC.Patran 2004 is an interactive, general-purpose computer-aided engineering (CAE) modeler that lets engineers visualize and test virtual product designs through computer-based simulation. MSC.Patran is arguably the most popular advanced modeler in the VPD and CAE community, with thousands of users around the world. MSC.Patran 2004 continues MSC.Software's open systems policy, that lets you integrate with other CAD environments and CAE tools.


MSC.Patran 2004 has been updated to take advantage of many finite element solver technologies like those offered by MSC.Nastran 2004, MSC.Marc, MSC.Dytran, as well as third party-solvers such as ABAQUS, LS-DYNA, and ANSYS. MSC.Patran 2004 has added two capabilities that help engineers automate time-consuming processes - Result Templates and Plot Sets. Result Templates give customers the ability to save and edit the spectrum and range of plots. Plot Sets are helpful when documenting simulations for report purposes, you typically need to include all of the pertinent load cases, iterations and other changing boundary conditions. This means, in many
instances, manually creating hundreds of plots which can be extremely tedious and time consuming. Plots Sets help the user define all of the possible plotting information up front in a new spreadsheet tool. Plot Sets then automatically create all plots, potentially saving significant time.


MSC.Patran 2004 has made several enhancements to its CAD Preferences to improve its ability to work with leading CAD packages including CATIA, Unigraphics NX2.0, and products incorporating ACIS 11.


Something New From MSC.Software - CAE Part 2


MSC.Software Corp., also announced the release of SimDesigner 2004 r1 for CATIA V5R11. It consists of a suite of CATIA V5-embedded simulation tools that allow CATIA users to streamline and automate the task of building and testing virtual prototypes by simulating stress, motion, heat transfer and other physical attributes of components and assemblies.


"There is a high market demand for simulation software tools that are fully integrated within the leading CAD environments and MSC.Software is meeting that demand through our partnership with Dassault Systemes," said Frank Perna, chairman and CEO of MSC.Software. "The SimDesigner product line is specifically designed to help manufacturing organizations increase the efficiency of their product development process by increasing the efficiency of communication and data transfer between designers and analysts."


The SimDesigner product line, formerly the MSC.Dynamic Designer and MSC.visualNastran V5i product lines, allows product development teams to test how mechanisms function before they are built. The SimDesigner for CATIA V5 product family currently includes Generative products, which embed simulation directly into the CATIA V5 CAD environment and Gateway products, which provide smooth, direct access to corporate simulation resources. Currently, MSC offers the following Generative products: SimDesigner Linear (SDL), SimDesigner Thermal (SDT), SimDesigner Nonlinear (SDN), and SimDesigner Motion (SMO), and Gateways for MSC.Nastran, MSC.Marc,
ANSYS, and ABAQUS, as well as in-house proprietary systems using the STEP AP209 standard.


The two product announcements from MSC.Software show the company's ability to further improve its own products (Patran and Nastran), while consolidating its product line (Dynamic Designer, for example was a separate product developed by Mechanical Dynamics and acquired by MSC.Software) into a more cohesive mix for a potentially broader customer base.


Another CAE Announcement


We have been awaiting this one for some time now and this week LMS International announced LMS Virtual.Lab Rev 3, its simulation environment for functional performance engineering. LMS Virtual.Lab offers an integrated software suite that simulates the performance of mechanical systems on attributes such as noise and vibration, durability, ride and handling and dynamic motion. With Rev 3, LMS Virtual.Lab covers virtually all the critical process steps and required technologies to perform an end-to-end assessment of a design in key disciplines. LMS Virtual.Lab is based on CAA V5 (Component Application Architecture), the open architecture PLM system from Dassault Systemhs.


"LMS Virtual.Lab Rev 3 enables a powerful engineering process capable of refining critical functional performance attributes long before committing to physical prototyping," commented Werner Pohl Corporate Vice-President and General Manager CAE Division. "LMS Virtual.Lab allows to accurately assess the radiated noise of a new engine design, the vibration comfort of a complete vehicle, or the fatigue resistance of an aircraft landing gear. Using Virtual.Lab, engineering teams can quickly and reliably analyze a multitude of design options, and drive major design choices from the perspective of key performance attributes."


Innovative technologies included in Rev 3 dramatically speed up the building and testing of component and system-level virtual models. Newly introduced solvers, for example, accelerate acoustic calculations by a factor of 30 to 100. Through the integration of new hybrid simulation capabilities, Virtual.Lab Rev 3 validates virtual models with test data, uses real-world validated loads, and combines test models of existing components with virtual models of new components. This does not only accelerate virtual simulation, it also makes the simulation results more accurate.


To further increase the impact of virtual simulation on key development processes, Virtual.Lab Rev 3 offers new application-specific modules for powertrain acoustics, powertrain dynamics, vehicle dynamics, full-vehicle NVH, component and system-level durability.


LMS Virtual.Lab Rev 3 integrates Design of Experiments (DOE), Response Surface Modeling (RSM) and Advanced Optimization techniques. These capabilities let Virtual.Lab users automatically assess several design alternatives, and use design methodologies to assess the influence of real-world variability in a search for safer, higher-quality, and better performing products.


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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.




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