September 25, 2006
Geometric Software Launches SolidWorks Search Tool
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor


by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Geometric Software Solutions (Geometric), a developer of PLM services and technologies, announced the launch of 3DSearchIT for SolidWorks. Geometry (shape)-based searches allow users to locate files based on shape criteria - unlike conventional search engines which rely only on text-based attributes. This allows optimal reuse of existing knowledge bases to dramatically reduce time to market and improve cost efficiencies.


Benefits of 3DSearchIT include:
  • Quickly locates and re-uses part models based on geometric shape and part attributes
  • Reduces design time
  • Improves design productivity
  • Eliminates duplicate models and disk clutter
  • Improves parts management by automatic "clustering"
  • Key features of 3DSearchIT for SolidWorks include:
  • Integrated within SolidWorks for indexing and locating SolidWorks parts
  • Search results based on shape (geometry) and SolidWorks attributes
  • Indexes and Searches local and network drives
  • Results ranked by similarity
  • Finds geometric differences between models
  • Automatic indexing of identified drives and directories
  • Indexer automatically tracks addition, deletion and modification of parts
  • Indexer can index files when CPU not in use
  • The basic version of 3DSearchIT for SolidWorks is free and allows full attribute searching of models within SolidWorks. 3DSearchIT - Professional contains many powerful advanced features and is available for purchase from Geometric's website. For more information and to obtain a free download, visit: http://www.3DSearchIT.com.



    Commentary

    by Jeffrey Rowe, Editor


    There are two versions of 3DSearchIT for SolidWorks available - the basic version that is free and the Professional version that goes for $500. Both versions support SolidWorks 2007, 2006, and 2005. Shape-based search capabilities are an interesting concept. Unfortunately, though, the company's Web site doesn't contain much more information about 3DSearchIT for SolidWorks than is provided in the product announcement above. While both versions can search attributes and find similar models, it appears that the Professional version can browse for duplicates and specific differences in geometry for models that outwardly appear similar.


    Beyond 3DSearchIT for SolidWorks Geometric provides a number of PLM-related products, technologies, and services for mechanical design, manufacturing, and industrial markets. Geometric has partnerships with several PLM vendors such as Dassault Systhmes, UGS PLM Solutions, and MatrixOne. Geometric offers products and services based on SolidWorks, CATIA, ENOVIA, DELMIA, eMatrix, Teamcenter Enterprise, Windchill, and other CAD/CAM/CAE/PDM software platforms.


    Some of the Geometric technologies and products that our readers might be familiar include:
  • Feature Recognition (FR) - that extracts features and their parameters from solid models. It finds applications in modeling, design, finite element analysis, machining, process planning and cost estimation. Feature recognition is the ability to automatically or interactively identify and group topological entities, such as faces in a boundary representation (B-rep) solid model, into functionally significant features such as holes, slots, pockets, fillets, ribs, etc. The features that are not recognized automatically can be recognized using the interactive feature recognition facilities. In short, Feature Recognition makes smart solids out of dumb solids! This information is then used in
    downstream applications. Feature Recognition is what probably constitutes the majority of the "behind the scenes" technology that drives 3DSearchIT for SolidWorks.
  • eDrawings - email-enabled visualization and communication tool that eases sharing of product design information. eDrawings files supply accurate representations of 3D models and 2D drawings created with many of the most widely used CAD systems. eDrawings Publishers are available for. SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER, CATIA V5, Unigraphics NX, Autodesk Inventor, Solid Edge, CoCreate OneSpace Designer Modeling, STL file format, and Google SketchUp.
  • CAMWorks - is a SolidWorks partner product that incorporates FR technology for producing efficient machining programs directly from solid models. SolidWorks and CAMWorksare integrated as a feature-based CAM system for CNC machining. CAMWorks is available in the following CNC machining modules - 2=-axis milling, 3-axis milling, multi-axis machining (simultaneous 4/5 axis), 2- and 4-axis turning, mill-turn, and wire EDM.
  • 3DSearchIT for SolidWorks has a number of potential users within an organization. For example, it could be used to ensure that there are no duplicates of a design hidden away in massive databases. It could be used by designers for identifying and reviewing design alternatives. Since, theoretically, it is modeler independent, expect it to migrate to other CAD tools in the near future, as well as expanding its potential user base within enterprises.


    I'm anxious to download and try out the free version of 3DSearchIT for SolidWorks and put it through its paces. As I said earlier, it's an interesting concept and one that has some implications and potential uses that are just as interesting. I'll let you know how it goes in a few weeks.



    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.



    Adobe Systems Inc. introduced Adobe Acrobat 8 for communicating and collaborating with across operating systems, applications and firewalls. With Acrobat 8, users can more effectively engage with the rich, high-value information in PDF documents and forms, and more reliably and securely drive their work to completion leveraging the ubiquitous, free Adobe Reader software. For the first time, all of the Acrobat 8 products, as well as Adobe Reader 8, provide one-button access to Adobe Acrobat Connect software, a hosted software service that provides immediate access to a personal meeting room for real-time web conferencing. Along with Acrobat Connect, Acrobat 8 further extends the family
    beyond simple PDF creation and now enables users to choose the most appropriate means for engaging others, through electronic documents or in real-time over the Web.



    Elysium Inc. announced its new strategic partnership with Mahindra Engineering, part of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, and one of the largest technical firms in India. In a recent partnership agreement, the two firms agreed to share technical expertise, software products, and business opportunities. Elysium's precision CAD data translation tools enable an end-user to migrate from one CAD system to another, when needed. These migration events are due to an end-user switching CAD systems or engaging in an acquisition of a company that uses a different CAD system. The company also has extensive industry partnerships with other PLM companies, such as Autodesk, CoCreate, Dassault Systhmes, IBM, PTC,
    SolidWorks, and UGS.



    Theorem Solutions is building on its new status as a Dassault CAA development partner through the application of its CADverter technology, to provide new interoperability capabilities for CATIA V5 users. Theorem's advanced data translation tools support Dassault's MultiCAD initiative which calls for interoperability to be in the hands of users, so that "design in context" can be undertaken without the need for external translation of non CATIA V5 parts. Within the MultiCAD environment, CATIA V5 users are able to select a part or assembly in a third party format such as UGNX and cause it to appear as a node on their CATIA V5 design tree; either as a single component or full
    assembly, as appropriate. UGS NX, I-DEAS and Pro/ENGINEER data will be the first non CATIA V5 formats to be made available within the CATIA V5 MultiCAD environment using CADverter technology.



    SolidWorks and COSMOS software are key factors in continuously improving the designs of Formula-style race cars that are achieving big results in high-profile student competitions around the world. In the past year alone, Texas A&M University, The University of Applied Sciences Stralsund (Germany), National University of Singapore, and RV College of Engineering in Bangalore (India) - all using SolidWorks and COSMOS software - have logged noteworthy results in Formula SAE and Formula Student competitions worldwide. Organized by the Society for Automotive Engineers, Formula SAE competitions give students a rare opportunity to conceive, design, fabricate, and race small cars styled after
    Formula One vehicles. Frame and engine restrictions challenge students' creativity while lowering risks. Formula Student is the program's European counterpart, run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in the UK, Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI) in Germany, and Associazione Tecnica dell'Automobile (ATA) in Italy. A Texas A&M University team of student engineers won the 2006 Formula SAE West competition in June at the California Speedway in Fontana, CA.



    BUNKSPEED has appointed Mark Huffman as Director of Operations for Asia. Huffman has extensive experience in the Asian market, and specifically in Japanese operations. Huffman has lived in Japan for a combined total of nearly 30 years, and he is very knowledgeable in understanding the Japanese culture and dealing with large Japanese companies at the highest level. Prior to joining BUNKSPEED, Huffman spent several years as both a consultant and executive manager developing business in Japan and other parts of Asia for a number of companies including Harcourt Assessment, Asia Pacific Ventures, Phoenix
    Technologies, Boardworks L.L.C., and Mitsubishi Corporation.


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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


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