June 02, 2008
PTC Announces CoCreate 2008
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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PTC announced the upcoming general availability of CoCreate 2008 – the latest release of its explicit CAD, PDM & collaboration software. CoCreate 2008 brings new time savings to companies challenged with shrinking design cycles and pressures to quickly create product designs in intensely competitive markets. These capabilities will help users explore more style options quickly and keep product designs aligned with manufacturing processes. Additionally, companies that design complex machinery will benefit from the highly responsive, 3D cross-sectional design environment.

CoCreate 2008 will help users increase productivity, speed design iterations and make it easier to make modifications to designs. Highlights of the new CoCreate 2008 enhancements include:

Revised pattern capabilities – Creates patterns faster with improved user guidance and new options for irregular patterns and selective suppression of features within a pattern.

More flexible work-in-progress capture – Allows users to save daily work and “what if” scenarios, even with multiple revisions of locked parts and assemblies loaded into a session.

Shaded and rendered drawing views – Communicates 3D designs in 2D with the new option to create shaded and photo-realistic drawing views.

Enhanced surface editing capabilities – Assigns surface properties for fast and easy surface operations, and automatically maintain curvature tangency, coincidence, and continuity during modifications.

Fast cross-sectional modification – Reduces the number of repetitive steps when modifying components with cylindrical geometry, often down to a single operation.

Additionally, CoCreate Drafting 2008 will now support AutoCAD 2008 compliant DWG & DXF formats. Other capabilities include dimensioning enhancements, such as ANSI-compliant chamfer dimensions, dimension pre and postfixes, inquiries and grouping of dimensions, symbols, and text. CoCreate Model Manager 2008 and CoCreate Drawing Manager 2008 continue to provide CoCreate Modeling customers with a CAD data management system that is easy to install, easy to use, and easy to add additional value.

“The enhancements provided in CoCreate Modeling 2008 will help increase the productivity of our design teams and reduce the risk of misinterpretation of drawings," said Nan Battaglia, CAD specialist, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc. "Now we can explore new designs and make radical changes to the model faster and easier than before. The software is even more intuitive, which lets us focus on the design, versus the modeling technique or constraints. The improvements in the quality of the renderings also greatly enhances the teams' ability to interpret drawings and identify opportunities to improve the product."

“Flexibility to respond to unexpected changes and speed of iteration are critical to the success of companies that choose explicit modeling solutions like CoCreate to develop their designs,” said James Heppelmann, executive vice president, software solutions, and chief product officer, PTC. “The release of CoCreate 2008 demonstrates PTC’s ongoing commitment to delivering the capabilities that will help them attain maximum value from their software investment.”

CoCreate 2008 availability was scheduled for late May 2008 in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.*

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

This announcement, like several other recent MCAD release announcements is not exactly what I would call another in a series of blockbusters, but rather, making a good product more stable and reliable – as opposed to just continuing to pile on new features and capabilities. This is, of course, the first major release of CoCreate Modeling software since the company was acquired by PTC, so that’s probably one of the reasons the release is relatively modest and conservative in what it offers in the way of new stuff.

I thought the following disclaimer regarding the release was sort of humorous: “*The timing of any product release, including any features or functionality, is subject to change at PTC’s discretion.” I guess what this means is that you ultimately get what you get, regardless of what you think you might be getting. However, the CoCreate line has been solid for the past several releases, so I have no doubts that this one will be any different.

I’ve found it somewhat ironic that PTC, with its strong legacy in parametrics, would acquire a company whose design philosophy in some respects goes counter to PTC’s, although it does reinforce a major movement occurring in the MCAD industry – a non-history-based methodology and direct editing, something that CoCreate calls Dynamic Modeling.

History, of course has its place, but a history-based approach to 3D modeling is not for everybody, and CoCreate’s loyal customer base is testimony to this. However, a non-history-based approach is not exactly exclusive to CoCreate OneSpace Modeling – Kubotek’s KeyCreator, Siemens PLM Software (NX and Solid Edge), and IronCAD also are also proponents. A history-based approach is what most parametric modelers (such as SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, and Pro/ENGINEER) employ, but it’s not always the best way to go. History-based systems use a history tree to track and replay 2D profiles and modeling steps for generating and modifying 3D geometry. The main drawback is that
each step in the history is dependent upon the profile and modeling step that came before it.

A non-history based approach can be suited for manufacturers that change a lot of designs late in the design process, so they are not bound by the constraints and complications that a history tree can impose. Also, a non-history-based system can make data import easier, since you don’t have to worry about the overhead and burden of dealing with a history tree from a different system. Neutral file formats, such as IGES and STEP, are for all intents and purposes, native data to CoCreate OneSpace Modeling. This eliminates the cost penalty for legacy data originating from another system.

So, while the non-history-based approach may not be for everybody, it definitely does have its place. However, the opposite is also true.

CoCreate was one in a long series of acquisitions that PTC has made over the years that have included Computervision, Mechanica, Arbortext, and Mathcad. How is CoCreate’s product line fitting into the mix? That’s hard to say because there is some overlap of the products, especially on the PDM side, but things are sorting themselves out.

Will the relative incompatibility of the product lines prove problematic for PTC as it has with some of its past acquisitions? It will be interesting to see which, if either, one ultimately wins – CoCreate’s dynamic, non-history-based modeling; PTC’s explicit (the term that PTC is using for dynamic modeling since the acquisition announcement), parametric technique; or an optional choice between the two. Other companies are offering the choice, so why not PTC? I guess the bigger question is, will PTC continue to develop and support two MCAD product lines, or will we ultimately see a combined effort known as Co/ENGINEER or Pro/CREATE?

I’ll be at the PTC/USER World Event to get these and other questions answered.

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.

Alibre Inc. announced that the Alibre CAM product family is now available for download. Unveiled last month, Alibre CAM is an integrated 3D parametric personal CAD/CAM solution that is accessible and affordable. Alibre CAM is integrated into Alibre Design, the 3D parametric CAD product, so there is only one interface to learn and changes to the design automatically update tool paths. Alibre CAM products provide 2 1/2- to 5-axis CNC milling, including profiling, pocketing, facing, v-carving, engraving and hole and thread milling, as well as a variety of roughing, re-roughing and finishing operations such as horizontal, parallel, and radial. Hole making operations are also supported,
including drilling, tapping, boring and reverse boring, along with animated toolpath simulation. All Alibre CAM products come with numerous post-processors as well as a custom post-processor generator. Alibre CAM runs inside of the Alibre Design user interface and can be purchased as a bundle with Alibre Design, or as an add-on to a previously purchased version of Alibre Design. A detailed listing of the features in the Alibre CAM product family is available at:

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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


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