July 20, 2009
Translation Consolidation: ITI Acquires Proficiency
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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So what’s going to happen with this interoperability/data exchange debacle for the foreseeable future -- that is, in our lifetimes? Probably not much as far as simplifying and consolidation goes. As a matter of fact, no file format, including IGES and STEP, is likely to go away anytime soon. New design data file formats will continue to appear and evolve, as will companies that offer services for translating and transforming this data. If anything, interoperability/data exchange issues will continue to get more complicated. As confused as we may be now, I’m afraid that that we haven’t seen the worst of it yet. In fact, I see the CAD data interoperability/translation segment as
a bright spot and growth industry in an otherwise generally dismal MCAD market.

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.

SpaceClaim announced new Service Packs for SpaceClaim Engineer and SpaceClaim Style. SpaceClaim Engineer is a 3D direct modeler for top-down design, 3D layout, conceptual engineering, and model preparation for simulation and analysis. Capabilities include Pull, Move, Fill, and Combine tools for model editing, as well as 2D and cross-section modeling. SpaceClaim also introduced enhanced Sheet Metal capabilities for SpaceClaim Engineer to support the creation and unfolding of water-tight corners and rolled bends. New features that apply to SpaceClaim Engineer and SpaceClaim Style include extensive new enhancements to product design and editing in the areas of surfacing editing, creation of swept blends, dimensioning, and many other new capabilities. Bunkspeed HyperShot integration now includes the ability to visualize, set, and store HyperShot materials and textures from within SpaceClaim that can then be transferred to HyperShot. The SpaceClaim integration with ANSYS is also improved to include material properties, spot welds, and support for ANSYS 12.0 and Workbench 2.0. In addition, SpaceClaim's interoperability with 3D PDFs and Rhinoceros has been enhanced, allowing for the import, modification, and export of these file types. SpaceClaim Style brings 3D solid modeling to industrial designers and product stylists and enables them to work collaboratively with their clients
and the entire development team. With SpaceClaim Style, users get a rapid creation environment that enables flexible design capabilities and converts hand-drawn, 2D, and surface data to accurate solid models.

Roland DGA Corp. announced its newest 3D desktop milling machine, the MDX-40A that builds on Roland’s Subtractive Rapid Prototyping (SRP) technology with new features, bundled software, and other valuable options. The new MDX-40A is compact, easy to use and comes complete with SRP Player CAM Software that allows users to go from CAD model to physical prototype. The base unit offers a work area of 12” x 12” x 4.1.” New features include a new user-friendly virtual panel and support for G-Code programming that gives the MDX-40A compatibility with popular software programs including Mastercam, EdgeCAM, SurfCAM, and GibbsCAM. New bundled ClickMill software enables direct control of the
MDX-40A for surfacing, hole drilling, cutting pockets and other finishing processes, all without accessing CAD or CAM software.

NCG CAM Solutions Ltd, based in Cambridge, UK has recently purchased a license to the source code for the DEPOCAM product from PTC. Although the company is newly formed, all of the staff at NCG CAM Solutions Ltd has worked with the DEPOCAM software for a number of years at NC Graphics (Cambridge) Ltd before it was acquired by PTC and are launching a newly branded product called NCG CAM. The first release of NCG CAM includes a simultaneous 5-axis add-on module, with 5-axis machine simulation to be added in the next software release, planned for later this year. NCG CAM will continue to load Pro/ENGINEER files by utilizing the Granite kernel from PTC. Other services provided by the company
are software support and writing post-processors for any CAM software using G-post. NCG CAM HSM CAM software is a stand-alone CAM system that integrates with existing CAD and CAM systems, including Pro/ENGINEER and SolidWorks. NCG CAM is suitable for all types of forms, creating an optimized, smooth cutter motion for HSM machining, while helping to extend tool life, minimizing wear on machine tools and producing parts with excellent surface finish.

ANSYS, Inc. announced the latest release of ANSYS Icepak software, that provides fluid dynamics technology for electronics thermal management. The 12.0 release introduces new solutions for PCB and package thermal analysis, new and enhanced technology for meshing complex geometry, and new physical modeling capabilities. ANSYS Icepak software accelerates the product development process by accurately simulating the dissipation of thermal energy in electronic devices at the component, board, or system level. Based on the ANSYS FLUENT CFD solver, ANSYS Icepak software has a streamlined user interface that speaks the language of electronics design engineers, enabling the rapid creation of models
of complex electronic assemblies. Integration of ANSYS Iceboard and ANSYS Icechip capabilities into ANSYS Icepak 12.0 provides engineers with an integrated platform to analyze package, PCB, and system designs. Direct import of electronic CAD (ECAD) designs allows engineers to model all components of packages and PCBs, including, traces, vias, solder balls, solder bumps, wire bonds, and dies.

Icona Solutions Announces Autodesk Showcase Interface for aesthetica Icona Solutions Ltd. announced a direct interface to Autodesk’s Showcase digital mock-up and visualization software. aesthetica is used by automotive industry OEMs and manufacturers of consumer electronic devices and domestic electrical appliances to help them improve perceived quality. Unlike other visualization software products, aesthetica applies manufacturing tolerances and deformation information directly to a 3D CAD model to enable real time, perceived quality studies using realistic imagery, early
in the product development process. Using the new FBX file format, deformed 3D models generated by aesthetica and showing several worst-case/best-case examples of predicted product variation caused by manufacturing constraints can be exported to Autodesk Showcase to enable perceived quality studies using either a desktop computer or a virtual reality environment, such as a Powerwall. No additional data preparation is required because the exported models include all required geometry, materials and viewing positions, meaning that the models only need to be visualized with Autodesk Showcase.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
Email Contact or 408.850.9230.


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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

Review Article
  • Spin, Spin and Spin Away July 21, 2009
    Reviewed by 'Pundit Who Knows'
    I cant fault Rowe for picking up all the wrong messages from ITI's acquisition of Proficiency. Many others before him have done the same thing when it comes to interop. Contrary to his conclusions, here is my take on this:
    1. Proficiency failed and failed miserably. Their technology never worked even after spending close to $50M. It should have been shut down 3-4 years ago. I heard one CAD vendor, whose product Proficiency supported, refer to it as 'garbage'.
    2. ITI bought them for (my guess) peanuts. No details of the financial transaction was disclosed. Need I say more?
    3. ITI has to put a brave face on this ludicrous deal. They have bought useless technology that they cant make work either. Time will prove me right. The CAD ISVs will make sure they dont succeed.
    4. Interop market is $5B? Only if you are smoking some heady stuff from Afghanistan. Companies would rather turn off their CAD systems than pay for interop.
    5. JT is a visualization format and thats that. It cant do anything for interop and Siemens knows it. Jeff can attempt to put (interop) lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig.
    6. Jeff is right about one thing: CAD interop will never be solved, for the simple reason interop is an occupational (& mathematical) hazard in CAD.
    Read this article for what it is: a positive spin on a worthless story (Proficiency acquistion) and a thinly disguised boost for a advertiser (Siemens & JT). Calling interop the bright spot means the CAD industry in deeper trouble than we perceive it to be.

      7 of 8 found this review helpful.
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