November 10, 2003
A New 3D CAD Package
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on MCADcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
Each MCAD Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the MCAD industry, MCAD product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by MCADCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!
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.
LMS Virtual.Lab Rev 3 provides ANSYS users an active, associative link between Virtual.Lab and ANSYS for all linear structural analyses. Virtual.Lab users are not only able to access ANSYS modeling and results data, they can also make ANSYS an integral part of a Virtual.Lab-supported engineering process. By implementing Virtual.Lab, users also have the ability to automatically set up ANSYS solutions and drive the ANSYS solver.
For automotive and aerospace design, the LMS Virtual.Lab suite is one of the most comprehensive and versatile packages we have seen.
And Still Another CAE Announcement Of A Different Type
In something of surprise in the CAE software space, ANSYS Inc., a developer of simulation software and technologies for optimizing product development processes, this week announced strong third quarter and year-to-date 2003 results. The results included:
Total revenue of $28.0 million, as compared to $21.7 million in the
third quarter of 2002; total revenue of $80.3 million in the first nine
months of 2003 as compared to $65.7 million for the nine months ended
September 30, 2002
Diluted earnings per share of $0.33 as compared to $0.26 for the third
quarter of 2002; diluted earnings per share of $0.89 through
September 30, 2003 as compared to $0.81 for the first nine months of
Cash flows from operations of $7.1 million in the third quarter of 2003
and $28.7 million in the first nine months of 2003.
ANSYS President and CEO, Jim Cashman, commenting on the current quarter's solid business performance, said, "The third quarter was a very positive quarter for us on a number of important initiatives. We continued to make tremendous strides in integrating our recently acquired CFX product line, which contributed to our ability to post record third quarter revenue and earnings results. Additionally, we made important progress in advancing our leadership in technology, which we believe has been a key driver to both the continued penetration into our extensive installed base, as well as our ability to expand into new markets."
Founded in 1970, ANSYS develops and markets engineering simulation software and technologies widely used across a broad spectrum of industries. The company focuses on the developing of products that an be used from design concept to final-stage testing and validation.
This is especially good news for ANSYS, coming at a time when the revenues and earnings of many CAD and CAM companies is flat or floundering. ANSYS continues to prove to be a strong company with good products and management, and an enviable cash position.
People On The Move At Cyon
Our friends at Cyon Research Corp., an engineering technology market analysis and consulting firm announced a couple of personnel changes this week. First, Evan Yares, a company founder and CTO, is leaving Cyon Research to pursue other interests. Yares plans to focus on industry interoperability projects related to his work with the Open Design Alliance, of which he is president. Cyon Research also announced that Rick Stavanja has been appointed as its vice president and CTO. Rick has been part of Cyon Research for three years and will leverage his extensive knowledge and long-term experience of the CAD industry in his new role. Prior to joining the company, Rick co-founded
PacifiCAD, a major CAD reseller in 1990. In 1995, he formed Tangra Development, a CAD consulting and integration company. At Tangra, he developed CADwire.net, a leading CAD resource. CADwire.net was acquired by Cyon Research in 2001. "I look forward to taking on the challenges that lie ahead," stated Stavanja. "I believe I offer a fresh, practical perspective on the issues facing both customers and vendors in today's evolving engineering software marketplace."
An Acquisition And New CTO
Raindrop Geomagic announced its acquisition of Cadmus Consulting LLC, a pioneer in new methods for computer-aided geometric design. In related news, Dr. Tamas Varady, former president and CEO of Cadmus, a Hungarian company, has been named chief technology officer of Raindrop Geomagic.
Raindrop Geomagic provides patented geometric modeling software that automatically transforms products from their physical form to a digital model for faster development, greater accuracy and automated inspection. The acquisition of Cadmus extends Raindrop Geomagic's software reach beyond the accurate replication of a physical product into the realm of stylish surfaces commonly used in automotive body design and consumer products.
"Raindrop Geomagic is now the only company that can provide a complete set of tools for product development based on accurate digital representations of scanned physical parts," says Ping Fu, the company's president and CEO. "Our technology encompasses industrial styling, automated reverse engineering, custom manufacturing, and computer-aided inspection applications, all tightly integrated with existing CAD/CAM/CAE solutions."
As Raindrop Geomagic's chief technology officer, Varady will direct the company's technology roadmap and be responsible for managing research and development efforts. Varady founded Cadmus in 1991.
Cadmus will now operate as Geomagic Hungary, with Varady also serving as managing director of the wholly owned subsidiary. Engineers in the new subsidiary will become part of the Geomagic software development team and will provide technical support to European customers.
This is an interesting announcement because it broadens the geometric horizons an potential of Raindrop Geomagic, already a unique and innovative company in the area of reverse engineering.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
Letters To The Editor
This week we received some interesting feedback to last week's Commentary entitled "The Spatial Versus Autodesk Lawsuit -- Was Justice Truly Served?"
"Contract issues aside, the world's MCAD user community was best-served by the recent court ruling. I can see no good coming from both major CAD solid kernels being owned by the same company while that same company continues to market their own CAD software. Sounds familiar doesn't it?
Consider that there is effectively no competition for MS-Word, Excel or PowerPoint because nobody can write software for the undocumented Windows OS as well as Microsoft can. We were potentially heading down that same path when Dassault bought Spatial, and I for one am ecstatic that we still have competition in that market."
Michael Koehler, Vice Pres.
Propulsor Technology Inc.
Product and Company News
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.