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October 31, 2005
Reader-Submitted Essay On State Of Engineering and Manufacturing Stirs Emotions And Elicits Responses
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.
Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

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!

I just read a very interesting article entitled "Does Engineering Matter and is Free Trade Really Free?" at the following link:

The author, Stephen J. Schoonmaker, brings up several good points and places a deserved amount of blame for the current state (or lack thereof) of engineering and manufacturing on various government agencies and policies. He has received several responses from readers that support his contention.

I think that Mr. Schoonmaker's essay is an extension of correspondence he and I had with regard to the Commentary I wrote for the October 17 edition of MCAD Weekly, entitled "
With Few Options And An Uncertain Future, Delphi Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy"

That was an emotional Commentary for me to write for a number of reasons. First, I'm from the Detroit area and still maintain an office and a residence there. Second, I went to college there and earned a degree in industrial design. Third, I'm actually a union member - UAW Local 1981 - the National Writer's Union. This background and people I come in contact with just make me wonder what the bigger implications are for mechanical design, engineering, and manufacturing in this country - whether innovative or at all.

Delphi's (and now GM's) serious problems have prompted heightened discord between salaried employees and UAW members on who is to blame for the woes at Delphi and the American automotive industry in general. While there has been a lot of the finger-pointing in the between those two groups, no one seems overly concerned with the party (pardon the pun) who may be the real root cause of the problem - the government.

In response to his question, "Does Engineering Matter?," it sure doesn't seem to in this country anymore. We interest and graduate only a fraction of the engineers that countries like china and India do, and the disparity grows every year. Just this morning I read a Reuters news story entitled, "Is U.S. Becoming Hostile To Science?" It described the bitter debate about how to teach evolution in U.S. high schools is prompting a crisis of confidence and is a warning sign that science itself is under assault and an issue with severe long-term consequences, because a good foundation in math and science is essential for pursuing engineering.

This all hits even closer to home for me because I have been a substitute high school math and physics tutor, but the school district has cancelled geometry, trigonometry, and elementary calculus due to lack of interest and enrollment. Algebra is now the highest level of math taught now. Chemistry and physics are combined in a watered-down class, largely because of the lack of math exposure to understand anything beyond the most basic of principles. I'm told this trend is occurring all across the country.

To further the negative sentiment, I was approached by a local community college to teach Mechanical CAD and Fundamentals Of Mechanical Design, but both were cancelled, again due to lack of interest. All very sad, but a statement on the perceived value of technical/technology education in an industry that is in serious decline and dying.

In response to the other half of Mr. Schoonmaker's question, "Is Free Trade Really Free?," I have to answer, "No." The way our government has set it up, so-called free trade has been paved as a one way street that benefits other countries much more than it benefits our country's manufacturers. Eventually, and in the not too distant future, we're going to see not just "Made In China," labels on products, but "Designed and Engineered In China." Are we relegating ourselves to just logistics, distribution, and consumption of products - the Walmart model on a national scale? It sure appears that way because we continue to consume more but actually produce
less in this country. It's not only a sad statement, but is contributing to what I consider to be "The Continuing Fall of America" as an innovator and leader in engineering and manufacturing.

So what's going to come of all this? I don't honestly know, but as I said in my last commentary with regard to manufacturing - some things will be better, more will be worse, but all will be different. I hope that thought-provoking essays like Mr. Schoonmaker's continue so that an ongoing Discussion Forum can be created to attempt to address and resolve issues in the mechanical design, engineering, and manufacturing space.

UGS And Adobe Join Forces For Storing And Publishing Technical Data

UGS Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. announced a technology partnership to enable manufacturing organizations worldwide to tap into the industry's vast reservoir of 3D digital product models -- stored in the widely adopted JT data format -- and publish them as Adobe PDF files.

This relationship between Adobe and UGS builds on existing support for Universal 3D (U3D) in Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional and PDF, and extends the reach of 3D JT data to users of free Adobe Reader 7.0 software. Adobe has distributed over half-a-billion copies of Adobe Reader since 1993.

"Today's announcement will contribute to the enhancement of collaboration and communication that takes place among our global locations and outside suppliers throughout our product lifecycle process," said Alfred Katzenbach, director of Information Technology and IT-Processes at DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes Car Group. "JT is our industry's most widely adopted lightweight 3D format for representing digital product models, and Adobe PDF is the de facto standard document format throughout the world. By making millions of 3D product models easy to import into Adobe PDF documents and accessible to anyone with free Adobe Reader software, UGS and Adobe are establishing an open
standard for PLM document creation and sharing."

Adobe PDF is an open, published specification created and updated by Adobe and used by organizations worldwide today for more secure, reliable distribution and exchange of electronic documents with embedded 3D objects. Adobe PDF documents represent 3D data such as JT-based digital product models in the U3D format. JT is the PLM industry's most widely adopted open 3D data format for enabling product visualization, data sharing and collaboration. Virtually all major computer-aided design (CAD) applications used by manufacturers throughout the world can export JT files.

"JT is the PLM industry's most robust format for 3D collaboration," said Chuck Grindstaff, executive vice president PLM Products, UGS. "Its flexibility together with JT's widespread adoption throughout the global manufacturing industry and the ubiquity of Adobe PDF will enhance the value of all documents used throughout the PLM process such as manufacturing instructions, requests for quotation (RFQs), marketing brochures and much more."

The Adobe-UGS relationship enables an open technology exchange between the two companies involving Adobe PDF and JT. Now, through access to the Adobe PDF Library, UGS will have the ability to enable its customers to directly export content-rich PDF files through its entire suite of PLM software solutions. Similarly, using the JT software development toolkit (SDK), Adobe will allow users of future versions of Adobe Acrobat(R) software to import JT-based interactive 3D product models into Adobe PDF documents.

"JT and Adobe PDF are already well established and highly regarded by manufacturing organizations around the world," said Eugene Lee, vice president of product marketing, Intelligent Documents Business Unit, Adobe. "JT is an invaluable 3D data format for visualizing accurate, detailed product models, and much more. The manufacturing industry already relies on Adobe PDF for many of its traditional strengths, as well as new U3D support in Acrobat 7.0 Professional and Adobe Reader. With UGS, Adobe will enable customers to dramatically expand the utility of both JT and Adobe PDF, helping drive more efficient communication and greater productivity throughout the product

So Adobe has become the newest member of the JT Open Program. The announcement was made in conjunction with a separate announcement of a relationship between the two software companies that will let manufacturers publish 3D digital product models, stored in the JT data format, as Adobe PDF files.

The JT Open Program is an organization consisting manufacturers, PLM vendors, and universities focused on making JT the de facto industry standard for storing and sharing 3D digital product data. The grand theoretical plan of all the members of JT Open is to work together to help eliminate barriers to product development caused by incompatible proprietary data formats. Again, it's theory and something I'd like to investigate further myself to see how well it actually work - in practice.

According to UGS, since it established JT Open in November 2003, it has grown to more than four million JT-enabled software seats installed today. Beyond Adobe, JT Open has recently added several new members, including Siemens, Autodesk, Capgemini, and Asahi Electronics.

I'll be curious to see how Dassault responds to this latest announcement with its competing initiative, 3D XML. I'm also trying to arrange and conduct a study that will contrast and compare the two - JT Open Vs. 3D XML. This open data issue is just starting to get interesting and should heat up considerably in the coming months.

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.

Dassault Systemes Reports Q3 Financial Results

Dassault Systemes reported financial results for the third quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2005. Third quarter financial and business highlights include:
  • Total revenue EUR 213.8 million, up 14% as reported and in constant currencies
  • Software revenue EUR 183.3 million, up 17% as reported and in constant currencies
  • Process-centric revenue EUR 170.4 million, up 11% as reported and 12% in constant currencies
  • PDM revenue EUR 26.5 million, up 12% as reported and in constant currencies, with PDM software end-user revenue up 33%
  • SolidWorks revenue EUR 43.4 million, up 24% as reported (up 24% in U.S. dollars)
  • EPS EUR 0.32 on U.S. GAAP basis and EPS EUR 0.32 excluding acquisition costs, up 14%.
  • ABAQUS Software Adopted by Major Automotive OEM For Crash Simulation

    ABAQUS Inc. announced that BMW Group has adopted ABAQUS software as the basis for all its vehicle crashworthiness simulation. ABAQUS provide software, technology, and services for advanced finite element analysis (FEA) and a key part of SIMULIA, the new Dassault brand for realistic simulation. The decision comes after an intensive four-year technical collaboration during which the two companies worked together to advance ABAQUS software to meet BMW's requirements for accuracy and robustness. BMW Group has used ABAQUS software since 1986, beginning with engine development and today encompassing substantial simulation requirements in engine, chassis, and body-in-white design. The capability
    of ABAQUS to accurately model complex material behavior and to capture the important physical response of automotive components and systems in these applications motivated BMW to begin a formal project in 2001 to investigate using ABAQUS for crashworthiness simulation. BMW has now adopted ABAQUS software for all crashworthiness simulations and will continue the joint development program.

    VERICUT 6 To Include Native CATIA And ACIS Translation

    Spatial Corp., a provider of 3D components, and CGTech, the developer of VERICUT software, announced the inclusion of Spatial's InterOp Translators in CGTech's soon-to-be-released VERICUT 6. The addition of Spatial's translators lets users of VERICUT 6 import and export native CATIA V5, ACIS (SAT), and STEP models. Spatial's access to APIs, as a subsidiary of Dassault Systemes and as the developer of the 3D ACIS Modeler, enables the company to provide accuracy in data translation of CATIA V5 and SAT files through its InterOp line. This technology is accessed through the CAD Model Import and Model Export features of VERICUT 6. Model Export creates CAD models from the VERICUT "in-process" cut
    model that is generated by simulating an NC program. The resulting surface or solid model contains as-machined features produced by the NC program.

    MSC.Software And Engineous Form Global Strategic Alliance

    MSC.Software Corp. a provider of virtual product development (VPD) solutions including simulation software and services, and Engineous Software Inc., a provider of product development infrastructure coupled with robust design tools, today announced a global strategic alliance through which Engineous' iSIGHT and FIPER will be integrated with MSC.Software's enterprise solutions. This announcement is an extension of MSC.Software's current relationship with Engineous. Engineous' iSIGHT process integration and design optimization software and FIPER, a component-based, integration infrastructure will provide design improvements using MSC's enterprise solutions. This alliance will couple
    MSC.Nastran, MSC.ADAMS, MSC.Patran, MSC.Marc, and MSC stochastic simulation technologies with iSIGHT and FIPER. The combined functionality can be managed with the MSC.SimManager enterprise data management infrastructure.

    MSC.Software Joins Itanium Solutions Alliance

    MSC.Software Corp. also announced it has joined the newly formed Itanium Solutions Alliance. As the first simulation company to provide support of Intel's 64-bit Itanium 2 processors, MSC.Software has committed to work with the Alliance to further the capabilities of High Performance Computing products based on Itanium platforms. MSC.Nastran is used for linear and nonlinear analyses of structural, fluid, thermal, and coupled systems. The Itanium Solutions Alliance was formed by enterprise and technical computing providers to work together toward a common goal of transitioning the world of proprietary computing platforms to the new datacenter based on open, industry standards based

    Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached
    here or 408.850.9230.

    This Week

    Lead Story
  • UGS And Adobe Team
    Product and Company News
  • ANSYS Named To Forbes 200 Best Small Companies
  • CoCreate Software Subscription Offer Nets 1,000 Licenses
  • PTC To Host Q4 And FY 2005 Results Conference Call And Webcast
  • ANSYS To Release Q3 Earnings
  • Spirit AeroSystems Increases Real-time Collaboration With PLM From IBM And Dassault Systemes
  • Pathtrace Showcases Latest EdgeCAM Release
  • New, Free Autodesk Tools For Viewing And Converting DWG Data
  • Lattice3D And TechniCon Form Partnership
  • Stratasys Reports Q3 Revenue And Earnings
  • HighRES Debuts 3D CAD/CAM Reverse Engineering Software Plug-ins For Mastercam X
  • 3D Systems Announces Financial Results Discussion
  • Shared Network Database Option Available With FeatureCAM 2006
  • The Babcock & Wilcox Co. Integrates RuleStream And MatrixOne
  • 3Dconnexion Implements Agile PLM For Enterprise Collaboration
  • MSC.Software's Enterprise Simulation Software Is Selected By Valeo Engine Cooling
    Team Brings Batch Printing And PDF Rendering to Matrix PLM Users
  • 3Dconnexion Announces New Pricing For 3D Motion Controller
  • 3D Systems Congratulates Renault F1 Team As Double World Champions
  • Stratasys Board Authorizes Company To Repurchase Up To $20 Million Of Its Common Stock
  • Banknote Press Manufacturer Selects Ultimus To Automate Its Business Processes
  • Freeborders Launches New PLM Suite 3.5
    Cimmetry Releases AutoVue 19 For EMC Documentum 5.3
  • Actify Releases Actify DesignShare Based On Microsoft's SharePoint Technology
  • Cadig TableBar Toolbar For AutoCAD Table Available As Freeware
  • Solid Concepts Purchases Viper Pro SLA System
  • Visioneer And Daybreak ICS Announce New Enterprise Solution For Documentum
  • FCS International Takes Top FeatureCAM Distributor Sales Award
  • Liquid Machines And Trinity Technologies Announce Gateway Solution For EMC Documentum
  • GlobalCAD Announces Hatch Manager 2006 For AutoCAD/LT/ADT
  • Agile Participates At Consumer Goods Technology 2005 Fall Conference
    Related MCAD News
  • IBSystems' CADalog.com Adds Research Reports To Its E-Store: First Report "MCAD Europe 2005" By 01Consulting
  • IBSystems' October 17th iPod mini Sweepstakes Winner Announced
  • House Approves Aerospace Workforce Legislation
  • KUKA Robotics Announces Partner Awards
  • Delphi Wins Compressor Business With Volkswagen Group
  • Manufacturing Job Growth Slows In October Despite Open Positions
  • Curtiss-Wright Wins Boeing MMA System
  • Quantum To Develop Aerospace Hydrogen And Oxygen Storage Systems
  • Intergraph Reports Q3 2005 Results
  • Boeing Completes Sale Of Canadian Facility
  • Delphi Shows Off Expanded Engine Management Line
  • CTS Announces Plans To Manufacture In Czech Republic
  • Ball Aerospace Celebrates 21 Years Of Ozone Research
  • Dell Recognized As Most Reliable PC Manufacturer In North America
  • Moog Receives Award In Hydraulic Aerospace Products Market
  • Boeing Names 787-8 Raked Wing Tip Provider
  • Oracle Expands Supply Chain Suite With PeopleSoft
    Corporate Moves
  • Proficiency Appoints New VP Of Sales
    Upcoming Events
  • Delphi to Hold Live Webinar on How Best Design Practices Can Improve Global Manufacturing Collaboration
  • ICEM To Preview New Shape Design Software Suite At Euromold 2005
  • Delcam To Show Product Development Software
  • Agile Chief Product Officer To Participate In PLM Event
  • Delcam To Exhibit At Performance Racing Show
  • Authentica To Present At IBM Lotus Notes/Domino 7 Live Seminar Series

    You can find the full MCADCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

    For more discussions, follow this link …