May 19, 2008
New RE Plug-In for Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0 Released
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| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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ReverseEngineering.com, the providers of CAD integrated reverse engineering software for measurement, 3D digitizing, and scanning physical molds, models or parts, has released a plug-in for Pro/Engineer Wildfire 4, which allows users to design faster while maintaining high quality products.
“ReverseEngineering.com’s plug-in for Pro/Engineer Wildfire 4.0 allows engineers and designers to capture data from existing parts while remaining directly within the Wildfire 4.0 environment,” says ReverseEngineering.com Chief Technology Officer Braxton Carter. “This helps maintain association with one another, ensuring accuracy, and in turn, speeding the process from napkin and product, to market.”
In order to create digitized datums, lines, splines, arcs, and circles, the ReverseEngineering.com Pro/Engineer Wildfire 4 plug-in also embodies a new user interface for improved end user work flow.
The new interface also supports switching digitizing between millimeters and inches.
“Digitized enhancements may now be aligned for Part-To-Cad Reverse Engineering and Inspection,” said Braxton. “Aligning digitized parts to drawing view requirements.”
The “align laser scan point clouds to PCMM coordinates” allows the ReverseEngineering.com plug-in for Pro/Engineer Wildfire 4.0 to work with scanned points and sketch features in a model tree. X, Y, and Z read out while all of the digitizing features have been enhanced for real time digitizer cursor position.
The simplified lock plane point cloud processing is available through HighRES Integrated Point Processor (HIPP). Complex sheet metal designs are now conceivable with the ReverseEngineering.com plug-in.
HighRES, Inc. headquartered in La Jolla, California, is dedicated to direct CAD reverse engineering and measurement software solutions worldwide. HighRES currently links portable CMMs directly to 10 popular CAD/CAM software packages and 5 hardware platforms. Developing software solutions since 1985, the company drives its development efforts to bring its unique CAD-integrated software to the laser, photogrammetry, and tracker market place to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and on any device. For more information, visit
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
HighRES is currently a relatively small company in terms of size, but one that has huge potential in the burgeoning reverse engineering (RE) and inspection markets. This announcement introduces a freshened reverse engineering product line for 2008, with all of them compatible with the latest major releases of CAD products, including Pro/ENGINEER, SolidWorks, and Inventor, just to name a few.
I’ve seen and experimented with the software at a couple of trade shows and got the hang of it pretty quickly for doing some simple reverse engineering. It works with both touch probes and laser scanners interchangeably, and this capability is important because each type of scanner has strengths and weaknesses, depending on the object being scanned.
The company has partnered and develops complementary products that are integrated with most of the major CMM hardware (Romer, Faro, Immersion, etc.) and software (SolidWorks, Inventor, Pro/E, NX, and others); used in tandem for reverse engineering, inspection, and other purposes. Here, however, we’ll focus on reverse engineering.
Basically, there are two parts to the data-related part of the RE process: scanning and data manipulation. Scanning, also called digitizing, is the process of gathering geometric point data from an object. Several different contact and non-contact technologies are used to collect this 3D data. Each technology has advantages and disadvantages, and their applications and specifications overlap.
What eventually results from each of the data-collection methods is a description of the physical object called a point cloud. Point-cloud data typically defines points on the surface of a scanned object in x, y, and z coordinates. At each coordinate in the data where there is a point, there is an associated surface coordinate of the scanned object.
There are several digitizing technologies available today. They include contacting/feature-based (mechanical touch probe) and non-contacting (laser-based) instruments and hybrid systems, and the HighRES software is compatible with all of the various digitizing technologies.
To maximize the advantages of touch-probe and laser-based systems, dual-capability systems are emerging that provide turnkey products with complementary capabilities. These instruments have both a contact probe and a laser that can be used simultaneously. For example, broad areas can be quickly scanned using a laser device mounted on the articulating arm, and features on the object that cannot be resolved with a laser can be digitized by contact with a touch probe.
Usually, collecting an object’s data is the easiest part of the RE process, because scanning usually can be performed relatively quickly. On the other hand, manipulating that scanned data can take a lot of time and effort. However, scanned-data¬–manipulation techniques are rapidly improving and becoming much more time and cost effective, and the HighRES products are testimony to this.
The HighRES plug-ins provide a direct-to-CAD, fully native universal front end for reverse engineering. They let you bring point clouds directly into your CAD package of choice providing direct CAD integration. It also lets you model as you go with the ability to model as you collect data with either a laser or touch probe. As you scan and digitize physical objects, HighRES software’s point cloud thinning capability provides precise data because it “thinks” like the target CAD system, instead of conflicting with it, and automatically manages millions of points. These points are imported directly into the target CAD system as parametric sketches that can be used to build solids and
surfaces as native features. All digitized data resides in the target CAD system’s feature tree as native 2D/3D CAD entities that can be edited and dimensioned.
Beginning late last year the company announced that it had aggressively expanded and enhanced its operations, with increased focus on research and development and customer services.
New personnel staffing boosted corporate management, technical development, and increased customer support with better communication and overall gains in productivity. More dedicated resources in research and development have allowed for greater efficiency, compatibility, and an increased competitive advantage in the technologies that the company offers. Growth in these areas also enhanced the level and scope of services the company offers its customers.
"The customer has always been the driving force at ReverseEngineering.com and will continue to be moving forward", said Christiann Moore, Director of the company. "Following a strong 2007, HighRES continues to re-invest in the backbone of the organization. We will continue to improve in these areas to provide support that mirrors the increasing capabilities of the HighRES product line."
Up to now you may not have heard about HighRES, but I think you will in the future, a future that looks bright for this company. Finally, the company is in the final stages of reinventing and relaunching itself with a new identity – ReverseEngineering.com – so stay tuned as the company continues to evolve.
Editor’s Note: We attended the recent ESPRIT World Conference 2008 and spent some time with DP Technology employees and management, customers, resellers, and partners. We came away with a better understanding and a favorable impression of this CAM company and will report on what we saw and heard in the next edition of MCADWeekly Review.
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.
Autodesk has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Moldflow, a provider of software that allows designers to predict and optimize how plastic components will perform during each phase of the design and manufacture process. The transaction will be structured as a cash tender offer for all the outstanding shares of Moldflow common stock, is subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the second calendar quarter of 2008. The acquisition will make analysis capabilities for plastics manufacturing available to manufacturers using Autodesk Digital Prototyping solution. Autodesk is committed to supporting Moldflow customers once the
transaction is closed and integrating them into the Autodesk manufacturing community. Autodesk will acquire Moldflow for $22 per share, or approximately $297 million, less the amount in Moldflow's cash balance at the time of closing and proceeds from options exercises. Moldflow has 285 employees and reported revenues for its fiscal 2007 of $55.9 million.
SolidWorks 2008 won a 2007 NASA Tech Briefs Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Award, capping months of industry recognition for SolidWorks Corp. and its products. Each month, the magazine names a product of the month. SolidWorks 2008, launched in June 2007, was the product of the month for July 2007. NASA Tech Briefs’ readers selected SolidWorks 2008 from a dozen products of the month from 2007. Readers cast their votes for the product they thought was the most significant new product introduced to the engineering community in 2007. In March, SolidWorks Corp. was named to the START-IT 125 for 2008, a directory of the most influential technology providers in the
manufacturing space, by START-IT magazine. Companies are selected by the editors of START-IT and its editorial advisory board. In February, Control Engineering magazine revealed that SolidWorks 2008 captured the most readers’ votes in its Engineers’ Choice Award in the application and programming software/applications category. Each year Control Engineering receives hundreds of new product announcements, spanning the entire spectrum of industrial automation and control technologies.
Aras announced Version 9 of the Aras Innovator suite of model-based service-oriented architecture [SOA] solutions for enterprise Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). Version 9 delivers the first model-based SOA for PLM and includes single-instance multi-language capabilities and support for the latest Microsoft platform products; Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2008. The model-based environment in Aras Innovator Version 9 represents a significant innovation in enterprise SOA software for PLM. Highlights include:
• Real-time Solution Customization – The Aras Innovator model-based SOA solutions enable complex object model, data schema, business rule, and workflow changes on-the-fly with no programming required and no downtime making solution customization fast and easy.
• No Impact Upgrades – The model-based SOA separates the software and related software modifications from the underlying SOA making even highly customized enterprise solutions easy to upgrade in days without impacting the customizations.
MSC.Software announced that AUDI AG has further extended its existing simulation management environment, going into full-scale production with MSC.Software’s SimManager Enterprise. The system of Audi represents the largest global installation of SimManager Enterprise to date, helping multiple engineering groups within Audi as well as their supplier community to accelerate the vehicle development process of Audi and improve their insight into system level functional performance. SimManager Enterprise manages currently more than 180,000 simulations, with up to 850 new simulations created per day and enables collaboration amongst 400 internal and external users on all
new vehicle multi-discipline programs, for Crash, Pedestrian Safety, Occupant Safety, Head Impact and NVH engineering disciplines. The system provides managed access to more than 20 million simulation content objects and provides an audit trail for each one that documents how they were created.
Dassault Systèmes announced at the ENOVIA Americas Customer Conference significant market successes in the PLM mid-market. According to the company, ENOVIA SmarTeam continued its lead for mid-market PLM and now has more than 6,000 customers. ENOVIA SmarTeam solutions are focused on product development processes that support design, engineering and enterprise activities. Solutions are flexible enough to solve customers’ business issues immediately while offering rapid deployment, enhanced return on investment and industry leading low total cost of ownership. ENOVIA SmarTeam has continued to capture an increasingly larger share of the mid-market for PLM. According to a
recent spending study by AMR Research, over 60 percent of small-and-mid-size business (SMB) respondents with $50M to $250M in revenue indicated that they will increase spending on PLM applications by 12 percent in 2008. One reason for this planned increase is that SMBs, just like large companies, see product development as a critical business initiative, regardless of the state of the economy.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.