June 02, 2008
PTC Announces CoCreate 2008
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| 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.
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:
Dassault Systèmes (DS) announced the inauguration of a global virtual campus for students and educators, as well as employers interested in the education ecosystem. This international community Web site is designed to inspire visitors through its forums, tutorials, project showcases, articles, training materials and downloadable software, ultimately helping them develop the knowledge and skills necessary for success in tomorrow’s dynamic workplace environments. The site, named “DS Campus”, helps future engineers and technicians master cutting-edge 3D and PLM solutions used by the most innovative companies and that are quickly becoming mainstream. The global virtual campus
provides among other services free online video training materials to help members boost their PLM software skills. It also facilitates international collaboration through its discussion forums, project showcases, and capabilities for students to recruit sponsors. It also enables students to download software packages, including CATIA V5, for only the price of a textbook. To learn more about DS Campus, visit:
IBM announced a research breakthrough in photovoltaics technology that could significantly reduce the cost of harnessing the sun's power for electricity. IBM scientists are using a large lens to concentrate the sun's power, capturing a record 230 watts onto a centimeter square solar cell, in a technology known as concentrator photovoltaics, or CPV. That energy is then converted into 70 watts of usable electrical power, about five times the electrical power density generated by typical cells using CPV technology in solar farms. If it can overcome additional challenges to move this project from the lab to the fab, IBM believes it can significantly reduce the cost of a typical CPV based
system. By using a much lower number of photovoltaic cells in a solar farm and concentrating more light onto each cell using larger lenses, IBM's system enables a significant cost advantage in terms of a lesser number of total components. The trick lies in IBM's ability to cool the tiny solar cell. Concentrating the equivalent of 2000 suns on such a small area generates enough heat to melt stainless steel, something the researchers experienced first hand in their experiments. But by borrowing innovations from its own R&D in cooling computer chips, the team was able to cool the solar cell from greater than 1600 degrees Celsius to just 85 degrees Celsius. The IBM research team developed a
system that achieved breakthrough results by coupling a commercial solar cell to an advanced IBM liquid metal thermal cooling system using methods developed for the microprocessor industry.
VX Corp. announced assembly visualization tools in VX CAD/CAM Version 13 for improving the overall mechanical design process and the communication of designs. 3D assembly modeling has proven to be more effective than 2D design in helping designers find and correct interference, clearance and assembly problems. Often designers were forced to investigate assemblies by hiding and showing components to see into and through assemblies. While most design systems have tools for visualization, they do not highlight problems. With Version 13, VX has introduced has an assembly level display tool that lets users toggle the display mode of any component. So, if a user wants to see inside a gear box
or through a mold plate, instead of hiding parts, all he has to do is right-click a part and render it as transparent or wireframe. VX gives the user even more control by allowing multiple instances of the same part to be displayed differently. The use of these display tools results in time saved designing and communicating ideas. Dynamic Slicing in VX CAD/CAM Version 13 has taken the visualization tools one step further. To meet customer needs VX took dynamic slicing beyond the norm as simply a “cool visualization tool.” One of the key features of dynamic slicing is the real-time interference check. Users can see all interferences as the slice plane is moved across the assembly. This
functionality gives instant interference feedback and virtually eliminates the need to process a separate interference check. Users can continue to model while in a sliced display and furthermore can save sliced views to be recalled later.
Siemens PLM Software announced new versions of the complete Velocity Series portfolio. Solid Edge is the CAD component of the Velocity Series. Solid Edge with synchronous technology is a feature-based 2D/3D CAD system that combines direct modeling with dimension-driven design. In addition to history-free, feature-based modeling, new features include breakthroughs in "Procedural Features" for parameterized edits without an ordered recompute, a "Synchronous Solve" that allows edits regardless of creation order, new "Live Rules" to infer function from existing geometry, and 3D "Driving Dimensions" that allow dimensional changes to completed models -- all of which are enabled by a new
flexible user "Grab and Go" interaction paradigm. Teamcenter Express is the preconfigured collaborative product data management (cPDM) component of the Velocity Series. Two new modules help SMBs streamline their engineering resources and widen access to their product data. The first is an embedded project and program management option for project managers. The second is a lower cost web client for shop floor users that delivers the same fast access to product data. CAM Express is the NC programming component of the Velocity Series. It covers a wide variety of programming requirements, including high speed machining, multi-function mill-turning and 5-axis machining. The latest release is
Version 6 and features substantial advances in 3-axis machining and feature-based automation. Features include new cutting strategies for curve/edge and 3D profile cutting, optimized corner rounding techniques, smoother finish cuts through specialized point distribution, as well as new toolpath editing/dividing tools. In addition, version 6 includes feature recognition and knowledge editor technology from Tecnomatix. Femap is the finite element analysis (FEA) component of the Velocity Series. The latest release, Version 10 helps users create FEA models easily and quickly from CAD data through new meshing capabilities. It automates current meshing technology, while adding new interactive
meshing and model and element checking functionality. These enhancements combined with new pre-defined and standardized workflow methods make it easier to consistently and accurately produce meshed models for analysis an order of magnitude faster than today. Version 10 also strengthens Femap's solver integration support to continue its strength as a standalone solver-neutral FEA modeling solution.
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.