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May 05, 2008
Siemens PLM Software Announces Synchronous Technology
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
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"Siemens recognized the huge potential of synchronous technology during the due diligence process of acquiring UGS," said Anton Huber, CEO, Siemens Industry Automation Division. "Knowing that the digital model is at the heart of our shared vision to unify the product and production lifecycles, we have worked together to accelerate this breakthrough in CAD technology. The digital model impacts every phase of the PLM process and is key to delivering innovation faster than ever before. This technology will fundamentally change the way manufacturers design products and enable them to accelerate their innovation process, ultimately driving increases in top line revenue."

"This new synchronous technology is indeed a breakthrough," said Jack Beeckman, PLM manager, Liebert Corp. "It marks a new era in modeling that allows an engineer the freedom to be an engineer. With an instantaneous modeling experience, this is going to change the way people think about using CAD. More importantly it's going to change the way CAD enables them to think about 'what' they want to model, and not 'how' they want to model."

The technology is the first-ever design solution that simultaneously synchronizes geometry and rules through a new decision-making inference engine. It accelerates innovation in four key areas:

•        Fast idea capture: Synchronous technology captures ideas as fast as the user thinks them, with up to 100 times faster design experience. Designers can devote more time to innovation with new techniques that provide the efficiency of parametric dimension-modeling without the computational overhead of pre-planned dependencies. The technology defines optionally persistent dimensions, parameters and design rules at time of creation or edit, without the overhead of an ordered history.

•        Fast design changes: The technology automates the implementation of planned or unplanned design changes to seconds versus hours thorough unparalleled ease of editing, regardless of design origination, with or without the presence of a history tree.

•        Improved multi-CAD reuse: The technology allows users to reuse data from other CAD systems without remodeling. Users can succeed in a multi-CAD environment with a fast, flexible system that enables them to edit other CAD system data faster than they can in the original system, regardless of the design methodology. A technique called "suggestive selection" automatically infers the function of various design elements without the need for feature or constraint definitions. This increases design reuse and OEM/supplier efficiency.

•        New user experience: The technology provides a new user interaction experience that simplifies CAD and makes 3D as easy to use as 2D. The interaction paradigm merges historically independent 2D and 3D environments, providing the robustness of a mature 3D modeler with the ease of 2D. New inference technology automatically infers common constraints and executes typical commands based on cursor position. This makes design tools simple to learn and use for occasional users, driving downstream use to manufacturing engineering and the shop floor.

"While there have been important advances in 3D design technology over the years, designers have not been able to create persistent features without the computational overhead needed to re-compute models from the construction history," said Chuck Grindstaff, executive vice president of Products, Siemens PLM Software. "Traditional parametric modeling serially applies rules to geometry, helping to automate planned change but not addressing unanticipated engineering changes. History-less modeling concentrates on geometry in an unconstrained manner, but sacrifices intelligence and intent. Direct editing minimizes the need to understand a complex history but does not address features.

"Our new synchronous technology incorporates the best of constrained and unconstrained techniques to deal with change in an extremely powerful and efficient manner. Applying the right technique to the job at hand, enables dimension-driven modeling to reach its full potential, generating tremendous productivity gains over traditional methods."

The patent-pending technology was jointly developed between Siemens PLM Software's NX and Solid Edge organizations. Siemens PLM Software's synchronous technology will be implemented in the next versions of both Solid Edge and NX as a proprietary application layer built on its D-Cubed and Parasolid software. The next versions are scheduled for launch on May 21 at the annual Siemens PLM Software Analyst and Media Conference in Boston.

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

The day after we published this news item, we received an interesting letter from a reader that asked the question, “Is this the Holy Grail for 3D CAD Systems?” He went on to say that when traditional feature/history-based modeling is combined with inference / rule based engine it created quite an interesting set of possibilities in creating 3D CAD geometry. “The Direct Modeling techniques offered by Siemens was always considered an outsider to the above technique. It will be quite interesting to see how a direct update of the 3D model can synchronize the knowledge rules embedded in the geometry,” he said.

Our good friend and colleague, Dr. Ken Versprille, PLM Research Director, CPDA, also thinks it’s a good idea whose time not only has come, but continues to proliferate. He said, “Synchronous technology breaks through the architectural barrier inherent in a history-based modeling system. Its ability to recognize current geometry conditions and localize dependencies in real time, allows synchronous technology to solve for model changes without the typical replay of the full construction history from the point of edit. Depending on model complexity and how far back in the history that edit occurs, users will see dramatic performance gains. A 100 times speed improvement could be a
conservative estimate.”

While this an interesting announcement that has received a lot of attention even before it is actually released as a marketable product with the next versions of NX and Solid Edge Siemens PLM Software, is hardly the first to promote the benefits and advantages of a non-history-based design approach with synchronous technology. Siemens now joins the ranks of Kubotek, CoCreate, IronCAD, and SpaceClaim who have already embraced it. However, Siemens’ take on the approach is quite different than the competition, some of my peers, and bloggers would have you think – it’s a lot more than direct modeling, or more precisely, direct model editing.

While synchronous technology does provide non-history based direct modeling capabilities, it also provides the ability to employ dimension- and constraint-driven modeling. It is the combination of all of these capabilities that sets Siemens PLM Software’s synchronous technology apart from the competition. Synchronous technology will likely benefit users in the following areas:

•        Initial designs could be created quicker without having to concern yourself with pre-planning the design process for creating features

•        Design changes will likely be quicker because there is no history tree

•        No history tree will be handy capability in a multi-CAD environment

•        Without a history tree that can be restrictive, mechanical design might be easier to learn and better suited to “casual” users, as well as “full-timers.”

What makes synchronous technology especially noteworthy is the fact that it will be implemented in the next versions of both NX and Solid Edge that will be released this summer. So, while initially and outwardly, synchronous technology looked like just another “me too” capability, it is, in fact, nothing of the sort and could prove to be quite an MCAD product differentiator going forward. I’m anxious to try it for myself when the products are released. I’ll report back on my experience and how it contrasts and compares with the competition. Things seem to be heating up once again in the increasingly competitive MCAD world.

So, to answer our reader’s questions as to whether synchronous technology is the Holy Grail for 3D CAD systems with miraculous powers? I don’t think I’d go that far, but synchronous technology looks very promising as a major development that should benefit users and change the MCAD landscape.

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.

FIRST Robotics Competition Selects National Instruments CompactRIO for Next-Generation Robot Control System

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a nonprofit organization inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders, has selected the National Instruments CompactRIO embedded control platform as its next-generation FIRST Robotics Competition robot controller. Students can program their robots based on CompactRIO in either NI LabVIEW graphical programming software or the ANSI C language. The CompactRIO platform gives high school students access to advanced control capabilities and superior performance, including a 400 MHz PowerPC and FPGA-based I/O. The CompactRIO modular I/O system offers connectivity to a wide array of sensor and actuator options and
powerful real-time vision processing to build a highly advanced robot. Students will be able to create robots that may be driver-controlled or run in fully autonomous mode using the latest technologies including wireless monitoring and simulation for more in-competition control and more accurate designs. Several key technology suppliers have collaborated with NI to provide in-kind donations of components required to build the CompactRIO control system, including Analog Devices, Boston Engineering, ChipX, Dove Electronics, Freescale, MSI, Texas Instruments, TTI, Westak, Wind River, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Xilinx.

New FLUENT for CATIA V5 Extends CFD Modeling CapabilityANSYS released version 4.0 of its FLUENT for CATIA V5 rapid flow modeling software. In addition to performance improvements, this release of FLUENT for CATIA V5 adds new physics models to its analysis capabilities that extend the types of products for which performance optimization is possible. The new species transport model allows the modeling of mixtures of fluids with different properties. This expands the types of equipment that can be optimized to include paint mixers, fire risk detection, airplane cabin ventilation, water treatment systems and the dispersion of exhaust gases. The new cavitation modeling feature lets users predict when cavitation may occur in a variety of systems. It allows performance optimization of fuel injectors used in car and motorcycle engines. It also lets users see when cavitation may occur in rotating pumps, enabling them to make design modifications to reduce the blade erosion that may result. New heat transfer boundary conditions let automotive companies model the cooling of brake rotor disks, to ensure that
optimum braking performance is maintained under all conditions.

Inventor's Irrigation Pumps Help Lift African Farmers out of Poverty

Dr. Martin Fisher is transforming the lives of thousands of poor African farmers through a combination of technological invention and system-wide business development. In collaboration with his co-workers, Fisher, the 2008 recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability, has already enabled over 310,000 people to rise out of poverty. According to the United Nations, more than 40 percent of Africans live in poverty, subsisting on less than US$1 a day. As co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit social enterprise KickStart, Fisher develops and markets moneymaking tools such as low-cost, human-powered irrigation pumps that improve the lives of small-scale rural farmers -- the majority of the poor in sub-Saharan Africa. Among the tools and devices designed and produced by Fisher and the KickStart team, the greatest impact comes from their line of MoneyMaker manual irrigation pumps. Inspired by a treadle pump used in Bangladesh and India, these pumps are distinguished by features, which include easy installment and maintenance, portability, and pressurization to facilitate irrigation on hillside landscapes. The Super MoneyMaker Pump, the most widely used model of these pumps, can pull water from a source (such as a pond, lake, stream, or well) as deep as 30 feet below the pump. It can then pressurize the water and spray it continuously to a height over 40 feet above the
pump. It can also push water through a hose or pipe up to 1,000 feet on flat ground. It retails for about US$100, and its users are earning an average of US$1,000 profit per year.

Geometric introduces 3DPaintBrush, a design visualization software

Geometric Ltd. announced its new product, 3DPaintBrush, a visualization software that helps create near photo-realistic images, animations, and videos from existing computer-based 3D models within minutes. 3DPaintBrush is suitable for design professionals who need to create images and animations instantly. 3DPaintBrush allows real-time rendering of 3D models to create impressive digital image outputs for architects, interior decorators, industrial product designers, engineers simulating environments, advertising creative professionals, and multi-media content developers (animators; gaming, multi-media and e-learning content creators). It’s easy-to-use features include the ability to
import and combine 3D models from multiple sources, manipulate material properties, adjust light settings, add backgrounds and environments, create animations, and finally save the results in popular image formats.

Bunkspeed and Icona Solutions partner in new solution for perceived quality studies

Icona Solutions Ltd. and Bunkspeed announced that Version 3 of Icona's aesthetica software will feature photographic-quality snapshot capabilities through direct integration with Bunkspeed's HyperShot 3D visualization software. Icona's aesthetica software is used in perceived quality studies in the automotive industry and by other product design and manufacturing companies, throughout the product development process. It enables them to simulate the effects of component and assembly variation and component deformation and to visualize them directly on a 3D digital model to resolve fit and finish issues. HyperShot allows product designers to visualize and evaluate their designs under
real-world lighting conditions, with accurate materials and by authentically depicting how reflections will appear in any environment. Version 3 of aesthetica, including the HyperShot integration capability, is scheduled to begin customer shipments in June.

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

This Week

Lead Story

Siemens PLM Software Delivers the Next Big Breakthrough in Digital Product Development with Synchronous Technology

Product and Company News

PTC Announces Fiscal 2008 Q2 Results; Issues Q3 Guidance

GEOMATE Announces The World's First Spreadsheet For Engineers

Theorem Solutions Showcases New Interoperability Products For CATIA

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ANSYS Technology Increases Swimmers' Odds of Success in Beijing Games

Think3 Looking To Expand Sales Channel in U.S.

IMSI/Design Adopts Spatial's 3D Components Across Product Line

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INUS Technology Launches InspectWorks Add-in For SolidWorks

METRIS Releases RCA for Robotized Laser Inspection

ARAS Brings Enterprise Open Source on Microsoft to the PLM Market in Emea

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Arena Solutions Announces New EDA Adapter

Datakit Certified for Inventor 2009

Altair Selected by Diehl Aerospace for 787 Cooperation

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Raytheon Champions 200 Science and Technology 'Heroes' in the FIRST Robotics Competition

Ceon Launches 'Rapid Product Modeling' Service to Accelerate Product Management Transformation

Metris iSpace creates large-scale metrology workspace on the spot

Geometric’s DFMPro™ now enables users to add Design for Manufacturability (DFM) rules in-house

Comet Solutions Expands Team to Capture Increasing Market Demand and Capitalize on Customer Success

Delphi cuts development time of next-generation diesel engine ECU with LMS Imagine.Lab AMESim

Flomerics Publishes White Paper and Sponsors Webcast on the Latest Meshing Techniques for Flow Simulation

New dedicated website for WorkPLAN Enterprise from Sescoi

ZWCAD Delivers Important Updates to Version 2008

3D Systems Delivers its Accura Materials to Japan

Edgecam 12.5 Improves Automation Of Nc Programming And Increases User Control

Foiling Dies Made With ArtCAM

Hexagon Metrology SAS to offer the PolyWorks® software with its ROMER Sigma portable arms and G-Scan laser scanners

Daktronics Selects PTC to Develop Scoreboard Systems

Lattice Technology Releases XVL Player 9

TopSolid'Mold 2008

Right Hemisphere's New Deep Exploration Software Delivers Real-Time 3D Manufacturing Instructions Support

ANSYS Ranked High on Fastest-Growing Software Companies List

Comet Solutions, Inc.™ Partners with T-Solution to Bring First Integrated Simulation Environment to China

i2 Introduces Lean Lifecycle Management Solution

Creaform Achieves Dassault Systemes' Education Partner Program Certification

Delcam's PowerMILL Used for Laser-Based Micromachining

Independent Analyst names 3DXplorer® from Altadyn as web3D leader

Capvidia Expands North American Operations

TraceParts Announces Strategic Partnership with CAD.de Portal

Synergis EDS Manufacturing Division Receives Honors and Adds to Team

JETCAM signs Delcam-Ural as new dealer in Russia

Catalog Data Solutions Announces Excellent Growth Rate for Q1 2008

Actify's Digital Design Communication Solution Used to Deliver Innovative CO2 Reduction Technology

PTC Channel Advantage Program Wins VARBusiness Magazine Award

Stratasys Conference Call to Discuss Q1 Financial Results

CENIT and Right Hemisphere Announce Worldwide Partnership

aPriori Previews Its Product Cost Management Platform at COE 2008

Related MCAD News

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Boeing's First Engineer Honored for His Vision and Inspiration at the Museum of Flight

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FIRST Unveils New Robotics Platform for 2008 FIRST Tech Challenge Season

Boeing Honors 11 Suppliers With Top Performance Award

Linux Foundation Reports Highlights From Annual Collaboration Summit

Academic Leaders in Robotics Research Announce Effort to Create National Strategy for Robotics Growth

NASA Recognizes Ball Aerospace's Weimer for CALIPSO Mission

Compuware Recognized by General Motors as a 2007 Supplier of the Year

Ford Makes Solid Progress on Plan -- $100 Million Q1 Net Income

Ford Targets Near-Term Fuel Economy Improvements Across Millions of Vehicles

Visteon Honors 23 Global Suppliers for Outstanding Performance

Model T Turns 100, Reflecting Ford's Legacy of Bringing Technology to the Masses

Details of Ford's First Quarter 2008 Financial Results Briefing

Audi Works with ESI Group and HP to Advance Auto Safety Standards with Auto Industry's Fastest Supercomputer

PPG Wins 2008 Automotive News PACE Award

X-Ray Metrology Manufacturer Jordan Valley to Acquire Assets of Semiconductor Equipment Supplier Bede

Analysis Shows Hybrid Registrations Continue to Rise

Lean IT Benefits Both Commercial and Naval Shipbuilders

Gerber Technology Extends Commitment to Training and Education with Launch of Gerber Universityl; Online Courses Designed to Help Customers Boost Product Proficiency

Gentex Recognized by Ford With World Excellence Award

Altira Funds Transportable Nuclear Power Manufacturer Hyperion Power Generation

Micron Extends Temperature Range of Automotive Memory Products

Altera and HCELL Engineering Announce DO-254-Certifiable Nios II Embedded Processor

Aviation and Space Leaders to Focus on Building the "Aerospace Workforce of Tomorrow"

Corporate Moves

Delphi Appoints New Leadership at Two Divisions

Bombardier Appoints New Aerospace President and Chief Operating Officer and Announces Key Business Unit Appointments

Industry Events

PTC User World Event 2008 Long Beach, California June 1-4

3D Collaboration & Interoperability Conference '08 - May 15-16, 2008 - Denver, Colorado

Aberdeen Group: Product Innovation 2008 Executive Summit

Lineup Complete for the 2008 3D Collaboration & Interoperability Conference

KOMPAS-3D was highly regarded at Hannover Messe 2008

Great Lakes Manufacturing Forum to Develop Regional Manufacturing Workforce Strategy

STAR American Conference 2008

Proficiency’s Executive to Speak at 3D Collaboration and Interoperability 2008 Conference

Autodesk Extends Invitation to Join Webcast of Annual Investor Day

Sescoi to Present Tips for Successful 5-Axis Machining at Conference during MoldMaking Expo 08

Delcam to highlight higher productivity at MTA Malaysia

Camstar to Unveil Its New Enterprise Platform for Manufacturing, Quality and Intelligence in Worldwide Broadcast

PTC/USER World Event 2008 to Highlight Product Development across the Enterprise

Adept Technology to Present at Financial Conference

Delcam to Preview Dental CAD

EDGECAM 12.5 to be Showcased at EASTEC 2008

3DScanCo to Attend 3D Innovations Forum

EFD Hands On Seminar - CAD Embedded Thermal and Flow Analysis

LMS Announces Dates for its Annual Test & Simulation Conference – May 28 & 29

Webinar on Aerospace Simulations Focuses on Composites

ENOVIA SmarTeam - LIve Seminar - April 24, 2008 - Express Route to Compelling PLM Paybacks

Cimatron Brings Software Solutions to MoldMaking Expo 2008

Delcam to feature on over 35 partner stands at MACH

Corporate Newsletters

Rhino Newsletter - April 2008

Manuacturing Community Update

AccuRender Newsletter - April 2008

You can find the full MCADCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

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