April 26, 2004
UGS PLM Solutions Launches I-deas 11 NX Series
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| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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UGS PLM Solutions Launches I-deas 11 NX Series
UGS PLM Solutions announced the immediate availability of I-deas 11 NX Series. I-deas NX Series, along with Unigraphics NX 2, is part of UGS PLM Solutions' overall NX strategy to support a unified offering for advanced mechanical product development.
"As the software industry continues to consolidate, one of the toughest challenges facing software suppliers is taking the best attributes of disparate products and evolving the functionality into a single, robust offering," said Ken Versprille, partner, PLM research director, Collaborative Product Development Associates, LLC. "UGS PLM Solutions is showing exceptional strength in balancing enhancements to both NX 2 (Unigraphics) and I-deas NX Series as the company continues to deliver on its NX strategy and roadmap. The company appears to be on track -- both from a functional and timing perspective -- while still balancing the progression with a pragmatic understanding of what it takes to
move customers through the transition process."
"It is very gratifying that our I-deas customer base has remained stable through the transitions in our company over the past couple of years," said Tony Affuso, president and CEO, UGS PLM Solutions. "I view this launch as a testament to the strong commitment of our product development organization to meet our customer requirements and deliver them continuous product enhancements. With this launch of I-deas 11 NX we are on the threshold of our ultimate goal of delivering a single, robust digital product development solution in our unified NX product. We continue to aggressively provide innovative and improved capabilities in both I-deas and Unigraphics. We are proud to be the first and only
company in the PLM industry to deliver such an accomplishment to our customers."
"I-deas 11 NX Series represents yet another major step in the evolution of I-deas and Unigraphics toward the ultimate single NX product," said John MacKrell, senior consultant, CIMdata, Inc., which provides world-class knowledge, expertise and best-practice methods on PLM solutions. "With this latest release of I-deas, UGS PLM Solutions is clearly demonstrating its ability to bring the best of these two sets of complementary product functionality together while continuing to enhance both products. This progression is creating improved PLM capabilities and productivity for all UGS PLM customers."
According to the company, some of the most significant I-deas 11 NX Series enhancements include:
3D Section Views -- with the new 3D Section View capability, I-deas is compliant with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Y14.41 standard. The Y14.41 standard establishes requirements, and references documents applicable to the preparation and revision of digital product definition data, referred to as data sets. With this I-deas enhancement, users can now fully annotate and save the annotation for documentation or design reviews, providing improvements in the overall design environment.
Filleting -- Most notable of the filleting improvements is the ability to fillet tangent to three surfaces. This capability will be especially beneficial to the automotive, consumer electronics industries. Additionally, a new algorithm supports variable radius filleting, which is useful for modifying a fillet not original to the user's design.
Assembly Reflect for Modification -- Among the assembly enhancements is a modify reflection capability that enables changes to the reflection type, plane, owner and reflected entity name. Assembly reflect can save numerous steps in the design process, as all data is associative and users have the ability to retain reflection information and provide dialogue for any required changes.
Digital Simulation -- I-deas 11 NX Series continues to offer enhancements within the digital simulation capabilities of the software. Within meshing, for example, there is a new tetrahedron meshing assistant, as well as a new create and modify user interface in the laminates capability.
NX Nastran -- NX Nastran is now integrated as an I-deas task, which improves the pre- and post-processing integration of I-deas with the NX Nastran solver. In addition, enhancements to the interoperability between I-deas response analysis functionality and MSC.Nastran will provide better usability.
UGS PLM Solutions continues to leverage core competencies within Unigraphics and I-deas as the company evolves toward a single NX offering. With the release of I-deas 11 NX Series, the following are notable among the development efforts that continue to move I-deas forward within the NX strategy:
NX CAM -- integrated with I-deas design via interoperability, users can take advantage of NX CAM.
MIAdmin -- A specialized data management migration utility provides the ability to scan, analyze and update data in multiple I-deas Team Data Manager installations to facilitate the migration of existing I-deas data into Teamcenter PLM.
Migration customization audit tools -- Two new tools for customers to use in analyzing their existing Open I-deas applications and I-deas program file utilities, and prepare to move their custom code into the NX environment.
Functionality -- In support of UGS PLM Solutions' JT Open strategy, I-deas 11 NX Series includes support for importing JT data into I-deas Master Assembly for performing design in context and also faceted interference checking. Using the JT graphic files in I-deas Assembly provides increased performance and support of multi-CAD workflows.
This is an interesting announcement on several different levels, but let's concentrate on just a couple. First, it is good to see that the company acknowledges the loyalty of its I-deas customers, because their numbers are still quite significant even in the wake of being brought into the UGS PLM fold a few years back. Second, it is refreshing to finally hear the company openly acknowledge that although no timetable has been set, it is acknowledging that I-deas 11 NX Series represents a major step in the evolution of I-deas and Unigraphics ultimately becoming a single, solitary NX product line. What this single NX product line will look like is anybody's guess, but the direction is
becoming more clear with each new release. Finally, and maybe most importantly, it will be very interesting to see how this all plays out with the recent acquisition announcement of UGS PLM Solutions by three equal partners with regard to future commitment and direction of not only I-deas, but all of the myriad products in the family. Only time will tell, but the company and its principals seem committed to doing it right.
Autodesk's Launches New Design Review Application - DWF Composer
Autodesk Inc. has announced that Autodesk DWF Composer is now available. Autodesk DWF Composer is the viewing and markup application specifically designed for the Autodesk Design Web Format (DWF). DWF files are more compact than native CAD files or even PDFs, so they take up far less storage space, place less demand on system resources and transmit faster across networks. DWF files also maintain intelligent design data, ensuring that the user sees the design exactly as it was intended. As a view-, web-, and print-ready format, DWF is an easy and cost-effective way to share rich design information with an extended design team. DWF is also integrated into AutoCAD 2005 software, enabling
designers, engineers and their colleagues to quickly and easily communicate design information electronically to anyone needing to view, mark up, review, or print the design information. Autodesk says that 2.5 million customers have downloaded Autodesk DWF Viewer, a free lightweight application that enables anyone on a project team to view and print DWF drawings.
"The design industry has long needed a solution that creates an efficient design review workflow," said Gisela Wilson, director of product lifecycle management, IDC. "Autodesk DWF Composer addresses this need by offering a productive process for completing design reviews."
"For the first time, design professionals in any industry have a product that provides a single platform on which to manage the entire design review and mark up process," said Tony Peach, director of DWF strategy for Autodesk. "Autodesk DWF Composer fundamentally alters the design review process because it leverages DWF to support the efficient distribution and communication of rich design data and eliminates the inefficiencies associated with the analog review process."
Unlike review applications that rely on PDF or graphic file formats, Autodesk DWF Composer allows for the complete round-tripping of markups directly back into AutoCAD 2005 family of software products which includes AutoCAD 2005, AutoCAD LT 2005, Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2005, Autodesk Building Systems 2005, AutoCAD Mechanical 2005, Autodesk Mechanical Desktop 2005, AutoCAD Electrical 2005, Autodesk Land Desktop 2005, Autodesk Survey 2005, Autodesk Raster Design 2005, Autodesk Civil Design 2005 and Autodesk Map 3D 2005. And while the product is built specifically for design professionals, it delivers value across the entire enterprise because it allows all members of the extended team
to review, mark up and revise sheet sets.
Review - Autodesk DWF Composer lets the user view DWF and DWG files with high fidelity, displaying designs exactly as the author intended, including rich details such as layers, views and measurements. With the Sheet Set Navigator feature, users can select from thumbnail, list, bookmark, and markup views to browse multisheet sheet sets faster and more easily. A hyperlinks feature permits jumping between sheets and views, just like on a website. And, because it uses the same plot capabilities as AutoCAD, Autodesk DWF Composer enables the user to perform accurate measurements using the Dimension Tool.
Mark Up - Autodesk DWF Composer has a full array of markup tools that let team members share feedback through redlines, annotations and comments right within design sheet sets. For instance, a user can annotate drawings and add text, shapes and stamps. As markups are made, they are automatically recorded in the Mark Up tab of the Sheet Set Navigator, where they can also be viewed by status. Autodesk DWF Composer also makes it possible to work with multiple document types in one workspace, so that the user can add images, sketches, project timelines, specifications, bills of materials and other relevant information to sheet set.
Revise - Preserving design integrity and controlling or eliminating errors have long been major concerns with digital design review. Autodesk DWF Composer is a major step forward in both these areas because it allows users to track changes made by individual team members, and navigate from one mark up to the next using the Mark Up tab in the application's Navigator window. Moreover, once markups have been made in DWF Composer, the republished DWF file can be sent back to the original designer and opened directly into AutoCAD 2005 and the AutoCAD 2005 family of products with all markups intact. From there, the design creator can quickly review and respond to changes from across the
team. Not only can the extended team finalize sheet sets faster, but the security and integrity of the original design work is always preserved.
Autodesk DWF Composer is available from Autodesk resellers, distributors, retailers and online at the Autodesk store. Autodesk DWF Composer will be initially priced at $199.00. An introductory price of $99.00 is currently being offered for a limited time.
Several weeks ago we talked about the free DWF viewer and wondered when the authoring tool would come out and what it would cost. Well, here it is. Is it as versatile as Adobe Acrobat? Well, no. Is it optimized for use with AutoCAD? Well, yes. It's another product-specific tool for packaging and distributing drawings for view and mark up. Do we really need another tool specifically for a single format? Autodesk seems to think so. Although the viewer is free, can the cost for Composer be justified? If you work and communicate exclusively (or at least a lot) in the AutoCAD world, then, yes, the cost can be justified. However, the $99 introductory price seems more fair than the normal
retail price of $199, especially for the customers that have invested thousands of dollars in AutoCAD over the years. So hurry and take advantage of the introductory price while you can if you feel you really need a product like this.
Letters To The Editor
Would sure be interesting to read a review article comparing SolidWorks and Pro/E - PTC on the ropes right now. The new sheet metal functionality in Wildfire 2.0 has been around in SolidWorks for over a year
SolidWorks not handling large assemblies as well as PTC
that kind of stuff
Barry Cavanaugh, EMC Corp.
Barry brings up a good point. It's really time that we take a good comparative look at SolidWorks (2004 or 2005) and Pro/Engineer Wildfire 2.0, and for good measure, Autodesk Inventor 8. We get requests for this type of comparison quite often, so maybe we should go ahead and just do it! I'll be in touch with the three vendors in the next few weeks and see if we can get products for review. I think our readers might be surprised at what each of the products can and cannot do.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.