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December 04, 2006
Alibre Design 9.1 Released With Adobe Acrobat 3D
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor


by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Alibre released Alibre Design 9.1 and also added a new bundle to its product line. The new bundle offers customers an additional $995 value by combining Adobe Acrobat 3D software with Alibre Design Expert for the standard Alibre Design Expert price of $1995.

 

In addition to the set of publishing and collaboration features offered by Acrobat 3D and Adobe PDF, Alibre Design 9.1 includes new features, enhancements, and performance improvements. Two new additions to the flagship Alibre Design Expert product include Alibre Motion and EngineersToolBox.

Alibre Motion provides integrated motion simulation and allows kinematic and dynamic analysis of designs with moving parts. Users can add springs, dampers, motors, actuators, and prescribe kinematic motion or forces and torques, such as those generated by a motor or actuator in a real-world machine. In addition, design constraints created when modeling an assembly are automatically mapped
to corresponding motion constraints. The new module is fully integrated into Alibre Design Expert, making it easier to use and increasing user productivity with seamless simulation. Alibre Motion also eliminates the purchase of third-party motion modules, potentially saving thousands of dollars.

 

EngineersToolBox is a comprehensive solution library for engineering design and analysis. This popular software features integrated computational modules that enable engineers and designers to quickly explore design solutions, evaluate virtual prototypes and make data-driven decisions to improve products. The Engineers Toolbox consists of 34 modules covering domains such as solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and dynamics and controls.

All versions of Alibre Design 9.1 will also include the ability to publish directly to the de facto standard Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Alibre Design Professional and Expert will allow including animated exploded views and sequences of steps to help communicate design intent or document an assembly process. All PDF files with 3D objects published with Alibre Design, including those with animation, can be viewed with free Adobe Reader® software.

Additional enhancements to Alibre Design 9.1 include:

The bundle Alibre is offering consisting of Alibre Design Expert and Acrobat 3D makes it much easier to publish, share and collaborate on 3D designs with a broad audience beyond traditional CAD users. Previously, high software costs, complex and difficult to learn 3D software and vendor-dependant formats limited 3D design and collaboration to only a very select group of CAD users and engineers in the detailed design phase. Early-stage conceptual design and collaboration has been relegated to little more than back-of-the-napkin sketches, while later-stage technical publishing has required costly, vendor-specific solutions with only expensive corporate CAD systems as the only source for 3D data.

"As we have pushed down software cost, improved ease-of-use and increased functionality, we have seen customers utilizing Alibre Design much earlier in the product life cycle, users who typically do not have regular access to their corporate standard CAD system," said Greg Milliken, CEO of Alibre. "More than 70% of a product's cost is committed in the earliest stages of the process, and as a result of the Acrobat 3D bundle, we have a unique solution that will help companies innovate more effectively at this critical stage."

With the new publishing features of version 9.1, once a model is built in Alibre Design, the user can save it as a PDF with 3D objects, then, with Acrobat 3D, add information to the 3D model, format the layout, look and feel, and share it with others for review and comment. Since the 3D objects in the PDF file are interactive, reviewers can rotate the models and, when enabled by Acrobat 3D, measure and section them using nothing more that the ubiquitous Adobe Reader. This design sharing will allow changes to be made while still in the high-leverage, lower-cost concept design phase. When combined with version 9.1 engineering analysis features like Alibre Motion and EngineersToolBox, designs can be more deeply analyzed and verified by numerous stakeholders in the product development process, either external or internal.

"Our bundle with Acrobat 3D gives users everything they need to formalize and model concepts and innovations and then quickly and easily share them with a wide audience," continued Milliken. "With Alibre Design conceptual designs can be created at the earliest stages of the process by any, and every, engineer, and with Acrobat 3D the designs can be easily communicated and collaborated upon, optimally harnessing an organization's creativity and knowledge to drive innovation."

"We're pleased to welcome Alibre to the Acrobat 3D Platinum Reseller program," said Stephen Fehr, director of Acrobat Sales, Adobe. "Acrobat 3D enriches collaboration by enabling extended teams to use
interactive, universal Adobe PDF documents to more quickly, securely and cost-effectively drive to completion critical communication processes that require 3D visualization. Alibre's bundle of Acrobat 3D with Alibre Design Expert provides customers strong value and enables participants at every stage of the manufacturing process to communicate the visualization benefits of true 3D parametric solid modeling through Adobe Reader and PDF."

 

Commentary

by Jeffrey Rowe, Editor


Alibre has an interesting product line that is quite diverse, both in terms of cost (free to $1,995) and associated capabilities. At the various price points, the Alibre applications are targeted at small- and medium-sized businesses for parametric modeling, and associative 2D drafting and detailing.

The various packages include:

A couple of the more important new features and enhancements in Alibre Design 9.1 include:

Some of the more significant recent add-ons for free and paid Alibre Design versions include:

As I eluded to earlier; from the beginning Alibre has sort of done things their way. As an example, last year Alibre (somewhat secretly) announced that it would provide free software (then known as X-CAD) if 100,000 potential users registered for the chance to receive it for free. At the time I was extremely skeptical when I first caught wind of X-CAD - about the product itself and whether 100,000 people would actually register. As a matter of fact, I waited several hours before deciding to post the original press release. Truth be told, I almost didn't run it because I had been burned on other so-called "free" software offers in the past. This offer by Alibre, though, turned out to be completely legitimate.

Although admittedly light on features and capabilities, Alibre Design Xpress is indeed a parametric solid modeler and is relatively easy to use. Features and capabilities aside, you sure can't beat the price. The target customers for this software is exactly as the company has stated all along, those new to 3D, casual/occasional users, and hobbyists - users with pretty light demands and requirements. I also suspect that Alibre Design Xpress could be construed as sort of an Alibre "Lite," but most companies hate that moniker. Are users outgrowing Alibre Design Xpress and moving up to Alibre Design starting at $995? That's hard to gage, but the company has bet that at least some will.

As of November 27, 2006, there were over 264,000 registrations for Alibre Design Xpress, well beyond the initial requirement of 100,000. Not exactly shoddy numbers for a CAD product download.

Earlier, I spoke with Greg Milliken, CEO of Alibre, and he said that the company has several things in the pipeline that will be announced in the coming months. We discussed a number of future Alibre issues and advancements on a non-disclosure basis. Although we can't discuss it here right now, suffice it to say that there are some big and positive things brewing for the company and its customers that we will be relaying as they become reality.

Editor's Note: We were at Autodesk University
in Las Vegas last week. We'll be reporting on some of the new and exciting things that we saw in the coming weeks.

 

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 Reports Record Revenues

Autodesk reported record quarterly revenues of $457 million, an increase of 21 percent over the third quarter of fiscal 2006. The company's performance was driven by strong increases in revenues from 3D products, products for the media and entertainment market and strong increases in revenue from AutoCAD new seats and subscriptions. The company's 3D products, including Inventor, contributed to the overall increase. Combined revenues from these model-based design products increased 36 percent over the third quarter of fiscal 2006 to a record $98 million. 3D revenues reached 22 percent of total revenues in the quarter. In total, Autodesk shipped more than 13,000 seats of
Inventor. Emerging economies also contributed to growth in revenues. Revenues from the emerging economies in Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East increased 38 percent over the third quarter of fiscal 2006 and represented 15 percent of total revenues in the third quarter.

3D Systems Receives NASDAQ Delisting Notice

3D Systems Corp. announced that it has received a Staff Determination notice from the NASDAQ Stock Market stating that the company's common stock is subject to delisting. The notice was issued in accordance with standard NASDAQ procedures as a result of the previously announced delayed filing of the company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2006. Timely filing of periodic reports is a requirement for continued listing under a NASDAQ Marketplace Rule. As previously disclosed, the late filing resulted from the determination of the company's management and its audit committee that, based on information presented by the company's management
in connection with the preparation of the company's financial statements for the third quarter of 2006, the company's financial statements included in its quarterly reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2006 and June 30, 2006 contained errors and, therefore, should be restated. The company intends to file amended documents as soon as practicable after the company's internal reviews and confirmatory processes are completed.

Geomagic Qualify 9 and Blade Extension Accelerate Part Inspection, Reporting and Analysis

Geomagic released Geomagic Qualify 9 and the Geomagic Blade extension, a digital inspection package. Geomagic Qualify 9 provides a way to compare as-built to as-designed parts and machinery. When combined with the new Geomagic Blade extension, Geomagic Qualify 9 provides a tool for digital inspection in the turbomachinery industry, with unique functionality for analyzing rotors, stators, impellers, and internal blade features. New features in Geomagic Qualify 9 include support for multiple coordinate systems, advanced 2D dimensioning features, direct access to CAD geometry, and line profiles, which improve the clarity, quality, speed and interpretation of inspection reporting and
analysis.

UGS' Teamcenter Receives Technology Innovation Award

UGS Corp. announced that it is a winner of Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine's 2006 Technology Innovation Award. Teamcenter software, UGS' digital lifecycle management package, was honored with the Design Breakthrough Award in the Defense Category for its ability to address the unique challenges of A&D programs. Teamcenter links product development with downstream lifecycle processes by offering solutions for global manufacturing; maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO); and strategic sourcing. By enabling consistent, repeatable processes and commonality, Teamcenter supports regulatory compliance throughout the lifecycle.

Roland LPX-600 3D Laser Scanner Compatible With SolidWorks 2007

Able to work with raw scanned data, SolidWorks 2007 Office Premium offers 3D CAD users compatibility with Roland's LPX-600 3D laser scanner. The LPX-600 scans objects up to 16 inches tall and 10 inches in diameter. The desktop device then automatically generates detailed models with a watertight surface and resolutions up to 0.008 inch. It captures complex data for consumer products, packaging, jewelry, and a host of biomedical applications. LPX EZ Studio supports a wide range of data output formats, including STL, PIX and 3DM. STL files are used by the industry's most popular rapid prototyping systems, including those manufactured by Roland, 3D Systems, Stratasys, Z-Corp, and
Solidscape.


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
Alibre Design 9.1 Released And New Bundle With Adobe Acrobat 3D Software Announced
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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


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