After a somewhat quiet summer, in September, a number of interesting things start happening in the MCAD arena as the real work for the coming year commences. I thought I’d take this opportunity to discuss some of the good things I experienced in the month of September.
PLM Road Map 2009
An interesting conference that I’ve attended the past few years was again held in Plymouth, Michigan. Produced by Collaborative Product Development Associates (CPDA), PLM Road Map 2009 – “Transforming PLM Into a Dynamic Infrastructure for Business Decisions” was especially interesting this time around because of the location (the Detroit area), the presenters (many from the automotive industry), and the content and insight of the presentations (provocative, compelling, yet sobering). Given the state of the local economy, the event was well attended and was well worth it.
A couple of the presentations I found most intriguing the future of the North American auto industry; and the challenges surrounding mechatronics issues for supporting collaboration across mechanical, electrical, and software development teams.
The presentation entitled, “Outlook for the North American Automotive Industry – The automotive Crisis: How We Got Here, Where We Are Headed, and What We Can Learn” proposed that only by understanding the historical roots of the current challenges can a future be built for the automotive industry that does not fall back into the boom-and-bust cycles of the past. The presenter, Glenn Mercer, said that the current sad state of the North American auto industry is not just about loss of market share and profits, but the excessive amount of debt carried by these companies, as two out of the three of the Big 3 have filed for bankruptcy. Ford avoided bankruptcy, but primarily by mortgaging itself in 2006. He showed GM’s crushing debt and compared it to Toyota, which has virtually no debt. Mercer’s Business School 101 solution to the current problems: “Companies facing cyclical markets should not carry a large burden of debt, in order to survive downturns.”
The presentations on mechatronics tended to focus more on the electrical/electronic (E/E) side of the equation for design and modeling process improvement. One of the biggest challenges for collaborative mechatronics groups is the ability to support, reconcile, and integrate the roles and efforts of all parties. I got a new appreciation of dealing with the complexities of mechatronics designs that involve requirements, feature architecture, functional architecture, software architecture, and embedded software. I also learned about different types of data management. For example, object-level data management manages objects individually, whereas configuration management employs “containers” that are the key for sharing and reusing objects. The containers don’t really contain anything, but are anchor points linked to the objects they contain, and are the key to managing systems of systems. Overall, efforts for developing mechatronics systems are getting more complex, but processes and tools are evolving that ensure the validity and integrity of the systems. The challenges facing mechatronics development processes are just now being properly understood and addressed, and will ultimately be viewed as part of bigger business processes.
This was a thought-provoking conference with a high quality of presentations and presenters discussing important topics directly and peripherally impacting the evolution of product lifecycle management.
For more information on next year’s event: www.cpd-associates.com
Wohlers Report 2009
With the advent of online resources, there is no shortage of technical and practical information available for just about any technology imaginable. However, just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, accurate and objective information on technologies available for product design and manufacturing are increasingly vital.
A technology area that continues to grow and evolve, rapid prototyping/manufacturing (RP/RM) is comprehensively covered in what I consider the best resource for this information – The Wohlers Report 2009 – State of the Industry. Now in its 14th edition, Wohlers Report 2009 provides a global overview and detailed analysis of the technologies and applications of additive manufacturing (AM).
AM technology is used for modeling, prototyping, tooling, and short-run production applications. Additive manufacturing refers to a diverse group of technologies used for builing physical prototypes, patterns, tooling components, and production parts – all from 3D CAD data, 3D scanning systems, medical scanners, or video games. Unlike machining processes, which are subtractive, AM systems join together liquid, powder, or sheet materials to form objects. AM can produce parts that may be difficult or impossible to fabricate by any other method; and can produce plastic, ceramic, composite, or metal parts.
A broad range of industry experts assist Terry Wohlers in producing the book. Wohlers Associates, Inc. is an independent consulting firm that works with manufacturing organizations to identify the best approaches to rapid product development. As the company's principal consultant, Terry Wohlers constantly tracks new methods and technologies to determine a strategic direction that gives companies an edge. His views and opinions come from years of collecting and analyzing market data, coupled with work as an advisor to major organizations in the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa.
I've known Terry Wohlers for several years and his annual Wohlers Report is a well-researched and continually updated "bible" of the rapid prototyping/tooling/manufacturing industry, or simply, additive manufacturing. I've also contributed to the book in the past, respect Terry for the ongoing improvement of the annually updated book, and highly recommend it for the information it presents on the technology, analysis, and business case aspects of additive manufacturing. There’s also an excellent section in the book devoted specifically to the state and direction of MCAD technologies.
For more information on Wohlers Report 2009: www.wohlersassociates.com
Design & Manufacturing Midwest
The Design & Manufacturing Midwest Exposition and Conference was held in Rosemont, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. It’s sort of a one-stop shopping event because it has several industries co-located with their own respective vendors and attendees, such Electronics Expo, Quality Expo, and Green Expo. The show promoter was expecting as many as 2,000 exhibitors and 40,000 attendees, although I’m pretty sure the numbers were lower than that.
Although I spent the vast majority of my time on the exhibit floor, at the Medical Design and Manufacturing track, Richard Runnells, Autodesk Industry Solutions Manager, made a presentation on the topic of “ The Dramatic Impact of 3D Design Software on Medical Technology: The Cochlear Sound Experience.”
Medical technology may not be strongly associated with CAD technology, but Cochlear, a Swiss-based developer of hearing restoration solutions, discovered that 3D modeling could be an enormous help in creating a digital prototype to master all the tiny details necessary for its hearing implants before their manufacture. Cochlear – which has 55,000 users worldwide - found that 3D design tools were well-suited for managing the small tolerances involved in hearing implant development, and for working with parts in hundred’s and thousandth’s of a millimeter. While Cochlear engineers had found it a challenge to view these parts with software programs they had used previously, in 3D it worked much better.
In his presentation, Runnells described Autodesk’s role in helping Cochlear engineers design the next generation of implantable bone conduction hearing devices. He examined the unique challenges involved for Cochlear to create products that not only enhanced hearing restoration, but also created sound processors that were pleasing to the eye and easy to wear. He discussed how the Cochlear motto “Hear now and always” factored into the Autodesk collaboration, underscoring the fact that sound processors connected to implants are a lifelong commitment to those who wear them, meaning that equipment on all models must be fully maintained and supported.
Shows like Design & Manufacturing Midwest are becoming rarer these days, but there is nothing like pressing the flesh and meeting vendors and customers face to face.
For more information on next year’s event that will be held September 28-30, 2010: www.DM-Midwest.com
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.
Edgecam 2010 R1 Turns Up Performance
Improving the machining efficiency of turned and mill-turned parts, Edgecam 2010 R1 continues the enhancing and updating work started in 2009 R2. Offering significant efficiency gains with single-point cutting, the Finish Turning cycle minimizes user input by automating all finishing strategies. For example, following a roughing operation, or the application of a cutting tool too large to access certain design features on the part, the Finish Turning cycle will now automatically detect remaining stock on the component and write the code to machine just those areas with a finishing tool. This removes the need to manually select start and finish points or run through “air cutting cycles.” Grooving is often considered the most troublesome turning operation. Addressing this, Edgecam 2010 R1 features additional controls added to the Rough Grooving cycle. These are designed to improve material removal rates and prolong tool life. A new peck across option allows grooves to be generated in incremental layers, which improves the chip flow effectively stopping the swarf stringing together and forming a “bird’s nest” on the cutting tool. Improved feed rate controls have also been added to the castellation cutting operation, making this highly efficient turning method even quicker. Edgecam 2010 R1 will support the new Windows 7 operating system for 64-bit PCs.
Solido 3D Desktop Printing Ramps Up Its Global Presence
Solido, a developer of 3D printers is working at expanding its customer base in new markets. Following recent investments and partnerships, Solido announced another partnership with NUOVAMACUT of Italy. As the head of group with 12 subsidiaries in Italy, NUOVAMACUT supports more than 5000 manufacturing and mechanical companies, providing design technologies. The SD300 Pro, Solido’s 3D printer uses layers of firm but flexible engineered plastics. The finished models highly resemble injected plastic parts and can be drilled, sanded, joined together and painted as needed. The detail, compatibility and the accuracy of parts in the finished model have allowed designers of intricate machinery to create working parts straight from the 3D printer. Other benefits of the SD300 Pro include simplicity and ease of use, low initial cost, low total cost of ownership, quality and integrity of parts, the ability to produce living hinges, and the compact size and portability of the machine.
ANSYS Releases HFSS 12.0 Engineering Simulation Software
ANSYS announced HFSS 12.0 software for 3-D full-wave electromagnetic field simulation. The product, part of the Ansoft suite, helps engineers design, simulate and validate the behavior of complex high-performance RF, microwave and millimeter-wave devices in next-generation wireless communication and defense systems. HFSS 12.0 is a major step forward for three-dimensional full-wave electromagnetic field simulation. The software includes updates in mesh generation, solver technologies, and enhancements to the user interface and the modeler. A new, faster and more robust meshing algorithm generates higher-quality, more efficient tetrahedral meshes. Other important enhancements include mixed element orders, curvilinear elements, and adjoint derivative computation. Ease of use and automation in the user interface have been improved and include additional modeler capabilities such as sheet wrapping and imprinting.
Autodesk Releases SketchBook Mobile on the App Store
Autodesk announced that Autodesk SketchBook Mobile is available on the App Store. Autodesk SketchBook Mobile is a new paint and drawing app that offers a full set of sketching tools in a user interface designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch. A combination of high-quality digital pencils, pens, markers and airbrushes, as well as an artist-friendly, gesture-based user interface, enables users to create everything from quick sketches to print-quality production artwork. Content that is created in SketchBook Mobile can be saved as a picture and opened in SketchBook Pro. As a result, artists, designers and anyone who likes to sketch or create artwork can create a drawing at any time with SketchBook Mobile, and continue building on their idea in SketchBook Pro. SketchBook Mobile App is available for $2.99 from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore/. A free Autodesk SketchBook Mobile Express App is also available on the App Store. Key features in the SketchBook Mobile App include:
- Layers - Drawings can contain up to six layers.
- Brushes - The software comes with 25 preset brushes and completely customizable brush settings.
- Color selection - Customizable color swatches and a color wheel with RGB sliders provide a virtually unlimited palette.
Kubotek announced that KeyCreator Version 9 will be available this fall and will provide significant improvements in the 3D placement of smart dimensions on solids. This furthers Kubotek’s dimension-driven editing capabilities, creating an environment for precise, unrestricted, direct editing of mechanical solids. This new approach also provides a simple and intuitive alternative to traditional solid modeling which constrains models based on how they were constructed. Additionally, KeyCreator Version 9 will include these noteworthy performance and productivity enhancements:
- Faster loading and more efficient memory use when opening large non-KeyCreator files
- New file size optimization routines create smaller CKD files
- Improved graphics algorithm for faster frame rates
- New display options for improved visual display and performance
- Windows 7 support
- Enhanced associative part mating functionality
- New dynamic 3D handle operator for moving entities
- New detailing options.
September 2009 MCAD Dispatches
Product and Company News
Siemens PLM Software Delivers Parasolid Version 22
HyperSizer Software from Collier Research Combined with Abaqus FEA Software from SIMULIA used on NASA's Ares V Space Launch Vehicle.
Cimatron Receives Notice From NASDAQ
Elysium Inc Releases CADdoctor EX4.1 for 3D CAD Data Translation & Healing
Texas A&M Provides SolidWorks to 16,500 Students
Hexagon Metrology Introduces Gantry CMMs for Large-Scale Gear Inspection
MSC.Software Announces Strategic Relationship with Phoenix Integration
MSC Software Amends Merger Agreement with Symphony and Announces New Special Meeting Date
Autodesk Expands Options for Mac Users
CIMdata Announces New Review of Siemens Teamcenter Express
Actify Ships SpinFire 8.4
ZWSOFT Announces French Release of ZWCAD 2009i
MSC Software Receives Revised Merger Proposal
3DModelSpace Enables Industrial Suppliers with Online CAD Drawings to Reach over 2 Million Design Engineers
Delcam's FeatureCAM helps turn a hobby into a business
Nemetschek North America Releases D-Cubed 2D DCM from Siemens PLM Software in Vectorworks
VX Corporation donates integrated CAD/CAM software
EFD Adds New Customer-focused 3D CAD Service to Website
New CimatronE Electrode Capabilities Increase Speed and Reliability
TEI Selects AxSTREAM to Develop the Aircraft Engine Industry in Turkey
Intelligent Light Releases FieldView 12.2 Exploiting Multi-Core Computing For Speed and Performance in CFD Post-Processing
Z Corporation's New zp150 Build Material Doubles 3D Printed Model Demand for Leading Architectural Modeler
Software Toolbox Joins Siemens Premium Add-on Program
Autodesk Inventor 2010: No Experience Required Teaches the Essential Skills and Demonstrates the Software Using a Continuous, Real-World Tutorial Project
ANSYS INSTITUTE FOR INDUSTRIAL INNOVATION TO OPEN DOORS
Real Pilot Modeling for Progressive Die Stamping in AutoForm plus R1
MSC Software Postpones Special Meeting of Stockholders
Intelitek, inc. Enters Partnership with Solido
Mitsubishi Agricultrure Machinery (MAM), Shaves Weeks off Product Development Time Using MSC.Software's SimXpert
Entergy Nuclear Expects to Save Up to $1 Million per Day with Dassault Systemes PLM
Panoz Auto Development Company Selects ESI Group As Design Partner For Sports Car Development
DriveWorks Solo – a Sales Tool as well as an Engineering Tool
Radan’s 2010 R1 delivers efficiency, automation and ease-of-use
ModuleWorks and Robotmaster partner to provide robot simulation
POLYWORKS to interface directly with Metris handheld laser scanners
ANSYS Listed on Software 500 for Third Consecutive Year
Shareholder Class Action Filed Against Immersion Corp.
MAUS and think3, a Long-running Innovation Partnership
Technomatix V9 To Be Launced in Mexico
ANSYS Institute for Industrial Innovation to Open Doors for Industry and University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Engineering Students
Actify's European Reseller Channel Continues to Grow
Related MCAD News
Dell to Acquire Perot Systems for $3.9 Billion, Creating Comprehensive, Customer-Focused IT-Solutions Company
Field Precision Announces High-speed 3D Electromagnetic Software
Paradigm Imaging Group Releases imagePRO Gx 42 HD Plus Scanners
ARM and NXP Launch mbed to Enable Rapid Prototyping With Microcontrollers
Océ Repro Desk Studio Software Simplifies Wide Format Printing for End Users
CEI Opens International Office in Munich to Better Serve the Central, Northern, and Eastern European Market
Omnify Software Releases Version 4.5 of Empower PLM Solution
Invention Machine Expands Innovation Software Line to Further Accelerate Sustainable Innovation
The HPC Advisory Council Announces China High-Performance Computing Workshop Program
COADE Releases CADWorx Plant Design Suite 2010 with Support for AutoCAD 2010 Plus Other Enhancements
HP Introduces SkyRoom: Powerful and Affordable Videoconferencing for Businesses
HP SkyRoom Business Conferencing Impresses with Quality and Price
Right Hemisphere Deep Exploration 6 Ships, Early Users See Great Value in UI and Rendering Enhancements
Manufacturing Technology Producers Urge Swift Enactment of S. 1677, The Defense Production Act
COADE Releases CADWorx P&ID Professional 2010 for Process and Instrumentation Diagrams with Support for AutoCAD 2010 Plus Other Enhancements
HP Well-positioned for Growth in Expanding Global IT Market
PTC Appoints Robert P. Schechter to Its Board of Directors
Longview Advisors Announces 2010 Collaboration & Interoperability Congress
GibbsCAM MTM, New Rough Milling & 64-bit Version of GibbsCAM Will be Highlighted at EMO 2009
Hankook Delcam hosts world's largest CAM user meeting
Mentor Graphics Chairman and CEO to Present Keynote at the PLM Road Map 2009 Conference
NVision to Host Webinar on Reverse Engineering
CIMdata Inc. Announces Date and Location of Its Next PLM Certificate Program
MachineWorks to show Toolpath Generation at EMO
GibbsCAM to Program Live Manufacture of Cervical Plate at EMO
DMG and Sescoi join forces to demonstrate high speed 5-axis machining in China
ICAM Features “Post-processing you can see” at EMO 2009
CimatronE to Power Live Cutting of Complex Mold and Die Components at EMO
PacifiCAD Hosts Autodesk “BIM for Construction” Seminars
JETCAM at EMO 2009
Delcam Canada plans a triple launch at CMTS
Ford CEO Alan Mulally to Keynote 2010 International CES
Geometric to display CAMWorks for 5-axis machining at South-Tec 2009
Schott Systeme Showcases CAD/CAM to the Asian Market
Webinar : Roadmap to Managed Simulation with SimManager
Delcam reseller to preview integrated CAM at SolidWorks launch in Quebec
PLMIG proposes PDM Managers' Meeting and calls for input to Wish List
Webcast - Something Completely Different: the new ThinkDesign!
Quickparts.com CEO Presents on the Power of Online Manufacturing
SpaceClaim News - September 2009
Delcam Newsletter -- Issue 44b - September '09
ESI Group Newsletter - September 2009
ESI Talk Magazine -- Issue 37 - spring / summer 2009