In the fifth release of its 3-D direct modeling software, SpaceClaim appears to be firming up its positioning, not as an alternative to 3-D CAD packages, but rather as a utility to prepare models for simulation. The company, which launched its tool in 2007 and seemed ready to take on the leaders in the CAD space, has steered SpaceClaim off that track into the CAE space, adding capabilities that make it easy to prepare models for simulation.
The company saw an opening as more and more engineering organizations were grappling with their desire to move simulation upfront in the design process and not have it be an after-thought, performed only by CAE specialists outside of the core engineering group. “The real role of simulation is at the front-end of the design process to let the virtual and real engineering drive the detailed design, not just fact check it at the end,” notes Blake Courter, SpaceClaim co-founder.
SpaceClaim’s CAD-neutral, direct modeling approach-unlike parametric tools’ history tree–makes it perfect for simplifying parts to prepare them for simulation, Courter says. The company’s position got a boost this fall when it inked a licensing deal with ANSYS, a leader in the CAE space, which is now building SpaceClaim as part of its ANSYS Workbench 2.0.
The latest release, SpaceClaim 2009+, offers a number of new features around the theme of “industrial strength,” according to Courter, as well as the first support of Windows 7 and Multi-Touch. There are a number of direct modeling enhancements, including new round creation techniques that allow rounds to be placed in more complicated situations as well as new functionality in the areas of surfacing, patterning and construction of geometry. Model preparation features have also been enhanced to make it easier to check and repair geometry problems along with several ANSYS add-in enhancements resulting from the new partnership.
Finally, new features to support the multi-touch user interface will also streamline 3-D interaction and make the user experience more immersive. New selection techniques like multi-touch view rotation and gesture support along with four-finger box select and lasso select make common 3-D interactions faster than with a mouse, Courter says.