Hannover, Germany and Paris, France--Both CeBIT and MICAD took place the same week in March this year. MICAD, France's show dedicated to CAD/CAM/CAE/PDM, hosted close to 600 companies at almost 300 stands. CeBIT, the world's largest information technology show with more than 7,000 exhibitors and 650,000 visitors, also presented the latest technological developments in CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing), with more than 860 exhibitors in this sector.
2D and 3D on Windows NT. Windows NT was very present at both shows, with the big pre-announcement of Dassault System's Catia version 5 as a Windows NT native application, ported to Unix and due out next Autumn. Microsoft was on hand at the Matra Datavision stand during MICAD to accentuate Matra's product line on NT and the integration of Cas.Cade in the Microsoft Virtual Studio environment.
Parametric Technology Corp. showed ProEngineer 19 and the former Computervision product DesignWave 2, which includes a concurrent update function that automatically updates users working in dependent files as design changes are made. Unigraphics Solutions announced both Unigraphics 14 and Solid Edge 5--now powered by the Parasolid modeling kernel but maintaining the same familiar user interface.
SolidWorks presented SolidWorks 98 and Autodesk presented AutoCAD 14, which promises to be up to twice as fast as release 13 due in part to Demand Loading, which maximizes efficient memory use. Released just days following CeBIT, SDRC has announced I-DEAS Series 6, which expands the application's VGX technology to include assemblies.
Major CIM trends included increasingly complete solutions that associate diverse areas such as design, manufacture, factory design, and marketing, all linked into a company-wide network. PDM systems were highlighted for exactly this reason, with seminars at MICAD split between PDM and digital prototyping.
A group exhibition at CeBIT called "Engineering Process Chain in the Automotive Industry" featured 10 companies, gathering together some of the latest tools and techniques to go from initial process design and simulation right through to assembly simulation and rapid prototyping.
In addition to Dassault/IBM, Parametric Technology, Silicon Graphics, and Tecnomatix, the exhibition included EOS showing rapid prototyping for metal and plastics and Tecoplan with a much expanded V3 Turbo, the company's virtual prototyping product, including a module called Voxfill, used to calculate volume and fill levels of virtual containers.
Complementary Products. Two new entries were also present at the CeBIT group exhibit. Developed by Siemens and the Fraunhofer Institute, SiFrame is an engineering workflow program to optimize process-oriented engineering. dCADE simulates the transfer of sheet metal in the stamping process. By optimizing the transfer rate of sheet metal parts during the stamping process, the company claims the dCADE prototype has increased productivity at a major automotive manufacturer by 25%.
In addition to showing the company's SolidDesigner products, CoCreate announced WorkManager Integration for Dassault System's Catia. Autodesk also showed Autodesk WorkCenter 1.3 for workflow and product documentation that now includes a visualization feature for designs created with AutoCAD 14 or Mechanical Desktop 2.0. Tecnomatix, a specialist in the virtual factory, was showing its latest version of Part (v2.5) and its expanded CAD interoperability which now includes ProEngineer, along with CADD, Unigraphics, and Catia.
Workstations, other products. Silicon Graphics presented the Octane CADduo, the company's workstation designed for two users. First shown at Autofact in November '97, the machine presents a cross-bar architecture using two processors (for maximum performance) and one operating system (for full memory sharing and single station maintenance costs). Present for the first time at MICAD, Intergraph Computer Systems showcased its award-winning TDZ-2000 workstations.
In the graphics domain, TGS announced 3D-MasterSuite for Java as a complete cross-platform solution and the integration of LMV (Large Model Visualization) features into its Open Inventor and 3D-MasterSuite products.
Next year, look forward to MICAD the 9-12 of February and CeBIT the 18-24 of March.