Packed with hundreds of new enhancements, SoilidWorks 2003 has burst onto the scene with promises to make users of mid-range CAD more productive than ever. Developer SolidWorks, now part of the Dassault empire, invented the mid-range market in 1993, claiming to make 3D solid modeling available to everyone. The company has shipped 200,000 seats of its software since. This latest release lets users work with other file formats, such as AutoCAD and CADKEY, a feature that Alloyd Corp. engineer Brian Lothson says will save him time. SolidWorks 2003 also enables simulation of motion in designs, for example, checking the functionality of gears in an assembly. Among other highlights: rollback and edit features that are twice as fast as the company's previous releases; feature-level control over multiple bodies; COSMOSXpress (from recent acquisition SRAC, a finite-element-analysis developer) to allow up-front analysis of parts; and 3D ContentCentralSM, an online resource for finding parts suppliers. Bimba, Festo, Nook, and Warner Electric are among companies participating in the online service. SolidWorks, www.solidworks.com. Enter 576
Unless you're one of the more than 1,000 beta testers, you won't be able to get your hands on PTC's Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire for another couple of months, but anticipation is spreading, as the comments of one industry guru indicate. D.H. Brown Research Director Ken Versprille says other products will have to work hard to match Wildfire's performance. PTC introduced Wildfire with great fanfare last spring, giving sneak previews to 5,000 potential users as well as to the beta testers. Though the official release won't be until after the New Year, it has caused something of a buzz, at least among industry insiders. Among the new features: a new interface with a larger graphics area for modeling, new view-manipulation controls, reduced mouse travel, and drag handles for feature modification; symbolic representations and flexible components for assembly modeling; interactive surface design; point-cloud reverse engineering; improved integration of simulation and optimization tools; and seamless access to PTC's Windchill collaboration products. PTC says the latter will make it easier for engineers to go from working alone to working with others, to working with databases. PTC, www.ptc.com. Enter 577
Analysis for engines
Automotive engineers in need of software tools that simulate elements of their designs are getting additional help from an old friend. The ADAMS simulation software, recently acquired by MSC.Software from Mechanical Dynamics, is used extensively in the automotive industry to optimize the design of a variety of components and systems. Now there are three new modules: ADAMS/Engine Advanced Cranktrain, ADAMS/Engine Gear, and ADAMS 3D/ Road. The cranktrain module lets users incorporate flexible components into their system-level engine prototypes so they can optimize the design for weight, durability, and NVH. Engine Gear puts gears into the engine simulation for the study of tooth-to-tooth interaction and to obtain tooth loads for durability assessments. 3D Road lets engineers model smooth road profiles and use them with ADAMS tire-handling software. MSC.Software, www.mscsoftware.com. Enter 578
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.