Newport Beach, CA —CAD may soon be spelled P-D-M. That at least seems to be the belief of Ted McFadden, director of Collaborative Commerce for Unigraphics Solutions (UGS).
Why? Is CAD dead or dying? Not at all. Rather, CAD is more and more becoming part of the much larger arena of product lifecycle information—which needs to be handled by product data management (PDM).
"Last year, I would have been talking about CAD," McFadden said at the recent Third Annual UGS Press/Analyst Event. "Today I'm talking about PDM." Behind the very rapid growth occurring in the world of PDM McFadden pointed out that its user base has extended from engineering (CAD) to the whole enterprise (marketing through maintenance), and from there to the extended enterprise, including suppliers, customers and repair organizations. The back and forth sharing of data among engineering, the enterprise and the extended enterprise creates collaborative product commerce (CPC), which McFadden sees as essential to product and business development in the coming years.
Outgoing president and CEO John Mazzola set the scene for McFadden's comments in his opening presentation, in which he pointed out that UGS had posted overall revenue growth of 17% since going public two years ago and said that PDM, at about 25% to 30%, is the largest current growth area for the company.
In line with those comments, UGS announced a design collaboration tool suite, developed with Microsoft Corporation, called DesignKNet (Design Knowledge Network) that will help manufacturers and application services providers (ASPs) develop design collaboration portals. DesignKNet combines Microsoft Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000 with UGS' Unigraphics CAD, iMAN PDM, and ProductVision visualization system. "DesignKNet is the first offering within the UGS in-KEY family of solutions for collaborative product commerce," according to a company statement.
Leaders of all four UGS business units (Unigraphics, iMAN/ in-KEY, Parasolid, and Solid Edge) presented information about their newest releases.
Chuck Grindstaff spoke of the addition of motion simulation and mold analysis to UG/Scenario, as well as new industrial design capabilities within Unigraphics. Working toward a goal of "knowledge driven automation," Grindstaff described a number of new "wizards" to be available in the upcoming Version 17 of Unigraphics, including wizards for molds, die engineering, body design, vehicle design, weld assistant, and hydroforming. Grindstaff says that these capabilities will speed and ease complex design tasks.
Ken Sears of Parasolid announced eXT (Parasolid Extended XT), a new implementation of the Parasolid XT MCAD open data storage file system. EXT accesses XML data to extend XT's capabilities from geometric shape data only to include process data, product data and visualization data. UGS sees many applications for eXT in the areas of collaboration and global exchange of information. Sears also noncommittally fielded many questions about what the recent purchase of ACIS by Dassault Systemes might mean to current and future Parasolid licensees.
Bill McClure of Solid Edge ran through the program's Version 8 enhancements, and reported that the Solid Edge Origin program, which offers free software to train companies that want to transition from 2D to 3D CAD, had resulted in almost 108,000 leads.