As part of a multi-year project to enshrine its best practices in a CAD package, Toyota and PTC announced that the automotive company would roll out Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2.0 as its powertrain-development standard. The development comes after months of work by the two companies that resulted in several upgrades to the software to accommodate Toyota's development process.
Among the general enhancements: new product lifecycle management technology for 3D engineering, analysis, manufacturing planning, drawing creation, and interoperability. PTC has also been working with BMW, Volvo Truck, Hyundai, and others in strengthening its Wildfire CAD product's capabilities in powertrain development.
The automotive industry is a focus for virtually every software developer, and most car companies use several different software packages for the various engineering functions in their design shops. PTC also works with Childress Racing, which uses Pro/ENGINEER for solid modeling.
UGS, developer of Unigraphics NX CAD software and Teamcenter PLM recently scored a win at Chinese automotive manufacturer Shenyang Brilliance Jinbei. The company will use Teamcenter, according to Ha Tao. It's UGS' largest automotive application in China. (UGS is holding an analyst event as Design News goes to press).
Autodesk announced it is working with Energy Absorption Systems, Inc. (EASI), developer of highway crash cushions and other highway safety devices. The company will use Autodesk Inventor to create 3D models of truck-mounted crash attenuators to visualize function before creating drawings. Use of Inventor allows them to reuse its legacy 2D designs developed with Autodesk's drafting software, EASI engineers say.
Dassault Systemes' Generative Car Design PLM products are in use at Toyota Motorsport, where engineers used them to develop the external shape of its Formula One models. The company is also working with Dassault to develop new functions for the software developer's CATIA V5 PLM product suite.
PTC announced the development with Toyota at its user conference, held in Nashville June 14-16, 2004. Approximately 1,200 of its Pro/ENGINEER and Windchill customers gathered for the event, which included workshops, exhibits, and presentations by users and company technical executives. PTC also used the event to update users on its recent acquisition of OHIO Design Automation, a provider of electronic design-verification, visualization, and collaboration technology. Michael Burkett, research director for AMR Research, says the move will allow PTC customers to integrate electronic and mechanical product development into the enterprise.
But it was the Toyota announcement that PTC was most excited about at the conference. The software company claims that Toyota has improved cycle time and introduced new lean-manufacturing techniques with Pro/ENGINEER. "We added several features to the product, and now Toyota is in full production with Wildfire 2.0," Chief Technical Officer Jim Heppleman told the assembled users.
Also at the conference, PTC announced the winners of its design-awards competition. Among them: Plug and Power LLC, developer of fuel-cell technology for telecommunications applications. Engineer Jim Stathopoulos said the company cut its mean time to approval of engineering change orders by 63 percent using Pro/ENGINEER and Wildfire. Other winners included Bombardier Recreational Products and Square 1 Product Development.