You're probably right about the use of surface modeling on the D8 GTO, Chuck, but that particular design challenge was really all about simulation and keeping the weight down on the car even when adding additional safety features in the door frame and without degrading any of the performance and muscle the car was known for.
There is a boatload of capabilities being folded into CAD--as Alex notes, from CFD and FEA simulation functionality to upfront design type capabilities like sketching to tools like this one that enable far more realism. In some ways, I agree with your analogy to how Microsoft built out its Office stack, but with CAD tools, it's almost more like vendors are creating an integrated platform in which buyers can pick and choose (and pay for) the functionality that they need. Some base level functionality gets baked into the core product, but a lot of this extra stuff is sold as different editions of the CAD program tuned with functionality for specific roles and priced accordingly. Sort like what the ERP vendors did. Long-winded answer to you're not always paying for extra bells and whistles that you don't need, although I'm sure some CAD users just looking for the basics would argue with that point.
It will be interesting to see how engineers receive this. Even on our website, it's not hard to find comments from engineers who make distinctions between "aesthetic design" and engineering. What would the applications be for design engineers?
I agree, Alex. That's happening in a lot of areas of software. Automation vendors talk about how much functionality is not getting deployed in plants even though it's in the basic package the plant purchased. Ditto with ERP.
There's an incredible amount of functonality being folded into CAD/PLM programs. Yesterday, Beth wrote about CFD and FEA; today's it's surface modeling. I wonder if there's an analogy to Microsoft, where more features than users want or can use are being put into the average program. Which also means some users are paying more than they want or need to.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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