Siemens PLM Software is bolstering its NX CAD software with critical visual analytics capabilities designed to help companies make better product development-related decisions against the tide of globalization, an increasingly tough regulatory environment, and the growing sophistication of manufactured goods.
The primary new feature of NX 7.0 is HD3D, a new visual environment within NX that will eventually be added to the Teamcenter PLM software, which helps users collect and present product information in an easy-to-interpret, visual way so it can easily be applied in decision making. Users can tap the new tool, for example, to evaluate a product design on key factors such as release status, weight thresholds, material type or delivery status. HD3D will present the data in a graphical, visual way making it easy for users to take action.
Rather than a static 2-D graphical format, HD3D promotes a higher definition of 3-D data by borrowing from familiar interface paradigms like attaching tags to objects employed by Google Earth or the "cover flow" GUI concept of iTunes used to visually scroll through documents or artwork - or in this case, 3-D parts and models. "The high-definition is a whole new concept," says Paul Brown, senior marketing director for the NX product line. "It's more than a 3-D geometry model, but rather a window onto the whole rich vein of PLM data that backs up a solid model or a subassembly."
Here's an example of how HD3D can be employed: Say an engineer or product development manager wants to examine a design for parts that are currently in development and registered as on schedule or late. Using the new analytics capabilities, the 3-D NX model of the product under development will visually highlight all of the parts that are more than one week late and thus a cause for concern. In addition, the software will display interactive tags on screen, which when selected, will deliver more detailed information. This visual interaction eliminates the need for engineers to manually sort through written bill-of-materials and status reports and correlate part numbers against the 3-D model, Brown says. The HD3D analytics capabilities will also be implemented in Check-Mate, an application that ensures compliance with design criteria, so engineers can take advantage of the same visual environment and new GUI standards to validate model quality.
In addition to HD3D, NX 7.0 also serves up enhancements to Synchronous Technology, its next-generation modeling approach delivered in both the NX and SolidEdge CAD programs. The enhancements expand the coverage of tasks supported by Synchronous Technology in addition to adding more intelligence into the models to improve predictability. For instance, a new synchronous pattern capability removes the need to understand the original creation approach when working with legacy CAD models while also offering expanded features for cut, copy, paste and mirror.
Finally, Synchronous Technology in NX 7.0 also includes new clean-up tools to enable faster and easier editing of models imported from third-party CAD systems. Specifically, automatic and semi-automatic blend and chamfer recognition functions build and maintain relationships for two of the most common manufacturing features while automatic and manual healing options and the ability to merge segmented geometry remove unwanted gaps and fixes mismatched geometry, Brown says.