Continuing the industry momentum behind direct modeling, SpaceClaim rolled out the fourth release of its 3-D design tool offerings, including new model preparation and enhanced analysis functions along with enhancements for dealing with multi-CAD models.
SpaceClaim, a direct modeling program released in April 2007, reopened an ongoing debate in the CAD industry over the merits of parametric or history-based CAD tools popularized by PTC's Pro/ENGINEER and now sold by the majority of CAD vendors and direct modelers which up until recently constituted only a handful of products. In the year or so since the SpaceClaim debut, there has been a flurry of announcements and activity in the direct modeling space, most notably Siemens PLM Software's Synchronous Technology, found in its NX and Solid Edge 3-D MCAD tools, PTC's acquisition of CoCreate and most recently Autodesk's preview of its Inventor Fusion technology.
According to SpaceClaim and others jumping into the market, direct modeling capabilities provide greater flexibility, a shorter learning curve and more "design freedom" than traditional history-based CAD tools, thereby serving to open up the market to non-CAD jockeys. "We see direct modeling as the vehicle to break the glass ceiling of one million seats sold of solid modeling tools and get an order of magnitude of new growth in the market," says Blake Courter, SpaceClaim's co-founder.
SpaceClaim is hoping the features of its first new 2009 release will help propel such growth. SpaceClaim Engineer, the flagship tool, has new model-preparation tools to detect and repair problems with imported designs and to simplify models prior to analysis, Courter says. The software also offers increased surfacing power for highly stylized designs and features new analysis tools for industrial design visualization and manufacturing validation, including curvature display, zebra striping and draft creation. There are also improved translators to open and edit 3-D PDFs and open tessellated formats.
Pricing for SpaceClaim Engineers starts at $1,995 a seat.