Engineering News 7849

DN Staff

January 4, 1999

27 Min Read
Engineering News

CAD takes to the 'net'

Virtual collaboration speeds the design process

by Katherine Tyrka, France

Paris--Today's new collaborative work environments are moving across the web. With aerospace, automotive manufacturers, as well as the major engineering and construction firms now using the Internet, intranets, or extranets to improve their business processes, CAD vendors are starting to offer specialized applications to facilitate collaboration between people in numerous remote locations. Sending CAD files via the Internet or within a company's intranet can save enormous amounts of time and money when different design and manufacturing issues need to be decided collectively.

However, there are two main obstacles with setting up this type of data transfer. The first is the size of a CAD file, which can reach tens of megabytes and therefore take time to download, tying up bandwidth within a company's system. The second obstacle is formatting, since CAD files require the same CAD application to read them. If the party receiving the CAD file does not have the same system, conversion into a neutral format may be necessary. Different companies have successfully dealt with these issues in different ways, depending on their needs and the CAD system used.

Small files in 2D and 3D. Jungo Engineering, located in Bartenheim, France, is a small design firm that uses Pro/ENGINEER from Parametric Technology Corp. to send files to a variety of clients located in France, Switzerland, and Germany, including SEB and Alcatel Telecom. Equipped with a double ISDN line, Jungo sends complete files to clients that also have Pro/ENGINEER. Since these files are typically no more than 10 Mbytes, the maximum transfer time is 10 minutes.

"Every day we send over updated files that integrate the design changes made by our engineers and by the client's," explains Nicolas Jungo, CEO of Jungo Engineering. "Since the update is discussed in a daily conference call, we achieve truly concurrent engineering."

Jungo also interfaces with clients that work in AutoCAD, using native 2D AutoCAD files that can be generated by Pro/ENGINEER. These files are integrated directly into the client's database by a server that automatically replaces files with the most recent versions. For some clients, the firm even sends files that program the tooling paths remotely.

"We've been using the web for about two years now, and it works very smoothly," says Jungo. "Security is better with the present use of data compression, so most of our customers are comfortable with the system. We've been able to work with companies that are quite a distance from us, while remaining in very close contact."

Even so, bandwidth is always a concern. While the double ISDN line gives Jungo Engineering a combined transfer capacity of 128 bps (bytes per second), the firm is hoping to move to cable where 1 million bps would allow much larger files to be sent quickly, plus video conferencing.

Dialing up a session. Bitzer Kuehlmaschinenbau GmbH, a leading air conditioning and cooling compressor manufacturer, uses SolidDesigner from CoCreate, and has also been using CoCreate's Spider application for the last year to assist in collaborative engineering projects at its two sites in Germany. The company headquarters and main design offices are at the Sindelfingen location. The Leipzig factory, while producing up to 50% of the company's production, also has a development facility.

"It's important to have development at the same site as production, since valuable feedback can be gained from purchasing and production," says Wolfgang Sandkotter, director of engineering at Bitzer. Because both German factories have a common product range, there was a need for coordination to avoid duplicating work when designing a new series of compressors.

Bitzer uses ISDN lines and a server to run the Spider application, which sends the 3D model over to the other site. By simply dialing up a session, Spider sends the same image on the screen, and each person is able to indicate specific parts of the model.

This procedure proved particularly useful last May when the design offices of both locations needed to design products in the same "family." With the Sindelfingen office designing the two-cylinder model and the Leipzig office designing the four-cylinder model of the same series, both design offices needed to use the greatest number of common parts possible, and to create products with a similar design.

"For this level of cooperation, not everything can be done just by exchanging files," explains Sandkotter. "Sometimes it was necessary to discuss the design from the interior, where each product had different requirements. To find common solutions to these different problems while the designers were in different locations meant that communication had to be seamless."

It is possible to modify a design in Spider and have everyone see the changes in realtime; however, this function is more useful for products with molded parts. Bitzer uses Spider primarily as a visualization tool, whenever the company's designers need to discuss design modifications.

"Exchanging files and making notes and markings takes longer, and doesn't communicate as clearly or as directly," says Sandkotter. "This tool enables us to discuss modifications as if we were in the same room together." The company has also sent images via STEP formatting to other companies equipped with Spider but using another CAD application.

Browsing in 3D. Because Standard Motor Products, headquartered in New York, uses CATIA (Dassault Systemes) to design all its parts and most assembly fixtures, it was natural for the company to turn to CATWeb for its long-distance CAD communication. Of the company's wide variety of automotive replacement parts, some are manufactured in-house, some are contracted, and some pieces are bought. With such a range of sources, the company uses CATWeb to communicate design data through both the internal intranet and the Internet.

CATWeb creates compact images of CATIA files, rather than sending the whole file. This means that a 10-Mbyte assembly in CATIA can be sent as a 50-Kbyte file. End-users do not need any CATIA software and can access the image via a standard Internet browser.

"We've had a client in Switzerland who accessed CATWeb using a 14,400-baud modem and still had acceptable performance," says Phil Harrison, design manager at Standard Motor Products. "This has really broadened the use of the CAD model to people without access to CATIA, including marketing departments and the factories."

Standard Motor Products uses CATWeb with outside suppliers by giving the URL, the name of the file, and the name of the model. The access is granted by a user name and password to maintain confidentiality. There are also hyperlinks on solids and models so that, when looking at a model in CATWeb, users can also see other specifications like bids or timetables in document formats, all viewable from the web browser.

"This product works well because people view the one and only copy of the data--it's not translated, formatted, or downloaded, so everyone is looking at the same thing," says Harrison. "This is very important. The image is created at the server from one file, so the server is always sending out the latest image."

"The benefit of all these initiatives is that they will permit virtual collaboration to be richer than it is now," says Bruce Jenkens, consultant at Daratech (Cambridge, MA). "These applications allow companies to assemble project teams that are not physically co-located on an as-needed basis and to work more closely with the supply chain. The objective is collaboration, and the goal is compressed product cycles."


What this means to you

  • Specialized CAD applications facilitate collaboration between remote locations.

  • Evolving CAD/CAM/CAE functionality supports intranet/web technologies.


Elastomers spice up kitchen utensils

Buffalo, NY--How do you breathe new life into a somewhat humdrum product like kitchen utensils? Robinson Knife Co. did it by equipping them with comfortable, sure-grip handles and arresting colors. The key to the successful redesign: advanced thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) technology.

The company's new product line, Oneida(R) Colourgrip(R), includes an assortment of durable, dishwasher-safe, and attractive utensils.

The line of kitchen tools and gadgets feature appealing colors and ergonomic grips made of Santoprene(R) 8000 rubber from Advanced Elastomer Systems (AES) L.P. (Akron, OH). The grips, which come in five distinct colors, are injection-overmolded onto polypropylene that chemically bonds to the substrate, ensuring a watertight seal and long-lasting performance.

To really set its utensils apart in the kitchen drawer, Robinson Knife wanted a grip material that would support an eye-catching array of colors--without sacrificing performance and aesthetic properties. "Color was a major issue for us," explains Robert Skerker, CEO. "We wanted to differentiate our products to reflect the current trend to lighter, brighter, cleaner looks for home and fashion."

The challenge: find a suitable material for a grip that would be functional, comfortable, and--most importantly--result in consistent colors. However, when the company began its materials testing, it discovered that the requisite technology wasn't readily available.

About this same time, AES commercialized its new line of Santoprene 8000 rubber grades. These vulcanized, non-hygroscopic TPEs come in easy-to-color, high-flow injection-molding, extrusion, and FDA grades.

AES responded to Robinson Knife's request for technical support. "We assisted in part and tool design, as well as processing support and colorant supplier recommendations on a global basis," says Tom Scott, industry manager, consumer markets at AES. "It took about a year to come to fruition, but the end product represents a unique example of what's possible with TPEs."

Just how impressed was Robinson Knife with the material? The words "Santoprene TPE" will be featured on the company's packaging as an added sales incentive.


Dolls hit the slopes with in-mold decorated skis

Madison, WI--When Pleasant Co., manufacturer of the American Girl of Today(R) 18-inch dolls decided to produce a set of downhill skis and racing boots, the decorating process was an important consideration. The company wanted the skis to look as realistic as possible, yet maintain the design in all-weather conditions such as snow. For these reasons Pleasant Co. turned to the Specialty Graphics Group of Serigraph Inc. (West Bend, WI) for its in-mold decorating capabilities.

The 19-inch-long and 1-inch-wide ski set is molded with a polycarbonate resin. The four-color artwork in PMS shades of yellow, green, pink, and black are blended from one end of the ski to the other, similar to the popular effect seen on real-life skis. The American Girl logo is printed on the top of the ski, while the bottom is printed solid black.

"The whole intention of the project was to be 'down to the detail' with our design, as it is for all our accessory projects," says Renee Anderson, senior buyer for the Pleasant Co. He comments that a combination of the company's own designers' knowledge of the in-mold process and information from the Specialty Graphics Group helped the design team determine this process was the way to go. In addition, the group proved to be the only supplier that could meet its needs.

While an adhesive-backed decal was an alternative decorating method, Anderson felt this would sacrifice overall quality because of design and application limitations. In addition, Pleasant Co. did not want the added expense of secondary operations. "A decal could not reflect the life-like color and design that we were shooting for," explains Anderson. "And, decals require an additional application step where there is opportunity for human error. We want the skis to last as long as our dolls do."

The in-mold process addressed these considerations. "Through years of Serigraph's research and development of the in-mold decorating method, we've learned that it is ideal for detailed parts with multi-color graphics because the decorating and molding processes increase the quality and flexibility of the product's design and appearance," says Michael Terlizzi, senior V.P. of research and development at Serigraph. "And, the durability of the insert-mold technique surpasses that of other decorating methods because the graphics on the insert are permanently imbedded into the part by the in-mold process."

The process works as follows. Decorating and part production are combined into one step during the injection- molding process. The process begins when a decorated, in this case a screen-printed, plastic film called an insert is placed into a mold cavity. Liquid resin is shot behind the insert, bonding its surface to the molding resin and forming a finished part. The result: A durable in-mold decoration that won't chip, scratch, or peel off because it is an integral component of the molded assembly.

The in-mold process significantly reduces scrap rates compared to other decorating methods. And, because the decorated insert is die-cut to fit precisely in the mold, there is little chance for the decoration to shift during the process and be applied incorrectly.

"The Specialty Graphics Group was really helpful in terms of working with our designers and other suppliers. Everything went smoothly because the group gave their expertise willingly and made suggestions freely to make this project a success," says Anderson. "They met our production deadline and we didn't encounter one quality problem. In-mold decorating costs more than other methods up-front, but the quality of the technology and Specialty Graphics Group's service is priceless."


Bingo! Get info electronically

Newton, MA--You've been telling us that you'd like a quicker, easier way to get information from companies mentioned in Design News. And you've been asking for help in accessing their websites. Now you've got both, thanks to our new on-line reader service system, debuting in this issue of Design News.

It's a snap to use. Simply go to www.designnews.com/info , and specify the issues you want to perform a search on. Then, enter either the reader service number, product description, or company name. Up will pop a request form, listing the companies that fall under your search criteria, the specific product or technology covered, the corresponding reader service circle number, and the issue and page number of the magazine where it appeared.

To receive information from a particular company, simply click on the checkbox next to its name. Select as many as you like. When done, click on the submit button. We'll confirm receipt and forward your request on to the companies. In addition, if a company name appears in blue, you can link directly to that company's web site simply by clicking on its name.

So no more snail mail. No more waiting. Just key in www.designnews.com/info to get the information you want.


C&K Components turns on technology

Watertown, MA--C&K Components Inc. is tuning in to technology and its roots, the engineers. This year marks C&K's entrance as a $10,000 sponsor of the Design News Engineering Education Award Foundation, which benefits engineering students at the university level.

At last year's awards ceremony C&K's Director of World Wide Marketing John Sutherby decided that the company should participate in the foundation. "It was the right thing to do, the right format, and the right group to sponsor it. There's no shortage of opportunity to put money into sponsorship, but the Design News foundation is the right way. C&K's involvement accomplishes two critical tasks at the same time: It awards engineers for their amazing accomplishments and at the same time provides financial support for engineers of the future."

C&K was founded by two engineers out of Harvard, notes Sutherby and "there's a lot of history and pride here, the company has been clearly engineering-driven from the beginning--this is what they would have wanted."

C&K also hosts a series of educational activities. For the past five years it has participated with Northeastern University and Mass Bay Community College co-op intern programs and recently hired an intern for full-time employment. During this past summer, the Fullerton, CA site employed several engineering students from Sacramento State College for their summer break. In Europe, C&K participates in the Modern Apprentice Scheme program with local universities. Education doesn't stop there, though. The company also provides internal and external education programs for its employees.

"Obviously, education is increasingly important," says Sutherby, referencing the trend to design better, faster, and quicker products that yield a profit. "Engineers entering the workforce from universities are operating off a strong foundation and that is playing a considerable role in technology--an accelerating affect. As universities better equip themselves with the latest and greatest tools students are continuing to learn and feed this knowledge back into the system."

C&K Components entered the switch business in 1957 with the introduction of one of the first miniature toggle switches. Today, it supplies a variety of electromechanical switches as well as other components including membrane panels. The company's customer base includes Lucent Technologies, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Ford, and Honeywell. C&K is headquartered in Watertown, MA and has four switch manufacturing facilities located in Newton, MA; Clayton, NC; Kettering, England; San Jose, CA; and Costa Rica.


Materials are backseat drivers

Pittsburgh--The rear car seats in a minivan are heavy. Just ask the driver who has to lift and move them around the back seat. The Europe-only 1997 Mercedes-Benz V-Class minivan's rear seats weigh 87 lb, 30 to 50% less than traditional metal-framed seats. That's because of the use of two resins from Bayer Corp. (Pittsburgh, PA).

The seat back uses a hybrid combination of steel and plastic instead of a steel frame and has a full plastic backrest. It features frame-stiffening ribs, an integrated head-rest support, and seat-belt housing and mechanism.

The original seat design consisted of 20 to 30 parts. Through the use of Durethan(R) BKV 130 polyamide 6 resin, Daimler-Benz engineers reduced the seat back part count to one. "With the integration of several functions into one component, you are reducing your assembly process," says Engelbert Meurer, manager of the innovative technologies group for Daimler-Benz.

Durethan can also be used for general hybrid technology for structural components and applications where structural stiffness is a concern. Daimler-Benz selected the material, Meurer says, because of its excellent mechanical properties.

The seat pan is made from Novodur(R) acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resin. The ABS material can also be used in hanging panels, side panels, and car interiors; has good surface appeal; and can be easily molded, Meurer says.

The materials give the car seat a higher grade of integration and reduction in component costs. "By using the new technology in combination with the Durethan, we can reduce the number of production steps," Meurer says.

Design challenges included meeting the high specification and safety requirements on car seats in general. In 35-mph crash tests, the pull load on the upper belt was 5 metric tons, Meurer says.

To protect passengers, engineers integrated an upper belt into the seat's backrest, which makes passengers more comfortable. "The body is always optimally covered with the belt," Meurer says.

Indeed, Daimler-Benz's reengineering efforts have not gone unnoticed. "Customers are really impressed by the comfort of the seat," Meurer notes.


Software streamlines design cycles

Pittsfield, MA--Dizzying development cycles have design engineers in a tizzy these days trying to keep up with increased workloads. When it comes to materials selection, a new software program could take some of the stress out of that work.

Called the Thermoplastic Engineering Design (TED) calculator, the software-based design tool has already helped customers of GE Plastics shorten their development cycles. "By including unique design and process engineering analysis capabilities in an easy-to-use, PC-based program," says Stephen Schuler, advanced design development leader at GE Plastics, "the TED calculator dramatically improves the feasibility and material selection in the early stages of new product development for many applications."

At the heart of the calculator lies a proprietary database that offers design engineers access to multi-point data for filled and unfilled product grades within the GE Plastics portfolio. Working with a design or processing engineer, a GE Plastics application development engineer can use this tool to help conduct multiple product comparisons. Such a search can avoid the time and expense of detailed analysis during initial design stages.

The database resulted from four years of "think-tank" resources. The $12 million program focused on end-use performance in injection-molded parts. Instrumental in the program's development were: GE Plastics, GE Corporate Research and Development (CR&S), General Motors Research (GMR), and Stanford University. It was conducted through a joint venture research agreement between GE CR&D and GMR, with support from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

To minimize the engineer's learning curve, the TED calculator provides a "wizard" format that quickly establishes a way to match part performance requirements with design, material, and process variables. You can reach Schuler at (413) 448-7489.


Shift from metal to plastic cuts costs

Grand Haven, MI--Moving from metal to plastics can be a major decision for any manufacturer of shift assemblies, where metal has proved a staple for years. That was the case for GHSP when the company decided to turn to plastic for its pivot handle components. The choice: a glass-reinforced-lubricated nylon 6/6 material.

Pivot handles are those components located beneath the knob which a driver uses to shift gears. In other words, it's that portion of the shift assembly that, by way of a cable, shifts the transmission from gear to gear.

"By converting from metal to plastics, we did away with two stampings, two gauges, one welding operation, and one riveting operation," says Mark Andrews, vice president of sales and marketing at GHSP. The material GHSP selected: Lubricomp(R) RFL from LNP Engineering Plastics (Exton, PA). "The material not only meets our requirements for strength and durability, it has enabled us to realize significant cost savings in materials and labor," Andrews adds.

Lubricomp RFL has an internal lubricant that reduces friction and wear rate, allowing greater design freedom, part consolidation, and the elimination of external lubricants. "Lubrication is very important to us," Andrews explains, "as we need it to inhibit wear in the pivot area between it and the base portion of the shift assembly."

GHSP's shift assembly is located on the vehicle's floor. "It's exposed to a number of different environmental factors," Andrews notes. "For example, a driver may spill something into the shifter; there are temperature extremes inside an automobile to be concerned about; and there are the different stresses within the shifter itself. Lubricomp has held up very well under all of these conditions."


Conference showcases 'invisible' computing

by Julie Anne Schofield, Senior Editor

San Jose, CA--New microcontrollers, microprocessors, DSPs, computer boards, memory products, and supporting components and software competed for attention at November's Embedded Systems Conference.

Here's a sampling of the new products coming soon to an embedded system near you:

Texas Instruments sees the average market for DSPs growing at 30% a year from 1999 to 2007. Response: Code Composer Studio, an integrated set of DSP software tools. TI says its open development environment, along with third-party plug-in tools, can reduce the average DSP coding time by up to 50%, cut time to market, and increase product robustness. Version 1.0 for TI's TMS320C6000 will be available this month.

Analog Devices is going after the motor-control market with nine new DSPs. Research showed that motors in different applications--such as appliances, office equipment, industrial, consumer, and transportation--had different cost, memory, and chip peripheral needs. The firm also discovered that many engineers wanted to move to fixed-point DSPs from microcontrollers because of DSPs' advantage in mathematical processing. The company expects to introduce a total of 20 family members over the next two years.

Microcontrollers proliferate. A flash memory-based, 8-bit microcontroller from Motorola--the 68HC908GP20--suits communications, industrial, and consumer systems. A feature called FLASHwire lets designers do in-circuit programming, which can shorten time to market. The new chip features the 68HC08's instruction set and provides an upwards migration path for existing 68HC05-based designs.

Also on hand with 8-bit flash-based microcontrollers was Microchip Technology. Two of the new controllers offer 2.0V operation, a 10-bit A/D converter, and the debut of Migratable Memory technology. This last feature lets users match microcontroller memory technology to the life cycle of their application. Two other new members of the company's PICmicro flash microcontroller line suit more complex embedded applications.

Many embedded applications need stand-alone memory, and a popular type is flash. A single die in the DiskOnChip Millennium from M-Systems combines a controller and 64 Mbits of high-density flash memory. The company claims the 32-pin surface-mount package is the industry's smallest flash disk at 11.7321.331.2 mm.

Boards galore. High-end embedded systems need more than an 8- or 16-bit microcontroller or a low-end DSP. They often need a microprocessor-powered PC-compatible board. WinSystems' new PCM-586-133 is a PC/104-compliant single-board computer based on Advanced Micro Devices' 133-MHz 586 microprocessor. The board can control test equipment, medical instrumentation, and vending machines. Cost: $495.

For really high-end applications, designers can turn to Compaq's new Alpha processor-based single-board computer. The third-generation 64-bit Alpha 21264 microprocessor is at the heart of this board, zooming along at 500 MHz. Applications include: medical imaging, graphics, communication, and video servers.

Software quandaries. Hardware vendors probably equaled the number of software ones, but it seemed that you couldn't walk down any aisle without hearing about Java, Windows CE, or embedding the Internet. Windows CE is Microsoft's entry for an open embedded-system operating system, although the current version doesn't support hard real-time applications. Sun Microsystems' newly completed EmbeddedJava 1.0--an open environment that lets engineers develop an application using minimal system resources.

Embedding the Internet allows smart devices to talk to each other in a standardized, accessible network. The Internet would encourage a common user interface and standard protocols, but it's designed for 32-bit architectures--and most embedded processors are 8 or 16 bits. Also, there are various methods for embedding Internet technology and no clear winner yet. Future issues of Design News will delve into these complex issues.


Fast car demands fast CAD

Old Lyme, CT--You want fast? How about "slam-you-back-in-your-seat fast?" The Callaway C12 does 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and tops out at 200 mph. The super sports car represents Callaway Cars' first entry into the automotive market as a world-based manufacturer with its own automobiles.

Originally, the C12 was built to be a road car. Eventually, it will race at Le Mans in the GT2 class, which requires entries to be street-legal, production-derived automobiles. Reeves Callaway, president of Callaway Cars, says the C12 is pure "raw power, tamed for the road." The raw power comes from the Callaway SuperNatural LS1 engine, which has 25% more power than the engine in the base Corvette. The LS1 is a 350-inch3, 440-hp, 8-cylinder, twin-valve alloy monster that develops its maximum torque of 415ft-lb at 5,200 rpm. The "tame" describes the sporting chassis with an independent wheel suspension system.

Just as impressive as the C12's performance specifications is the story of the car's development, says Callaway. Concept to completion took only four months. The Callaway team approved a full-sized clay model on November 1, 1997, and had the finished vehicle ready to exhibit at the 68th International Automobile Salon in Geneva on March 3, 1998.

This was an all-time record for Callaway Cars, which credits high-tech electronic prototyping and an advantageous use of time zones with helping the company meet the Geneva deadline. Engineers from all over the world worked round the clock generating initial designs on Pro/ENGINEER(R) from Parametric Technology Corp. (Waltham, MA), while communicating via the Internet.

Because they were designing for a GT2-class entry, Callaway engineers had to design an ultra-high-performance vehicle while fitting everything they created on or in the original fifth-generation GM Corvette platform. The body panels, for example, had to fasten to the original car's frame. The new suspension and bigger brake package had to fit in the space the original systems had occupied.

The Callaway team widened the car out to the full 2m allowed in international racing by custom making the A-control arms. Because of their performance goals, says Bill Prout, Callaway's director of marketing, "We had to change the steering geometry, the rear camber and caster adjusters, and the driveshaft. It's a complicated thing to change all these drivetrain mechanisms. Pro/ENGINEER allowed us to model alternative designs to see if a change led to a benefit."

Referencing the frame and specified suspension pick-up points, the Callaway team used Pro/ENGINEER to design the C12's enhanced suspension and brake packages. At IVM, mechanical engineer Hans Gotz provided the designers involved with a 3D model that observed the fixed reference points for the suspension. Using a range of visualization, assembly, and motion programs linked to the Pro/ENGINEER data, the design engineers were confident that the new systems fit onto the pick-up points of the base frame. Interferences, checked in Pro/ENGINEER, were easily spotted and fixed before anything was built.

Surfacing. A potentially serious road-block was the transition from clay to data, says Callaway. The plan was to capture digitally the outlines of the full-size clay model and then use the "sweetened" or smoothed-out surface data to program the milling machine that would cut the body panel molds. With an eye on the clock, Callaway decided not to spend the extra month or two needed to refine the clay model. The team contracted with a vendor to perform a laser scan of the model. The cloud of points obtained from the scan weighed in at more than 550 Mbytes, an unworkable amount, and showed every tiny imperfection in the clay surfaces.

The cloud of points and a file extracting the basic shape of the car from the complex point cloud were e-mailed to the CAD modeler, Stephane Lepage of Lepage Design in Montreal. He started work on December 1, 1997, sitting alongside Callaway's stylist, Paul Deutschman. Referring to the cloud of points and to the basic shape file known as a "scaffold," Lepage used Pro/SURFACE, the advanced surfacing capability in Pro/ENGINEER, to model the shapes Deutschman had conceived months ago when he created the C12's look on the clay model.

All Pro/SURFACE geometry is parametric and associative, which makes it easy to evaluate multiple designs, says Callaway. Lepage designed half the car and matched it with its own mirror-image.

Manufacturability. Everything Lepage did had to be manufacturable. Since Pro/SURFACE is an integrated function within the Pro/ENGINEER automated product-modeling system, Lepage used the software tools to add features, such as return flanges, to the body panels, and to ensure fit by trimming, by removing gaps and by revising dimensions.

The first file Lepage sent, for the vehicle door, arrived in Germany at 9:00 a.m. local time. By 3:00 p.m. that day, the milling machine at IVM Engineering Group in Bad Friedrichshall, Germany was programmed, and the mold was ready 24 hours later. Less than 48 hours after Lepage sent the first file, a completed door panel was coming out of the mold, with other sections following suit.

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