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Mold Development Lags in China

Mold Development Lags in China

There’s no question the American mold industry has taken a battering from imports in recent years. But there’s a new report just out from the China Die & Mould Industry Association that may surprise Yankee toolmakers. Mold imports into China actually surpassed mold exports by $300 million in 2006! Chinese domestic production of molds rose to $3.1 billion in value in 2006, but still only accounted for 74 per cent of domestic supply. The Chinese, however, are not complaining about their mold imports. In fact, the imports are desperately needed to meet expanding demand and high technology requirements. “Plastic mold producers should develop large size, high-precision and complicated molds with high technical content and longer lifecycle,” comments Zhou Yonghai, vice secretary general of the CDMIA.  Chinese mold makers “are still far behind” in precision, cavity surface finish, production cycle and life cycle, says Yonghai. Foreign companies, such as Nypro, operate leading-edge mold shops in China, but most Chinese shops lag behind. The Chinese system of traditional state ownership and collective ownership “cannot deal with these challenges”, says the association leader. There’s a tremendous lack of qualified professionals. Meanwhile, prices for molds are dropping while costs of materials, energy and labor are rising. Those last two points sound all too familiar.

 

What does it mean to design engineers?

 

Well if you want to take an ambitious product development project to China, you’d better take your tool makers with you.

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PTC Launches Wildfire 4.0 Upgrade

PTC Gets Explicit About CAD: Read Beth's blog post for more information on the strategy behind PTC's acquisition of CoCreate Software.

Touting new software development quality processes and a continued emphasis on improving usability, PTC took the wraps off Wildfire 4.0, a major upgrade to its Pro/ENGINEER 3-D CAD/CAE/CAM package, stocked with over 300 functional enhancements.

Wildfire 4.0, available immediately, introduces four new modules in the areas of digital rights management, tolerance analysis, electromechanical design and interfaces to the popular JT file format. The upgrade is also the first PTC release to receive Capability Maturity Model (CMMI) Level 2 status, a software development methodology based on manufacturing process quality and operational principles, which PTC officials say ensures more consistency in the software quality.

One of the key design themes for 2008 is electromechanical engineering or mechatronics, an area addressed in the Wildfire 4.0 upgrade. The new Pro/ENGINEER ECAD-MCAD Collaboration Extension, sold as a separate Wildfire 4.0 module, improves real-time collaboration between mechanical and electrical engineers, automatically identifying incremental changes between MCAD and ECAD versions of a PCB board design and creating tighter interfaces between the previously disconnected systems. “We’re providing a mechanism for these different domains to collaborate more effectively,” says Mike Campbell, PTC’s senior vice president of product management of desktop products. “That means less rework and less unknowns, which means faster time to market.”

To help companies deal with intellectual property concerns in this day and age of design and manufacturing outsourcing, PTC is offering the Pro/ENGINEER Rights Management Extension module for Wildfire 4.0, which is based on the Adobe Livecycle Rights Management server. This new module puts policies and security levels into place to provide additional protection when sharing key designs with suppliers and outsource partners who are outside of the enterprise.

Along with the new modules, the 4.0 release ushers in an array of features designed to improve engineers’ ability to create detailed designs. One standout new feature, Auto Round, automates the time-consuming process of rounding edges in a model. In addition, large assembly performance has been improved through optimized file management procedures that reduce memory consumption by 40 percent and up model retrieval times by as much as 60 percent, PTC officials say. An improved Import DataDoctor feature also bolsters engineers’ ability to reuse legacy and third-party CAD data, and 4.0 delivers new surfacing enhancements, which allow engineers to work directly on a model simply by pushing and pulling on the surface.

The Pro/ENGINEER Interface for JT is priced at $9,995 for a locked license. The Pro/ENGINEER Tolerance Analysis Extension Powered by CETOL Technology, for analyzing tolerances and variances directly in the CAD model, costs $1,495 for a locked license and $3,750 for a floating license. The Pro/ENGINEEER ECAD-MCAD Collaboration Extension is priced at $4,995 for a locked license and the Pro/ENGINEER Rights Management Extension costs $1,000 and another $500 for each registered Pro/ENGINEER user.

Wildfire 4.0 offers a new rights management module to protect design IP when collaborating outside of the enterprise.

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