MCAD Tech News (#329)

14 Jun, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

Siemens PLM Announces Solid Edge ST5

Coming in July, the latest version of hybrid history-based/history-free modeler updates 3D assembly and part design features as well as 2D drafting.

By Bill Fane

Editor's Note: Looking for more Solid Edge news? Check the Cadalyst web site next week for a report on Solid Edge University 2012!

A few weeks ago, before the company announced the new release, Siemens PLM Software gave me a preview of Solid Edge ST5, the latest version of its 3D solids modeler. On Tuesday, at Solid Edge University in Nashville, Tennessee, the product was officially launched, giving me the green light to tell you about all the new features and functions.

Stay tuned for a full-blown Cadalyst Labs Review, which will be forthcoming after the production software ships in early July.

Meanwhile, here's a peek at the highlights of Solid Edge ST5.

Building a 3D Model

First, a bit of background information. There are two primary ways to build a 3D CAD model: history based (often called parametric modeling) and history free (often called direct modeling, because users manipulate the model directly using a mouse). In history-based modeling, a solid model is built from a number of separate features. Each feature is defined and combined with the current state of the part in a sequential, step-by-step process. History-free models are also produced one feature at a time in a sequential process, but the underlying definitions are lost when new features are combined with the current state of the part. With this process, you end up with a single entity. Each approach has numerous advantages and disadvantages, with many users' devotion to one option over not unlike a religion.

Solid Edge ST5 effectively resolves the debate with its Synchronous Technology (ST). Models are built in a history-based environment, but they can be edited as though they are history-free, plus you can add history-based relationships to history-free models. This includes the ability to add relationships to (history-free) models imported from other CAD systems. Read more »

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Bill Fane is a Cadalyst contributing editor, a registered professional engineer, and a close personal friend of Captain LearnCurve.


PTC’s Heppelmann Declares ‘New Era of Manufacturing’

At PlanetPTC Live customer event, the CEO says technology will drive the strategy that sets manufacturers apart.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

No longer can a manufacturer set itself apart solely by being operationally efficient. To succeed in today's manufacturing market, a company needs to gain competitive advantage through its products and service.

Those were the words of Jim Heppelmann, president and CEO of PTC, at the company's PlanetPTC Live annual customer gathering in Orlando, Florida, early this month. Declaring a "new era of manufacturing" driven by technology, Heppelmann explained, "Over the past few decades, global manufacturers have made massive investments in technology and process change aimed at improving operational efficiency. Today, however, we are reaching the limits of the competitive edge these investments can deliver. Manufacturers need to be operationally efficient to stay in the game, but they can no longer achieve meaningful advantage from that alone.

"The time has come for a new source of competitive advantage – product and service advantage – from technology and process change that improves strategy decision-making across the enterprise, from engineering to the supply chain to sales and service networks."

Heppelmann believes that technology — specifically, PTC software —is the key to this undertaking. PTC is trying to determine how its customers can set themselves apart, he said. What are the best ways to carry out each part of the product-development process, how can those processes be integrated across the company — and how can we transform those processes? Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is editor-in-chief of Cadalyst.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


International Conference on Additive Manufacturing
July 10–11, 2012
Nottingham, England
The 7th International Conference on Additive Manufacturing will focus on the research and application of additive manufacturing for the production of end-use components, including process, materials, design, and software development together with supply chain and management issues. Read more »

The Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference
July 16–20, 2012
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Coordinate Metrology Society assembles at this event to learn about the latest in-use advancements and new product developments in measurement software or systems that produce, utilize, and analyze 3D coordinate data. Read more »

Capture 3D Measurement Innovation 2012
August 21–23, 2012
Costa Mesa, California
Capture 3D's fifth biannual Measurement Innovation Conference will focus on how companies are improving their design, production, and manufacturing with innovative 3D measurement technology. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at


Intel's Ivy Bridge Processors Hit the CAD Workstation Marketplace
The incessant pace of progress and innovation for workstation technology never slows. Less than a quarter after every major workstation OEM launched a full trio of models based on Intel's Sandy Bridge-EP (a.k.a. Xeon E5), the industry leader in CPUs has already released its follow-on processor generation, code-named Ivy Bridge. Read the CADspeed blog post »

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Convincing the "It'll Never Work" User
Learn how to cope with those users who are always pessimistic about new ideas. Read more »

When Your Problem User Is Management
Change your CAD management priorities to accommodate financial goals — and use hard facts to make your case. Read more »

Create PDFs from AutoCAD Drawings
You already know you can create PDFs out of DWG files, but do you know how to get the exact PDF file you need? Don't settle for the default settings any longer! Watch the video »

All-in-One CAD Tip #6:
AutoCAD's Alias Editor, Sketchbook Designer, and Office Etiquette

Three great CAD tips in one! AutoCAD's Alias Editor puts your favorite commands at your fingertips; tap into your creative site with Autodesk Sketchbook Designer; and make your CAD office refrigerator a place that welcomes everyone's lunch. Sponsored by the HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation. Watch the video »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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