Management

CAD Central

1 Jul, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

Event Report: 2006 PTC/User Conference


PTC Shows Fruits of Recent Acquisitions

PTC's acquisitions in recent years have strayed from the company's core CAD capabilities, but PTC demonstrated at the PTC/User Conference last month in Dallas how they form a strategy for future growth.

PTC is on track to bring in $810–$820 million in revenue for 2006, with operating profit of around $120 million. President and CEO Dick Harrison remains confident that PTC will hit its goal of $1 billion in revenue by 2008. The company will do so by improving product quality, making high-quality acquisitions, selectively targeting new markets, delivering high-value services and serving small and mid-sized businesses.

A user conference is an excellent venue to show off what your users are doing, such as designing the BMW Oracle racing yacht, USA 87, the only American challenger for the 32nd America's Cup in 2007. The 40-member R&D team uses Pro/ENGINEER for all its design activities. The image at right shows a racing yacht hull and keel design done in PTC's Pro/ENGINEER.
A user conference is an excellent venue to show off what your users are doing, such as designing the BMW Oracle racing yacht, USA 87, the only American challenger for the 32nd America's Cup in 2007. The 40-member R&D team uses Pro/ENGINEER for all its design activities. The image at right shows a racing yacht hull and keel design done in PTC's Pro/ENGINEER.

Harrison mentioned life sciences, government and retail and apparel as areas where PTC's presence is growing, in large part thanks to recent acquisitions. Arbortext is a dynamic publishing tool that finds use in a broad range of markets. PTC plans to target manufacturers, who spend an estimated 1–2% of revenue on technical publications and translations, but also will pursue opportunities in life sciences and government. PTC gained a presence in the retail and apparel market with FlexPLM, a Windchill-based tool developed by Aptavis (acquired by PTC in June 2005).

PTC also plans to strengthen its offerings for its traditional market strongholds: electronics, industrial machinery, medical devices, automotive and aerospace.

PTC released Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3 in mid-March, after delaying shipment for six months to improve quality. The additional development time appears to have paid off in terms of fewer bug reports. The first shipment of Wildfire 3 was 18% more stable than the last shipment of Wildfire 2, says PTC.

Also new from PTC is a Schools Edition of Pro/ENGINEER, a free version whose data is incompatible with the regular version but otherwise offers the same capabilities.

For the future, PTC is focusing on integrating many of its acquired products with its core engineering applications. PTC's chief product officer, Jim Heppelmann, previewed the effort to integrate Mathsoft's Mathcad with Pro/ENGINEER to enable what the company calls predictive engineering—assessing the behavior of models early in the design process. A bidirectional link between the products will enable users to associate a Mathcad worksheet with a Pro/ENGINEER part or assembly file using the analysis feature.

Full integration is expected for the Wildfire 3 M030 maintenance release due in August. Users of Wildfire 2 can download a toolkit starting in July that will enable them to link Mathcad worksheets to their models.

UGS, IBM/Dassault Lead CAM Software Market

CIMdata recently ranked CAM software vendors in its NC Software Market Assessment Report, Version 15. CIMdata estimates that in 2005 UGS was the market leader based on revenue received with $123 million of CAM-related software and services revenues. This revenue resulted in a 14.6% market share. CIMdata also ranks vendors on end-user payment, which includes revenues received by resellers as well as vendor revenue. On this measure of overall market presence, IBM/Dassault is the largest vendor with an estimated $189 million in CAM-related software revenue and a 14.1% market share. Following IBM/Dassault are UGS, PTC, Delcam and Hitachi Zosen Systems.

New Company Takes over TurboCAD, DesignCAD

Broadcaster has sold its software assets, including TurboCAD and DesignCAD, to a new company, IMSI/Design, formed by Greyhawk Capital Management of Ketchum, ID. The $8 million transaction includes a payment of $6.5 million in cash and an interest-free note of $1.5 million to be paid in full by July 3, 2006. Other software products include TurboProject, FloorPlan and the HiJaak line of file conversion tools.

The investor group is led by software industry veteran Royal Farros, who will be CEO of the new company. In his blog (http://farros.spaces.msn.com/PersonalSpace.aspx?_c), Farros calls himself a serial entrepreneur, first with T/Maker, then iPrint and most recently MessageCast, which Microsoft acquired in 2005.

"The $650 billion design and construction industry is booming," says Farros. "With a terrific installed base of customers and an outstanding lineup of products, we think IMSI/Design is in a great position to hit the ground running."

Existing senior management and staff will stay with the new organization. Robert Mayer, former executive vice-president at Broadcaster and new executive vice-president of IMSI/Design, says "We now have the organization and resources in place to focus on driving design innovation and to set an aggressive pace in the CAD market."

Rapid Prototyping Market Boosted by Lower Entry Costs

Lower hardware costs for 3D printers are driving market growth, according to findings from Wohlers Report 2006. Wohlers Associates estimates that the worldwide market for additive fabrication (also known as rapid prototyping) grew 14.6% to an estimated $808.5 million in 2005, up from $705.2 million generated in 2004. Revenues from 3D printer sales were up 35.2% in 2005. Growth was 33.3% and 9.2% in 2004 and 2003, respectively.

"The industry has remained solid after a spectacular 2004. Systems, materials and services experienced double-digit growth in 2005, although growth was not as strong as the previous year," says Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates. The report also notes growing interest in rapid manufacturing—direct production of finished goods using rapid prototyping technology—among industries such as aerospace, motor sports, medical, dental and consumer products.

UGS Targets Midmarket with Range of New Tools

UGS announced several new versions of products in its Velocity series of solutions for midmarket customers.

NX CAM Express, a new product, is designed to capitalize on UGS' expertise in CAM. Its capabilities include 2.5-axis machining, 3-axis milling, mill-turn and 5-axis machining. Although it features interoperability with Solid Edge v19, NX CAM Express accepts files from any CAD system. NX CAM Express will be available in July, alone or in various bundles with Solid Edge.

Solid Edge v19 delivers more features for the manufacturing process, including bend tables that indicate the bending sequence of a component and accurate triangulation lines for transformation pieces.
Solid Edge v19 delivers more features for the manufacturing process, including bend tables that indicate the bending sequence of a component and accurate triangulation lines for transformation pieces.

Solid Edge v19, due out later this summer, features more than 300 enhancements, among them a new animation environment that provides new relationship types and drivers so users can perform motion studies early on in the design process. Simulations can be output to AVI and rendered using Virtual Studio+.

Solid Edge v19 will directly open JT part and assembly files. JT is UGS' lightweight format for sharing any combination of B-rep (boundary representation), facet, assembly structure and attribute data. JT attributes can be mapped to Solid Edge properties.

To facilitate working with 2D data, Solid Edge v19 accurately reproduces imported DXF and DWG files.

In the 3D area, Solid Edge v19 supports the ASME Y14.41 standards for 3D annotations on a 3D model. The support extends to the free XpresReview viewer.

In v19, Solid Edge will introduce 64-bit support, though not all elements will be available at first in 64-bit versions. This support will mainly benefit users who create massive assemblies. Both 32-and 64-bit Solid Edge versions will share the same file format. Some areas of Solid Edge use multithreading, so users may see some benefits from dual-core systems also.

Though the Velocity Series features Teamcenter Express as its tool for data management—or design management, as UGS likes to call it—UGS continues to work on Insight, the Sharepoint-based product data management application that comes with Solid Edge.Teamcenter is targeted at more complex workflows and can scale from the workgroup to the enterprise.

UGS also introduced Femap v9.2, its pre- and postprocessing FEA (finite-element modeling) application that is the FEA component of the company's Velocity Series portfolio. —SF

Do the Math: Engineers Rely on Paper and Pencil

Engineers and scientists may think they're savvy about technology, but a recent survey by Maplesoft, a developer of mathematical and analytical software, finds that they still turn to pencil and paper to perform mathematical calculations (52% do so daily, and an additional 21% weekly). Spreadsheets are the most common software tool used in analysis and design and are used daily by 39% of respondents. The more than 2,000 survey participants include scientists, engineers and researchers from markets such as aerospace, automotive, electronics and telecommunications.

"It is startling to see such hard data revealing the continued reliance on tools and practices that require so much manual effort and leave so much room for error," says Jim Cooper, CEO of Maplesoft. "This is a user base that is charged with driving innovation, exploring the cutting edge and bringing the best new products and services to market and yet, to a large extent, they are holding onto outdated and outmoded practices."

The problem with that, Cooper argues, is that work remains undocumented, so it can't be retrieved for future reference and use.


About the Author: Sara Ferris


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