MCAD Tech News #1964 Jan, 2007 By: Jeffrey Rowe
Software development program evolves into automotive design powerhouse
I'm on my way to Detroit, Michigan, this week for NAIAS -- the 2007 North American International Auto Show. For three days I'll get to check out concept and production vehicles, new and emerging technologies, and vehicles from Chinese companies exhibiting at this show for the first time. It promises to be an exciting trip.
As an industrial designer and mechanical engineer originally from the Detroit area, I have always had a special interest in automotive design, especially exterior styling and the tools used to realize it. Clay models are by no means extinct in the styling studios, but digital styling methods are becoming increasingly prevalent. The most popular styling tools in use today are probably Autodesk AliasStudio and ICEM Surf.
I recently spoke with Pete Moorhouse, director of product marketing at ICEM, about automotive styling and ICEM's place in that arena. ICEM grew out of an internal software development program that took place back in the mid-1980s at Volkswagen in Germany. The intent was to develop surface modeling software for use by the company in car body skin design and engineering. That software was then made available commercially through a joint-venture company called ICEM that was set up by Volkswagen and Control Data. (The software itself was given the name ICEM Surf.) Having gone through a change of ownership in the 1990s, the company was the subject of a management buyout in 2002. It is now an independent, privately held company.
Since its earliest days, ICEM has concentrated on developing surface modeling, surface model validation and design visualization software. Although the main market for this software has historically been the automotive industry, it is also used by aerospace companies such as Airbus and Delta Air Lines, as well as sporting goods and consumer durable goods manufacturers. Increasingly, it's used anywhere aesthetics and surface quality play an important role. Read more>>
By Sara Ferris
Chris Williams, president of Seemage, visited Cadalyst editors recently to discuss his company's approach to 3D publishing. Williams explained that the typical Seemage customer is someone who needs to describe some function relative to a product -- for example, how the product works or how to use it. He cited an example of one company that uses the product on the factory floor to illustrate assembly problems for engineers.
Williams referenced a study by Aberdeen Group that found that 62% of manufacturers reuse design data in downstream publishing. The Seemage Publisher application collects data (both geometry and metadata) from various sources, including all CAD applications -- it can even handle large assemblies. It supports document publishing in a number of formats, including PDF and HTML.
Williams noted that PLM software from any vendor includes a publishing component. In traditional manufacturing workflows, publication takes place at the end of the design process. "CAD/CAM shortens the design process," Williams said, "but publishing still takes the same amount of time." Seemage's goal with its Publisher product is to make the publication work concurrent with the design. The publications remain fully associative with the CAD model, so any changes to the design are reflected automatically. Seemage Publisher also has the advantage of being a desktop tool, so users don't need to change work processes to use it. Read more>>
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