CAD Tech News (#72)

21 Sep, 2017 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ Siemens PLM Software Sharpens Focus on Digital Factory

At its annual Industry Analyst Conference, the company talked up its strategy of providing comprehensive automation and digitalization for progressive product development.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

Siemens PLM Software, the company behind product-development applications including NX and Solid Edge for 3D modeling and Teamcenter for product lifecycle management (PLM), has marched to a steady drumbeat of technological developments and acquisitions over the past half-decade, moving ever closer to its goal of delivering a full-fledged portfolio of software that supports the Digital Factory, a combination of automation and digitalization technologies for progressive manufacturing enterprises.

Jan Mrosik, CEO, Digital Factory Division, detailed the company's journey at its Industry Analyst Conference 2017 in Boston this month, where it hosted dozens of industry analysts and media representatives. Attendees of this annual event get a look at recent Siemens PLM Software developments, perspective on the latest manufacturing market developments, and an overview of the company's vision and strategy for the future.

"We've been in this business of automation and digitalization for a very long time," Mrosik told attendees in his opening keynote, emphasizing that for Siemens, this focus is not "trendy" or something "nice to talk about." "We've been expanding this business step by step by step. This is the solid basis for our business."

Siemens is the leading company in automation, Mrosik continued, enhanced by its expertise in digitalization and a variety of industries, including aerospace and defense, automotive and transportation, electronics, semiconductors, consumer products, energy, industrial equipment, marine, and medical.

Siemens PLM Software has been expanding its portfolio of product development applications since the acquisition of UGS ten years ago.
Siemens PLM Software has been expanding its portfolio of product development applications since the acquisition of UGS ten years ago.

Digitalization is affecting a great number of large markets today, Mrosik explained, including medical, infrastructure, public transportation, and autonomous vehicles, and it's a driving force behind artificial intelligence.

Why would a customer invest in automation technology? Mrosik answered his own question, detailing the following benefits:

  • speed: increasingly faster product development and time to market.
  • flexibility: products today are offered in many configurations — vehicles, for example, can have millions of potential configurations, and Adidas is setting up to deliver shoes in a bespoke manner, based on the customer's preference for physical properties and style — and automation allows companies to deliver efficiently and economically.
  • quality: automation can help reduce human error and free time for engineers to focus on design optimization and innovation.
  • efficiency: automation enables wiser use of time, resources, and money to help a company stay competitive.
  • security: today's products must be set up to deliver benefits without exposing companies to the security risks that come with digitalization.

The intelligent model, also known as a digital twin, represents the systems within systems of the modern digital product, which can comprise mechanical parts, software, electronic and electrical systems, sensors, communications/networking, and other components, as well as the unique environmental conditions in which it operates. "We need intelligent solutions to model these complexities," Mrosik said, not only to capture all aspect of the design and how they interrelate, but also to enable design simulation and to collect data from real-world use to help inform future design decisions. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is the content director for Longitude Media, publisher of Cadalyst.

▶ Herrera on Hardware: Harnessing the Cloud for CAD — The Case for Virtual Workstations, Part 4

With virtual workstations, the infrastructure between the client and the cloud can make or break the user experience.

By Alex Herrera

An emerging paradigm for CAD computing environments, hosting virtual workstations in the cloud presents CAD professionals a host of potential benefits — benefits explored in previous installments of this series. Of particular appeal is the potential to dramatically simplify IT complexity, by outsourcing the procurement and management of desktops to the cloud provider. But not everything gets simpler in a move to the cloud; making that transition demands attention to a few technology and infrastructure issues that a traditional topology of distributed physical workstations does not. First and foremost among those issues is securing the means to get to and from those virtual desktops in the cloud's physical datacenter and providing the right endpoint devices for the desks (and laps) of users.

Networks, Protocols, and Clients

Cadalyst: Summer on the CloudThere's more to selecting and securing a virtual workstation environment than choosing a cloud provider and machine instances. The cloud-hosted virtual workstation creates a visual representation of your desktop, in the form of a pixel stream, rendered with a certain resolution and frame rate. But on top of creating that pixel stream must come the means to get that pixel stream from the physical cloud infrastructure to your office or campus and displayed for the user. And similarly, how to get user I/O, such as keystrokes and mouse updates, quickly back to the cloud for processing.

Ultimately, with graphics, computes, and data on the other side of a network, the user's experience is only going to be as good as the network that sits in between. Fortunately, the emerging cloud ecosystem is well aware of that fact, and numerous vendors — from traditional network service providers (NSPs) to the cloud providers themselves — are stepping in to address that need. Most top-tier NSPs, including familiar names like Cisco, EMC, and Level3, offer some type of direct-to-the-cloud services with high quality of service (QoS). And if they don't offer the service now, they likely will shortly, as all realize the cloud is where today's big growth opportunity lies. On top of what the traditional NSPs offer, and in the pursuit of being one-stop shops, top-tier cloud providers are offering high-speed, low-latency connections, like Microsoft Azure's ExpressRoute, AWS DirectConnect, and Google's Cloud Interconnect.

Cloud Means WAN Only, Which Means Extra Care in Network Capabilities

Which network resources are the right ones? And which providers of those resources are the best choices? There's no shortage of capable options, but first it's important to understand exactly what challenges that network will face in providing a high-quality, interactive, real-time visual experience.

And that leads to an important distinction between cloud and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)-hosted virtual workstation solutions. VDI-hosted machines may be accessed via local area networks (LANs), say in a single office — with huge bandwidth, low latency, and everything behind a firewall. Using the cloud, by definition, means relying on wide area networks (WANs) all the time. And that places more of an onus on two key components: a network connection to the cloud that's up to snuff, and an adequate protocol for delivering complex 3D graphical displays over that connection. Read more »

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Alex Herrera is a consultant focusing on high-performance graphics and workstations.


Live with Robert Green: Don't Be Penny-Wise and Workstation-Foolish
CAD managers and IT professionals: Join Cadalyst for this first-ever live web event with Robert Green, our resident expert and widely popular speaker and adviser on all things related to CAD management. Green will share firsthand how proper investment in CAD computing hardware pays off big in the long run for CAD users and their companies. Join us live on Wednesday, October 4, at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT, or sign up now to view the on-demand recording later. Sponsored by Fujitsu. Register today »

Autodesk Presents Product Design & Manufacturing Collection Tour
A live webinar hosted by Cadalyst and sponsored by Autodesk will feature Autodesk product marketing manager Jim Byrne and senior technical marketing specialist Jay Tedeschi giving a guided tour of the Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection. Topics will include:

  • A firsthand overview of the collection, including the new Autodesk Nastran In-CAD and Autodesk Inventor HSM
  • Tips on how to get the most out of new features and enhancements
  • Ideas for improving your design quality and streamlining your workflow.

The webinar will be held October 11, 2017, at 2:00 PM ET. Register today »

United Utilities Tackles Water Projects with Collaborative BIM Strategy
A new building information modeling (BIM) approach, facilitated by Bentley Systems ProjectWise, is expected to save a UK utility more than GBP 40 million on capital delivery projects. Read more »

CAD Manager Column: CAD Management in a New Technological Era
Thanks to a host of network, IT, and other technological factors, the CAD environment is undergoing big changes. How can you face up to the evolving challenges in your workplace? Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: The Undo Command Master Class
So you think you know all there is to know about Undo? Not so fast! Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how to have ultimate control over the Undo behavior in AutoCAD, so you can customize it for maximum productivity. Watch the video »

Sponsored: Move Past the AutoCAD Ties that Bind
From Bentley Systems: You've invested a lot in your CAD software — but don't let that cloud the reality that it's time to consider other options. Read more »

New Intel Xeon W Has Arrived
The bottom line is, the 28-core Skylake processor is coming to the workstation market and things will never be the same. Read more »

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