MCAD Tech News (#287)

22 Jul, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

PLM Personalized

Modular 360 Enterprise lets companies build a solution to suit unique product-development needs.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

Like the younger sibling of a star athlete or a class clown, product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions often have to overcome the reputation of those that came before. Specifically, older PLM solutions were thought by many to be technology overkill, expensive, or too challenging to implement. The new kids on the block, however, are challenging that notion by offering modular and scalable functionality, more affordable pricing, and improved ease of use. One such solution — and possibly the newest — is 360 Enterprise Software.

When it came out of the gate, 360 Enterprise was christened PLM360. But as its developers began to introduce the enterprise solution to potential customers, they found that a name focused on "product lifecycle" was limiting and sometimes confusing. General manager Morty Smolash explained, "We elected to change the name to 360 Enterprise because we were not conveying the true ability of the software. We're saying engineering does not live by itself. For PLM to be meaningful, vital data must be utilized across departments."

360 Enterprise is an offshoot of Toronto-based Mecanica Solutions, a company that has been providing engineering services and technology — including research and development, engineering services, PLM solutions, and other engineering software — to the aerospace, automotive, and AEC (architecture/engineering/construction) industries for 25 years. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.


Many Hands Make Light Work of Product Design

Redpoint Engineering makes a case for refining outsourcing by moving design tasks from the one-stop shop to a nimble network of specialists.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

"Outsourcing" is a dirty word to many in this country, especially those who've seen their jobs shipped elsewhere by budget-slashing employers. And consumers know all too well that when finding the cheapest labor is a company's primary goal, quality suffers. But outsourcing isn't always a reckless bid to cut costs. One U.S. outsourcing firm argues that it's simply more efficient and effective to send product design tasks to whomever can do them best — and that this method of distributing work is the way of the future.

California-based Redpoint Engineering is a mechanical engineering and design firm that creates everything from credit card readers to medical sensors for its clients. "We're pretty far-ranging in the kinds of products we can do," said President Larry Gach. "The skills we've developed translate very well across industry lines." The projects Redpoint tackles are those that require multidisciplinary teams — the combined efforts of a mechanical engineer, industrial designer, and software expert, for example.

Redpoint's clients often choose outsourcing because maintaining that varied engineering expertise on staff is a challenge. "There are many companies — big companies, in fact — out there that are very thin in mechanical engineering," said Gach.

He explained that choosing the appropriate number of staff members is difficult for companies, especially when the amount of work fluctuates. "There's no such thing as a person-year; if you have one engineer, he or she is going to be either under-utilized or over-utilized" — resulting in degraded quality and missed schedules on the one hand, or wasted wages on the other. Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Solid Edge Productivity Summit Tour
July 27–September 10, 2010
Various cities
At this complimentary one-day event, Solid Edge users will join Solid Edge development executives and regional application engineers from both Siemens PLM Software and local solution partners to learn, network, and share design processes. Read more »

CoCreate Virtual Conference 2010
July 28, 2010
1–5 p.m. ET
The no-charge, virtual event will offer an in-depth introduction to CoCreate, best practices, new capabilities, and networking opportunities. Read more »

CIMdata PLM Certificate Program
September 20–24, 2010
Oslo, Norway
This assessment-based certificate program from CIMdata, a product lifecycle management (PLM) consulting and research firm, prepares PLM professionals to address the challenges inherent in PLM implementations. 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


Cadalyst Updates Benchmark Test for AutoCAD 2011
The latest version of the Cadalyst Benchmark Test, C2011 v5.3b, is available for free download at Developed by Art Liddle, a former editor of Cadalyst magazine, the Cadalyst benchmark is designed to test and compare the performance of systems running AutoCAD. The latest version includes minor adjustments to ensure proper operation with AutoCAD 2011, but can be used with versions dating back to 2000. The test supports full, basic AutoCAD only. Full details are contained in the ReadMe file included with the download.

Cadalyst Labs Report: 100 Fabulous Freebies for CAD Users
Readers and editors share software tools and tips that are worth their weight in gold, but don't cost a penny. Read more »

Archicad Insights Tutorial: Use DWG Format Details in ArchiCAD
Incorporate your existing CAD detail library into your workflow. Read more »

Océ Sees Green in the Future of Color Printing
Wide-format hardware developer believes opportunity lies in courting the masses of 2D CAD users. Read more »

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