CAD Central

31 Jan, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

New CEO at Autodesk.


Raising the Curtain on SolidWorks 2007

Nancy Spurling Johnson

SolidWorks World 2006 brought 3,700-plus attendees, an all-time high, to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in late January. More than 200 new functions will debut in SolidWorks 2007 when it ships this summer, the company revealed. Among them will be 3D scanning capabilities inside SolidWorks Office Premium, push-and-pull design changes, 50% smaller file sizes and 3D PDF capabilities.

The new SWIFT (SolidWorks intelligent feature technology) platform will help designers move from 2D to 3D, offering functions such as the ability to create tolerance schemes. New Power Assist functionality will automatically add 3D annotations to SolidWorks models, laying them out in a drawing view. New PDM capabilities appear in the core product, and COSMOSMotion will be added at no extra charge to SolidWorks Office Premium.

The Partner Pavilion showcased the goods and services of around 100 companies. The most buzz surrounded the new NextEngine 3D scanner ($2,495), which can quickly scan physical objects and create high-resolution digital models for use in SolidWorks 2007.

SolidWorks COO Jeff Ray reported that the largest market segments served by SolidWorks are consumer products, mechanical products and machinery.

For an expanded report, including new products on display at the show, go to

Nancy Johnson is Cadalyst's Web editor.

Transition at the Top: Autodesk Promotes Carl Bass to CEO

Autodesk announced that current COO Carl Bass will become president and CEO of the company effective May 1, 2006. He succeeds 14-year CEO Carol Bartz, who will become Autodesk's first executive chair of the board. Bass also joins the board of directors.

 Carl Bass takes over the CEO spot at Autodesk.
Carl Bass takes over the CEO spot at Autodesk.

Bass emphasized that Autodesk's direction will remain unchanged—it will continue its current business strategy of "relentless commitment to innovation."

As COO, Bass has been responsible for sales, marketing and product development in Autodesk's core businesses: manufacturing, infrastructure, media and entertainment, building and wireless data services.

As executive chair of the board, Bartz will focus on improving the business climate for Autodesk, particularly in emerging markets such as China, India and Eastern Europe.

New Adobe Acrobat 3D Product Converts CAD Models to PDF

Adobe stepped further into the 3D world with the announcement of Acrobat 3D. Available now, the product incorporates OKYZ technology, which Adobe adquired over a year ago, to convert 3D models to a format that can be embedded in a PDF file. The technology can obtain model data from the OpenGL graphics stream, so no plug-ins are needed for the originating CAD application.

Adobe Acrobat 3D provides redlining and markup tools that can be activated for use with Adobe s free viewer.
Adobe Acrobat 3D provides redlining and markup tools that can be activated for use with Adobe s free viewer.

Adobe introduced support for the U3D 3D format in PDF files about a year ago, but CAD vendors have been slow (Bentley being the exception) to add U3D export capabilities to their applications. Acrobat 3D should make it easier to create 3D content usable in PDF format.

3D PDF documents can be used for collaboration among designers and for downstream applications such as technical documentation and marketing materials. Acrobat 3D sells for $995, with upgrades from Acrobat Professional running $699 from v6 and $545 from v7.

Users can publish 3D content by dragging models into Acrobat 3D, by right-clicking the file and selecting the Adobe PDF conversion option, and by using the 3D Capture Utility, which converts a 3D image on screen to PDF (this last option works with UNIX as well as Windows operating systems, but captures only geometric data). Users can also insert 3D CAD models into Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, then use Acrobat 3D to convert them into PDF files.

Once a 3D object is imported into Acrobat 3D, it can be manipulated with the Acrobat 3D Toolkit. This tool lets users create animations, edit lighting, change textures and save changes as either a 3D object or a 2D raster or vector image.

Adobe partner Right Hemisphere concurrently announced plans to release plug-ins for Acrobat 3D in March. The PMI module ($495) adds support for product management information and GD&T data. The PDF Publishing module ($295) uses templates to automate the creation of interactive 3D PDFs, eliminating the need for Javascript. The company's Deep Exploration CAD Edition features a new price of $1,495 and support for 3D AEC formats (though specific formats were not provided at press time).

IBM, PTC Team Up for PLM Sales in China

As part of a new cooperative marketing agreement, IBM will resell PTC's PLM (product lifecycle management) software, primarily in China but also to targeted industries—electronics, consumer packaged goods and life sciences—in the United States and Europe. IBM will focus on end-to-end enterprise PLM solutions that integrate with other applications such as ERP, SCM and CRM.

Plant and process software news
Plant and process software news

The agreement extends a strategic relationship that began in October 2004, when IBM agreed to provide the infrastructure for PTC's PLM On Demand option.

Though this announcement does not affect the 25-year relationship between IBM and Dassault, in which IBM sells and supports cobranded Dassault products, that relationship has changed in recent years. Dassault and IBM last year went their separate ways in China, with Dassault partnering with Chinese firm CAXA to jointly develop PLM solutions built on the CAA V5 platform.

Dassault has also forged an alliance with Microsoft to develop its products for .NET as well as for IBM's WebSphere and took over operation of direct sales to small- and midsized companies in the United States and Europe (IBM continues to serve larger customers).

PTC also reported that its revenue for the first quarter of 2006 was $192.5 million, up 14% over the same period in 2005.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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