31 Mar, 2005 By: Sara Ferris

Behind The Scenes

All together now

In the wake of Autodesk's first synchronized release of upgrades of all of its products, COO Carl Bass says that a fixed release schedule makes for a better product. Only a small minority of users say they don't need new software every year, Bass reports. Most customers don't have an opinion one way or the other on the frequency of upgrades.
 Of These Issues, Which Is The Greatest Challenge Facing You At Work?
Of These Issues, Which Is The Greatest Challenge Facing You At Work?

CAM consolidation

British developer of machining software Delcam extended its market position with the acquisition of Engineering Geometry Systems, developer of FeatureCAM software. FeatureCAM will continue as an independent product line, developed in the United States and sold worldwide.

MVP meeting

Market research firm Daratech has come up with a groovy abbreviation (and a new conference) for the hot topic of mockup, visualization and 3D publishing technologies. DaratechMVP2005 is scheduled for May 23-24 in Novi, Michigan. Daratech predicts that MVP adoption will surge as the technology improves and as departments outside engineering become aware of the benefits.

New name

Anzwerz, the software company headed by former Softdesk founder Dave Arnold, changed its name to the more conventional Retrieve Technologies. The company is targeting CAD users with StandardsRetrieve, a Web-based application that allows users to ask natural- language questions to find information about a company's design and drafting standards and procedures.

Surf's up

Formerly part of the PTC stable of products, the now independent ICEM Surf and Style products will be released for CATIA V5 in the third quarter. New releases of the stand-alone versions are due this summer.

We were here first

The next release of Solid Edge, announced last month and scheduled to ship this spring, will feature direct editing—the ability to change geometry without using the history tree. UGS says Solid Edge is the first midrange mechanical CAD application to offer this capability, though VX, Kubotek (CADKEY) and CoCreate may beg to differ. The benefit is being able to work with geometry imported from other applications, which generally arrives with no features or history.

Diminishing returns

With participation dwindling—since 1998, the show has shrunk in size by 45%, according to former exhibitor Datastream—National Manufacturing Week organizer Reed Exhibitions announced that next year's show will take place at the renovated Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, near Chicago O'Hare International Airport, March 20-23, 2006. The venue change reportedly will reduce costs for exhibitors and increase convenience for attendees.

Can't be discreet

Autodesk has dropped the Discreet name for its film and gaming software business in favor of Autodesk Media and Entertainment Division. The division remains based in Montreal, Canada.

ISO approval

The Adobe-led PDF/E initiative has completed a draft of its proposed ISO standard for exchange of engineering drawings. The group hopes that the standard will receive final approval by the end of 2006. Adobe Acrobat 7 supports the draft version as a Save As option.

Geospatial data deluge

Too much data, too few standards is how market research firm Daratech sums up one of the challenges facing the GIS and geospatial markets. The firm predicts increasing focus on data management, including synchronization, search techniques and linking to other information systems.

Pump up presentations

In a move that could push 3D into the mainstream office environment, Actify introduced SpinFire for Microsoft Office, a plugin that enables users to embed 2D and 3D CAD models in Actify's .3D format while working in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. The product will be available in late April for $299.

Capturing CAE

Startup company Enductive Solutions is targeting what it sees as a hole in current PLM systems—CAE test parameters and results. The company will consult and recommend custom solutions to customers who want to better integrate CAE into their design process. Fluent founder Michael Engelman is involved in the venture.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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