30 Sep, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

Behind the scenes in the world of CAD

Procurement Drama

NASA is in hot water with its inspector general regarding its procurement of PTC MCAD and data management software. PTC competitor UGS challenged a competitive procurement to renew 301 existing Pro/ENGINEER licenses and acquire 50 new ones. In addition, the NASA IG looked into complaints that NASA is trying to make the PTC products the agency standard without performing a technical assessment. The report found "significant confusion" among NASA employees and contractors about whether NASA had an official standard MCAD tool. The full report is posted at

Structural Sale

To extend its BIM (building information modeling) footprint into structural engineering, Autodesk acquired developer partner Robobat for $33 million in cash. Robobat's ROBOT Millennium integrates with Revit Structure, and Robobat develops steel and concrete detailing software that runs on AutoCAD.

In the past year, has your company outsourced CAD work?
In the past year, has your company outsourced CAD work?

Intergraph Buyout

Intergraph will be acquired by an investor group led by Hellman & Friedman and Texas Pacific Group. Shareholders will receive $44 in cash for each share of Intergraph common stock, a 22% premium over the average closing share price for the 20 trading days immediately before the close.

DWG 2007 Deciphered

New DWGdirect 2.0.3 software libraries from the Open Design Alliance support the 2007 version of the DWG file format, all the way down to Autodesk's new Trusted DWG label. And more importantly, according to Evan Yares, alliance president, "it includes extensive error detection and recovery capabilities that let it repair hidden problems in DWG files, even ones that were created by AutoCAD itself."

New Math

Adobe's Acrobat 3D is jumping from its initial release all the way to Version 8, most likely to fit in better with the rest of the Acrobat line. Acrobat 8 Professional is due out in November, and Acrobat 3D will follow in spring 2007.

Apple Acceleration

Graphisoft reports that Archicad runs up to twice as fast on Apple's dual-core Intel processor machines than on Mac G5s with the same configuration.

SolidWorks Showcase

The tenth annual SolidWorks Design Contest promises more than $150,000 in prizes to ten winners. Entries will be judged based on aesthetic appeal, technical challenges, the organization's use of SolidWorks software and supporting explanatory text. Deadline for entries is November 30, 2006.

Classroom Copies

Autodesk launched a Student Engineering and Design Community Web site. Students now have free access to downloads of Autodesk software at

Searching for Specs

The Internet is gaining ground as the preferred resource for finding components and suppliers, according to GlobalSpec's fifth annual Engineering Trends Survey. Ninety percent of respondents have found product specifications online, and 82% use the Internet for research.

Ambulance for Sale

A Florida man who pled guilty to copyright infringement charges in connection with multimillion-dollar sales of pirated Autodesk, Adobe Systems and Macromedia software was sentenced to six years in prison. Danny Ferrer of Lakeland, Florida, must pay more than $4.1 million in restitution and sell all the assets he procured with his profits, including a Lamborghini, a Hummer, two Corvettes, two Cessna planes, a helicopter, a motorboat and an ambulance.

Sourcing Sites Merge, an online marketplace for the manufacturing community, acquired, an on-demand sourcing platform for European manufacturers. The transaction reportedly creates a single global marketplace through which more than $5 billion in manufacturing services was sourced in the past year.

About the Author: Sara Ferris