MCAD Tech News #159

30 Nov, 2005

PTC Forays Into Publishing

Acquisition of Arbortext extends offerings
to current and potential customers

The concept of data reuse has been a big issue in the CAD world for some time now. It's also been big in the world of technical publishing and other forms of written documentation for several years, where content-management systems let users gain control over creating and distributing information. An oversimplified way to explain the concept is this: A good content-management system provides the ability to author a body of text once, then repurpose it for specific tasks and audiences.

In July, PTC took a huge leap into the world of content management and technical publishing when it acquired Arbortext, a major player in the enterprise publishing software business, for $190 million in cash. Arbortext software has been used to automate the assembly (authoring) and publishing (output) of a broad spectrum of documents: product information, marketing documents, service instructions, maintenance procedures, legal information, software documentation and on and on.

The main attraction of Arbortext software has been its ability to efficiently and cost-effectively publish original content to multiple audiences in multiple languages in multiple output formats (hard copy and electronic). This content reuse cuts overall production time and cost while ensuring higher quality. The process is not as simple as I've described it, but it's not overly complicated either, once the systems are in place. Read more >>



Cadalyst Labs Review: ICEM Surf 4.5 — Design with Dynamic Surfaces

by Mike Hudspeth, IDSA

ICEM Surf 4.5 is a high-end surfacing program used to create the wonderful class A surfaces we've come to expect in stylish products such as vehicles and consumer goods. It's designed to be used in conjunction with high-end solid modeling packages such as Pro/ENGINEER and Unigraphics NX. ICEM Surf 4.5 can be used by anyone who needs surfacing capabilities, from industrial designers to toolmakers. It can build fast visualizations to quickly show the impact of what is being designed. ICEM Surf 4.5 has tools to reverse engineer surfaces from point cloud data, so users can opt to build a model and then scan it in. Users can build cross sections that are linked to points that will be used to create controllable surfaces. With dynamic modeling, surfaces update on the fly as they are changed. Read more >>


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Alias Design for the Senses Tour
December 2005
Various U.S. locations
Presented by Alias, tour will present industry solutions and forward-thinking ideas to design professionals, hobbyists and decision-makers.

Innovation is a Team Sport
December 8, 2005, Detroit, Michigan
January 17, 2006, London, United Kingdom
January 19, 2006, Frankfurt, Germany
Seminars presented by UGS will feature manufacturing executives and industry analysts discussing how the JT open 3D data format is serving as a common collaboration language for PLM in the global manufacturing industry.

For Cadalyst's full calendar of events, click here>>


what's new at

Online Archives:Click here to view an online version of this newsletter and past issues of MCAD Tech News.

Get the Code!Cadalyst's Hot Tip Harry and AutoLISP Solutions code for November is now available for download. This month's routines handle calculating fuel mileage, selecting a plotter, editing attributes and more.

Cadalyst Labs Review: Need Speed? Dual Chips Max Out CAD Power: In its second workstation roundup of the year, Cadalyst Labs reviews the latest in dual-processor technology from @Xi Computer, HP, Monarch Computer Systems and Polywell Computers.



About the Author
Jeffrey Rowe is the principal of Cairowest Group, an independent industrial design, mechanical engineering and technical communication consulting firm with offices in Colorado and Michigan. You can reach him at or 719.539.8549.