MCAD Tech News (#250)

17 Sep, 2008

Manufacturing Takes Center Stage at IMTS 2008

Metal clanking, sparks flying, big machines, robots, lasers, and more make the scene -- and draw 92,000 attendees -- at Chicago event.

By Jeffrey Rowe

Jeffrey Rowe photo

I just returned from spending a few days at the biggest and best manufacturing technology extravaganza in North America: the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS 2008). The show, held in even-numbered years at McCormick Place in Chicago, runs nearly a full week and is organized and sponsored by the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT).

IMTS 2008, the 27th of these events, posted its strongest attendance since 2000. Total registration for the six-day event, September 8-13, was 92,450. As impressive were the 1,803 exhibiting companies that occupied 1,233,878 square feet of exhibit space.

A fascinating aspect of this show is that, regardless of their products' size, the machine vendors ship, set up, and run the machines on the carpeted show floor. It can be a bit noisy, but is a sharp and exciting contrast to the staid Web meetings that have become the standard method for demonstrating software. Some of these machines are so large, in fact, that they are capable of handling and processing billets of steel measured in meters and thousands of kilograms.

The exhibit floor is enormous and it requires several days to take it all in, although most attendees have specific areas of interest. To help guide attendees to vendors efficiently, the exhibits are organized in pavilions that are geared toward specific industries and technologies. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor 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 by e-mail at or by phone at 719.221.1867.


Solid Thinking SolidWorks Tutorial
CircuitWorks — Electro Meets Mechanical, Part 1

By Richard Doyle

Printed circuit board (PCB) design has really evolved in the last 25 years. In the early days, PCB designers used sheets of Mylar, colored pencils, and crepe tape to lay out components and circuitry. With the advent of PCB design software, those days are long gone. One similarity to days gone by is the gap between the electronics designer and the mechanical or packaging designer. Integrating PCBs into a mechanical design often means re-modeling circuit boards from scratch, leading to possible errors and costly rework. CircuitWorks bridges the divide between electrical and mechanical, allowing you to automatically create accurate, fully populated models from electrical computer-aided design (ECAD) data. CircuitWorks was developed by Priware, a company recently acquired by SolidWorks. CircuitWorks is now available as part of the SolidWorks Office Premium package.

CircuitWorks Stand-Alone
As a stand-alone product, CircuitWorks is an intuitive tool for viewing, editing, and translating files created by ECAD systems. CircuitWorks reads and writes industry standard IDF (v2, 3, and 4) and PADS (.ASC). CircuitWorks can display the board outline, components, holes (plated and non-plated), keep-out and keep-in areas, as well as notes from the ECAD data. With IDF v4, even pads, filled areas, and traces are shown.  Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

SolidWorks 2009 Midwest Premiere Events
October 1-8, 2008
Various Upper Midwest Cities
Graphics Systems will host these events focusing on the release of SolidWorks 2009. The free seminars will also highlight several additional products that increase productivity and product quality for companies that design their own products. Read more »

SolidWorks 2009 Launch Events
October 8-16, 2008
Various California Cities
Sponsored by 3-D CADWARE, these events will let participants discover new tools for designing better product; learn to handle large, complex assemblies; network with fellow designers and engineers; and more. Read more »

PLM Summit North America 2008
October 13-14, 2008
St. Augustine, Florida
This three day gathering of cross-industry professionals will include keynote conference sessions and interactive workshops run by leading solution providers covering the length and breadth of the PLM spectrum. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on