MCAD Tech News (#257)

7 Jan, 2009

Software Review: Solid Edge ST, Part 1p>

Synchronous Technology is only the beginning of what's new in the latest version of Solid Edge.

By Jeffrey Rowe

Jeffrey Rowe photoIn the MCAD arena, 2008 generally was not a year when most vendors piled on tons of new features and capabilities to their core products, and for the most part, that's been a good thing. Instead, the vendors have concentrated their efforts on making their applications more stable and user friendly.

Siemens PLM Software is part of this group, but its notable exception has been the introduction of Synchronous Technology (ST) in the newest version of Solid Edge (Solid Edge ST), and in its brother, NX 6. Although Synchronous Technology has received a lot of attention since it was first announced, Solid Edge ST is a lot more than just that. In Part 2 of this review, I'll cover some other features that complement and support it to provide a better picture of what Solid Edge ST is all about.

Synchronous Technology and Beyond
What is known today as ST in Solid Edge began a few years ago as direct editing (DE), but it has been greatly enhanced in a short time span. In the DE days, you could directly edit models without having to edit the history tree. This ability eliminated parent/child issues that dictate what can be edited. One big advantage of ST is how it changes the design process positively by eliminating the need to preplan all possible editing scenarios. Another is multisource data import without concern for importing associated features and parameters -- a huge step for true interoperability. Speaking of interoperability, Solid Edge ST can easily import data from NX, so there is no sibling rivalry here. Read more »

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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


Autodesk Prepares to Buy ALGOR

By Kenneth Wong

Autodesk's Christmas gift for Inventor users was the promise of integrated finite element analysis (FEA) features, to be delivered through the acquisition of ALGOR.

It's a gift that'll cost Autodesk $34 million. The price tag is far less than the $297 million the company paid in May 2008 to buy Moldflow, an analysis and simulation package for mold makers. Whereas Moldflow is an analysis package specifically designed for mold making, ALGOR is a general FEA package for design validation and simulation.

In 2007, when Autodesk went shopping for an FEA program, it paid an undisclosed amount to bring home PlassoTech, an analysis technology supplier in California. PlassoTech is a relatively small company compared with ALGOR, a recognized name in the analysis market.

When the latest acquisition closes, ALGOR is expected to bring Autodesk a competitive advantage that surpasses what Moldflow and PlassoTech have delivered. "ALGOR offers many technologies beyond PlassoTech's portfolio," explained Amy Bunzel, Autodesk's director of the Inventor product line, "including mechanical event simulation, computational fluid dynamics (steady/unsteady fluid flow with/without turbulence), coupled fluid flow and thermal analysis, piping analysis, and elecrostatic analysis." Read more »    

Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

SolidWorks World 2009
February 8-11, 2009
Orlando, Florida
Visitors to SolidWorks World 2009 can attend more than 150 technical sessions and network with other SolidWorks users, partners, employees, and resellers. Read more »

2009 International Conference on Rapid Manufacturing
July 8-9, 2009
Leicestershire, United Kingdom
The 2009 conference will focus on rapid manufacturing (RM) processes and materials development, design for RM, and novel RM applications. Read more »

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