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Design software gets faster and friendlier to use: PTC introduces hundreds of enhancements in Pro/Engineer Wildfire 5.0 to aid designers.

PRODUCT design technology group PTC has said that there are more than 330 significant enhancements in the latest version of its integrated computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering software.

Pro/Engineer Wildfire 5.0, which is being launched this autumn, includes facilities that allow designers to open up in detail only those parts of complex assemblies that they want to work on, speeding up the process.

Iain Lewis, principal application specialist at PTC, said this is part of a series of changes to user interfaces throughout the new version of Wildfire, which had been criticised in the past. "We've really worked on the user interface with this version, and we now reckon we're ahead of others," he said.

In what PTC terms "disruption-free design" the system also gets rid of the convention whereby design stops until "failed" geometry is dealt with: the designer can choose to park the failure and resolve it later to maintain the flow of design.

Extra design features include graphical browsing for components, in which CAD drawings of components are scrolled through to add a part to an assembly. Bringing a new component into the assembly then automatically adds a sub-tree of that part's features and history to the overall model tree.

In moulded parts, Wildfire 5.0 includes a new trajectory rib feature that automatically adds ribs to plastic parts once locations have been sketched in. The new tool then automatically deals with intersections and boundaries.


In sheet metal, PTC has developed a new form tool and has enhanced the mirroring and patterning of walls. It has built in a new user interface for welds that enables extra information to be incorporated and then transferred into finite element packages.

The new version of Wildfire has an advanced rendering extension that uses rendering from Mental Images for product visualisation, with different materials, finishes and illuminations available at the touch of the mouse.

Other features are to do with the integration of different types of design software.

They include a spark analysis extension that is claimed to be the only available product to analyse and optimise the electromechanical clearance and creepage of designs.

Clearance is the shortest distance between two conductive parts or one conductive part and the outer casing of an assembly, measured through the air. Creepage is the same but measured along the surfaces of the insulation.

The system was developed with the electrical machinery firm Schneider Electric. Lewis said that the failure rate at Schneider has been cut by 20% by using the tool.

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Title Annotation:TECHNOLOGY
Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Date:Oct 7, 2009
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