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Faster design and prototyping are focus of Autofact '90.

Faster Design and Prototyping Are Focus of Autofact '90

Many of the new computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) products introduced at November's Autofact '90 show in Detroit are intended to slash dramatically the time needed to create and test designs, approve them, generate models, cut tool paths and make prototypes. Suppliers say these new advances, despite some hefty price tags, will appeal even to small and mid-sized processors who will need them to create modern, rounded product shapes competitively, from auto parts to packaging.

"They [processors] won't be able to avoid it. Design is going more organic, like the new Cannon camera shape or complex new bottle designs. All steps leading to moldmaking will have to be shorter, more automated and consequently more sophisticated," says Bryan Floyd, executive manager of Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala., a leading supplier of CAD/CAM systems. Further ahead, these changes could mean new car models created in months, rather than years.

Intergraph showed what is believed to be the world's first CAD software for simultaneous graphics review (see photo), the DataBeam CAD Conferencing Module, developed with DataBeam, Corp., Lexington, Ky., from a PC-based conferencing program. CAD Conferencing lets up to eight engineers review a common drawing from separate locations (within a plant or across the country) simultaneously. Participating engineers can "red-line" and sign approvals of a graphic image at the same time. Each draws with a separate color and symbol. The original drawing remains visible underneath the changes while all parties agree to a change. Any number of terminals can be hooked up to view the "conference," allowing fast electronic transfer of approved specifications among vendors and suppliers.

DataBeam CAD Conferencing has been used by NASA, with 12 major sites and many contractors to speed up its eight-stage approval cycle, while improving transfer of specifications to vendors. A CAD Conferencing Module with a telecommunications interface, stylus pen, digitizing graphics tablet, and full-color software for cartridge tape, CD-ROM or floppy-disk documentation costs $10,995. (CIRCLE 12)
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Title Annotation:Autofact Conference and Exposition
Author:Schut, Jan H.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Words:331
Previous Article:Welding and sealing systems: product lines reviewed.
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