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New tools for design, maintenance, and production management.

Except for processing machinery, National Manufacturing Week had just about everything you could ever need to produce better products in less time. The show, held recently in Chicago, was actually five shows in one including the National Design Engineering Show (NDES), International Integrated Manufacturing Show ([I.sup.2]M) and the International Control Engineering Exposition (ICEE). The combined event highlighted new and recently introduced CAD/CAM/CAE systems as well as a brand-new computerized production-management system tailored to the needs of injection and blow molders.

CAD/CAM/CAB NEWS

SDRC of Columbus, Ohio, showed off new Version 2.0 of its Master Series CAD/CAM/CAE package. Among the software's many ease-of-use enhancements - such as on-line help and simplified dimensioning - are two important ones for plastics analysis. For one thing, the filling analysis module now lets users model "runnerless" scenarios by simply picking a node as the gate location. According to Jeff Burgess, manufacturing applications product manager, this method does not provide the most complete picture of mold filling because it ignores shear heating effects in the runner and nozzle. But it does let users quickly get a rough idea of optimum gate location before launching the full-fledged, runner-inclusive analysis. Another upgrade automatically identifies the midpoint of thin-wall sections during FEA analysis.

Does solids modeling demand too much investment - both in cash and learning time - for smaller processors and tool designers? Well, maybe not. Several companies at this year's NDES showcased lower-cost 3-D CAD/CAM packages:

* Intergraph Corp. of Huntsville, Ala., had its new EMS Lite on hand. This "entry-level" solid-modeling package costs $7900. It does much of what the company's EMS high-end system does, but once you get into complex surfaces - b-splines, for example - you need to move up to EMS. Both packages are fully associative.

* Parametric Technology Corp., Waltham, Mass., has come out with an $8000 spin-off of its flagship Pro/Engineer software. Called Pro/Jr., it's a fully associative, feature-based solid-modeling system that seeks to shorten the learning curve with on-line help and tutorials, a simplified menu structure, and use of plain-English design terms instead of "computer-ese." Pro/Jr. runs on a variety of PCs and workstations. Its models are compatible with Pro/Engineer.

* CADkey Inc. of Windsor, Conn., previewed CADkey for Windows, a 3-D package that sells for $795. To make it easy to use, it offers on-line help and an on-screen "toolbar" that the user can modify. Thanks to these features, CAD-key claims the package will let users create CAD models with 50% fewer keystrokes. It's compatible with earlier CADkey products.

RESIN DATABASE

Branching out from its CAD/CAM roots, Autodesk of Sausalito, Calif., launched a new CD-ROM plastics materials database. With over 17,000 resins from 176 suppliers, MaterialSpec will allow users to employ a wide variety of search criteria, including supplier, material type, trade name, applications, and property characteristics. The data contained in MaterialSpec come from the resin companies themselves via Information Indexing Inc., a materials database supplier in Garden, Calif. Updates are currently available every six months, though Autodesk plans to go to a quarterly release schedule soon.

In a related move, Autodesk came out with PartSpec, a database of more than 200,000 components from 17 manufacturers, including Parker Hannifin, Square D Co., and Boston Gear. PartSpec lets users "pick-and-place" dimensioned, scalable drawings of the part and related data into an AutoCAD drawing.

MOLDER'S MANAGEMENT AIDS

Over at the [I.sup.2]M and ICEE shows, a new computerized production-management tool for injection and blow molders appeared for the first time. As a long-time supplier of PC-based production-management software for other industries, Symix of Columbus, Ohio, has now come out with a product specifically aimed at injection and blow molders. Called Molding Process Control (MPC), it runs as an extension to Symix's MRP II package. MPC offers four types of production scheduling, as well as tools for costing (by department or operation), ordering, materials tracking, and accounting. The MPC extension also handles mold tracking, usage, and maintenance requirements. And it can track byproducts, such as regrind, and coproducts, such as the multiple parts from a family mold.

Thanks to its client-server architecture and 4GL development language, MPC runs in a variety of operating environments, among them Unix, Microsoft DOS and Windows, and Novell LAN. It costs $500/user.

Fourth Shift of San Ramon, Calif., rolled out a new version of its PC-based MRP II package, called the Manufacturing Software System (MSS). The new release 5.1 has been potted to Windows NT and has over 30 integrated plant-management and financial application modules for manufacturing companies - such as sales-order processing, rules-based pricing, and customer-service support. It also sports an enhanced user interface, GUI 95. It, too, can handle byproducts and coproducts in addition to all the traditional MRP II functions.
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Title Annotation:CAD-CAM systems
Author:Ogando, Joseph
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:May 1, 1995
Words:798
Previous Article:Sequential valve gating aids filling of large parts.
Next Article:MRP II helps control costs and improve customer service.
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