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New version of Pro/Engineer with third-party tie-ins.

Parametric Technology Corp. (Waltham, Mass.) is shipping Release 11.0 of its Pro/Engineer family of CAD/CAM products. The latest release offers enhancements to selected modules of the company's product lineup and adds two new modules, Pro/Dieface and Pro/PDM.

Pro/Dieface is a design system for metal stamping applications, and Pro/PDM (Parametric Data Manager) is a set of tools for managing parametric and other engineering data. Parametric also announced that its products would be compliant with Microsoft Windows NT, which is scheduled for release this month.

Many of the Release 11 improvements in Pro/Engineer have been in the product line's manufacturing applications. The Pro/Manufacturing module features automatic generation of manufacturing data from Pro/Engineer models. The module performs automatic tool-path generation for face milling and groove finishing. The system will also automatically select holes for holemaking operations. A capability for handling 4-axis wire EDM machining has been added. Enhancements to the Pro/NC-Check module include new graphical tools for simulating machine turning operations and slotting tools for milling.

The optional Pro/Dieface module provides designers of metal stamping dies with a tool to create complex surfaces. It also assists in analyzing the performance of the die. The module, developed in cooperation with Toyota Motor Corp. (Japan), specializes in "deep drawn" products, such as automobile body panels. Pro/Dieface has facilities for creating and blending surfaces along user-definable parting line trajectories. Like most Pro/Engineer functions, Pro/Dieface calculates parametric lines and surfaces and provides for automatic updating. The program also produces analysis aids such as color contour maps of punch contact areas and expansion ratio data.

Pro/PDM is designed to better manage parametric data bases, which can become strained when dealing with associative designs for complex product configurations. The data-management module includes customizable viewing functions for displaying engineering data. The system provides for data access and modification, design release procedures, change propagation, product scheduling, and product configuration management functions.

A number of third-party engineering software developers have announced compatibility between their products and Pro/Engineer. PDA Engineering (Costa Mesa, Calif.), for example, is shipping its Pro/Engineer Single Geometric Model (SGM) capability with the latest version of its Patran 3 analysis software. SGM permits Patran 3 users to directly access Pro/Engineer models. Swanson Analysis Systems Inc. (Houston, Pa.) and Parametric have jointly developed the Pro/FEA system, which allows designers to optimize models using Parametric's automatic meshing and associative geometry routines and Swanson's Ansys FEA and optimization routines. Algor Inc. (Pittsburgh) announced a package of design optimization and engineering analysis software that is compatible with Pro/Engineer. The Algor Menupak for Pro/Engineer permits users of both environments to eliminate data translation between Algor and Pro/Engineer.

NC Software Vendors

Vie for Top Spot

The top five NC software vendors are virtually tied for the status of most competitive company, according to the NC Software Buyer's Guide published by CIMdata Inc. (Ann Arbor, Mich.).

The survey was based on how competitive each of the 38 vendors sampled viewed the others. By CIMdata's measure, EDS Unigraphics (Maryland Heights, Mo.) was the leader with a 9.4 percent rating. Point Control Co. (Eugene, Ore.) followed with 9.0 percent. Computervision (Bedford, Mass.) and IBM Corp. (Armonk, N.Y.) both had an 8.6 percent share, the latter by virtue of Catia from Dassault Systemes (Paris). Camax Systems Inc. (Minneapolis) followed with 8.3 percent.

The NC Software Buyer's Guide includes comparative summaries of features, pricing, user comments, product positioning, and corporate data. The second edition of the 900-page guide is available for $795. Contact CIMdata at (313) 668-9922.

Pen-Based Computer

From AST Resarch Inc.

With the introduction of its PenExec pen notebook computer, AST Research Inc. (Irvine, Calif.) has entered the growing market of pen-based computers. The PenExec system was developed in partnership with the TE Electronics division of Tandy Corp. (Fort Worth, Tex.).

The PenExec is an IBM-compatible PC with an Intel 80386SL 25-MHz microprocessor that uses pen technology from Grid Systems Corp. (Mountain View, Calif.). The system's 5.5-pound box houses hard drives with up to 200 MB of memory, RAM that is expandable up to 20 MB, and an extended-life battery providing up to three hours of continuous use. The computer has a Type II PCMCIA slot and a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive. Preinstalled software includes DOS 6.0, Windows 3.1, and Windows for Pen Computing. The PenExec is compatible with all Windows 3.1 applications.

The PenExec screen acts as both display and data-input device. Beneath the hinged surface is a 400-dot-per-inch digitizer that is activated by the unit's cordless pen. The backlit VGA screen has a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels with 64 gray scales and measures 9.5 inches diagonally. The PenExec features handwriting-recognition capabilities and has a 79-key keyboard. Prices for the PenExec start at under $3000.

StereoGraphics and

Logitech Team up on

Virtual Reality

StereoGraphics Corp. (San Rafael, Calif.) has entered into an OEM agreement with Logitech Inc. (Fremont, Calif.) to develop CrystalEyes VR virtual-reality 3-D eyewear. StereoGraphics will supply its 3-D stereoscopic display equipment, and Logitech will supply an ultrasound head tracker and optional 3-D mouse. The systems will be integrated by StereoGraphics.

The CrystalEyes VR product is being designed as a virtual-reality display solution for stereo-ready workstation, IBM-compatible PC, and Macintosh platforms. The CrystalEyes eyewear produces 3-D images when used with projection screens and monitors by alternating the left and right images at 120 frames per second. This creates full-color depth perception. The head tracker registers the wearer's head movements in six directions x-, y-, and z-axes and pitch, yaw, and roll) and converts them into on-screen motion. Ultrasound signals are used to coordinate motion and image. The optional 3-D mouse functions as a hand-like pointing device.

CrystalEyes VR is available from StereoGraphics; it costs $3995. The optional 3-D mouse costs $1995. CrystalEyes VR is also bundled with WordToolKit, a software tool kit from Sense8 Corp. (Sausalito, Calif.) for developing real-time graphics and virtual-reality applications.

Briefly noted

The Sikorsky Aircraft division (Stratford, Conn.) of United Technologies Corp. is using the M/Vision Materials System Builder from PDA Engineering (Costa Mesa, Calif.) to help manage composite materials information related to the RAH-66 Comanche light attack helicopter. Sikorsky is developing a number of new composites for the helicopter and other projects. The contract, valued at $100,000, calls for PDA to supply its M/Vision software and training to Sikorsky engineers. * Hewlett-Packard Co. (Palo Alto, Calif.) has signed a marketing agreement with Mentor Graphics Corp. (Wilsonville, Ore.) to develop concurrent design systems for mechanical and electronic devices. The cooperation will involve creating an interface between Mentor Graphics' Board Station PCB design product and HP PE/ME10 mechanical CAD system. * IBM Corp. (Armonk, N.Y) has released version 2 release 1 of its ProductManager/6000: Engineering Management Edition.

The software package provides product data management, product definition and release, and product change management functions for IBM's RS/6000 workstations. The latest release of ProductManager/6000 features enhanced networking, data base, and graphical interface functions. * Autodesk Mechanical division (Novi, Mich.) and Point Control Corp. (Eugene, Ore.) have agreed to explore joint marketing, sales, and technology opportunities in the mechanical CAD/CAM market. The companies plan to integrate Point Control's SmartCAM application with Autodesk Mechanical's Design-Expert. * Structural Research & Analysis Corp. (Santa Monica, Calif.) announced the Explorer FEA system, a simplified low-cost version of its Cosmos/M FEA package. The Explorer can handle static and dynamic analyses of models with up to 3000 nodes and 5000 elements. The Explorer runs on IBM-compatible 80386 and 80486 PCs; it is priced at $4995.
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Title Annotation:CAD/CAM software from Parametric Technology Corp.
Author:Puttre, Michael
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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