New Tools Liberate CAD Data
The expansion of Web-based supply chain infrastructures carries with it a message for software vendors: Open your solutions to cross communication and data interaction or stagnate.
An effective enterprise-wide product engineering and delivery process demand the formation of intelligent communication and collaboration pathways between corporate organizations and suppliers throughout the design, manufacturing, distribution, and service cycles. The current response of software vendors that hide behind a veil of proprietary CAD data formats and voice claims that only their software must be used degenerates into an analogy of “You can only read my email if you use my e-mail program”— hardly what users want to hear.
CAD is very helping for plastic molding company to design the part or mold drawing, this can save lots of time.
In 2001, however, two new software vendors are poised to break through the established myth by proving parametric, feature-, and history- based solids can be intelligently exchanged and a proprietary CAD database can be automatically modified based on decisions made in an external multi-CAD collaboration session. Proficiency Inc. targets the engineering supply chain with its Collaboration Gateway— both an Internet-based communication infrastructure and an application— enabling intelligent design collaboration and information exchange. The pre-alpha implementation currently takes the position that feature-based solids can, indeed, be exchanged between native, proprietary CAD databases by meticulous mappings between the varied model databases.
Using the CAD vendors’ Application Programming Interfaces, Proficiency invokes a CAD product in a slave mode— across a network or across the Web— to extract history- based geometry into its central Universal Product Representation. That data can then drive the generation of a fully intelligent parametric, feature-based solid model in another modeling CAD database, enabling holes to transfer as holes while extrudes and fillet rounds retain their parametric, feature structure.
Proficiency rightly positions its Gateway product in the broader context of design collaboration to deliver upfront solutions for OEM/ supplier users rather than relegate its use as a back- room support tool. The pilot software’s mapping implementation today supports extraction and regeneration between PTC’s Pro/ ENGINEER, Unigraphics Solutions’ Unigraphics, Das-sault Systemes’ CATIA V4, and SDRC’s I-DEAS products. Although fall- back solutions are necessary when a direct mapping cannot be defined between certain high- end features unique to a particular CAD product, the preponderance of most commonly used features and parameter-driven dimensions transfer with eye-opening ease.
3Ga Corporation looks to introduce this year its new 3G.web. decisions software, which allows engineers, designers, suppliers, and partners to work collaboratively and compare and select product alternatives. The company’s Functional Decision Support System moves beyond the current multi-CAD visualization environments, which focus on form and fit, to allow access to functional product behavior data for a range of product alternatives.
Users select key driving parameters from their parametric solid CAD models, set allowable ranges for the imported parameters (the software runs automatic “sampling” of parameter changes and drives CAD modeler regeneration), and execute CAE analyses with results stored together with geometry in a central repository. Within the 3Ga environment, a slide bar is automatically defined for each varying parameter to allow users to step through the different model/ analysis results to see how varying that parameter affects change.
The Web-native architecture with extensive use of XML and 3Ga compressing technology is a breakthrough in affecting native CAD parametric models based on decisions made during a collaborative session on a neutral multi-CAD data structure. Because associative links are established between the selected parameters extracted into the 3Ga framework and the CAD modeler itself, when a collaborative decision is made on the best product solution, those parameters are transmitted back to the CAD modeler for automatic regeneration. Users no longer have to remember to manually update their proprietary CAD models with the agreed upon changes.