Tuesday, June 9, 2009

PTC User 09 and CoCreate – Day 1

The day started out with a talk from Jim Heppelmann and Brian Shepherd. Technology just keeps moving forward. What might be interesting to some of the CoCreate folks is the appearance of some CoCreate technology inside a future version of Wildfire. A brief video was shown of the concepts with stronger direct editing capabilities within Wildfire. Could be interesting.

The CoCreate specific content started with a presentation from Dan Gioia from Gioia Consulting. His presentation was focused on the design of electro-mechanical assemblies using IDF and CoCreate Modeling. By sharing data between the EE and ME disciplines he is able to show a considerable reduction in late changes and errors as well as eliminating the confusion of multiple layout passes. Just for reference, the IDF exchange capability is part of the base CoCreate Modeling product.

Andy Poulsen from Aspiration Innovation, Inc. was up next. Andy is a master at creating productivity add-ons for CoCreate Modeling. He showed us some great examples of the power of the CoCreate Modeling Integration Kit, which is a LISP based customization layer that can be used for creating your own custom tools and automation routines. You should checkout: http://www.asp-inno.com/ for more information about the products and services they provide.

During lunch I spent some time at the CoCreate booth. Many people came by to better understand what the heck CoCreate Modeling is. No one left unimpressed. It’s a blast showing off this product.

In the afternoon Martin Nuemueller, Product Manager for the CoCreate products presented the CoCreate product roadmap. Martin presented many of the breakthrough technologies around explicit modeling that are coming with v17. I’ve had the opportunity to use early v17 and can tell you that “breakthrough technologies” is a great way to describe it. The focus is around improving speed, flexibility, predictability and intuitiveness. I guess Software companies are always working on these things, but the CoCreate team is taking some big steps with v17. V17 also includes much more interoperability with many of the other PTC products. These integrations can greatly increase the value you can get out of your 3D engineering data coming from CoCreate Modeling.

There is also new stuff coming in Model Manager as well such as management of inseparable assemblies, PCB integration, management of stock-finish parts (multi-opp parts), advanced version control and many more. Martin also talked about the coming gateway between Model Manager and Windchill.

Berthold Hug (PTC Prod Mgr, CoCreate Modeling) and I then presented the “Explicit Modeling Outlook”. I talked briefly about the technologies of parametric modeling (history-based) and explicit modeling (history-free). How these two technologies can address different needs and requirements of product development, but also how they can overlap and complement each other. The most exciting part was Berthold’s presentation and the demonstrations of v17. Wow!! I am hoping that I can get some images and videos posted real soon.

Korie Carter and Scott O’Brien of Tensor Engineering also presented how they are using CoCreate products in steel bridge detailing. They showed several pictures of very large and very complex bridges that they have worked on in the past, from locations all around the county – check out their web site at http://www.tensorengr.com/ There is basically no room for error in a business like this. You don’t get to create any prototypes, the volume of product is 1, and the cost of the product is… well, I have no idea. It is very interesting to see how a company like this is using 3D modeling to minimize the opportunity for error and help solve design problems. It’s not that they are not able to do it with 2D, 2D CAD is still a very important part of their process. It’s just that in many cases 3D can be used to more effectively visualize and solve geometry problems. They also use it to visualize the construction process. They even animated the assembly process to capture the specific sequence of assembly. In many cases it is critical to ensure that pieces are assembled in a very specific sequence. These animations make it very clear. Nice job Korie and Scott!

To end the day, Brad Tallis, a Senior Technical Consultant at PTC, gave a presentation and demonstrations about virtual prototyping using some of the advanced capabilities of CoCreate Modeling. He showed simulation and animation of mechanisms to identify any potential interference or conflicts. This capability will work with any geometry from any CAD system. He then showed the integrated FEA capabilities within CoCreate Modeling. He was able to identify areas of weakness, quickly change the model in many different ways to reduce stress and then rerun the analysis, all without being concerned with how the model was created in the first place - just quickly solving problems. Also in the context of virtual prototyping Brad showed the new cabling capabilities of CoCreate Modeling. He loaded an E-CAD file that defined the cables and their pin assignments. Using this data, CoCreate Modeling was able to create the cables and route them automatically and appropriately. Last, but not least Brad talked about taking advantage of the high quality rendering capabilities to use your 3D data to better understand what the product will actually look like. Bringing all of these capabilities together can greatly reduce the dependence on the physical prototype. And when it is time for a physical prototype you can be much closer to a final solution with less iteration.

So that was day one from a CoCreate perspective. Now on to day two.


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