Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Product Design in 2011

Wow! We are already well into 2011 and I haven’t posted to this blog since October. Happy New Year everyone! (Kind of late with that)

Maybe I am imagining things, but it seems to me that in 2011 we are going to see some significant differences in the tools we use to support product design. Are you keeping up with all the craziness going on out there in CAD and PLM? Well you sure should be. Consider the recent news about SolidWorks and Dassault, PTC Creo, new releases of Synchronous Technology, Spaceclaim and much more. It’s going to be an exciting year for sure.

2011 is going to be an exciting year for me as well as I am very much involved with Creo at PTC. For the previous two years I have been responsible for technical sales of the CoCreate products. Since October I am now responsible for technical sales of Creo. It’s much bigger and broader, and there is huge interest out there. As such, since October my work life has been a bit crazy and the workload continues to grow. It’s enjoyable and exciting to see and hear the responses from people once they understand what this Creo thing is. I have a post I’ve been working on for some time now regarding my take on what Creo is. I hope to post it soon – we’ll see.

As you probably know from this blog, I’m somewhat of a direct modeling guy. It is interesting to see that the concept of direct modeling is making its way into the portfolio of almost every CAD supplier. Do you realize now that almost every CAD tool out there that is based on direct modeling (Synchronous Tech, Elements/Direct (CoCreate), SpaceClaim, KeyCreator) now has the ability at some level to capture design intent on history-free models? That you can control this so called “dumb solid” parametrically? Of course some do it better than others and it’s still somewhat more robust in history-based CAD, but in a few years it will be nothing special. Watch what happens in this area in 2011. With direct modeling, this type of history-free control and design intent is not dependant on the modeling process and can be applied to any geometry from any source. You will no longer have to confuse “Design intent” with “Modeling Intent” ;<).

What kind of things may happen in the CAD world for 2011? There’s certainly a good amount of talk about CAD in the cloud. What is that, anyway? Seems every time I talk about it with someone I hear a different perception about what it is and what value it brings. Not sure I can answer those questions yet. Maybe it will be something like the on-line computer games our kids are playing, (ok, I do too – whatever). There is some fascinating technology in that space that we could be taking advantage of. Someday soon you may be interacting with PLM technology, and not know it -- “Inconceivable!”

I think it is safe to say that the pace of change in our world of product design is not slowing down. It would be fun to hear from some of you. What do you see coming this year?

  • Will Solidworks -on the CATIA kernel -on the cloud -on … whatever else, change our world in 2011?
  • What about PTCs Common Data Model? Will it change the way we interact with each other? I can tell you it has never been done before.
  • Will we figure out how to reliably reconcile a history tree based on external geometry edits?
  • What about the proprietary history tree? Will it continue to be the preferred engineering document of record?
  • Are we going to see history-based modeling magically merge with history-free modeling into some sort of CAD antimatter?
  • Will touch screen CAD finally catch on? (But what if it’s in the cloud?)
  • Will we somehow learn when to use ordered features versus unordered features?
  • Just how many new releases of SpaceClaim can they squeeze into 2011? They’re off to a good start.
  • Will our CAD UI make a giant leap in becoming less significant?
  • Last but not least: Will Jon Banquer finally get the CAD/CAM tool he’s been long searching for? Oh please! Oh please! (just for you Jon :<)