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 :<)



Jon Banquer said...

The CADCAM tool I'm looking for could be:

A few more improvements in SpaceClaim and a port of SolidCAM so that it runs inside of SpaceClaim.

Creo Direct with SolidCAM running inside of it. Pro/NC made easier and faster to program simple prismatic parts with.

SolidWorks Corp. finally admits that almost every SolidWorks user would greatly benefit from real Direct Modeling tools instead of what SolidWorks Corp. management has been claiming: No one is asking for Direct Modeling tools.

ZW3D completely dumps their horrible UNIX based user interface that has held the product back forever. ZW3D also continues what they started in a recent You Tube video posted a week ago where they make direct comparisons to Inventor and SolidWorks rather than pretend they don't exist.

Solid Edge: Totally new top level management that understands the importance of built in CAM in Solid Edge ST. Totally new top level management that have actually been in a machine shop and truly understand manufacturing rather than pretend they do. The NX CAM Express user interface isn't very good compared to what Solid Edge ST has. The awesome power of NX CAM Express needs to be exposed to those who demand a Solid Edge ST user interface.

KeyCreator: Completely new user interface built from the ground up and independent CAM companies port so their CAM runs inside of KeyCreator.

Jon Banquer
San Diego, CA

d3print said...

"Will our CAD UI make a giant leap in becoming less significant?"
PTC:s UI has never been on the top, and what I`ve seen it will not be there in the near future also. That`s bad because the power of good software`s terminated by half-baked UI. Keep it simple.

Mike said...

I think we're still about a year out from seeing anything really interesting. The cloud thing interests me because my company is too cheap to give me anything but a 5 year old laptop when I travel so I can't really do anything beyond check email. To me CAD is just part of the project and I'm interested to see what PLM tools are out there to help me manage projects.

Anonymous said...

While I believe that the "best" CAD system is one that has great parametric abilities with explicit modeling added to the mix, I have to say that I have not found there to be "great interest out there" for explicit modeling.

At both the Technical Committee meetings in Needham as well the recent PTC User mtg in Connecticut, it was my experience that the customer response to the addition of explicit modeling to Pro/e to be underwhelming to say the least. Some started to complain that their automations will break down or be less likely to work if users start to manipulate geometry in certain ways. At the TC meeting in Needham the half dozen Raytheon guys behind me almost rioted when the live CREO 1.0 alpha (splash screen read Pro/E Wildfire 6!)was demo'd and a hunk of geometry on the parametric model was moved explicitly. "We'll NEVER use that here! Why would you ever even WANT to do such a thing!....can we "turn off that functionality?" those were the comments!

You don't have to sell me on the merits of explicit modeling, but I have a hard time believing that the future will be explicit modeling taking fact, it seems like explicit modeling will get more visibility but will be at best a supplement to the core parametric methodology that will remain predominant.

One can say that over time more parametric capability will be build into explicit modelers and that the latter will "win", but isn't it the case that the latter is happening? That parametric modelers will largely remain with us indefinately, albeit with some explicit modeling added on top?

Mike said...

Hi again Paul, Mike Barone from Hamilton Sundstrand:

A brief note to say I have been 'playing' with various direct modeling tools since we last talked. I've also been playing with some interesting "sketching" tools evolving in the market. I must admit that I most like the idea of a "mixed" approach that follows the natural (yet chaotic) flow of the design process. For example:

I. Order Independent Geometry (history less)

a) 2D and/or 3D History-less "free hand" sketching - both raster and vector based.
b) same as a) except with intelligent "vector geometry recognition" (&conversion)
c) same as b) except add a great 2D/3D constraint manager.
d) Add intuitive multi-touch direct edits
e) Geometry groups (grouped items, not features)
f) Bi-directional Parametrics & relation additions
g) System and User Defined Feature Inclusion

(model tree to this point is order independent)

Order Dependent

1) patterns of Geometry Groups
2) patterns of System and User Defined Feature
3) analysis features

.... It's late, Im tired.

I've been sampling a lot of new "sketch" like CAD tools with the intent of improving my own Conceptual level designing and found some very cool stuff 'happening' out there. Unfortunately the cool stuff in the CAD/sketch software I've sampled is scattered. Just like the Design process itself, i don't see enough brainstorming and conceptual design approaches being considered for a REAL next gen CAD package. We tend to patch things we have already instead of truly inventing a ground up approach taking advantages of all technology developments - both inside and outside the typical CAD arena. For example, I'm really liking free-hand multi-touch sketching that can "snap" on demand to predefined constraints and intelligent geometry recognition. Think napkin sketching on steroids.

My 2 cents.
Enjoy your blog, creativity, and openness for the sake of advancement.


Mike said...

On rethink, maybe another way to look at this is that I believe we need something like:

a) A brand new kick-ass conceptual combination raster/vector multitouch intelligent sketcher than can accomodate everything from total free-hand unconstrained sketching for true innovation free-think to auto-constraining, vectorizing, and intelligent geometry recognition (IGR). IGR to geometry would be like OCR to words.

b) Add greatness of co-create plus improvement momentum
c) Add greatness of Pro/E

There we have it. I can go paperless, be innovative, have fun, and be precise. Oh, and main interface will be a graphics tablet and "pen". Who the hell can be innovative with a mouse?

;) Mike

Product Design Sheffield said...

I'm definitely looking forward to this year, I will finally finish my university course and am looking to find a job in the industry. I know it will be tough but I'll enjoy the challenge. It's definitely an exciting time to be jumping into it all and the future will only bring more surprises. If any of you know of any job opportunities I would very much appreciate any links, thanks.


Product Design Services said...

Hey Paul I am the regular reader of your blogs and I was waiting your blog from last most. I really like your views and opnion about CAD, PLM and the product development process. Thanks for sharing a valuable post.

eagle said...

A few more improvements in SpaceClaim and a port of SolidCAM so that it runs inside of SpaceClaim.
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