Issue: Volume: 23 Issue: 5 (May 2000)

SPOTLIGHT: Solid Edge Puts Smart Models in Motion

Among the tools falling under the new technology's umbrella are DesignAssistant, which embeds assembly knowledge into part models, and DesignAssistant sensors, which monitor design rules. The sensors are created by specifying the variables to be monitored, such as the distance between assembly components, and the critical threshold and range of values to be gauged. Users ad just the parameters by manipulating a gauge-like display in the user interface. The performance of these smart assemblies can then be simulated using the capabilities of the integrated Simply Motion mod ule from Mechanical Dynamics. The embedded 3D design simulation capability lets users animate their Solid Edge assemblies in various modes (wireframe, rendered, shaded, hidden-line removed) and check for part interferences from within the Solid Edge environment. It also lets users add motion-specific intelligence to their assemblies, whereby the system is able to anticipate motion simulation needs and update the motion data accordingly. The user is then able to add joints, springs, and motion through the use of a special browser.

According to industry analyst Bruce Jenkins of Daratech (Cambridge, MA), the integration of design intelligence and motion simulation raise the technology bar in the mechanical CAD market. "These are valuable functions, and in a market sense, they demonstrate vendors' efforts to compete on a more sophisticated level. There's no doubt the industry is moving in this direction."

Other Version 8 enhancements include advanced algorithms to support and accelerate large assembly performance and refined inter-part management tools to aid in the definition of part-to-part assembly relationships. The new release also in corporates a range of tools that pave the road between 2D drafting and solids-based design, including components that ease the import of 2D legacy data, as well as 2D drafting functions that mimic those of traditional 2D CAD systems. Enhanced part modeling is achieved through improved hole and complex-part modeling and better tubing design options. A centralized, integrated design assistance and management approach is in tended to provide a more efficient help interface, thus smoothing workflow, and the conversion of Solid Edge help files to HTML is meant to im prove documentation and Web-based navigation.

Solid Edge Version 8 is priced at $4995 per license. (Unigraphics; St. Louis, MO; 800-498-5351;
-Diana Phillips Mahoney