SWW Day 2 – Avatar Director Cameron wows SWW

2 Feb 2010: James Cameron, Avatar director, was the guest speaker during the morning session. He held the audience captive with his descriptions of how he made the file and how his engineering team developed the necessary video camera and other computer technology required to turn his ideas into this fantastic movie. An amazing short video clip showed how his team managed to translate live actor movements and facial expressions onto the avatar cgi’s. What an impressive person!

During a follow-on press conference with him, he evidenced concern about the huge hardware manufacturer push for 3D, with little content available. Nothing like a market to drive demand, as w well know.

A visit to the exhibition hall led me to the booths of 3DSemantix, ElecWorks, and Zuken, the latter two because of my ongoing (and EE background) fascination with Mechatronics.

At 3DSemantix, this new, Montreal based company, has developed a technique for searching geometric databases to search for similar geometry – ideal for reuse of existing parts and saving the time to rebuild already existing parts. PartFinder, officially launched last month works, for now, only on parts. It develops a textual geometry coefficient for existing parts, and compares a part model to existing parts. Fully integrated with SolidWorks, the software costs $1500 per seat. This looks like a great solution to an always vexing problem.

PartFinder search results

The blue part is the base part for the search. The green parts show the potential matches. The closer to the base part, the better the match. http://www.3Dpartfinder.com

ElecWorks, software from Trace Software, based in Barcelona, Espana, uses electrical control system schematics and their associated data as input to SolidWorks. A shared data environment with the schematic software and ElecWorks allows building the 3D representation in SolidWorks, using the mechanical data associated with the electrical design. Wiring between connectors uses SolidWorks wiring capability. No simulation exists to connect the electrical and mechanical systems. E.g.-to activate switches based on mechanical position or use motors under control to drive mechanical objects. Cost $5.5K for the schematic side and $2K for ElecWorks for SolidWorks. http://www.trace-software.com

Zuken, with its E3Wirewoks uses a different approach to transfer the schematics and mechanical representation to SolidWorks. The schematics and a 3D representation are built within its stand-alone software. 3D data is transferred to SW to develop a mechanical model resulting in SW wiring, wiring harness and cut-lengths developed within SW. All data is associative. Cost: $5K to $10K  per seat. www.zuken.com

The night’s special event turned out to be not be so special after all for my taste – too dark, too noisy, too many food lines. Must have been due to a big budget cut.

For day 3, I am attending the morning preview of SW 2011, then off to the airport for my flight to Florida.

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Teamcenter to operate within IBM’s PDIF (Product Development Integration Framework)

June 18, 2009: Lately we have been reviewing Windchill ProductPoint, a terrific solution based on SharePoint for small users. This announcement focuses on the other end – LARGE customers. We find this particularly interesting because it’s the first deployment on PDIF of a tightly integrated PLM application.

What makes PDIF so interesting? Because it’s an excellent example of IBM using its prowess in services, global clout, and middleware (software enablers) to aim at solutions for large, complex issues, one of which is integrating the multitude of engineering and other disciplines involved in bringing out new products.

IBM’s PDIF has been in the works for several years and under many executives. It finally looks like the technologies to accomplish this have finally enabled their vision to be able to be realized.

As for today’s announcement, Siemens PLM Software announced that it will use IBM’s Product Development Integration Framework (PDIF) as a development platform and integration environment, for a soon to be delivered ready-to-use solutions built on its Teamcenter PLM software portfolio and integrating tightly with IBM WebSphere and Information Management (DB2). PDIF also enables a richer integration between Siemens Teamcenter and Rational Software’s software development platform.

“Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter is the industry’s first PDIF-ready platform to deliver tightly integrated IBM middleware offerings that reduce PLM software acquisition and lifecycle costs,” said Michael Wheeler, vice president, IBM PLM and Supply Chain Solutions. “By using a flexible software environment, companies have a framework for marrying key PLM business processes to technology initiatives that offer a structured approach to managing the life of a product,” added Wheeler.

On the call today, Chuck Grindstaff, Siemens PLM EVP and Wheeler discussed the implications to potential customers. Wheeler extolled the virtues of Teamcenter working on their “blue stack”, adapting their SOA solution to PDIF, and altering Teamcenter so it now uses DB2. Grindstaff, in turn, was particularly complimentary of IBM’s DB2, Tivoli for secure controls and backups, and the overall performance. All they would say on pricing is that that the combination looks to be a good value for customers. Wow, when they pack on all the IBM middleware and TC I expect it may be a good value if you can get a lot of users on each system!

Help with job search – free webinar

So you got laid off. As did thousands of other highly qualified scientists and engineers. What can you do to stand out of the crowd while looking for your next job? What will you do in case your one-month layoff stretches into six months or a year? How can you make yourself more qualified and more appealing to future employers while being unemployed?

During this talk, Dr. Masha Petrova will give you 10 specific action items that you can do while searching for your next job, that will dramatically improve your resume, greatly increase your interviewing skills, provide many more opportunities for employment and set you apart from the rest of the job seekers in your field. Come prepared to take your professional skills to the next level.
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 2pm EDT
http://www.nafems.org/events/nafems/2009/employment/

Social Product Development – what is it?

We are beginning to see an interest in what is being called “social product development.” What does this actually mean? No crisp definition yet exists but Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and its ilk seem to have opened up a vast desire to connect with others instantly. This differs greatly from typical engineering processes, whereby a product developer designs in his cubicle, then after a relatively large amount of time shares his design with others for comments, criticisms, and feedback.

Not exactly sure where this is going and how it will play with proprietary designs. Perhaps it is best left to consumer feedback. Robin Saitz, of PTC, says that she mow no longer has to close her Facebook screen when execs walk by.

Down the hatch for SGI

Guess they lost their way a long time ago. It comes from not having a sustainable technology advantage and not having the gumption to continually reinvent themselves. Their incredible graphics lead was chipped away by much lower cost graphics cards, such as those from Nvidia, while their CPU performance was no match for low cost servers. Rackable Systems is the new owner of what is left of the assets. Click on their link to view the management, very few of whom are from the old SGI.