PTC 20'th Anniversary User Event

PTC is hosting its 20'th Anniversary User Event along with a Global Media Event here in Orlando, Florida. The new President and COO James Heppelmann says PTC is doing well despite the tough economy. Big on his list of discussion topics was what PTC dubs "social product development" (this term is trademarked). In a nutshell, Windchill ProductPoint works with Microsoft SharePoint as a networking platform of Web 2.0 technologies that let engineers more effectively work together. Examples include Wikis that let teams share design intent in text form and "MySpace"-like pages, not for individuals but for Pro/E parts, so users can easily follow a design.

Interesting business news is that PTC has acquired InSight for environmental regulatory compliance in product design. The proliferation of environmental regulations now affects how product should be designed. In fact, companies selling products to Europe and Asia are now required to provide evidence of compliance. The software gives firms a way to do this.

Later, in the Exhibitor Hall, I saw one of those technologies that harken back to the simple basics. Does anyone remember the ancient RP technology that had a machine glue together layers of paper? A new RP solution on the scene called the SD 300 Pro from Solido is a desktop 3D printer that actually fits on a desktop (the machine is portable) and costs under $10,000. The device "glues together" layers of firm, but flexible, engineered plastics to build-up parts. The intent is to give the individual engineer or designer a printer they can use to build concept models, ergonomic evaluations, and marketing tools, at their (literal) desktops. The displayed component (note that it is transparent) and the red horse are examples of parts built with the SD 300 Pro.

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