The latest release of the well-known Pro/Engineer CAD program is said to sport many ease-of-use features that will improve both personal and process productivity.
Pro/Engineer Wildfire 3.0 from PTC in Needham, Mass. (ptc.com), was announced three months ago for preproduction and will be available in six months.
"Because more and more individuals are involved in manufacturing, CAD is no longer just for high-end engineers and there is a big demand for usability," says PTC Vice President Product Management Mike Campbell. The new release lets users sketch standard shapes 55% faster than in previous versions. Additionally, special enhancements optimize workflow for assembling components faster. Another change lets users see assemblies 45% faster. Also, the company says improvements to the sheet-metal mode make the geometry engine smarter so it recognizes selfintersecting surfaces and handles them more intelligently.
One of the ways the software raises productivity is through a new wizard that captures experts' knowledge with a customizable interface built on XML technology. Users then simply follow the steps listed in tasks. PTC says the new release will work with Windchill to support product life-cycle management and better collaboration with partners, customers, and suppliers. Together, the programs comprise what the company calls its product-development system (PDS). For suppliers that do not have access to a Windchill-based system, the new release includes what's called a Portable Workspace. With it, suppliers can revise models and the changes will automatically assimilate when returned to the OEM. The Portable Workspace also comes in handy when working remotely or on a laptop.
This month, PTC will release a second preproduction version having PDS interoperability. PTC users can download it to try out features and navigation. The full release is slated for next spring.
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