Engineering software developer PTC, Needham, Mass., took the wraps off its third version of Pro/E Wildfire, the company's mainstay CAD system. Among the highlights are features that reduce the time to build assemblies, model sheet metal, sketch, and make drawings. Design models also store more manufacturing information. And support for the Windows XP 64-bit operating system will let users build larger models than possible on the 32-bit version.
Improvements include an ability to put assembly mechanisms in motion so users can spot collisions before building physical prototypes. The software can apply assembly rules to a particular design that would, for example, let users assign only1 /2-20 bolts and tap only 1 /2-20 holes. The software would warn users should they overlook the rule.
Sheet-metal functions are more automated. For example, if two bend areas overlap, the software knows enough to clip the crossed areas and add a strain relief for a professional appearance. Sketching is said to be 70 to 80% faster than in the previous version and easier, thanks to better templates. They have more options such as an ability to align dimensions. Area shading on drawings lets them convey more visual information. A checker stores rules for company preferences such as use 12-pt fonts and apply fillets last to a model. After the checker runs, it lists violations for the user to correct.
The Process Guide, a customizable wizard, lets departments input preferred steps for particular operations. For example, a company might set up its own simulation wizard to assist infrequent users. It could instruct users to mesh first with a particular density and then type loads into the presented field. General rules for running a stress analysis are built in and future updates will incorporate guidelines for manufacturing functions.
The design model might store manufacturing information such as how to specify cutting, drilling, and tapping operations. This information follows ISO and ASME standards. A library can hold manufacturing know-how such as how to form a particular sheet-metal feature. Features for manufacturers include aids to set up production tasks.
In a demo of the new capabilities, a PTC application engineer imported a curvy model of a water pitcher in STEP format and reshaped it as if it were made of clay, by pulling on small blocks that appeared on the model. The point: A model created almost anywhere can be reshaped in the software as if it were a native model. He also pulled up the sketcher and placed a logo on the curved pitcher surface. This text can be either embossed or indented into the surface. Users can save other shapes in the sketcher and apply them elsewhere. A hole pattern, for example, could serve as a placeholder for decorations on surfaces of consumer products.
PTC Inc., www.proe.com