Protecting IP with the new breed of 3D design

Published 08 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: design, siemens plm, pdm, collaboration, manage, intellectual property, engineer

One thing I’ve been thinking about of late is the new breed of modeling technology that’s clearly coming on stream, which allows you to work with geometry in a very freeform, unrestricted manner. If, you can load a part or assembly, then edit it, without recourse to the construction history, you have the ability to edit a part without having knowledge about how it was constructed. And believe me, I think that’s a good thing, when the tools finally get there, it means that we’ll be able to concentrate on design and engineering, rather that operation of software.

But…

The benefit of history and features is that you are storing the intelligence in your model, of how you construct the part, how you design it. With the rise of more intelligent features and such, you can store a great deal more information about the design intent, the process you went through to create those forms. In other words, the CAD model, at present, reflection a big portion of your intellectual property.

While its a royal pain in the arse, it also means that if you’re working in a supply chain, you can protect your intellectual property to a large extent, because of this complexity. If a design change needs to be made, then the customer has to come back to you and your design team to effect that change, because, they have the knowledge of how it was constructed. and for many organizations, that consultative role is a source of revenue and on-going business.

If this new breed of modeling tool does not rely on that recipe that you store, and anyone can load the part, edit the information it represents, then that revenue might be lost.

Absolutely, I’m absolutely aware that the intellectual property held within a CAD system is the end result of the process, rather than the be-all and end-all of your organization’s skills, the fact remains that this is something that more and more organizations are going to have to accept and deal with. How do you protect your data? what tools are available to ensure that your intellectual property is protected. Does is mean that the integration of Digital Right Management tools, such as LivePolicy from Adobe are the way to go, or as Bruce Boes of Siemens PLM Software commented in an interview I conducted recently, “This is something that should be rationalised with the security capabilites within your software, whether that’s through your PDM system or through your CAD system”- it all that remains to be seen.

Its an interesting concept and I think something the industry as a whole is going to have to face up to at some point and I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on the subject.

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The power of the image

Published 07 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: rhino, mcneel

I could wax lyrical about the use of visualization tools as an aid to competitive advantage - the benefits of having photorealistic imagery of your products before they’re even getting near a physical manifestation, but I think these images, say it all.

Gulfstream rendered these in HyperShot and launched the 650 - its not due to be delivered until 2012.

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EFD updated by Flomerics

Published 06 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with:

Flomerics has launched a new rev of its Engineering Fluid Dynamics (EFD) fluid flow and thermal simulation product family. If you’re not familiar with the company, Flomerics have a range of CFD based tools that serve a range of markets, for architecture, mechnical and electronic design. The EFD tools are the result of the aquisition of Nika a little while ago. The concept behind EFD is that its based on the same mathematical Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) principles as all the other codes out there but is embedded in CAD.

Updated goodies in this release are an optimised mesher that’s less hardware intensive for larger models, Vista recognition, a brand new interface (yup - ribbons a go-go) and more porting of Flomeric’s electronics knowledge. One thing that’s intriguing me is Feature Recognition. The press release says: “unique functionality by recognizing features and parameters on an imported solid body. Therefore, users maintain all the benefits of parametric-based solid modeling and can easily modify geometry parameters to take advantage of effortless “what-if” testing regardless of where the solid model was created.” So, are they reconstructing features and allowing you to play with the parameters? that’s pretty impressive.

UI Rant

One thing I did notice is that with the rise of the Ribbon tool bar, the old days of saying that all these systems DID the same thing, is now compounded by the fact that they all LOOK the same. Look at the screenshot above - what’s that, is it SpaceClaim, SolidWorks, EFD? And is this a good thing? I’m not entirely convinced it is. The workflow of design and engineering, 3D modelling and interaction with geometry is NOT the same as filling out a spreadsheet and writing a word document. Should we be following the same user guidelines? Perfect example is AliasStudio - the interface is unlike anything else and never has been. And there’s a very good reason for that: you’re working with conceptual surfaces or class A surfaces.

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Bob’s got a Blog

Published 06 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with:

Why didn’t I know this before? Bob McNeel has a blog. Its updated regularly by himself and Carlos - Bob’s the founder of McNeel, developer of amongst other things, Rhino, Brazil, Accurender and all manner of other stuff that sells by the bucket load at a very reasonable cost and Carlos runs the European operation from their Barcelona office.

And as anyone who’s been to a Rhino event will know, this company has a following which other CAD vendors can only dream of. I don’t know if anyone has a Rhino tattoo, but its only a matter of time.

I was lucky enough to get to go to their DIMe event in Mexico last year and I was blown away - here, hundreds of Mexican design students gathered together, largely at their own cost, to learn about the process of design from some really big names in the game - and I don’t mean the 25 minute pitch of “how to innovate” nonsense you get at other user events, but hour long, in-depth details - and they listened.

Link

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Matt Lombard’s Surfacing book is out

Published 06 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: solidworks, book, reading

Matt Lombard has a well known SolidWorks blogger, known for a distinct inability to pull his punches. He’s also a prolific author and his latest tome is out for your surface modelling joy. Having been writing about this technology for the last 45 years combined, we’re in awe of anyone that has the ability to sit and write that shear amount of content - personally, it gives me the fear.

In Matt’s words:

This book explains some of the elementary concepts of surfacing, and goes on to talk about tools and techniques. The last part of the book has several tutorials done in a conversational style, where I go through how I modeled parts, including how the decisions were made to use various features. This is not just a “do this do that” tutorial where you get the instructions to make a complex shape but never understand why you would do this or do that.

The book is $50, which includes shipping in the US. The rest of the payment and shipping details available here.

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SolidSmack brings the RealView noise

Published 06 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: solidworks, solidsmack, realview, design review

DEVELOP3D.com loves (in a very special way) Josh at SolidSmack.com, so much so, he’s agreed to be a columnist in our new magazine come its eventual launch in June. This week, Mr. Mings (for some reason, I think Dr. Mings has a better ring) has been looking at the RealView technology in SolidWorks and has some interesting pointers, tips and a few questions about how SolidWorks users are, well, using the technology. He raises an interesting point that you often conduct design reviews around your CAD screen and the RealView highlight tools are ideal for making your point. Wise words indeed - from a very wise man.

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New Tools for Rhino - Brazil Beta & Photogrammetry

Published 06 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: rhino, visualization, mcneel, photogrammetry

Word is coming out of McNeel & Associates that there are two new add-ons coming on stream for surface modelling master, Rhino. Firstly, there’s a brand new beta for Brazil, the photo realistic rendering add-on for Rhino. Updates include a new ‘Graph’ section to most textures which displays a graph of the texture’s red, green, blue, alpha or luminosity along one axis. There are also a range tools for precisely defining sun direction and position which will be mostly useful for those working with Architectural visualisation. Other updates include a context menu to the color button, implementation of Brazil’s Advanced Global Fog Environment implemented..

There’s also Rhinophoto, Photogrammetry plugin for Rhino and provides automatic 3D digitizing from a set of photographs. having had a quick look at the web-site, this tool looks pretty impressive for those wanted to reconstruct 3D models (for whatever purposes), using some standard digital cameras and a bit of time. There are some good tutorials which give you a solid idea of what’s involved in the systems use.

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