Create your own factory “playlist”

Published 02 September 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: factory, visual components

A new release from Visual Components now accepts data from 3D CAD for factory simulation, offering playlist libraries of robot models and components, and updated compatibility with Microsoft Vista.

The eCatalogue library used to select equipment components now features a similar concept to the playlists on your iPod. Using search and filter commands different component lists can be generated and selected for different types of layout projects.

The library itself boasts over 100 of the major robot models, material handling libraries, and streamlined tools to take 3D CAD data into realistic production scenarios.

Making better use of this data, it should also provide more effective when developing equipment control programmes. The Visual Components PLC Add-on, boasts increased speed for control engineers connecting their Programmable Logic Controller test benches.

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Worry not; ‘warehouse experts’ are on hand

Published 22 August 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: autodesk, autocad, subscription

Organising a busy warehouse should become a lot easier with the deployment of Hyster’s new generation of 3D simulation technology.

The software allows firms to plan out their storehouses virtually and assemble theoretical plans to get the most from their distribution points, creating everything from their shelving units, to the paths used by forklift trucks and even staff.

Robert O’Donoghue, general manager for Hyster’s warehouse products, explains: “Simulation is not an exact science, however it can provide a realistic indication of the viability of various fleet options. Warehouse managers will be able to consider different fleet mix scenarios and develop a good idea of potential pallet throughputs and related costs.”

By inputting key data into the system, with the help of a real-life Hyster ‘warehouse expert’, a series of algorithms based on the known performance parameters of each truck will then illustrate how the warehouse would actually work.

Developing the software with Incontrol Simulation Software BV, it aims to provide the most accurate representation of warehousing operations available. O’Donoghue continues: “We developed the software based on our significant experience of what actually happens in warehouse operations. It was important to make sure that we included all available information to provide an accurate picture of how a materials handling fleet would perform.”

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‘Flexible Software Delivery’ becomes Autodesk’s buzzword of the week

Published 21 August 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with:

Cleverly upgrading their subscriber services in the same week that Solidworks have managed to anger some of their customers, AutoCAD’s new two-pronged delivery system should have software updates into the eager hands of designers quicker and with less fuss.

In the same way that Microsoft Office gives you the option to upgrade when new feature packs are available, AutoCAD products now promise customers earlier access to new features, delivered on demand.

Subscription bonus packs containing new software features are currently available through the AutoCAD subscription centre, and are to be released on a regular basis. Meanwhile product updates will be automatically delivered to all licensed users, giving access to updated patches and fixes.

Subscription accounts for around three-quarters of AutoCAD users, and with this easier way of picking and choosing the upgrades you want it should make the most of Autodesk’s vision of a truly customisable software.

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Photoview 360 gets competitive

Published 21 August 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: solidworks, photoview 360

As the Solidworks marketing machine for Photoview 360 continues to build up steam, having already announced a preview version available for download, a new contest for early users has opened.

The competition, which closes on September 5, offers the lucky winner not only “the fame and recognition of having your image posted to our gallery,” but they will also, “send you an item from our catalog of Solidworks promotional items.” Yes, you too could be the darling of the Solidworks user forums as you sip coffee from your official Solidworks mug.

On a brighter note, the contest rules allow entrants to stamp their entry with their name, products used or a company logo. All types of images are welcome, from architectural renderings, product shots, and engineering visualizations, to graphic design, game development, broadcast or film.

Entries must be posted onto the Photoview discussion thread and created using Photoview 360 only.

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Plastic fantastic

Published 18 August 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: inventor, plastic features technology

A nifty preview of Inventor’s Plastic Features Technology has been offered up on Autodesk Labs, giving users the chance to experiment with new technologies for simpler plastic product design.

Designers and engineers alike will be able to create thin-walled plastic parts as design tools simplify the addition of features like grills, bosses, snaps, and lips to a design.

The release comes as a result of Autodesk’s work over the last few years to strengthen their position in plastics, what Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president of Autodesk Manufacturing Solutions, has called “one of the fastest-growing engineering materials.”

By acquiring PlassoTech last year Autodesk have added advanced product simulation technology and Moldflow injection moulding simulation technology to Inventor’s armoury.

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NVIDIA launches GPU based ray tracing at Siggraph

Published 14 August 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: visualisation, nvidia, gpu, showcase, ray tracing.

NVIDIA has announced that it can calculate ray traced imagery on the fly using its GPUs, claiming an industry first. Based purely on NVIDIA GPU technology, the ray tracer shows “linear scaling rendering of a highly complex, two-million polygon, anti-aliased automotive styling application.” if you want to get down and dirty, then the image shown here was displayed at three bounces, performance was demonstrated at up to 30 frames per second (fps) at HD resolutions of 1920x1080 for an image-based lighting paint shader, ray traced shadows, and reflections and refractions running on four next-generation Quadro GPUs in an NVIDIA Quadro Plex 2100 D4 Visual Computing System (VCS).

Now, I know ray tracing is incredibly complex and calc heavy, but, really, if this is an industry first, shouldn’t these images look better? I guess my point is that whether its full ray tracing, or fudged (some systems, like Autodesk Showcase, have some tricks to get over the calc hurdle), I think today’s users expect more in terms of depth of realism.

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AMD rebrands while Nvidia gears up for extravaganza

Published 14 August 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: amd, nvidia, ati fire, nvision

AMD’s legendary ATI Fire GL brand, which was made famous by Diamond Multimedia ten years ago, is no more. AMD has rebranded its professionalgraphics card family to ATI FirePro and at the same time launched two newcards, the FirePro V3700 and FirePro V5700.

The dropping of the ‘GL’ from the ‘ATI Fire’ brand is significant as itsname was originally inspired by OpenGL, which has been the standard for 3D graphics in CAD applications since the early nineties. However, in recentyears OpenGL has been losing ground to Microsoft’s Direct3D technology with a number of software vendors, notably Autodesk, going down this route.

It would appear the rebranding is a direct result of this trend.In terms of the new cards, the ATI Fire Pro V5700 features 512MB of memory, dual link DVI and DisplayPort connections, and its true 30-bit display engine produces more than one billion colours at any given time.

This will be of particular interest to product designers for the most accurate colour reproduction, as long as they are using a compatible 30-bit monitor. For the Fire Pro V3700 ATI has followed the lead of Nvidia by introducing a professional card with an aggressive price point of below $99. The cardfeatures 256 MB of frame buffer memory, two dual-link DVI connectors.

Meanwhile, Nvidia is gearing up for its inaugural NVISION event in August,which will offer nearly 80 hours of technical and industry sessions forprofessionals in areas including automotive, high performance computing, andprofessional visualisation.

Among the bizarre array of celebrities atending the event (including Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Battlestar Galactica actress Tricia Helfer) Bernard Charles, president and CEO of DassaultSystemes, will give a presentation, offering insights into ‘what’s next’ for creative professionals.

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