Posts by Stephen Holmes

Bass breaks the bad news

Published 06 November 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: autodesk, carl bass

Carl Bass, president and CEO of Autodesk has admitted they are feeling the pinch of the global financial crisis, as demand for products fell throughout October.

“The sharp downturn of the global economy is substantially impacting our business. Demand for our products fell dramatically in October in all geographies as the financial crisis worsened,” said Bass, blaming the downturn in the global economy for customers delaying projects.

Profits for the financial quarter ending in October were in the range of $604 million to $607 million, having previously been forecasted in the region of $625 million to $635 million. As a result, forecasts for the next financial quarter have been greatly decreased.

“Our third quarter net income will include the benefit of some reductions to previous cost estimates. In addition we have begun to take actions to reduce our cost structure,” added Bass, without elaborating on what these would include.

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Chair made from WEEE

Published 05 November 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: solidworks

A chair made the recycled plastics of redundant video game consoles is helping reduce the amount of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) from our nations gaming habit heading to landfills.

The design of Sprout Design, the REEE chair incorporates the plastic from 9 Playstation2 consoles, each chair preventing 2.4Kg of plastic entering our already crammed landfill sites. Using Solidworks to tweak individual components and construct the final design, the team at Sprout expect to ship 3,000 chairs (equivalent to 7.5 tonnes of recycled plastic) in the next year.

Engineer Guy Robinson, said “The final design is quite complex, though each component by itself is fairly simple. There were a lot of details to get the geometry and ergonomics right, such as how the stiffness and flex of the ribs responded to the body, and how to make the clips tamperproof yet easy to disassemble, etc. Solidworks allowed us to tweak the design of the individual components while showing how this affected the whole product to get it right. We would have abandoned this concept early on if we didn’t have that flexibility.”

The chair is the brainchild of Christopher Pett, founder of sustainable product development company Pli Design Ltd. Sprout used SolidWorks SimulationXpress to ensure the chair would be strong enough to support sitters without over-engineering the amount of plastic in the seat’s ribs, reinforcing the sustainable design theme. Both Pett and Robinson hope the Reee Chair sets a precedent for electronics manufacturers around the world.

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Shortfall shown in PLM user group activity

Published 28 October 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: plm

As the time of year for surveys crashes upon us, some interesting figures are showing that only six per cent of PLM user group cooperation actually taking place.

Subsequently, 39 per cent of PLM user groups are now defunct, with fewer than 10% of the remainder having any activities planned. The survey from the Product Lifecycle Management Interest Group (PLMIG) offers reasons for the decline that include the workload placed on unpaid officers, and the lack of relevance and interest in the agenda.

A spokesperson for the PLMIG, said: “This represents a major lost opportunity for PLM implementers, because the more significant and intractable problems in PLM can be resolved only by effective exchange of ideas and methods between experienced users.”

In response to their findings the PLMIG are conducting a two-day user forum in Reading on 13-14 November, giving delegates the opportunity to present an overview of their own PLM environment as input to the discussions and generate the common material they need.

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Skinny HP unveiled with CAD in mind

Published 27 October 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: hp, workstations

HP has unveiled its latest slice of technology designed with the CAD market in mind, the trim ThinClient workstation, based on the AMD Turion Dual Core 2.3-Ghz processor.

Roberto Moctezuma, vice president and general manager, desktop solutions organization, HP, said: “This latest technology from HP removes one of the last remaining barriers to transitioning to a virtual client infrastructure for customers who require the highest levels of processing power or high-quality multimedia capabilities.”

The gt7725 is shown as viewing multi-display, two- and three-dimensional MCAD designs, engineering simulation results for computational fluid dynamics and rendering images. Advanced system performance is also promised through configured dual channel memory with optimized data throughput.

Available from January, this could be a useful addition for designers wanting to work from home, pushed for space and needing a light workstation; they can also take advantage of the pre-installed HP remote graphics software. Allowing the user to work closely with remotely in a secure, collaborative environment, the system should eliminate the need to upgrade to an expensive 3D graphics card on each user’s machine.

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Big bird

Published 27 October 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: cad managers

Far be it from us to stand in the way of all things art, but having seen the scale of this shiny, rather fragmented, black bird, we felt implored to comment.

This work from Mexican-based artist Carlos Amorales was completed with the aid of technology and engineering design firm Concurrent Design using technology from ZCorp printing.

Built in their Alton offices for the opening of the Yvon Lambert Gallery in London, Concurrent Design, the Bird Sculpture by Amorales is a giant piece of work. Having had a chance to handle a gleaming wing segment, we can vouch for the size of this birdy, of which the larger segments are said to be the size of a surf board.

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Tell us where it hurts…

Published 24 October 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with:

Are you a hard working CAD manager? Finding the office life a grind with no support, increasing numbers of staff to boss, and spending too much time converting files?

Well all of this has been noted by the fifth annual CAD Managers Survey Report that lists the major issues for the modern day CAD manager (unless you’re very happy, with a well trained tight-knit team utilising your software package to its limits – in which case why didn’t you return your survey?).

Evolve Consultancy’s report highlights five main areas of the CAD Manager’s role: management, software, support, training and CAD standards, and finds that managers have seen an increased level of responsibility in 2008, managing more staff, implementing more software packages and supporting an increased number of users than before.

Support is apparently a major bottleneck in the industry, with the average call to a support provider taking 39.3 hours (nearly five working days) to resolve. Investment in training is critical and 70 per cent of respondents noted that their main support issue was due to a lack of ability or understanding of the CAD software.

However, a key grumble taken from the report files the need to “identify and implement standard methods and procedures that can help reduce the unnecessary time compiling, formatting, translating and issuing data.”

Does this sound like the common list of woe that is tossed around between you and your fellow managers? Let us know what gets your goat.

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ZCorp back with black

Published 23 October 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: 3d printing, z corporation

Develop3D were standing by as Z Corporation launched their new flagship model, the ZPrinter 650, adding black to their colour palette and displaying a bigger build area.

“It’s the first time it’s been on public display anywhere in the world,” said an excited Alan Spence, ZCorp’s UK regional sales manager at the launch. “It’s our new flagship model, it’s the biggest printer in our range. It has some key differences against our older products: A bigger build envelope, it’s the first time we’ve got five print-heads in which means we can use a black cartridge in there as well and it really improves the colour. So now we can have much bigger colour parts than before.”

Examples of the new machine’s prowess were on display, making full use of the increased build size of 10x15x8 inches, and revealing a greater depth and consistency of colour. Although they still lacked a lifelike sheen, the 24-bit colour and 600 x 540 dpi resolution was a big step forward from the usual ‘washed-out’ results from 3D printers.

“The 650 is even more highly integrated then previous products in the range, so its more end to end - sending the job to print, de-powdering it, and infiltrating it are now all done situated in the machine,” added Alan, “It’s a truly office friendly product, all you need is a 13 amp plug and a printer cable and you’re in business.”

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