By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Recently over the wires came a series of interesting news bits for those of you who sling around 3D scanners, 3D digitizers, probes, CMMs, and laser trackers. InnovMetric Software — based in Quebec City, arguably the most beautiful city in North America — came out with version 12-dot-something of its PolyWorks 3D metrology, 3D inspection, and reverse engineering platform. PolyWorks is an umbrella name for the company’s applications — PolyWorks/Inspector for 3D metrology and PolyWorks/Modeler for reverse engineering in particular. PolyWorks, for the uninitiated, operates with scanning equipment from virtually every major device manufacturer. Technology to make scanning data putty in your hands is what this company focuses on.
Anyway, the exact dot-whatever number of the v12 release is unimportant (since it has ticked up a notched or three since I first became intrigued with this product). But what made this sit up and take notice news is that this software is built on a new relational inspection architecture. What does “relational inspection architecture” mean? Well, first, it means that PolyWorks/Inspector v12 analyzes each step in your part measurement workflow. From this analysis, it creates a logic-based representation of design intent, using objects, parameters, and relationships between objects to do so.
Second — and the coolest part — it means that you can then modify the recorded parameters and object relationships knowing that PolyWorks will update your alignments, measurements, and reports automatically and in real time. The company explains this operation with the example of modifying a circle’s constraining plane.You modify the circle then PolyWorks updates it, as you probably assume, but then it also updates any objects related to the circle as well as any table or snapshot referring to these objects — automatically and, again, in real time. Nice.
On the reverse-engineering front, version 12 of PolyWorks/Modeler now has parametric 2D sketching capabilities. No, this is not a stab at making their own Creo or something; they know you have CAD. Rather, the new sketcher is intended to close the loop, so to speak, and make your CAD solution a reverse engineering solution. How it does that is by enabling you to create a sketch outline or sketch entities that correspond to design intent. You then can export your sketch to a CAD package like CATIA, Creo, NX, or SolidWorks as an editable parametric and associative solid CAD model without any fuss. Sounds really nice and a great boon to productivity too.
You can read more about PolyWorks v12 from today’s Pick of the Week write-up. As always, there are lots of links after the main write-up so that you can learn more. BTW, near the end of the write-up you’ll see a quick hit on something called PolyWorks/Talisman. This free app gives you real-time feedback on your Apple mobile device of laser-scanned points as they’re being captured.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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