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PTC Launches Pro/E Wildfire 4.0

By Jonathan Gourlay

Explaining it represented more than $100 million in research and development investment, PTC (Needham, MA) Senior Vice President of product development Mike Campbell said Wednesday that Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0 contains some 350 enhancements, results in an overall performance increase, and uses 6.6 percent smaller memory footprint on the desktop. Campbell introduced the latest version of the modeling program at PTC’s annual media and analyst event at its headquarters.

Among the improvements highlighted during the launch event is Wildfire’s new Auto Round feature. Once a designer chooses the portions of a model that need to be rounded and enters a few parameters, Auto Round can place fillets and rounds on automatically using a library of existing algorithms. Campbell said the task that might take a Pro/E expert 20 minutes to accomplish, can be completed by the software in 40 seconds. A demonstration at the event backed up this claim.

Among other improvements are automatic memory management to help with retrieval of such things as large assembly performance. It is said that automated and optimized assembly file management using simplified representations reduces memory consumption by 40 percent and model retrieval times by 60 percent.

Also improved in this latest release is the display of dimensions in 3D drawings to increase design information reuse; new capabilities for directly editing surfaces including multi-resolution editing and smoothing; faster surface removal for mold making or analysis; and a new feature recognition tool to quickly convert imported geometries to features in your model.

Wildfire 4.0 also includes a new ribbon cabling function. It is said to create electromechanical designs faster with intelligent, automated capabilities for adding and routing ribbon cables’ (see March 2008 DE for a detailed description).

Campbell was also keen to point out the package’s new ECAD-MCAD Collaboration Extension. It’s a slick electromechanical capability that enables both the solid model and the electronic design of the same component to be connected and viewed side by side. Enabled by a new interface between MCAD and ECAD designs, it allows for making fast work of incremental changes that can be cross-highlighted between MCAD and ECAD board designs. It allows each designer to work in his or her native environment and collaborate with ease.

Other features include an enhanced import DataDoctor with an easy-to-use, modernized user interface; updated data-exchange processors with support for CATIA V5, AutoCAD, 3D PDF, ProductView, and Rhino, and new support for JT; new security and rights management protection; easier and enhanced simulation; and more.

Using the new intellectual property (IP) module, Rights Management Extension (RMX), and Adobe LiveCycle Rights Management ES, a user can protect parts, assemblies, and drawings files by assigning varying levels of security to those sharing the files. For example, the person charged with controlling the digital rights management (DRM) policy, does so from a policy server and can give someone in another department or a partner in a project an “only open” permission for a specified period of time. This policy will allow for the part or assembly file to be opened, and interrogated (measured, cross sections viewed, etc.), but will prevent all actions that could persist or replicate the data such as save, export, copy geometry, etc.

Protected Pro/E files have “persistent and dynamic protection,” meaning the originator can grant more rights or disable access quickly and easily from the policy server to change the permissions or revoke a vendor’s right to access the file at any time. In addition, the policy server includes auditing capabilities, which report both successful and unsuccessful attempts to open protected content. This provides the IP owner with insight into how and when a model is accessed and provides accountability through the tracking of each partner’s use of a model.

Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0 is scheduled to be available later this month. Active maintenance customers can download Wildfire 4.0 or order a CD from the PTC support site under current maintenance coverage.

For more information, please visit PTC.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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