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The software for performance of design works: an overcoming the crisis
The future is in CAD. Really, judging by an abundance and, mostly, positive character of the events which have occurred in CAD in September, 2009 – the branch has accustomed with uneasy conditions of the period of economic recession. It instal all, constrained, but all the same optimism.

The first noted SolidWorks, having announced on September, 1st, 2009 the next version of the flagman product – SolidWorks 2010. The announcement is made in the become manner traditional for corporation on a special site which contains the detailed description of the innovations, videoclips illustrating them and other information. It is pleasant that among other there is a document and in Russian – the most detailed description of novelties in volume more than 200 pages. As a whole the new version, as well as it was promised, it is devoted improvement of ergonomics and increase of efficiency of performance of design works by the designer – it is considerably improved automatic notation of the sizes, there was a new interface for work as the mouse “Heads-Up” work with configurations is considerably improved, they can be published now in 3DVIA Composer and much many other things.

Interface SolidWorks Heads-Up
Interface SolidWorks Heads-Up

Train of initiatives have continued ANSYS and SpaceClaim, entered into the agreement according to which innovative geometrical editor SpaceClaim will be delivered together with products ANSYS. Thus, the engineers who are not possessing experience of performance design work in CAD, can import the data practically from any system, correct defects, prepare geometry for construction of a settlement grid, using intuitively-clear technology of direct editing. If for ANSYS, and without that successfully developing the business, this useful addition, for SpaceClaim such alliance – real chance to increase a sales volume, till now, unfortunately, the low.

Autodesk in September it was noted by development towards expansion of the list of platforms on which work with corporation products is possible. First, project Twitch providing access to flagman products of the company, AutoCAD, Inventor and Revit 2010 through the Internet has been started. For work it is not required to load and establish the software, there is enough only a browser. While the project has a considerable quantity of restrictions. For example, it is necessary to work in Windows (XP or Vista) to use Internet Explorer (versions 7 and later) or Firefox (3.x). There is no possibility to load, download and keep files of projects (work with only files of applied examples is possible). Perhaps, the largest restriction is that you should be on distance of 1000 miles from a data-processing center of appendices. Despite a number of restrictions, we will hope time, the technology looks promising. The second novelty – a little unexpected and, in general, beaten out from subjects of CAD, but worthy – raster editor SketchBook Mobile for iPhone. On well-aimed expression of the editor of magazine Develop3D Ela the Dyne (Al Dean) it is possible to forget (in the original of El used stronger English mot) about napkins on which it is frequent scribbles sketches of ideas, “at the wrong time” to designers coming to mind.

The hosting of appendices has more the future, the editor of magazine Develop3D El of Dynes considers, referring to an example growth of quantity of various services Google. The similar technology is experimented by many developers of CAD. Have already started to experiment placing of appendices. Dassault Systemes work over such variant CATIA within several years. SolidWorks has published for tests the projects BluePrint and DrawingsNow. Spring of this year ASCON it-lajn has made accessible the KOMPAS 3D.

And, at last, admirers of Mac can start applications Autodesk, using decision Parallels Desktop developed by Russian company Parallels.

At a platform iPhone has aimed and Dassault Systemes, let out for it the version 3DVIA Mobile. The appendix provides access to thousand 3D models on a site of models on a site 3D VIA which can be loaded into phone, are entered in the photos made it, and dispatched by e-mail literally by several movements of fingers. It not the first appendix for iPhone from DS, earlier left viewer drawings Drawings Now, created in SolidWorks Labs.

Open Design Alliance, despite proceeding suit with Autodesk, announced support DWG/DXF 2010. Support of the restrictions which have appeared in DWG 2010, in DWGdirect ODA realises by means of company LEDAS. It is a little paradoxical, but during the same time Google has withdrawn possibility of work with these formats from free version SketchUp 7.1, having kept it in version Pro in which there was a possibility to place the sizes in 2D drawings that functionally approaches a package to CAD.

Siemens PLM Software it was noted this month by an alliance with Maple. Integration with NX provides possibility to start Maple directly from environment NX, to receive parametres from CAD-model, to optimise them in Maple and to update model directly from environment Maple.

Autumn – traditional time of official seminars, exhibitions and conferences. Current economic circumstances have compelled to search new, less costly forms of the organisation of such actions, including actively to use modern Internet technologies. On the past simultaneously in forty cities Autodesk the Forum the space bridge with which help the directors who were in the Moscow office Autodesk for Anastas Morozova's marketing and head Autodesk-CIS Alexander Tasev have addressed to participants with an opening address and performance has been organised.

ASCON has celebrated Day of the Machine engineer in more habitual manner, having spent on September, 22-23nd, 2009 consistently two seminars in the traditional centers of mechanical engineering – Tula and St.-Petersburg.

Perhaps, the Round Table “Future of CAD” became the most appreciable action of month for community isicad passed on September, 8th, 2009 in a conference hall Moscow gifts Sheraton. In a round table CAD vendors heads and representatives of almost all leaders have taken part in Russia, representatives of mass-media.

It is possible to note following high lights of performance of known journalist Ralf Grabovski which has opened a round table the report “the Review of a today's condition of the market: competitors, classification, models of sales and a niche”.

Forecasts of a competition of in the lead systems: Pro/ENGINEER, SolidWorks, Solid Edge and Inventor the following.

As known journalist Ralf Grabovski marks, before achievement of peak of crisis in the lead systems CAD settled down in such order:
- Inventor
- Solid Works
- Pro/E
- Solid Edge

These four products make the first layer vendor decisions. They possess extensive introductions, powerful tools of direct and indirect sales, presence worldwide, wide educational programs and the big marketing budgets.

It is possible to carry to the second layer Kubotek USA, Alibre, CoCreate, Rhino, IronCAD, Think3, Ashlar Vellum, SpaceClaim, etc. Them stable and devoted users (SpaceClaim survives at the expense of investment Orsk injections) support.

Delay of sales for the past of 12 months changes an order in the first layer where SolidWorks has overtaken Inventor in total licensed (commercial and educational) workplaces which has exceeded one million.

However it becomes gradually difficult to estimate quantity of workplaces as some have ceased to inform the data on sales. And even, if such data is published, in them the commercial, educational, free and lost workplaces do not differ.

The prices of CAD remain static.

Prospects of sale of CAD as service, by instalments or in the form of tenancy, are bad.

To eradicate counterfeit CAD in the future it is not obviously possible. It is possible, the hardware lock, for example, delivered with USB will help.

Development of clones in the field of MCAD for the future development of branch is not normal. It is valid, IntelliCAD was an unnatural exception. Products should be different; even MicroStation has departed far from Intergraph. ITC declared that any more does not plan to copy mechanically functionality AutoCAD, except those separate elements of functionality which have the general sense. Unlike clones, functionality copying (known under a name “functionality wars”) will proceed, despite patents. It will be interesting to look that will occur, if patents on software appear illegal in the USA; vendors , probably, will move the patents to other countries.

The Tendency to standardization. However, CAD and PLM are not adapted for standards as are based on flexible and difficult programs. There are too many variants of realisation of layers, catalogues, styles, colour scores etc. Some governmental organisations and committees on standardization have offered standards for layers, but even it has been ignored by the majority of users.

The Technology of direct modelling is not the new saviour for branch. It is valid,
- It new, therefore does not know the majority of users, how it to use.
- It is perceived as forbidden because two decades were repeatedly said to users that parametrical modelling the best (and unique) a way to work.
- While approaches to parametrical modelling are approximately identical to all packages CAD, vendors use rather different lines of thought to direct editing.
- Studying of other system of modelling – a headache for users. However, probably, in systems of outline modelling (Rhino and solidThinking) the new approach becomes more successful.

MCAD vendors it is recommended to provide possibilities of direct modelling on the party, or their own products, or with two-forked communication, for example with Rhino.

All competitors Inventor Fusion, SolidEdge with Synchronous Technology, SolidWorks and PTC are guided by area of direct modelling. However who is the leader, to estimate difficult.

Siemens has started Synchronous Technology which and is not clear to this day as it works.

Autodesk still it is necessary to prove that Fusion it is effectively integrated with Inventor.

In due course, vendors will understand that works for clients that works in products of competitors, and will make changes to the products. And in the meantime, the companies which delivered for a long time already programs with possibilities of direct modelling (KeyCreator, IronCAD, etc.) endure an attention lack to themselves.

Direct modelling in five years will look differently, than now, because:
- There will be new algorithms of direct modelling
- There will be a functionality copying between competitors.

Possibly, direct modelling gradually becomes invisible to users as it will intertwine with the parametrical modelling based on stories of construction.

The Market for PLM and digital prototyping is small.

Really, enterprises SMB (an average and a small-scale business) do not presume to themselves its introduction for the financial reasons.

Possibly, clients do not trust these concepts because:
- PLM looks as great difficulties with SAP which it is possible to expect at any moment,
- Digital prototyping looks reliable in comparison with a real pre-production model; (by experience, for example Toyota.)

As to digital prototyping all systems MCAD, probably, drift in this direction – as they add functions of modelling and exploit devices of high capacity as GPUs nVidia.

Hardware technologies of interactive interfaces, such as multitouch and Microsoft Surface, will appear useful for CAD only in certain areas, such as viewing of conceptual models. Actually designing will ignore touch displays because the screen is too far from the keyboard. That could work, it, perhaps, small colour touch liquid-crystal screen, united with the keyboard, as touchpad on laptops.

The place for CAD on mobile devices is. For example, the leader in software for compact devices uses 5 inch computers HTC to write down architectural details directly on object, with use of laser roulettes, using Bluetooth for communications. Possibly, 5 inches is an absolute reasonable minimum, and 9 inches – the least really practical size of the screen.

CAD can work in “cloudy” environments (“cloud computations”). For following purposes:
- Unloadings of vychislitelno-intensive operations. However, such new hardware as GPUs nVidia, can eliminate requirement for cloudy calculations.
- Popular storehouses of the data for the dispersed collectives.

GPU/Linux will lower total price CAD in two directions:
- Free OS with optional paid support
- Smaller requirements to the equipment in comparison with Windows.

However, benefits from these two advantages are minimum in comparison with the high price high-end MCAD. Possibly, the companies will be so fluctuating to be switched on Linux as well as in case of direct modelling as it is unknown with doubtful advantages.

At Russian MCAD systems, such as KOMPAS and T-FLEX are not present chances of success internationally. Instead of introduction in the western countries, they should consider “unoccupied” regions, such as Southern and Central America, Africa, the former Soviet republics. For this purpose there are such reasons:
- The western market is already occupied by two layers CAD-vendorov. And such as think3 have in many respects receded back – in countries of origin (in this case – Italy).
- Russian are not known to a wide range of buyers in the western market CAD. Them consider as fine programmers, for example, in connection with Pro/E, Open Design Alliance, etc. – but not as a source of original CAD-products.
- A poor-quality translation into English of press releases and technical managements.

It is possible to note discussion of questions of a professional training as it is direct engineers – users of CAD, and managers of an average and the top echelon. And, certainly initiative stated in discussion about creation of Association of suppliers of CAD, only because of one this idea it was necessary to gather. Have talked and – experts have almost unanimously expressed influence of an economic crisis on branch in that key that crisis – not only recession time, but also time of the big motivation to search of new, non-standard decisions and, hence – to new achievements. So the future, certainly, is at CAD.

1. Malyukh V. Future of CAD is now//isicad. – 2009 []
2. Autodesk does the products accessible through the Internet//isicad. – 2009 [ ws.php? news=13311]
3. GrabowskiR. Statement by Ralf Grabowski Round Table “Future of CAD”//isicad. – 2009 []

The author: Челябэнергопроект
Date: 03/23/2010

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