Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Last week's announcement of the integration of free-form (i.e., non-history) and history-based editing into the next releases of NX and Solid Edge by Siemens PLM Software — formerly UGS — was certainly big news (see Siemens PLM Introduces History-Free, Feature-Based Modeling), and you're going to be hearing a lot more about all that in the coming weeks. But kind of lost in the hubbub was an earlier announcement of Parasolid v19.1.
Parasolid is the 3D geometry kernel that resides at the core of hundreds of the MCAD, CAM, CAE, data exchange, and visualization applications you rely on every day. So, when a new version of Parasolid arrives, it's going to change the way you work. That's news too big to ignore.
Two key items in Parasolid v19.1 are support for Apple's 64-bit Mac OS X Leopard and enhanced support for workflow operations. Mac OS X Leopard support is notable for two things. For one, it's a major recognition of the growing presence of Apple in engineering applications. Two, Parasolid v19.1 is the first release to support OS X Leopard.
The short description of enhanced workflow support is lots of stuff to make complex design and manufacturing processes quicker, easier, and more productive. This means things like the ability to perform hollow operations on a selected portion of a complex model and the ability to generate a surface from a sparse set of points and normal vectors. There's also new functionality for detecting self-intersecting geometry automatically without bugging you about it.
Parasolid is such a standard that we — users as well as press dudes and dudettes — all tend to forget how really important it is. Even the Siemens announcement was on the quiet side. For that matter, yesterday as I wrote this, the Parasolid web page still headlines the breaking news from July 2007 that “UGS PLM Software Delivers Parasolid 19.0.” I guess it's difficult to get worked up over a geometry kernel.
Which is too bad. According to Siemens, something like 2.5 million engineers fire up an application that leverages the Parasolid geometry kernel every day. That's a million more than the active-duty military in the U.S. (A Siemens spokesperson told me they really think it's more like 4 million, but they had confidence in the smaller of the two estimates.)
A number like that should remind us that Parasolid drives industry — design, manufacturing, visualization, MCAD/CAM/CAE news, and probably a good chunk of whatever you do — worldwide, 24/7. That's why Parasolid v19.1 is today's Pick of the Week. It's news too big to ignore.
Thanks, Pal -- Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering Magazine