Beth Stackpole

Arena Looks Toward Quality Management

Customers ask and they shall get. It’s the guiding principle for how many design software companies chart a product roadmap, and in the case of Arena Solutions, customers’ repeated requests have spawned Arena Quality, a full-blown quality management module recently added to round out the firm’s cloud-based PLM suite.

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aPriori Rolls BI Capabilities Into its Product Costing Tool

Continuing its push to make cost a key variable of product design, aPriori released a new business intelligence capability intended to bring self-service analytics and enhanced visibility of product cost data to a wider range of stakeholders.

The new Cost Insight extends the aPriori product cost management suite with enterprise-class business intelligence capabilities. The idea is to allow engineers, designers, and manufacturing executives to generate dashboards, ad hoc reports, and production reports that will maximize visibility into the performance of cost management initiatives and drive more informed decision making, notes Julie Driscoll, aPriori’s vice president of product management and strategic marketing. Continue reading

PTC: Not Your Father’s CAD Company

To be fair, PTC has been moving away from its mechanical engineering roots for quite some time, expanding into Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) with the 2011 acquisition of MSK Integrity and branching out even further with the Servigistics deal, which launched it into the service lifecycle management space.

With last December’s $112 million of ThingWorx, PTC set its sights on the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape, and if this week’s PTC Live 2014 event is any indication, it is it where PTC is directing its future. Beyond the launch of Creo 3.0 (details to follow later), the event was chock full of keynotes, customer presentations, and announcements in the SLM, embedded software, and IoT space, with very little talk of traditional CAD and PLM mechanical engineering software. Continue reading

Science Scores Big at FIFA World Cup 2014

With the World Cup 2014 games kicking off this week, the entire world is transfixed with all things soccer (or football-related, depending on where you hail). As we get ready to cheer on our favorite teams and marvel at the unbridled athleticism, it’s worth a look at the serious science and engineering at play behind all of that fancy footwork.

Physics plays a starring role in any sport, and soccer is no exception. The Magnus effect, a principle that explains the side-force on a sphere that is both rotating and moving forward, is used extensively to analyze the World Cup match balls used in this and previous years’ games. Continue reading

Tuna Robot Navigates Biomimicry Waters

Not only is the tuna a strong swimmer, but the front portion of its body remains stable as it propels itself through water. This unique style of movement was the inspiration for a U.S. Navy project, which employed biomimickry practices to create the optimal design for an autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle.

The so-called tuna robot, designed in partnership with Boston Engineering, builds off the seaworthy profile of the tuna and includes a propulsion system, a single oscillating foil, appropriately placed fins, and a finely-tuned muscular and sensory control system. The full set of technology makes the tuna robot efficient at a variety of speeds, unlike a traditional thruster propulsion system, which is typically optimized to operate at a single velocity. Continue reading