PTC Streamlines Its MCAD Interface

An upgrade of Parametric Technology Corp.'s Pro/Engineer mechanical design software features a new user interface that simplifies the geometry modeling process with graphical previews.

Parametric Technology Corp. announced today a major upgrade of its Pro/Engineer MCAD software with hundreds of enhancements. Chief among the upgrades in Pro/Engineer Wildfire is a completely new user interface that simplifies the geometry modeling process through graphical previews that replaces dialogue boxes with a less obtrusive dashboard feature, according to officials at the Needham, Mass., company.

PTC rolled out the mechanical computer aided design software at its independent user group conference, PTC/User World Event 2002, in Atlanta.

A new Web communications capability in Pro/Engineer Wildfire allows designers to access PTCs Windchill development database and suite of collaboration software for product lifecycle management. Likewise, users can access live data and obtain peer-to-peer connectivity to other Pro/Engineer users. Previously, users had to access different applications and user interfaces for collaboration and data management, which created a disconnected process, according to PTC officials.

By integrating Web functionality directly into the Wildfire architecture, users now have the ability to operate Pro/Engineer and Windchill in one environment, thus bringing other designers into the mix for project collaboration, component libraries and product data management, officials said.

Wildfire brings additional capabilities for high performance assembly modeling, including symbolic representations and flexible components. Capabilities for interactive surface design, point-cloud reverse engineering, real-time photo rendering and warp feature-based global modeling allow designers to incorporate organic shapes into designs.

PTC, which has more than 300,000 Pro/Engineer users in 33,000 manufacturing plants worldwide, also announced today that it will work with Hewlett-Packard Co. to provide support for the Linux operating system by adding Linux as a certified platform. PTC will support two Linux distributions, including Red Hat on 32-bit Intel-based architecture workstations available from HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., with the release of Wildfire later this year.

Pro/ENGINEER can accommodate a wide variety of hardware platforms and operating systems with full interoperability, high performance, and a fully consistent and familiar user interface, said Brian Shepherd, senior vice president of technical marketing at PTC.

"Adding Linux to the long list of certified platforms for Pro/ENGINEER ensures that our customers can take advantage of the innovations and competition taking place in the platform market to achieve the lowest total cost of ownership for their product development environment," he said.

Sepehr Kiani, the principal engineer at Teradyne Connection Systems and a long-time user of the product, said one of the benefits of Linux was its lower total cost of ownership as users could leverage their Unix expertise on an open operating system running on cost-effective Intel architecture workstations.

"We have been long time users of Pro/ENGINEER on a variety of platforms<" Kiani said. "Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire on Linux is exciting as it will allow us to take advantage of expertise we already have in Unix while allowing our top designers to run on whatever system they prefer."

Pricing for Pro/Engineer Wildfire starts at $4,995.

Additional reporting by Peter Galli.