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PTC Creo Parametric - Edit References
Edit References functionality has been significantly overhauled in PTC Creo Parametric. Not only has a new, intuitive interface been added, but users can now also see and choose child features to re-route simultaneously, significantly improving the process of changing references. In addition to edit references, Replace References has also been enhanced with a similar interface displaying all the children of the replacing references and the choice to replace the children or not.In addition to the new capabilities in edit and replace references, PTC Creo Parametric will now graphically display the old location of missing references. This allows users to more easily understand the old design intent and correct problems when they occur
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PTC Creo Parametric - Freestyle
With the introduction of a new Align capability inside Freestyle, PTC Creo Parametric users can now create and drive their freeform, stylised designs parametrically. Users have the ability to connect their Freestyle geometry to other external geometry with positional, tangent, or normal conditions. Any changes made to this external geometry will automatically update the Freestyle geometry during regeneration, maintaining the appropriate connection. This allows users to more effectively combine freeform, organic geometry with dimension based design intent.
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PTC Creo Parametric - New Help Centre
PTC Creo Parametric ensures that new users are able to learn quickly, and experienced users are able to achieve higher levels of productivity. When starting the software, users will now see a dedicated window displaying the new content in the release. New getting started tutorials and getting started guides have also been added to the release allowing new users to quickly get up to speed with the basics.PTC Creo Parametric also features a new and significantly improved help system including Google® indexing. Help is now fully searchable on the web offering faster access to relevant information when combined with the PTC Learning Connector.
PTC's Creo product family has set the standards for the modularisation of CAD software and the integration of parametric and direct modelling technology. The new version 3.0 will be launched on the market soon and will revolutionise the use of CAD models from third-party systems. PTC has also considerably expanded the app for 2D concept engineering and is introducing a new extension for the seamless development and management of design alternatives.
When PTC initially released Creo strategy, it announced four ground-breaking innovations to create a new basis for CAD technology. One of these innovations was called Creo AnyData Adoption, which addressed the lack of interoperability of classic MCAD systems that often results in companies retaining outdated technology. With Creo 3.0, PTC has implemented the promised innovation and substantially expanded the Multicad capability of the software, which was already available in rudimentary form, creating the possibility of integrating models from other CAD systems without having to convert them. PTC now calls this innovative Multicad approach "Unite Technology".
In fact, Creo 3.0 offers users two options for handling third-party data: One option is to open Catia, NX and SolidWorks models in their original format and integrate them into a Creo component as if they were native files. It is even possible to define relationships with third-party data — for example, between a bore hole in a native SolidWorks component and a bolt from the Intelligent Fastener Extension, the new Creo library of intelligent standard connection elements. The special feature of this chargeable option of data integration is that the parts or components are automatically updated when changes are made to the original data. "This scenario is very interesting for the collaboration with heterogeneous CAD landscapes in the supply chain", says Mike Campbell, Executive Vice President CAD at PTC.
The other scenario focuses on the consolidation of heterogeneous CAD landscapes in their own customer base. There are numerous Multicad customers who still use another system alongside Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire. PTC wants to convince them that it is time to standardise with Creo and is therefore providing them with free connectors for opening and importing Catia, NX and SolidWorks models and importing CAD data from Autodesk Inventor and SolidEdge. The interfaces, provided by a partner in the USA, directly convert data via a neutral format into Creo geometry. This allows editing with the direct-modelling functions in Creo Direct or the Flexible Modeling Extension of Creo Parametric. "I am absolutely certain that the imported geometry will be high-precision, since we directly process the native formats", says Campbell.
System change without data migration
The combination of both options offers companies the possibility to switch to Creo without massive data migration, adds Campbell: "Customers also do not need to revise their data just because they are changing their CAD system. For example, they can continue to use and reference a SolidWorks file in its current revision as long as they want. The file only needs to be converted when it is modified and then a new revision is obtained. The cost of migration is minimised by the fact that the entire component assembly does not have to be converted if the customer only wants to modify one component." Campbell has not selected the SolidWorks example by coincidence: PTC is pitching the system change to Creo 3.0 primarily to SolidWorks users in their customer base. In order to facilitate the change, the software manufacturer has extended the command finder, so that newcomers can not only search for pendants of Wildfire commands in the Creo menu, but also search for corresponding SolidWorks commands.
Naturally, construction history and features of third-party will be lost during conversion, however this will not pose a real problem according to Campbell. "If we discuss with the customer how important the features really are to them, we find that 75 percent actually only see these features as a tool for construction, which is hardly used after the model has been developed. Only 25 percent say that they use the features to reproduce the true design intent of the model." In these cases, there is the option of subsequent parameterisation in Creo, with which more "simple" geometry can breathe new life into feature intelligence. This is, however, relatively complex. Despite this, PTC is no longer investing in a standalone feature recognition, but instead is concentrating on making the functions for direct modelling smarter to be able to modify the geometry as easily as possible: "We are contributing more and more COCreate expertise to Creo Direct and the Flexible Modeling Extension", says Campbell.
Customers who are switching to another CAD System, normally want to retrieve their model data as well as the associated drawings in the new environment. In order to take this requirement into account, PTC had already developed a Legacy Data Migrator in Wildfire times, which enables 2D drawings to be imported in standard formats such as Exapt or DWG and linked back with the imported 3D models via Windchill. The individual views can be assigned semi-automatically to the corresponding pages of the model and relationships between dimensions in the drawings and the dimensions of the 3D model can be established. The 2D migration assistance has been underestimated so far, which in Campbell's opinion could change if more customers opt for consolidation of their CAD installation.
Fast concept design as a team
PTC has launched Creo 3.0 on the market after a delay of several months on the original plans — a conscious decision, so as not to hinder the ongoing conversion process in the customer base, as Campbell affirms: "In the meantime, over 60 percent of customers worldwide have switched from Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire to Creo 2.0. Our goal is to convert three quarters by the end of our fiscal year in September 2014."
The launch of Creo Layout was one of the highlights of the latest version. With Creo 3.0, PTC has significantly improved and enhanced the app for rapid 2D concept engineering. It is therefore possible to design coaxial products such as turbines or gearboxes very quickly from a sheet of white paper or an existing 2D drawing, in order to then configure the 3D models from this 2D layout. In this case, the layout changes are transferred directly to the associated model. If a model created elsewhere is called up in Creo Layout and the sectional views are modified, this does not work as consistently. In order to be able to change in a layout-driven manner, a new layout based on the sections has to be created first and linked to the model.
PTC has disabled the automatic updating of 3D models for layout changes in Creo 3.0 and introduced Design Change Notification as an improvement. The developer can simulate various alternatives in the layout, without the changes being made immediately in the 3D model. Instead, they are recorded and can be accepted or rejected afterwards separately or in full. The 3D model will only be updated after a change has been approved, which means the user has full control over the association between layout and model.
An interesting innovation in Creo layout is the Concurrent Layout Design. Concept designs for complex products such as large gearboxes, which are normally developed by several employees, can be divided into several layouts and edited separately, in order to merge them once the design work is completed. "Even our German customers love this innovation", says Campbell.
Strengthening the capacity for innovation
Improvements in the area of concept engineering should contribute towards making the company more innovative. PTC has therefore grouped these improvements under the generic term Empowering Innovation,, as Campbell emphasises: "Our objective is to allow our customers maximum flexibility and control at the same time. They can therefore run any 2D examinations but with the objective of capturing the design intent and making use of the model control. The same principle also applies to extensions such as the Design Exploration Extension."
In order to offer the user better support in resolving construction problems, Creo 3.0 offers the possibility to simulate various solutions, revert to earlier versions and to decide which solution the user wishes to use at the end of the identification stage. Previously, the user regularly had to regularly create copies of their model, which led to an enormous growth in data volume per model size. The Design Exploration Extension facilitates the iterative solution finding process, whereby the user can set "Check Points" (CP), which are stored as Delta information as opposed to the status of the output model. This makes it possible to easily switch back and forth between various alternatives. The expansion can also be used to test different modelling approaches and to find which approach is most suitable for problem solving. "We practically supplement the design tree with its chronological structure with a visual tree with a hierarchical structure", explains Campbell.
The new design exploration mode does not only the advantage of reducing the data volume to be stored. It also makes the solution easier to reproduce, because the selected option can be checked at the end together with the rejected versions or their CPs in the PDM system. If we realise three weeks later that another version would have been be a better solution, it can be quickly reproduced. The Design Exploration Extension not only offers the option of storing meta data for the CPs. It is now possible to integrate Mathcad worksheets in Creo 3.0, which, according to Campbell, will be used as logbooks for the design process and the recording of decisions. The integration is so comprehensive that it is possible to control Creo models with information from the worksheets.
No new apps, but an app template
Among the eye-catching improvements in Creo 3.0 is the real-time photo-realistic rendering. Both Creo Direct and Creo Parametric support working with photorealistic models — and out of the box, as Campbell says. The user uses photorealistic mode in exactly the same way as working with colour shaded or wire mesh models. To differentiate the models from the sophisticatedly rendered photorealistic views, it is necessary to have trained eyes to detect the lack of reflection.
Originally, PTC wanted to supplement Creo Layout and Creo Sketch in 3.0 with their own drawing app based on a uniform 2D technology, meaning that the users do not have to keep switching to Creo Parametric from the direct modelling environment to prepare drawings. PTC should now come up with Creo 5.0 because developments such as 3D dimensions and model-based definition of dimensions take higher priority from the customers' point of view. However, the developers are considering the option of adding functions to Creo Direct for 2D drawing creation to encourage former CoCreate customers to switch over. "Our message to our CoCreate users is that we have made good progress on our roadmap with Creo 3.0, even though the product is certainly not at the stage for everybody to make the switch", says Campbell.
PTC Creo 3.0 does not offer a new app for users, but a kind of app template for partners. "In the presentation of the Creo strategy, we have already announced that we will enable our partners to develop their own apps. This development environment will be supplied with Creo 3.0", says Campbell. You have to imagine this as an empty app with a user interface that can interpret Creo files and interact with Windchill, but otherwise does not include any functions. PTC will make this available to four or five selected partners and develop the first apps together with them, in order to check whether the template contains all of the required functions. The first partner apps shall be released with Creo 4.0. Afterwards, PTC will also open up access to the App Shop to other partners. It is still not clear when Creo 4.0 will be put into development. Campbell's primary objective is to first launch Creo 3.0. However it is certain that, in the future, Creo release cycles will be shorter.