Speedy software gets a boost

Tom Shelley reports on enhancements to the leading brand of explicit CAD software.

A radically updated version of CoCreate shows the commitment of PTC to this type of explicit CAD, which is still very popular among users who prefer to work with this type of software.

Berthold Hug, CoCreate product manager, told attendees at a recent seminar at PTC reseller CSI that Version 17.0 is about twice as fast as V 16.0. and that there were 'nine million lines of code for each new release, and to achieve the speed up, you touch several million'.

Justin Teague, general manager of PTC's CoCreate business unit , made it clear that PTC sees CoCreate as being particularly appropriate for the occasional CAD user. However, speaking to four CoCreate users from UK engineering companies at the event, they all said that they were full-time users who just preferred the simplicity and ease of use offered by CoCreate. Indeed, this was even the case for those who had previously used other CAD packages, one of whom said: "If something is not right, you just change the geometry, you don't have to go back and change something earlier, because there isn't a history tree."

This is, of course, the big difference between CoCreate and other major CAD packages. Most of them now offer some kind of direct model editing, whether they call it,
'Direct Modeling', or 'Synchronous Technology', but there is still a sequence of steps underneath, some of which sometimes have to be retraced in order to be able to go forwards. A user can retrace steps in CoCreate as well, by making use of the 'Undo' facility, but this is not the normal way of proceeding, which is to pick on faces and features to produce the CoPilot graphic and modify accordingly. By making use of the CoPilot, and calling up context-sensitive mini toolbars in both 2D and 3D, it is possible to work on a completely clean screen, without any of the usual toolbars, greatly reducing mouse clicks and mouse travel. This is of especial benefit when performing tasks such as creating and extruding 2D profiles from work planes.

Complex patterns, such as steps in a staircase, are fast to create. They are not quite as intelligent as the ones in Autodesk Inventor, which can adjust themselves to fit, but perfectly good enough for most purposes. Because it is not parametric, you cannot set up formulae to produce different versions of parts, but there is a facility to have stock and finished parts, which can be finished in different ways. In response to a request from users, there is now a facility to import 'Inseparable assemblies', which recognises that, although it may be possible to access components within bought in parts, these cannot be shared and applied to other designs.

Following the acquisition by PTC, CoCreate V17 can directly import files from Pro/Engineer as .prt and .asm files. Since V16.5, it has been possible to exchange files with Pro/Engineer using the company's 'Granite' technology, as well as export them to Advanced Mechanica for simulation, and to Pro/Engineer NC and Tooling,
ProductView, and through ProductView or STEP to Arbortext IsoDraw and communicate with Mathcad and Windchill to integrate with company PDM and PLM systems. Sheet metal facilities have been improved in V17, making use of more of the in context mini toolbars, and there have been enhancements to the handling
of complex cable harnesses.

Tom Shelley

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