Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Packaging equipment manufacturer cuts R&D cycle time by 17 percent

PharmaPack designs better with Solid Edge. Packaging machinery manufacturer shortens R&D design cycle by 17 percent and production preparation time by 20 percent. The company also used Sold Edge to reduce unnecessary drawings by 30 to 40 percent.

Learn how here!

Start your free trial of Solid Edge here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Speed Up your Performance with Large Assemblies in Solid Edge

No one likes wasting time waiting for parts and assemblies to open, and once they do open waiting for the software to catch up to rotations, zooms, adding features and parts to assemblies is very frustrating. Let’s go over a few settings that can greatly enhance your performance with large assemblies in Solid Edge.

Shown above are the default settings in Solid Edge for assembly opening. From the opening Solid Edge splash screen follow this path: Application button/Solid Edge Options/Assembly Open As. Set the Open As setting based on your hard ware configuration and personal preference.

For example, you have a really powerful desktop with a huge amount of RAM let’s say around 20 GB, a dual 2 GB video card setup, and a 15,000 RPM SCSI hard drive, “because who wouldn’t want a get up like this”? With a workstation like this you could easily open 2,000 part assemblies with all parts active and all design features turned on, but if you’re like the other 95% percent of us using adequate equipment to get the job done the settings are very important and often ignored or over looked.

 Using the default options, we get an assembly open with all parts, including sub-assembly parts inactive. By inactive I am referring to the parts that are visually seen but not fully loaded into memory thus saving load time. Keep in mind parts that are inactive are not usable until the are activated, which is simply done by right clicking on the part and setting it active.

Another option on the Open As settings panel is to use simplified parts in lieu of designed parts. Shown above you notice what the ‘use simplified design’ will do for you. If the bolt quantity is 200 then you will have 200 complicated helical features that have to be calculated every time you rotate the screen. Helical features are synonymous for being memory hogs, therefore, if the feature doesn’t have any bearing on your design there is no need to have it shown. The time savings gained by taking less than a minute to simplify the design will greatly be compounded in the assemblies the parts are used in.   

For those of you whom prefer to set or change the Open As permitters also have the option to tweak all the individual Open as settings from the open dialog box.

I use this when I open a large assembly that has not had features simplified or if there has not been configurations created that may have time saving benefits such as allowing the user to only open and see the part(s) wanted. I am sure to change the setting to open with all parts turned off. Once I have my empty assembly open, which opens quickly regardless if theres five or 50,000 parts, I begin turning on parts and subassemblies making configurations and simplified parts as I go through the assembly structure. Or if you have the time just say open, go get lunch, maybe a run to the post office, or perhaps wait for the cable installer to show up - it’s really your choice!

Once the assemblies open, there are still many the settings configure. Under the view drop down there are settings for the quality of geometry and the style of viewing such as “Default, High Quality, and Rendering.” There are also settings in “View Overrides” that allow you to turn on reflections, bumb maps, textures, high quality shadows etc. Keep in mind that the more “fancy-flashy” looks take a toll on performance if you don’t have a quality video card to drive them.

Speaking of video cards, there are several selections to choice from based on your video card performance. Shown below are these options. If you uncheck the Automatic selection box, the option to change the settings manually appear. Here is a list of  of the definitions available for selection given by Siemens PLM:
  • Graphics Card Driven (Advanced): This option provides full acceleration for all 3D displays and should provide the smoothest display possible for manipulating graphical objects or editing profiles and sketches. To achieve this higher quality display, Solid Edge requires a higher level of graphics card support. Such support may not exist for older graphics cards. This option is designed specifically for use with the latest mid-range and high-end graphics cards.
  • Graphics Card Driven (Basic): This option provides full acceleration for all 3D displays and should provide a stable display across a wide variety of midrange to high-end graphics cards. While all displays are hardware accelerated, this option avoids accessing graphics requests that may not be widely supported. Choose this option if Solid Edge is unable to generate consistent displays when using the Graphics Card Driven (Advanced) option.
  • Graphics Card Driven (Direct3D): This option is available for the Windows Vista operating system only. This option is intended for Windows Vista users who are unable to generate consistent displays using one of the other graphics card driven options. 
  • Backing Store: This option provides a mixture of graphics card and software generated displays. When you manipulate a view, Solid Edge directs all display requests to the graphics accelerator to provide the fastest frame rate possible. When the view manipulations are completed, the final display is generated using a slower, more stable software method to provide a consistent display for all possible configurations. Choose this option for older, legacy configurations, especially when working with graphics cards that are not designed to support CAD applications (gaming or consumer-level graphics cards), or if Solid Edge is unable to generate consistent displays using one of the graphics card driven options.
  • Software Driven: This option is provided for diagnostic purposes and should not be used for normal displays. The primary reason for this option is to isolate the source of any graphic anomaly that might occur. In most cases, the graphics driver contains a flaw or is out-of-date. This option should only be selected if directed by support to verify such a condition.
  • Use Display Lists: A display list is an OpenGL(r) capability that allows the CAD application to load geometry to the graphics card memory. This off-loads that data from the system memory. Using the dedicated resource on the graphics card is much faster than using shared system memory. This option is set by default for most midrange to high-end cards. A display list increases the performance of the Graphics Card (Advanced) method so that the display rate approaches and sometimes matches the display rate of the Graphics Card (Basic) option.

There is no special combination of settings and configurations that you should set. Every computer is different and some settings do not work great on certain computers. My Dell Laptop doesn’t render correctly when set to Advanced, but works great on Basic. I hope some of these tips help to speed up your performance in Solid Edge!

Dylan Malek
Application Engineer
Swoosh Technologies

View the current Solid Edge training schedule here!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

6 Reasons Why Manufacturing Companies Train Their Employees

  1. Training improves employee performance. According to Ferdinand Fournies (author of ‘Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To Do’) performance problems occur because employees (1) don’t know what they’re supposed to do, (2) don’t know how to do it, and/or (3) don’t know why they should do it. 
  2. Training enhances company profits. Based on the training investments of 575 companies during a three-year period, researchers found that firms investing the most in training yielded a 36.9 percent total shareholder return as compared with a 25.5 percent weighted return for the S&P 500 index for the same period. That's a return 45 percent higher than the market average.
  3. Training saves labor. Reducing duplication of effort, time spent on problem solving, and time spent on correcting mistakes.
  4. Training improves a company's competitive edge. Any company has to recognize that not only is the human capital of their employees a major asset, it is also a depreciating asset that needs continuing investment." Keeping worker skills up to date keeps a company in the running.
  5. Training saves supervisory and administrative time and costs. The less time a manager has to spend on monitoring and guiding employees, the more time is freed up for more profitable activities.
  6. Training improves employee satisfaction and retention. Companies that fail to train their employees are more than three times as likely to lose them.
Swoosh Technologies Education Services has been delivering training solutions for 9 plus years focusing on Siemens PLM Software: NX (Unigraphics), Solid Edge, and Teamcenter.  Ours is not the broad-based training approach which adds little to process efficiencies.  Rather, we focus on industry process training and address your specific areas for measurable results.  Contact us today and we will explore how our training can help your team improve to a new level of achievement.

Click here to view the training schedule and register for a class.

Dan Wibbenmeyer
Swoosh Technologies

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Use of versatile pre- and postprocessor enables space agency to reduce training costs

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) uses Femap to reduce simulation turnaround allowing more time for research and development. The company is now able to easily generate custom analysis models and significantly reduce training costs.

Learn how here.

Start your free trial of Femap here.

Solid Edge with synchronous technology enables faster, easier design modifications

Leutenegger + Frei AG designs better with Solid Edge. Food processing machine manufacturer reduces design time from three weeks to one day. Solid Edge’s synchronous technology enables design modifications to be made significantly faster and easier compared to prior methods and other systems and the company enjoys a tenfold improvement in design time turnaround.

Learn how here.

Start your free trial of Solid Edge here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

NX CAM Tips & Tricks: Coolant Thru Custom Command

Follow these steps to create a simple custom command to add to a post processor. This will allow you to utilize the coolant thru switch on the tool description dialog box in NX CAM.

Start Postbuilder.

Select the custom command tab.

Select the Create option.

Right mouse button on the new custom command and rename it. To PB_CMD_coolant_thru.

Highlight everything in the right window, as shown below:

Once every thing is highlight, select the delete key!

Select the lines below:

proc PB_CMD_coolant_thru { } {
global mom_tool_coolant_through
global mom_coolant_status
if { [ info exists mom_tool_coolant_through ]  } {
  if { $mom_tool_coolant_through == "Yes" } {
     set mom_coolant_status "THRU"

Copy the lines selected above and paste the lines into the right side of the dialog. It should appear as follows:

Select the Program Tab.

Select the Operation Start Sequence.

Under the Initial Move block.

Select add a new block.

Select the coolant thru command you just created from the drop menu.

Your coolant thru on the tool dialog box is now ready to use!

Learn more about customization in NX CAM with training from Swoosh Technologies. See the full training schedule here.

Brain Brown
Application Engineer
Swoosh Technologies

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Top 5 Reasons to Attend Solid Edge University

  1. Increase Productivity. Improve your Solid Edge Product knowledge and your personal productivity. Attend dozens of technical sessions delivered by some of the best and brightest of the Solid Edge team and expert users. Session topics will cover part modeling, assembly design, drafting, simulation, manufacturing, and data management.
  2. Get FREE Solid Edge Training. Participate in hands-on training sessions and try the latest version of Solid Edge ─Solid Edge ST7. Workshops will include advanced assembly design, part and sheet metal modeling, the Solid Edge API, customizing the Solid Edge UI, tips & tricks and more. Click here to view presentations from Solid Edge University 2013.
  3. Connect with the Solid Edge Team and Developers. Meet and talk with the founders of Solid Edge, Dan Staples and Bill McClure, as well as the development team. Help to shape the future of Solid Edge by participating in roundtable discussions led by Jeff Walker, the head the Solid Edge planning group. 
  4. Network with other Edgers. Meet other Solid Edge users from around the world, share best practices, tips and techniques that will expand your skills, and ensure that you get the most value from your investment in Solid Edge. Attend customer presentations and learn how other companies have used Solid Edge to develop some of the most innovative and successful products on the market today.
  5. Explore new products, technologies, and trends. Visit with Siemens PLM partners to discover new ways to enhance the power of Solid Edge. These complementary applications are purpose-built to improve your design productivity, manufacturing throughput, and data management challenges.
Register to attend today and save with early bird registration specials! Don’t miss your chance to witness the best Solid Edge has to offer including the global launch of Solid Edge ST7. Here’s what past attendees have to say:

"The quality of the content was spectacular in my opinion. The users were fired up. I thought that the number of Solid Edge staff was a significant part of the event, which made this one truly unique. I think it was a very important factor."
-Cory Goulden, CAD Administrator
National Steel Car Ltd

"Solid Edge University 2012 proved to be a valuable opportunity for EDA to talk with a wide array of Solid
Edge users and VARs and find out what they are looking for in partner products and where we should be focusing our development efforts. This event will help shape the direction of our application development for Solid Edge tremendously."
-    Hiroshi Takaki, President
Engineering Design Automation, Inc.

"The Siemens people were all terrific. Everyone was enthusiastic, helpful and very passionate about their work. It was worth my time and money. I will be coming back."

-    Franz Ekstam, Owner
True North Industries

We look forward to seeing you in Atlanta this May! Register today.

Candis Spraul
Swoosh Technologies

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Boyang Hardware employs Solid Edge dramatically improves productivity and throughput

Boyang designs better with Solid Edge. Marine hardware manufacturer created an error-free design environment, boosted product development 20 percent, reduced manufacturing errors 10 percent and increased orders and enhanced competitiveness.

Learn how here

Start your 45 day free trial of Solid Edge here

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Solid Edge How-To: Create Inter-Part Relationships in ST6

In this blog entry, I will answer a question from the last month’s Solid Edge Short covering Assemblies in ST6 (View the webinar replay here). During the webinar, I briefly covered how Inter-Part Relationships are created in Solid Edge ST6 and how a part’s geometry can “drive” another part’s geometry - specifically, how the “rail_side” was driving cylinder placement in the “side plate” part. (Image 1) The question submitted was: “Can this method also drive the size of the cylinders in the “side plate”, and would this method work on if the cylinders were created with the “Hole” command and were threaded?” (Image 2). It is best if I break this question down into two parts. I will begin with the same assembly as before.
Image 1
Image 2
Driving the Size of the Cylinders

1.  Create the necessary assembly relationships between the “rail_side” and the “side plate” part, run the “Create Inter-Part Relationships” command and review the dialog box.

a.  Click on the “Create Inter-Part Relationships” button

b.  Review the dialog box, and note the “Equal Radius” box is checked at the top and the command has recognized the “Equal Radius” in the list.

c.  Click “Save”. Notice in pathfinder, the icon next to the part being driven should change and show two chain links.

2.  Next, “Edit In Place” the driving part in chase the “rail_side” part and create some Face Relate Relationships between the cylinders. This will allow for all cylinder sizes to change at once. 

a.  With “Edit In Place” active, rotate the “rail_side” part around to see the cylinders. Then in the Home Tab, locate the Face Relate section and chose “Equal Radius”. (Note: Have the persist lock active)

b.  Following the directions in the command prompt, have all cylinders equal to the one in top left of the part. (Note: When using face relate commands, the sequence is: select seed face > accept (right mouse click) select target face > accept > accept) 

Make all cylinders equal to this one.
c.  The relationships now appear in the pathfinder.

3.  Go ahead and change the size of the hole cut out (top left corner) and the rest will follow suite. Then “Close and Return” to the assembly and see that the cylinder in the “side plate” will automatically change to the new size.

a.  Changed the hole size from .219” to .3”. As soon as the change is accepted the other cylinder changed as well.

b.  Click on “Close and Return”

c.  Notice the hole cut out change made on the “slide plate”

Threaded Cylinders created with the “Hole” command

When using the Hole command to place cylinders not only are you cutting away material you are creating intelligent procedural features. Therefore, when looking at threaded cylinders, there can be quite of bit extra information added to the cylinder.

The “Create Inter-Part Relationships” only recognizes the part geometry in each part to drive one another. It will not take the extra information added by the Hole command and use it to drive another hole in a separate part in an assembly. There is a way to can obtain the same relationship by using a different assembly command.

1. Inside the assembly environment and under the “Features” tab there is a Hole command used to create a threaded hole.

2. A dialog box will display some different “Assembly Feature Options”. The threaded hole will be an “Assembly-Driven Part feature” and will be driven on the assembly level, but the threaded hole will be placed in each individual part.

a. Select “Assembly-Driven Part feature” and click OK.

b.  Set the Hole options.

c. Place the Threaded Holes on the parts. In this example, I am placing a ¼ inch threaded hole that will go through two blocks.

d.  Next accept the “cut direction”.

e.  Finish out the command. The threaded holes are now placed in both blocks. The pathfinder has a gold chain link indicating that they are both linked and a new entry “Assembly-Driven Part Feature”. Expanding this item will show the entry for the new threaded holes.

3. When the threaded hole size (or any attribute) is changed, the link that was created will make the change in both parts.

I hope these tips will help further your design experience!

Sam Estrada
Application Engineer
Swoosh Technologies

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Boat designers quickly capture customers’ preferences

Back Cove Yachts designs better with Solid Edge. Using synchronous technology, motorized yacht manufacturer makes more design iterations than it could with traditional history-based modeling processes. It also increased productivity and creativity, spent more time to refine boat aesthetics and gained better ability to respond to customer and dealer input.

Learn how here!

Start your 45 day free trial of Solid Edge here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Cue Line in NX CAD

“Awww, this must be a bug!”

That’s often the response when an NX user gets hung up during a particular command that has multiple steps or many options. They’re missing that one little tip to help them along in the process. Like the neighbor who borrowed a chainsaw and quickly returned it, claiming it was far too slower than his axe, there was something he didn’t know… I told him, “Well, when you pull this rope it starts the motor.” (Vrooom vroom, VROOOOOOM!) “WHAT’S THAT NOISE!!!???” shouted the startled neighbor!

Sometimes it just takes a small suggestion or a little hint to get past the problem. Such is the purpose of the Cue Line on the NX window.

The Cue Line sits inobtrusively below the Menu Bar, below all those magnificent icons and toolbars, humbly offering words of advice to wayward CAD gurus and neophytes alike. For anyone with even a few hours of pioneering through an NX session, many of the prompts become mundane and easy to ignore. False confidence soon comes and eventually, the Cue Line takes a back seat to nearly everything else on the screen. Users are content to discern their next moves merely by on screen feedback and their own veteran senses. But alas, once the going gets tough, users are sometimes too quick to resolve an insufficiency in software effectiveness instead of their own ignorance.

For instance, here in the drafting function of Broken View, while we try to define the spacing between sections it might be assumed that simply selecting a section and entering a Distance value should be enough. Instead, NX prompts the user to identify from  what we want to space our section from… one of the other reference boundaries.

NX is actually offering a bit more of an option than might be inferred at first. What says the spacing value has to be defined from the section adjacent to it? You can enter a value that determines the section’s location relative to the section of the extreme right end if preferred.

Likewise, by merely selecting the Positioning Method of “Distance” instead of “Inferred”,  NX immediately prompts for a vector object selection. We might have assumed the only direction for a distance would be measured horizontally between the sections since it’s common in this traditional view modification practice.

Another good example is in the creation of a Studio Spline. While defining the points the Cue Line offers suggestions for much more than just “select points to define spline”.

Sometimes we miss out on some really nice options built into the creation process that are often thought of as editing commands.

Sketching also presents some nifty and often unsuspected options. In the example below, we’ve completed some sketch curves and are at rest with no active command at present.

What’s that? “…or double-click an object”? Wha? What’s that about? Double clicking the line on the left side of this rectangle yields a dialog titled “Line (Non-Associative)”. Non-associative? How could a sketch curve that’s constrained to be coincident at both its end points be non-associative? This is a temporary status while in this edit mode whereby we can redefine this line in lieu of existing constraints. Read the Cue Line.

The Cue Line indicates that we can redefine this line by selecting a different end point, even though there is already a coincident constraint at its end point. Selecting on the midpoint of the upper line of the rectangle will yield an interesting result!

The line end point immediately moves to the midpoint of the upper line, as intended, but yet the coincident constraint symbol is still showing up on the end point of that upper line. What will happen to that coincident constraint, we wonder? Choosing “OK”  the dialog yields the result…

We have just moved not only the endpoint of the left line to the selected location but the coincident constraint was also reapplied from the upper line’s endpoint to… well, the upper line’s NEW endpoint – its old midpoint! The Cue Line often suggests creation and editing options we had not thought available.

Avoid the hurdles

One last example: When creating a Through Curves feature, the selection process of the individual section strings can be a little challenging. Firstly, in order to end the selection of the first string and begin the selection of the next one, that’s easily accommodated with the “Add New Set” icon in the dialog. NX will highlight that icon in green, mapping its selection to the middle mouse button. But the Cue Line also reminds us of that in addition to the fact that we can select a mix ‘n match of curves or edges as section objects.

If you’ve ever tried to create a Through Curves feature by selecting all of your intended curves in the first string, you’ll know it complains about curves in the string being disjoint or lacking continuity because they aren’t connected.

When working in Education Services at Siemens PLM Software for nearly 14 years, it was a common joke to state that amongst any 10 instructors, you could 11 different opinions! However, one of the things that all of us agreed on was that the Cue Line was the most important thing on the window. That question was a part of the Designer and Drafting Certification tests. It’s THAT important!

Garrett Koch
Application Engineer
Swoosh Technologies