Synchronous Technology unveiled by Siemens PLM Software

By Ray Kurland

Yesterday (22 April) Siemens PLM Software announced synchronous technology. I recently had the opportunity to review this technology in-depth, spending some 6 hours being constantly amazed at the robustness of the software, and rethinking my connections with history based modeling. Some of the capabilities were demonstrated during the announcement; more will be coming next month when both Solid Edge and NX are officially announced.

Basically, users start with sketches on a plane and quickly bring them into 3D. These sketches are not retained as fundamental features � they are not necessary. Users can continue sketching on planar faces of the model to add or cut geometry. You may have noticed the �wheel� during the demo which is enormously powerful in directly manipulating faces. Dimensional constraints can be added and edited directly on the 3D model; unconstrained models are common.

The speed quote above appears to be primarily based on eliminating the sometimes exhausting regeneration needed after updating features, especially those early in the history tree. Yet, we believe that even more productivity can be achieved by reducing the engineering effort to interpret history based models before changing them.

Non history based, explicit modeling systems, such as those from CoCreate and Kubotek contain some of the capabilities of synchronous technology, but are sadly deficient in many areas, especially Procedural Features, shown during the announcement in the drill press table pattern manipulation.

Extremely exciting is the ability to work with imported models. synchronous technology works just fine on b-rep models, the easiest aspect of model translation. A great deal of work has been expended to import history trees from one CAD system to another. This is all unnecessary now! Synchronous technology does not want, nor can it use, history trees. Synchronous technology can easily work with imported b-rep models, since that is its normal mode.

Conclusions

I have not seen anything as exciting and innovative as Siemens� synchronous technology since the introduction of parametric modeling in the late 80’s. Siemens breakthrough technology combines direct modeling, parametric modeling, and a new user interface resulting in an easier to use system for modeling in 3D. Users can build and edit models without the need to pre-plan how models might be used downstream or later. Siemens� competitors will be scrambling for years to catch-up.

I know that some of you history based modeling system gurus will find this technology hard to accept. Believe me. I did also. Yet, it works and works well!