ICEM Ltd. (Southampton, UK; www.icem.com) recently announced ICEM Shape Design (ISD), a suite of software products for creating, modifying, and validating any type of surface, from freeform to complex mechanical shapes. The software is aimed at creating Class A surfaces for the automotive industry, among other industries.
It is a result of ICEM’s partnership with Dassault Systèmes (Auburn Hills, MI; www.3ds.com and www.delmia.com). The goal was to develop surface modeling software fully integrated with—and that complements—other Component Application Architecture V5 (CAAV5)-based software products from Dassault, namely Catia (for the product definition of mechanical parts and systems), Delmia (for manufacturing process definition), Enovia (for lifecycle management), and Smarteam (for Web-based product data management). Having the surface modeler run on CAAV5 makes Class A modeling available earlier in the design process for all Dassault users, which can prove valuable further downstream, namely in tooling design.
CAAV5 is the kernel—the core software engine/platform—that Dassault uses for developing its software. Think of CAAV5 as an “Esperanto” for product design within the Dassault universe of product development and manufacturing software. Over 40 software companies now provide applications on CAAV5. There is no data translation between these applications, design and information associativity is maintained across applications, and the user interface is consistent and similar throughout.
Because ISD includes the V5 kernel, no V5 license is required for ISD users. In fact, an ISD user has access to all Catia V5 products licensed on a network. Alternatively, ISD can operate as a standalone product with CAD/CAM systems from vendors other than Dassault. ICEM has interfaces for major design systems such as CADDS, I-DEAS, Pro/Engineer, Unigraphics, and non-CAAV5 Catia, as well as industry-standard neutral interfaces such as AutoForm, IGES, SET, and VDA/FS.
ISD includes a variety of modules, what ICEM calls “tools.” ISD Expert is the core tool for global surface model manipulation. It also provides specialized Class A functionality, such as for creating tube surfaces, helixes, and advanced fillets and profiles. ISD Theme is basically a sketchpad for preparing 3D wireframe and surface models from a stylist’s 2D sketches. ISD Scan is a point-cloud import module for reverse engineering. This module addresses the importing, filtering, trimming, tessellation, and character-line definition of digitized data. It also analyzes shape and surface quality in real time. ISD Quick Surfacer semi-automatically generates 3D surfaces from scanned 3D data. ISD Form is a polygon modeling tool. Designers can sculpt shapes from curves and surfaces using “digital clay.” ISD Realtime Renderer lets designers create dynamic, photorealistic images and animations of digital models in real time. ISD Renderer creates photorealistic images and movies of a digital mockup using a ray tracing engine. (Think “computer games.” Ray tracing creates truer, more realistic digitized perceptions of reality through soft shadows and accurate reflections and refractions of light.) These tools are packaged in three configurations that address different aspects of the product development process: surface creation, extended modeling, and reverse engineering. As needed, users can purchase other ISD tools for additional functionality.
ICEM will continue to develop its ICEM Surf software product, which is for surface Class A modeling, surface quality analysis, and design visualization in software environments that don’t run on Catia V5.