Needham, MA June 10, 2002 Collaborative design specialist PTC today took the wraps off the latest version of its flagship product design and development application with the launch of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire, featuring a new interface that the software company said can increase user productivity by up to 30 percent over the previous version.
In addition, the company announced that it is joining with technology company Hewlett-Packard to provide support for the Linux operating system.
With the new version of Pro/ENGINEER, PTC said it has focused on improving the software's ease of use and performance. First and foremost, the company has reworked the Pro/ENGINEER's user interface to be more intuitive for the engineers who use the application. The software supports a more natural process flow for designers rather than requiring them to adapt their processes to the tool, according to Tom Shoemaker, director of technical marketing at PTC.
"The user interface of Pro/ENGINEER & put in real terms the process that you would need to follow and would guide you through a process," Shoemaker explained. "However, it was really just a reflection of the underlying architecture. It did not look at how people really would design. So the new user interface rationalizes 70-odd features in the core modeling area down to 23, because that's all you really need."
The new interface emphasizes ergonomics through a larger graphics area for modeling, simpler view manipulation controls, reduced mouse travel and enhanced color schemes to improve the comfort of the frequent user, according to the software company.
PTC said it made geometry modeling easier through graphical previews and the replacement of dialog boxes with a dashboard that provides direct access to important feature controls. Combined with the new interface, the updated features can increase user productivity by up to 30 percent when measured by mouse clicks, as compared to the previous version, according to Shoemaker.
The upgrade also includes a bevy of new design capabilities and performance enhancements that are in line with PTC's push to move computer-aided design from parametric modeling to freeform styling.
In addition, Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire provides capabilities for online conferencing so that engineers within a single company or at different companies can work on designs together in a "virtual workspace" through an intranet or over the Internet. Shoemaker suggested that these collaborative features could help companies cut down on the time that engineers would need to spend traveling to design meetings at customers or suppliers.
U.S. pricing for Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire begins at $4,995, the same price as for the previous version of the application.
Meanwhile, PTC today rolled out a version of Pro/ENGINEER for the Linuxoperating system. PTC said it was aligning itself with Hewlett-Packard as its Linux partner for Pro/ENGINEER. Working with HP, PTC said it intends to support two popular Linux distributions, including Red Hat, on HP's line of 32-bit, Intel-based workstations later this year.
Supporters of Linux point to a lower total cost of ownership because they can leverage their UNIX expertise on a free and open operating system running on Intel-based workstations.
"Two of our biggest strengths with Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire are openness and value," said Brian Shepherd, senior vice president of technical marketing at PTC. "Adding Linux to the long list of certified platforms for Pro/ENGINEER ensures that our customers can take advantage of the innovations and competition taking place in the platform market to achieve the lowest total cost of ownership for their product development environment."