Tools & Services
Automation is EASY!
PTC’s Pro/ENGINEER / Creo Mechanical Design Software is universally accepted as the premier design and documentation solution for Mechanical Engineering. Being the first commercial parametric design software in the world, it radically challenged everyone to re-think their approach to product design, documentation, manufacturing, analysis, etc. etc. etc.
While the system is one of the best (and we are huge fans), it suffers greatly from one very specific thing — the end user.
When you combine a feature-rich tool with individual users, even with the most strict modeling standards/guidelines and training, the reusability (and leveraging) of your knowledge is still a major challenge. Add design and documentation to the mix, and things get very complicated very quickly.
This is why our tools were created!
Nothing more than “Legos” and “Rubber-Bands!”
After helping customers around the world over the last 15 years, one fundamental truth has come out of our efforts.
Most product designs are nothing more than a combination of simple “legos” and “rubber bands“.
While we understand that is a bold statement, think about this. Design and Documentation automation processes are typically a combination of what you “do” know, and what you “don’t” know. The things you “know” are your “legos”, the things you don’t know are the “rubber bands” – but you do know “something.”.
Identifying your “Legos” – As we all know, each Lego is essentially a special purpose reusable “dumb” element. The places they go, how they connect together, their color, and the interfaces they provide are all well defined and structured – they are static and are not expected or planned for change. Most product designs, and the systems that manage them (e.g. PDM/PLM), focus on the static results of a design process.
Identifying your “Rubber Bands” – On the other end of the design spectrum are “Rubber Bands” which are elastic, can have more dynamic interfaces, can inherit/derive/drive information based on requirements, can be reconfigured based on needs, etc… Rubber Bands are “intelligent” and require more thought to create, manage and control. They are elegant, useful and solve difficult problems, but complicate re-use and cripple PDM/PLM systems – unless you treat them as “Legos” (which they aren’t).
What about Family Tables, Top-Down Design, Pro/PROGRAM and Layouts/Notebooks?!?
All of these capabilities demonstrate unique flexibilities and are often upheld as “the solution” to design and documentation automation. Our experience has been that these have been improperly used, overly relied on; they typically destroys item-reuse and cripples PDM/PLM systems with intense interdependencies which are more of an organizational distraction than benefit.
While all of these approaches and philosophies DO provide value in many cases, it has been our experience that “autonomy” is crucial to success – NOT just for design/documentation automation, but in general as a fundamental approach to managing CAD data. This means that your product design and documentation processes need to be able to react and respond to information without forcing/requiring relationships to always exist to accomplish the goal.
When you embrace autonomy, EVERYTHING gets easier!
Making it work…
All of our tools and services were designed to address the real-world problems that our customers have struggled with over many years and continue to face today. Training is the most critical component to any company’s success; we recognize this, and have specialized training either at our facilities or on-site at yours. We are not heavy into consulting, but do offer it as needed for support – but our goal is to “teach you to fish!”
Nitro-CELL is our premier design automation solution that uses Microsoft Excel, and our helper tools like Nitro-PROGRAM were developed to allow our customers to step way from the extreme details and hidden relationships and focus more on the flow of information and business logic to a desired result.
Nitro-CELL (our most popular product) requires NO PROGRAMMING experience to use, instead basic knowledge of Pro/ENGINEER / Creo and Microsoft Excel is ALL that is required.
Engineers need to be engineers, programmers need to be programmers. Engineers don’t need to be distracted by learning to program software to achieve results. THAT is why we chose Excel as our interface! It is obvious-to-use, easy-to-use, and works!
All instructions from Nitro-CELL to your CAD models and drawings are completely dynamic, and only exist when they need to. The result is autonomous CAD models and drawings and autonomous engineering/business logic that drives it. For these reasons, Nitro-CELL is our most popular and trusted automation tool.
I need more!
We do a lot of very high-end, complex, integration-heavy automatons with some of our customers. If you feel your automation needs to go beyond our standard offerings, don’t worry! Our NitroMation-API is one of the most powerful and easiest to use interfaces for automating Pro/ENGINEER / Creo. We have several customers that use our API on a regular basis to do things like Build/Configure/Design-To-Order back-end systems, daily synchronizations with other business systems, remote automation, and much more. If you can dream it, our tools can either do it today, or can be easily extended to support your organization.