December 19, 2005
Return on Investment
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is currently developing the Falcon 7X. The first order is expected to be delivered next year and full production rate of about 30 planes per year is expected in 2007 or 2008. The 7X will be the first business jet to be flown with Fly by Wire (FBW) technology. FBW replaces mechanical linkage between the controls in the cockpit and the moving surfaces with electrical wires and circuits, thereby reducing pilot workload and increases safety.
The Falcon will have a range of 5,700 nautical miles non-stop. This is enough to fly from Los Angels to Paris. The plane contains over 50,000 parts and 15 miles of wiring. The first Falcon 7X was assembled in seven months compared with sixteen months for previous business jets. The overall development costs were cut by one-third to around $300 million. Dassault had promised that the jet will be approximately 20% less expensive to operate because of lower maintenance cost.
amounted to nearly $1B in 2004. Current software capabilities highlighted in the Times article include the ability of engineers wearing 3D glasses to “walk through” the aircraft's design. This visualization capability helps designers to discover the best way to route wires and pipes and to fit components.
firms often are prevented from even naming their customers.
acquisitions over the years. The leading firms have acquired older, slumping CAX firms to gain access to the installed customer base. They have acquired so called midrange players (Dassault acquired SolidWorks and UGS acquired SolidEdge) to protect against lower cost competition. They have acquired PDM firms for their technology (UGS acquired SDRC who had acquired Sherpa, PTC acquired Windchill, Dassault acquired Product Manager from IBM and SmarTeam).
While mechanical CAD systems sold for over $100K a seat (hardware + software) in the eighties, the prices have plummeted. Today PLM products are much less expensive than EDA products. The average price for a basic high end mechanical CAD seat is around $12K. The list price of AutoCad is $3,750 although price competition among dealers is fierce. There are several mid range 3D offerings with seat prices round $4,500.
Electronics design is language based. Early CAM systems, notably Numeric Control (NC) systems, were also language based, e.g. APT and Compact II. An NC program contains part geometry, toolpath motion and machine commands. Early Finite Element Modeling and Analysis programs such as NASTRAN and ANSYS were also language based. Today CAX systems will automatically generate language decks for NC and analysis applications due to this legacy but a user does not write in these languages. Mechanical CAD is not a language based tool, although one can take a history command file as a starting point for creating a parameterized macro.
dynamics. Several of these analyses are based upon finite element analysis (FEA) technology. Geometric models must be converted by a combination of automated and interactive techniques into discrete finite element modeling (FEM) models that FEA requires. Leading CAE companies such as MSC.Software and ANSYS have annual revenues in excess of $100 million. They have grown and expanded their product portfolios largely by gobbling up smaller CAE firms.
Both EDA and PLM involve the support of standards. A drawing created by a CAX system must comply with drafting standards, e.g. ANSI, ISO or JES. Data can be exchanged between PLM systems according to the IGES (Initial Graphics Exchange Standard, ANSI Y14.26M-1981) or STEP (STandard for the Exchange of Product model data, ISO 103033) standard, although considerable intelligence is usually lost in the transfer of data between disparate CAD systems.
cycle and the lifetime of major mechanical products are considerable longer than most consumer electronic products. Keeping track of all this data during design as well as during manufacturing and the post sales period is a daunting task. That is why the leading PLM vendors have invested so heavily in Product Data Management which must interface into ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems. PDM offers a significant opportunity for service revenue which explains the involvement of IBM and EDS.
Consulting and research firm CIMdata partitions the PLM market into two primary segments: cPDm and Tools. Tools include the primary design authoring tools such as mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD), computer-aided software engineering (CASE), and technical publishing. cPDm is focused on collaboration, visualization, management, and sharing of product related information.
According to Ken Amann, CIMdata Director of Research, “The 2004 overall PLM market grew by 8% over 2003 to approximately $16.7 billion. Approximately 68% or $11.4 billion was invested in Tools while 32% or $5.3 billion was invested in cPDm. Both PLM segments grew in 2004, with cPDm investments increasing more rapidly with a growth of approximately 15% over 2003.”
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-- Jack Horgan, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.
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