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Software Update: New Touch Interface Eases CMM Programming Tasks

 Milan Kocic







Milan Kocic
is product manager, Software, Sensors and User Experience, for Hexagon Metrology, North America (North Kingstown, RI), a developer of metrology solutions.


Manufacturing Engineering: Describe Hexagon’s new PC-DMIS Touch interface for CMMs.

Milan Kocic: PC-DMIS Touch is a new, groundbreaking way to interact with inspection data and measurement devices. Based on advanced Multi Touch technology, PC-DMIS Touch combines the power of PC-DMIS with a full screen interface to create intuitive inspection routines for metrology novices and experts alike. The simplified organization of the user interface guides the user through a full set of inspection tools, such as construction of features or feature sets, 2D and 3D dimensional reporting, GD&T configuration and much more.

PC-DMIS Touch is based on four intuitive icon-based menus: dimension, construction, alignment, and measure. This extremely easy-to-use measurement software is utilized for basic feature-based applications with a CMM touch probe [no scanner]. Each menu is represented in a different color, and the user selects the desired operation from a list of possibilities to the left of the 3D view. The ‘Grab and Measure’ feature means the software will take you to the blue measurement menu automatically, as soon as you start measuring. No menu navigation is necessary to operate PC-DMIS Touch. This version of PC-DMIS is not CAD-compatible.

ME: How does using the touch interface differ from a traditional interface?

Kocic: To start, the software is compatible with touch-screen PCs and tablets. The operator interacts with the PC-DMIS software by using only one finger to ‘swipe’ through the menus. With the emergence of the technologically literate workforce, especially in the 24–30 age group, new touch interfaces are becoming more prevalent in the software market. With this emerging trend in mind, Hexagon Metrology has introduced PC-DMIS Touch for the next generation of metrologists. The touch interface was designed to simplify user interaction, enhance the user experience for portable and CMM measurement tasks, and provide an easy execution interface for existing PC-DMIS programs. The interface and software-guided procedures require very little prior training for new users. New features are being added weekly, and we are integrating more multi-touch gestures to simplify the use of software. After our preliminary research, we estimate about 70% of measurement tasks performed by users [without CAD] can be accomplished with PC-DMIS Touch.

ME: What can you do with a touch interface that wasn’t possible with older systems?

Kocic: Compared to older interfaces, the PC-DMIS Touch interface is ultra-intuitive, and requires very little training. New users can learn the navigation and software in just one day. There is no training necessary for existing PC-DMIS users. Another significant benefit of the Touch interface is its tablet compatibility, which adds a new level of portability for measurement on the shop floor or in a laboratory environment. PC-DMIS Touch is now compatible with all Hexagon Metrology-supported portable articulating arms, and starting in October, most Hexagon Metrology DCC [Direct Computer Control] CMMs will have the Touch interface as well.
With Hexagon’s new PC-DMIS Touch interface, users get intuitive touchscreen capabilities that simplify and speed up measurements with portable and standard CMMs.
There are other usability differences with PC-DMIS Touch, including the ‘Grab and Measure’ feature that goes straight to the measurement menu as soon as the user moves the measurement arm. There is no need to navigate to the menu. Measurements can also be taken rapidly using the ‘Auto-Guess’ principle of PC-DMIS.

The software also offers full webcam functionality, which allows the user to take a snapshot of the part being measured, and associate the photo to a file with a part number and file name. It supports full macro compatibility, which allows users to run even complex PC-DMIS part programs in a simple environment.

Another powerful feature of PC-DMIS Touch is the report generator. As measurements are acquired, and geometric constructions are made, a measurement report is created automatically. Anytime the user wants to view the report, they just ‘swipe’ to the left of the menu. The look and feel of the measurement reports is completely new for the Touch version of PC-DMIS. Object tolerances in the report can be edited by simply selecting a feature. The reports are printed from the software as PDF files.

ME: How has the interface been accepted by early users?

Kocic: PC-DMIS Touch has had a great reception from the metrology marketplace. The majority of novice users has been very pleased with our attention to ease-of-use, and is especially supportive of our goal to bring measurement to the masses. Overall, the industry has taken notice of Hexagon Metrology’s emphasis to provide a dynamic product for our customers by vastly improving the user experience. Even our experienced users see a potential in using the execution mode. This is PC-DMIS Touch’s ability to execute any existing PC-DMIS program to deploy it in the production environment for a quick launch and results capability. Several large customers have inquired about how to fit PC-DMIS Touch into their current measurement tasks and procedures. ME

CIMdata: PLM Market to Grow

The PLM market will grow at an 8.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach $50.8 billion in 2017, according to a new report released July 31 by CIMdata Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI).

In its latest CIMdata PLM 2013 PLM Market and Solution Provider Analysis Report, the market researcher gives its forecasts for the overall PLM market and its key segments including Tools, collaborative Product Data Management (cPDM) and Digital Manufacturing. The Tools section offers additional data on sub-segments including mechanical CAD (MCAD), NC, Simulation & Analysis (S&A), electronic design automation (EDA) and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC). It also includes CIMdata’s estimates of PLM provider revenue in these segments from 2013 to 2017.

“Results for the PLM leaders moderated in 2012, after getting off to a strong start early in the year,” said Stan Przybylinski, CIMdata vice president of research.

A new CIMdata report includes forecasts for PLM tool segments through 2017.

New Releases

Dassault Systèmes (Vélizy-Villacoublay, France) on July 25 announced its new V6 Release 2014 (V6R2014) that adds a new unified navigational interface across its entire 3DExperience PLM software platform as well as the availability of cloud-based software offerings.

The Dassault software’s new “IFWE Compass” interface is said to add a highly intuitive approach to navigation. “Our new navigational user interface is so intuitive that we wanted to give it a name: IFWE Compass,” Monica Menghini, executive vice president, Industry & Marketing, Dassault Systèmes, said in a statement.

The V6R2014 release is available either in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), on-premise versions or in private or public cloud offerings. The SaaS applications include Dassault’s brands CATIA, SolidWorks, Simulia, Enovia and Delmia’s Assembly Planning and Milling Machining.


Verisurf Software Inc. (Anaheim, CA) announced July 23 that it has signed a cooperative research and development agreement with the US Navy Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW). Verisurf and FRCSW will jointly develop technologies and processes to increase efficiency of Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of fleet aviation assets, and Verisurf will support in the transfer of developed technology back to the commercial sector.

PLM developer Aras (Andover, MA) recently announced that is has partnered with Elysium Co. Ltd. (Hamamatsu, Japan), a 3D translation and optimization technology developer, to deliver advanced multi-CAD data translation for Aras Innovator. The solution will automate conversion of CAD data to formats including CATIA, Creo, NX, JT, SolidWorks and others, providing companies with embedded functionality for CAD data translation, geometry comparison, and data optimization.


Dassault Systèmes announced July 25 that it has acquired SFE GmbH (Berlin), a developer of engineering and performance evaluation and optimization conceptual engineering software used in automotive manufacturing, for an undisclosed price. The transaction includes the purchase of SFE and its various products, SFE Concept, as well as its acoustic and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) simulation offerings, SFE KUSMOD, SFE AKUSRAIL, and SFE MECOSA. The acquisition was completed in early July.

Dassault said the addition of SFE, a partner of BMW and other automakers, will add to its 3DExperience platform, enhancing the company’s “Target Zero Defect” transportation and mobility industry solutions by expanding its CATIA and Simulia applications.

Software Update is edited by Patrick Waurzyniak:


This article was first published in the September 2013 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.  Click here for PDF

Published Date : 9/1/2013

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