World of CAD: Siemens Acquires Mentor; HP Releases the Z2 Mini & More

Updated Dec 31, 2019
CAD News Monthly

Welcome to the eighth edition of World of CAD, Scan2CAD’s monthly roundup of CAD-related news. This month, we’ll start by covering Siemens‘ takeover of electronic design automation firm Mentor.

Then, in software news, we’ll be discussing the updated versions of Autodesk’s Fusion 360 and PTC’s Creo.

Finally, we’ll turn our attention to new product launches. This month saw HP unveil its CAD-focused Z2 Mini workstation. Meanwhile, on Kickstarter, the new SafFire machine combines laser engraving with 3D printing. Want to learn more? Read on for the stories you need to know.

Siemens announces acquisition of Mentor Graphics Corp.

Our first story this month sees Siemens purchasing Oregon-based software firm Mentor Graphics for a cool $4 billion. Mentor specialize in design automation and industrial software; engineers use the company’s products to design semiconductor chips and other electronics, especially within the aerospace and automobile industries.

Mentor Graphics Valor NPI screenshot

Valor NPI, one of Mentor Graphics’ programs

The purchase is key to Siemens’ ambition to become a mechatronics powerhouse. With the acquisition, Siemens claims it has become the “unique digital industrial player to offer mechanical, thermal, electrical, electronic and embedded software design capabilities on a single integrated platform”.

Autodesk updates Fusion 360

Here at the Scan2CAD blog, we’ve previously written about the impact of the cloud upon CAD technology. Even as CAD software transitions from the desktop to the cloud, however, one company remains a key player: Autodesk. The company’s Fusion 360 program acts as a bridge between the traditional and the new, offering both offline and online modes. This ensures designers can carry on working anywhere, on any device, even with no internet connection.

Fusion 360

Now, Autodesk have unveiled their latest updates to the software. One of the most notable is that users can now choose between two subscription tiers: standard and ultimate. Ultimate users will be able to benefit from a manage-contacts tool, comparison of multiple load cases within a single workspace, and a structural buckling feature. The software also includes several preview functions, including event simulation and shape optimization. Check out Autodesk’s In The Fold blog post for the full details.

PTC unveils Creo 4.0

This month also saw American software company PTC announce the release of Creo 4.0. This is the latest version of the 3D CAD suite, which specializes in product development “from concept to digital prototype”. The flagship program in this suite is Creo Parametric, which promises to be “the only software you need for 3D CAD”.

The updated program sees new capabilities that allow product designers to design with the Internet of Things in mind, including integrating sensors into the design process. It also allows for more efficient design of parts for additive manufacturing, and facilitates bringing virtual designs into the physical world using augmented reality. Visit PTC to learn more.

The new game console-sized, CAD-focused workstation from HP

In mid-November, HP presented its new Z2 Mini PC, a direct competitor to Apple‘s aging Mac Mini offering. Though “90% smaller than a traditional business-class tower” and closer in appearance to a games console than a traditional workstation, the new machine still packs a serious punch. Featuring NVIDIA Quadro graphics, an Intel Xeon processing unit and HP Z Turbo Drive, the Z2 Mini shows that, sometimes, size really doesn’t matter.

HP Z2 Mini with mouse

This machine may be impressive, but you may be wondering why we’ve decided to feature it in World of CAD. The answer is that the Z2 Mini was built for CAD. Designed to give CAD users the best possible experience, the Z2 Mini is certified for a number of professional software applications, including AutoCADSolidWorksRevit and Inventor. Click here to visit the HP website for more information.

SafFire combines 3D printing and laser engraving

Finally for this month’s roundup, we’re featuring another fantastic new bit of hardware that’s currently available to back on Kickstarter. The SafFire Laser Engraving System combines both 3D printing and laser technology. Using its 3D printing capabilities, this machine excels in producing prototypes with incredibly fine levels of detail. SafFire comes with both large and small 3D printing accessories, allowing for the production of small objects, such as rings and trinkets, as well as larger items, such as dental casts.

For a cost of $1,095, the machine’s laser beam is not only powerful, but also accurate. With its 75 micron laser spot, SafFire promises “unparalleled 3D print quality”. The project still has 2 weeks to hit its $40,000 target—check it out now on Kickstarter.


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