IT News

Posted on 10 Jan 2011 by The Manufacturer

A round-up of the latest stories in the IT sector.

Autodesk user ‘prints’ entire car body
3D printing has taken a big step forward, with the technology being used to create the entire body of a prototype — the first time, it is believed, that this has been done.

The car in question — the innovative eco-friendly Urbee — achieves up to 200 miles per gallon, uses a hybrid electric/ gasoline engine, and has been designed by Winnipeg, Canadabased KOR EcoLogic, an environmentally-focused design group.

Autodesk’s Clean Tech Partner Programme — which provides design and engineering software for emerging clean technology companies in North America and Europe — provided KOR EcoLogic with low-cost access to cutting-edge software tools to design and test the Urbee. These included Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Showcase, and Autodesk Alias Design software.

”From concept through to rendering, Autodesk software helped us to not only build an efficient and sustainable car, but also communicate our designs to a broader audience, including potential investors,” said Jim Kor, president and chief technology officer of KOR EcoLogic.

The Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Programme supports early stage clean technology companies by providing design and engineering software that accelerates their development of solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Clean technology companies in North America and Europe who can benefit from Autodesk solutions for Digital Prototyping are invited to apply to receive up to $150,000 worth of software for only $50.

Preactor expands Sage ERP X3 alliance
ERP vendor Sage has selected Preactor’s advanced planning and scheduling (APS) system as its ‘solution of choice’ for Sage ERP X3 users at an international level.

Already used by more than 3000 small, medium and large multinational companies located in 67 countries, Preactor APS now becomes the recommended solution in a wider range of Sage’s international markets.

Sage originally selected Preactor APS to be scheduling solution of choice for its French market back in 2008, and has already achieved over 20 reference sites in the country.

Sage and Preactor jointly have over 250 global customers, notes Cateno Barberi, product manager for Sage ERP X3, which is the company’s solution for mid market companies with international requirements, and which is in use at over 2,700 customers worldwide.

“By extending the Sage X3/Preactor partnership to cover a much greater number of countries, companies looking for a truly international solution can now have access to the strong combination of Sage and Preactor,” he says.

PTC tackles CAD dilemmas
Late last year, PTC announced that its ProE and CoCreate programs, used by 25,000 PTC customers worldwide, would be superseded by a new applications-based software package, Creo.

Creo (from the Latin verbs think, create and believe) is PTC’s most significant product release since it introduced Pro Engineer 3D modelling in 1987. With launch of their new application suite PTC have taken the bold move of scrapping their existing and widely used CAD brands and substaining the 2D, 3D, parametric, direct and assembly design tools under the new Creo brand. Looking to get the best out of each of these approaches to design PTC has created a suite of applications that are driven by a consideration of the user’s role – including the ‘casual-user’.

The new AnyRole Apps approaches the problem of CAD being too difficult to use for all except a handful of power users. AnyRole Apps looks to solve this by offering a variety of applications, each with a user interface designed for specific user roles. The increased level of inclusion that these apps will give to a broad range of individuals previously locked out of the design process is validated by the intelligent sharing of data between apps which will communicate changes made by one user when another logs across the application suite.

The data will also translate the relevant intelligence about a change made in one app to fit the capabilities and specific role of the next app. This means that a change can be made using direct modelling capabilities but appear with parametric intelligence for a parallel user. Furthermore – to prevent the creation of unsound or ‘un-manufacturable’ products – changes can be tracked and easily accepted or rejected on the grounds of the different expertise dispersed across application users.

Manufacturer extends SYSPRO ERP footprint post-acquisition
Specialist healthcare furniture manufacturer Kirton Healthcare is installing a new manufacturing, accounting and distribution system from K3 Business Technology Group in the operations of its newly-acquired specialist seating subsidiary A J Way.

The company, which provides seating furniture for challenging environments, as well as shower, toilet and commode chairs, is a major NHS supplier, and Kirton acquired High Wycombe-based A J Way in July 2010.

The rollout of the SYSPRO ERP system is intended to give the firm’s management team visibility of important business information that currently resides with a number of standalone systems, as well as more closely integrate the A J Way business with the rest of the group.

Kirton Healthcare first installed SYSPRO ERP software over ten years ago at its Haverhill site in Suffolk, and recently upgraded to SYSPRO 6.1, which helps identify unnecessary costs in order to better manage cash flow.

High-performance IT departments drive business success
According to new research from consulting firm Accenture, high-performing IT departments have left their less adroit counterparts playing ‘catch up’.

During the recent economic downturn, says the firm, high-performance IT departments redoubled their efforts to drive more business value from IT, viewing IT as a growth engine — and the adverse economic conditions as an opportunity to build capability.

In contrast, reckons Accenture, many companies simply slipped into ‘stagnation mode’ during the downturn, cutting budgets and focusing primarily on maintenance.

“Our survey found that high-performance IT organisations are deeply involved in business outcomes, and closely attuned to business needs — current and future — right across the enterprise,” said Gary Curtis, Accenture’s chief technology strategist. “They are successfully retiring their legacy systems and embracing newer technologies. They are adept at managing the balance between optimising costs and ensuring that they have the budget, skills, and resources to help fuel business growth.”