March, 2001

SMUG reconvenes at Knoll
by Jim Hole

march2001imageAfter spending a year at other locations, the Southwestern Michigan Pro/ENGINEER Users Group reconvened back at Knoll in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, March 7.

About Knoll
Lori Hooker got the ball rolling with her brief overview of Knoll and their use of Pro/E. As many of us know, Knoll is an office furniture manufacturer. They are head quartered in East Greenville, Pennsylvania and have additional manufacturing sites in Toronto, Muskegon, and of course, Grand Rapids. They have 35 licenses and around 40 engineers and CAD people who use Pro/ENGINEER. They use Pro/E, Sheetmetal, Detail, Mechanica and Manufacturing modules. There are approximately 7 users at their Muskegon and Grand Rapids facilities. Find out more about Knoll on their web site at

Assembly Skeleton Techniques
Dan Walker of Walker Consulting continued with an informative user presentation showing a few different skeleton techniques. Dan demonstrated simple ways of using sketcher to determine how parts may interact. He stepped through a model of a double-cam rock-climbing device that showcased many of his techniques. He also showed how he has used datum planes, curves, and axes in a real life model of a multi-jointed hinge. A zip file containing Dan's models and PowerPoint presentation is available to download.

Next up, Mitch Greenberg of RAND gave a demo of their FEA software, PROCISION. Having not used FEA software myself, I'll offer this quote from

"PROCISION is a new meshless structural analysis software that is completely integrated into the Pro/ENGINEER environment. PROCISION uses a new mathematical technique capable of directly calculating very accurate analysis results using precise solid models. As a result, very complex analysis problems can be solved faster, more accurately and with less computing resources than with traditional software. Details That are Difficult to Mesh, do not need to be removed PROCISION runs directly inside the Pro/ENGINEER environment and requires no finite element or geometric element mesh. Consequently, complex surfaces, blends, fillets and other details that are often difficult to mesh do not need to be removed. Unlike traditional analysis tools, PROCISION can efficiently analyze parts with both thin-walled and solid sections. Major design changes become easier because there is no mesh to recreate."

After the demo, Mitch setup his laptop in the back of the room for users to try. One user who tried it told me that it was very intuitive and recreating the demo he had just seen was pretty easy. For more information on PROCISION, as well as downloads and demos, visit their web site at

Food & Friends
After Mitch, ...cookies! Nice spread - thanks again, Knoll!

Pro/INTRALINK at Stryker
Following break time, Ken Tompkins of Stryker Instruments shared his woes and triumphs of Pro/INTRALINK. His presentation focused on speed of use, ease of administration, secure and simple authorization schemes, intuitive folder design, and file vaulting schemes to increase retrieval speed and recovery. With half of the crowd being Pro/INTRALINK users and another half-dozen attendees acting as Pro/INTRALINK administrators, Ken's implementation was a topic of great interest. Ken's PowerPoint presentation is available to download.

Pro/E R2001 Update
The final presenter was Eric Boersma of PTC, who showed us R2001. As always - new menus in new places with new icons, plus new functionality as well. The round improvements got a rare round of applause from the group. There is a new way of graphically dragging the size of features. The interface is more customizable with menu drop downs. The big question was answered for some of the "old school" users; intent manager is still optional. I think that overall the software's usability is getting better and better. The release notes are available on the PTC web site and a customer support login is required to view them.

Awards & Door Prizes
The meeting concluded with the awarding of SMUG golf shirts (funded by our local PTC office) to Lori, Dan, Ken and 14 others for their involvement with this and previous meetings. This was followed by a drawing for Frisbees and 4 snazzy collapsible chairs that were donated by RAND.

The next SMUG meeting will be hosted by Stryker in Kalamazoo on July 11th. Hope to see you there.