TopSolid 7 interview with Missler Software's CEO


Missler Software launched TopSolid 7, the 7th generation of its CAD/CAM solution in October 2009. At the time the French software developer spoke of the necessity for any software developer to rethink and create new software solutions so that its customers can avail of the most-up-to date technology to answer increasingly complex production needs.

In a recent interview on TopSolid 7 (and notably TopSolid’Design 7) Christian Arber, CEO of Missler Software, gives us his view of things 1.5 years after the initial product launch:

1.       What objectives do you hope to achieve with this new software generation and what were the development specifications of this version compared to TopSolid v6? 

 

We have several objectives in mind with TopSolid 7:

  • Technically speaking, TopSolid 7 offers a greatly improved ergonomy and proposes a much more modern and up-to-date graphical interface with more modern graphical possibilities which are better adapted to modern day CAD/CAM software use. This new technical make-over goes hand-in-hand with the launch of the Windows 7 platform offering such innovations as core video architecture improvements to the exciting new multi-touch user interface extensions to TopSolid users.
  • Another very important objective was the improvement of product data management (PDM) within TopSolid so that the user could manage and link all data from product design to toolpath management (with a built-in and transparent PDM solution). The result is that all modifications occurring at any stage of the design and manufacturing process are automatically updated thereby ensuring a systematic tracking system for all changes.
  • Last but certainly not least we want a « gentle migration » from TopSolid v6 to TopSolid 7 by ensuring maximum compatibility between the 2 versions. In this way users benefit from top-of-the-range new technology while keeping and continuing to benefit from company know-how built in TopSolid v6.

 2.       Who are you targeting with TopSolid 7?

TopSolid 7 targets the same industries as TopSolid v6. Missler Software is a software developer that takes into account manufacturing imperatives throughout the entire product development lifecycle. In other words we focus on manufacturing companies and the creation of strong links with the design stage regardless of whether the initial design was made in TopSolid or using a different CAD software. TopSolid’Design 7 is above all a manufacturing solution which targets users who wish to design products that can be manufactured (we don’t only worry about managing the CAD definition of the part. We offer a complete solution right up to and including the actual programming of the machine tool which implies that manufacturing considerations are taken into account in the CAD stage.)

3.       In what programming language was TopSolid 7 developed?

TopSolid 7 was developed in C-Sharp (C#)

 4.       Is TopSolid 7 currently sold?

TopSolid’Design 7 has been available on the French market since January 2010, some of our resellers have also started to sell the product outside France. The last count shows that we have 160 TopSolid’Design 7 customers in France using the software on a daily basis. Over the past 6 months there has been very strong interest in the product with increasing v6 design customers migrating to TopSolid’Design 7. At the moment TopSolid’Cam 7 is still being tested at some customer sites and we do not expect real sales to begin until 2012.

5.       Is TopSolid 7 compatible with TopSolid v6?

TopSolid 7 is not a complete break with TopSolid v6: TopSolid’Design 7 is completely compatible with the entire TopSolid v6 product range. In fact our Development team continues to improve and develop TopSolid v6 for our approximately 10000 v6 customers worldwide who have heavily invested and continue to work with the v6. I want to be very clear that the development of TopSolid 7 spells by no means the end of TopSolid v6. We offer and will continue to offer a “gentle migration” over the long term. I believe that the complete migration from v6 to TopSolid 7 will not happen for another 10 years!!

6.       Is the software parametric?

TopSolid’Design 7 offers 2 design modes which co-exist in perfect harmony:

Parametric modeling allows users design components and sub-assemblies which are very closely associated. The second design mode called FreeShape in TopSolid 7 (also known as free modeling in the CAD world) enables users to modify parts regardless of their origin.

These 2 design modes reply to 2 very different requirements from the outset:

Parametric design enabled manufacturers design closely associated parts while managing the numerical chain from design right through to toolpath generation. In the case of manufacturing parts that exist already - but often need to be modified a few (tolerancies), but modified, or even completed for manufacturing purpose (sheetmetal features), in a very short space of time- FreeShape is the best suited design mode.  

7.       What interfaces exist?

The same interfaces as we already have for TopSolid v6 exist for TopSolid’Design 7. The objective remains the same as before: Easy and reliable data recovery. Our neutral interfaces are: Parasolid, STEP, ACIS, DXF/DWG, IGES, PDF3D) and our native interfaces are Catia v4, Catia v5, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, Inventor, NX, Pro/E.

8.       Talk to us about TopSolid 7’s assembly functions…

We have developed an assembly mode by constraint with a dynamic kinematics module integrated to simulate movements and apply forces which allows the user to reproduce the assembly in its physical context.

TopSolid’Design 7 is the only software on the market able to carry out dynamic kinematics on an external assembly.

9.       How does TopSolid 7 manage product configurations?

Product configurations are managed in 2 ways:

  • An assembly configuration to configurate a mechanism in different positions and to design additional parts
  • With TopSolid’Planner, a product configurator for sheetmetal or wood furniture with different facade types. TopSolid’planner is completely compatible with TopSolid’Design  v6 and TopSolid’Design 7. 

10.   What are Missler Software’s future plans for TopSolid? What is your vision and ambitions for the TopSolid software range?  

Our plans and ambitions are simple: make TopSolid the reference CAD/CAM software for the manufacturing industry. To this effect TopSolid’Design 7 will be used by Methods Departments who design and/or manufacture based on clear specifications or a design provided by the OEM manufacturer. Based on this design TopSolid 7 allows manufacturers and contract manufacturers design/modify to manufacture with one software solution. This complete and transparent integration of a CAD and CAM solution is, already was (with TopSolid v6) and will continue to be (with TopSolid 7) the unique strong and most original and differentiating point of TopSolid. 

11.   When will TopSolid’Cam 7 and the rest of the TopSolid CAD/CAM industry specific solutions be ready?

TopSolid’Cam 7 already exists and we are currently installing the software with some of our long-standing French customers. At the moment we only provide 2D and 3D functions in TopSolid’Cam 7 so you will have to wait until 2012 to have a more complete solution. But we are very excited about this new product. Of course, TopSolid’Cam 7 will include all TopSolid v6 essential and unique functions such as stock management, complete integration with CAD, advanced simulation of Mill Turn machines… as well as new improvements such as a much more simplified ergonomy, toolpath managed by PDM, … The list is long.

Our tooling, sheetmetal and wood TopSolid 7 solutions will follow in 2013-2014.