In this edition, we learn about International TechneGroup Ltd (ITI), the leading provider of reliable interoperability solutions for engineering product data and related systems, from Andy Chinn, the Commercial Director at ITI’s UK office.
ITI is the global leader in providing reliable interoperability, validation and migration solutions for product data and related CAD/CAM/CAE/PLM systems. To remain competitive, many of our design and manufacturing customers are implementing advanced model-based enterprise (MBE) and PLM initiatives supported by best-in-class engineering systems. However, all too often we see data interoperability issues impeding the progress of these initiatives. This is where ITI steps in. We solve complex interoperability problems, supporting key aspects of MBE and PLM implementation including: data conversion, advanced simulation, engineering change management, certification and regulatory compliance, long term archival, technical data packaging, and secure engineering information transfer. With solutions such as CADfix, CADIQ, DEXcenter and Proficiency, ITI helps leading manufacturers focus on their core competences and making great products.
UK Company Location: International TechneGroup Ltd is based in Cambridge. The UK office is the development centre for the CADfix geometry translation and repair product, and is also responsible for ITI product distribution in Europe and Asia.
Worldwide Offices: International TechneGroup Incorporated is the parent company, headquartered in Milford, Ohio, with development, sales and support offices in Boston USA, Tel Aviv Israel, and Munich Germany. ITI is supported by a worldwide network of distribution partners.
Number of Employees: Worldwide, ITI employs approximately 120 people.
Company Incorporation: The ITI UK office began life in the 1960’s as a pioneering meshing and computer graphics research company. In 1978 FEGS Ltd was formed and the FAM product released - one of the world’s first general engineering analysis pre and post processors with mesh and geometry associativity. The FAM product continued to evolve and in 1996 the CADfix geometry handling solution was released. FEGS Ltd was acquired by ITI in 1998 and has since been rebranded as International TechneGroup Ltd.
ITI solves the complex challenges of product data interoperability by focusing on four key solution areas: CAD data conversion, CAD/CAM/CAE application integration, CAD data validation to ensure that it is fit for purpose throughout the product lifecycle, and the migration of PDM and CAD data between systems. In short, ITI solves the complex challenges of engineering product data interoperability. We deliver solutions through off-the-shelf software product deployment, custom software solution development, and engineering process and implementation consulting.
At the CADfix development centre in UK we are focused on the role of CAD geometry in engineering processes such as advanced simulation and digital manufacturing. These are usually complex processes that place specialist demands on the CAD geometry. None more so than numerical simulation where downstream meshing, optimisation and analysis operations require specific CAE geometry abstraction and preparation, and where CAD-CAE integration and automation is key.
The biggest trend that we are seeing with CADfix customers is in advanced simulation, where customers using established processes and technologies for FEA, CFD and CEM are looking to push the boundaries to achieve both breakthrough and incremental product evolutions via analysis led design. In a many cases the limiting factor is the CAD geometry. The ITI CADfix team is focused on advanced geometry handling and model preparation for analysis, with the objective of achieving greater process automation, improved time to mesh, and lead time reductions. We manipulate CAD geometry and make smart adjustments to render it more useable for analysis. An example is our geometry work for hybrid CFD meshing within the Innovate UK GHandI project.
Digital manufacturing is another industry trend that we are monitoring closely. As additive and other manufacturing processes evolve we are seeing limitations due to the source CAD geometry and derived formats such as STL, where inaccurate 2D slicing and inefficient tool path generation can lead to poor quality 3D printed parts. The ITI CADfix team pursues advanced geometry processing for digital manufacturing through our involvement in European projects such as Hyproline and Symbioinca.
We are also seeing the trend for more organisations deploying model-based enterprise (MBE), where 2D drawings are replaced by 3D MBE parts that contain both the 3D geometry and product manufacturing information. Within this environment the 3D MBE CAD model becomes central to all design and manufacturing operations, meaning that it’s robustness and the accuracy of any derived neutral collaborative formats is of paramount importance. Our engagements here focus on helping organisations to implement MBE across their supply chain, and ensuring the validity of the 3D MBE parts throughout.
In addition to addressing challenges around MBE and data migration, one of the key challenges that the ITI UK operation is tackling is helping customers achieve greater CAD integration and process automation, and making them faster in key areas of engineering such as advanced simulation. By spearheading advances in complex geometry handling it means that our customers don’t have to spend time on non-value added processes and can focus on their product development and optimisation.
We run a webinar series that covers several of the topics and challenges that industry commonly experience.
We have plenty of case studies for customers who were struggling with connectivity between their CAD and engineering analysis systems, often spending days or weeks repairing geometry to make it useable in their analysis packages. We have helped eliminate or significantly reduce the time spent on such tasks. A great example of this is one automotive customer who had spent over ninety hours trying to convert a cylinder head model from one CAD system to another, so that they could continue with the manufacturing process. CADfix enabled them to complete the conversion in a couple of hours. That was several years ago, and if we revisited the same scenario today it would be a matter of minutes.
ITI works across all industry sectors including aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, defence, electronics, energy, plant and process, and heavy equipment. The aerospace/defence sector accounts for a large proportion of our market, with key customers including Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, DLR, GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, MTU, Pratt & Whitney, Snecma, and many more. We have a number of customer success stories and automotive and aerospace industry specific datasheets on our web site.
Our aim is to enable effective product data reuse across design, manufacturing and engineering analysis systems, helping to clear the obstacles so that people can effectively run a model-based enterprise. Our vision is that we continue to solve complex product data interoperability problems, to enable leading manufacturing companies to focus on making their products better. We want to help our customers keep driving their initiatives forward.
The ITI CADfix team is interested in engaging with organisations that want to get more from their engineering processes, but who frequently find themselves restricted by limitations of their 3D CAD model geometry. This will typically be companies who are pushing the boundaries of computational analysis and digital manufacturing, and who are striving for greater efficiency, integration and automation. We are interested in talking to clients who require very specific geometry handling, have demanding processes that require more detailed focus, or who are trying to connect systems together and spending too long processing data.