TS News - Pace Goes 3D For New Receivers

TELE-satellit News, 9 July 1996

Pace Goes 3D For New Receivers
  LONDON, England, 96/07/09 (TS) -- Pace Micro Technology, Europe's largest
manufacturer of satellite receivers and MPEG2 digital set-top boxes, has
overhauled its research and development department to take advantage of the
power and 3D graphics capabilities of Indigo2 workstations from Silicon

  Prima, the latest Pace analogue entry-level system due for launch in the
next month, was designed with the new systems.

  Engineers at Pace's West Yorkshire, UK, base use computer-aided design
(CAD) tools to develop product concepts and production drawings for the
moulded plastic enclosures and pressed metal components for the receivers.
Previously the company used AutoCAD software running on Personal Computers. 

  "We found it difficult to design 3D shapes and surfaces with a 2D
package," explains Barry Pearson, Pace mechanical product design manager.
"We wanted a platform that would give us the ability to design in 3D.
Pro/Engineer is a very flexible surface modeller and the Silicon Graphics
Indigo2s let us spin the geometry round on screen rather than having to look
at a flat drawing."

  The crucial factor behind Pace's CAD upgrade was to reduce the time it
takes to get new products to market, explains Pearson. "The new systems are
worth every penny. We used to take between six to eight weeks to take a
product from concept to detail. The first one we did on the Indigo2s took
half that time," he says. "We also bought well specified systems because we
wanted an upgrade path. Silicon Graphics gives us that upgrade room."

  New Pace products are designed in 3D on 200MHz R4400 Indigo2s, each
equipped with XZ graphics subsystems, 128 Mb of RAM, 2 Gb hard disks and
20-in monitors. The 3D Pro/Engineer models support a range of downstream
functions. They can be used to output 3D IGES (Initial Graphics Exchange
Specification) files to mould- flow analysis and printed circuit board CAD
systems, or to generate "sliced" STL files that drive stereolithography
rapid prototyping systems.

  "We can output the files on floppy disk or modem," says Pearson. "We don't
need to do full detailed drawings." To handle modifications of older
products, Pace transferred AutoCAD on to the Silicon Graphics systems to
maintain the original drawings.

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