PTC Email Newsletter
April 30, 2001

This Weeks Topics:

A) PTC Product Focus:Pro/ENGINEER Mechanism Design Extension

B) Tip of the week:Analysis and Utility Features Found in Sketcher Mode

C) Upcoming Events and Training Class Schedules

A) PTC Product Focus:  Pro/ENGINEER Mechanism Design Extension

The Pro/ENGINEER Mechanism Design Extension (P-MDX) provides engineers within the product develoment process to persrom kinematic motion simulation and behavioral insight into the assembly through the easy defintion and animation of connections with Pro/ENGINEER, such as pin joints, ball joints and sliders. These connections, and resulting assembly constraints, facilitate the easy assembly of closed loop systems, like four bar linkages. These connections can be used compatibly and in combination with packaging and traditional Pro/ENGINEER constraints like mate, align and insert. Once assembled, engineers can observe how their mechanism designs will behave geometrically through interactive part dragging and user-defined motion simulations. Any point on a mechanism assembly can be dragged interactively by the user to animate the mechanism. Predefined motion simulations, using drivers to simulate motors or actuators, also provide animation. While a full dynamics simulation yielding velocities, accelerations, and forces must be achieved using Pro/MECHANICA Motion, Mechanism Design is a powerful design tool enabling engineers to create industry-best mechanism designs by clearly building and communicating ‘design intent’ into mechanism assemblies and subassemblies. MDX is an option to Pro/ENGINEER-Foundation.

Key Product Features

Mechanism Design functionality allows design engineers to:

Many of PTC's products incorporate motion. The following is a table designed to highlight the differences between these packages.

Motion Product Comparisons (version 2001)

Function Behavioral Modeling (includes MDX) Mechanism Design (MDX) Design Animation (DAO) Pro/MECHANICA Motion
Work inside Pro/E environment X X X X
Define joint types X X   X
Define joint types based on assembly constraints X X    
Joints inherited by DAO X X N/A  
Joints inherited by Mechanica Motion X X N/A N/A
Study mechanisms with cams & slots X X X X
study mechanisms with 3D slots X X X  
Study mechanisms with gears       X
study mechanisms with general contact       X
Create drivers X X X X
Create time-conditional drivers X X X  
Drivers inherited from MDX N/A N/A X  
Apply loads       X
Write programs for custom load applications       X
Create measurements (angle, distance, etc)  X     X
Create measurements based on loads N/A N/A N/A X
Dynamically drag mechanisms X X X  
Generate key frame (snapshot) sequence     X  
Organize animation into a timeline     X  
Lock bodies over a specified time period     X  
Save Pro/E views with animation     X  
Save Pro/E display states with animation     X  
Create assembly/ disassembly & maintenance sequences     X  
Perform sensitivity & optimization studies X     X
Check interference over range of motion X X X X
Plot clearance or volume of interference over range of motion X      
Plot measurements (angle, distance, etc.) over range of motion or versus another measure. X     X
Calculate reaction loads       X
Transfer loads to Mechanica Structure       X
Play animation X X X X
Animate reaction force arrows during animation       X
View and save trace curves X X   X
View and save envelope/cam synthesis curves X X   X
View and save 3D trace curves X X    
Export MPEG1 X X X X
Generate Motion Envelope2 X X X X
Save multiple sets of results X X X  
Other considerations
C-compiler requirement       X
Intralink support X3 X3 X3 X4
Floating license X5 X5 X6 X6
Training Note7 Note7 Note7 X (3days)

  1. MPEG is available in build 1999310 and higher of Pro/E.
  2. All products enable you to generate a frame file (*.fra). This and a license of Pro/E are the only requirements for generating motion envelope.
  3. DAO and MDX store information in the assembly files. Table files (*.tab) are supported. Results (*.pbk, *.pba) and frame files (*.fra) are not supported automatically.
  4. The assembly file, *.mda, and table files (*.tab) are supported. Results (*.res), motion loads (*.mml) and frame files (*.fra) are not supported automatically.
  5. Extensions float with a particular license of Pro/E.
  6. Options float independently of Pro/E.
  7. Online help and online tutorials should be sufficient to learn the software. A training course for MDX is being developed.

The following is a brief overview of the steps involved in creating a mechanism. The example used is a wine bottle decorker shown here:

I will assemble the handle of the de-corker to show how mechanism connections are made. Here we see the normal assembly contraint dialog box with one difference...the connections menu shown here.

With MDX installed, clicking on this menu brings up a hole new list of mechanism constraints.

Most are familiar with the mate, align, offset, etc. constraints from assembly mode, mechanisms contraints are listed above (rigid, pin, slider, etc.). These tell MDX how the movement at these connections is to occur. I will assemble the fork and link components using pin joints shown here.

Once all the component mechanism connections are defined, the motion can be run. Motion can be output as a graph showing velocity, position, and acceleration of any combination of points on the assembly.  The assembly can be checked for interference issues and motion envelopes can be generated to aid in the design of components by others. The following is the resulting motion exported as an AVI file.

 Motion Video

This was a very brief overview of a powerful analysis tool, for further information on MDX please visit the product webpage at:


B) Tip of the week: Analysis and Utiltiy Features Found in Sketcher Mode

With the Release 2000i2 of Pro/ENGINEER new analysis features have
been added in sketcher mode.

To Obtain Information About Section Geometry

1. Click Analysis-Section Analysis.
2. Select a command from the Section Analysis menu:

With the Release 2000i2 of Pro/ENGINEER new sketcher preferences have
been added in sketcher mode.

Another new feature is the location of the Sketcher Preferences under the Utilities menu while in sketcher mode. As seen in the following screen shots, there are a multitude preferences to modify to best suit your sketching style.


C) Upcoming Dates: Events and Training Class Schedules
Updated: April 02, 2001

PTC Innovation Days!!! (Product Development Workshops)

Your Personal Invitation:

Accelerate your product design and development!

Denver, CO - May 16 or 17th

Hotel Boulderado
2115 13th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: 303-442-4344

Attendees receive a FREE seat of Pro/ENGINEER 2001, the student edition!!! (Scheduled release May, 2001)

Denver (Englewood, Co.) Training Schedule:


Effective immediately, from now until May 31, 2001 we have been authorized to offer a
10% discount on all MCAD training classes held in the Englewood, CO training center.

Terms and Conditions:

-Offer good on all MCAD classes from now until May 31, 2001.
-Offer good for classes held in the PTC Englewood, CO training center ONLY
-Offer is also valid for customers with previously negotiated contract discounts!

**Courses can be initiated with a minimum of 5 people if the class is not listed above.

Click here to register for any class!


Note: This weekly PTC email will continue to be used for the following:

1) Inform you of events related to PTC products. (user groups, conferences, training schedules, etc.)

2) Educate you on products that are available at PTC

3) Tips and Techniques using PTC products