Any geometry based application can benefit from using the DCM to enhance its
functionality. Examples include:
- Mechanical CAD/CAM
- Mechanism simulation/animation
- FEM (shape optimisation)
- Knowledge Based Engineering
- Architectural CAD
- Computer graphics
- Virtual reality
- Drawing creation
The DCM components contribute the following functionality to the above
Design, drafting, drawing and mechanism simulation in 2D
2D profile sketching in support of 3D parametric solid
Part modelling, assembly modelling and mechanism
simulation in 3D
Variational/parametric techniques have so far mainly been applied to the
mechanical CAD field, where they have been well established since the
mid-1980s. Variational modelling is now standard in most mechanical CAD
applications, where such functionality is often based around the DCM.
Many DCM applications are in the mechanical CAD and related fields. The DCM
has been integrated into most of the mainstream CAD systems that are used by
the major engineering design industries, e.g.
aerospace and consumer products. More specialised DCM based applications
include shipbuilding and textile pattern design. The DCM also enhances those
CAM products with a design capability, including leading systems in the mold
and sheet metal manufacturing industries.
The DCM makes an extensive contribution to products in fields related to
mechanical CAD, such as the assembly and simulation of mechanisms. It forms the
basis for the variational functionality in Knowledge Based Engineering
applications, and provides the variational shape modification functionality in
the shape optimisation loop of Finite Element Modelling products.
Variational/parametric techniques are now evolving outside the mechanical CAD
field. However, their relative under-utilisation means that their significant
design productivity benefits are not yet fully recognised. This provides many
opportunities for a repetition of the successes seen in the mechanical CAD
field by those software companies that make the earliest variational
enhancements to their product lines. For example, in the architectural CAD
field the DCM can be used for sketching floor plans, controlling the shape of
libraries of objects, positioning objects, constructing rooms/buildings/roofs
and designing roads. It can also be used for component positioning in HVAC and
piping situations, and the assembly of steel framed structures.
The DCM brings many benefits to the graphic design functionality in word
processors, desktop publishing products and graphics-based flow-charting
software. It also brings powerful capabilities to assembling scenes in computer
graphics and virtual reality applications, and simulating the physical
properties of the mechanisms that arise in such scenes.
The above discussion illustrates how the DCM variational technology can be
adopted in a wide variety of applications, from 2D sketching, through part
modelling, to creating assemblies and simulating their motion. Each application
uses the same simple dimension and constraint data structures which are managed
by the appropriate DCM components. The DCM components share common mathematical
principles and an identical integration architecture. This unified technology
ensures that end-users have access to familiar, easy to use, variational
functionality across a range of closely related modelling requirements.