This year is a remarkable year to ZWSOFT, as it established the future vision of “All-in-one CAx” and became more open and inclusive, which can be demonstrated by turning its biennial conference-GPC (global partner conference) to ZWorld, building a more open platform for CAx players to communicate. During ZWorld 2019, I was lucky to have an interview with Mark Vorwaller, President of ZWSOFT America, who has shaped ZW3D and contributed to the development of ZWSim-EM (The first CAE product for electromagnetic analysis of ZWSOFT). In the following article, you will learn his ideas on the development of ZW3D and CAE and his feelings about the growth of ZWSOFT R&D team. If you want to watch the whole interview video, you could watch it on the page head or click here.
The Past, Present and Future of ZW3D
- ZW3D has been developed for over 30 years, which is the same as your time devoted to CAD/CAM products. What does it mean to you? What do you think can help ZW3D keep energetic?
The 30 years had been interesting. The technology side has always been fun, while the business side has been up and down. There has been good times and bad times. But I guess all I can say is (that) it has been exciting and right. We always try to keep our products fresh through new development. In development, there is always balancing, keeping the products stable, fixing bugs, making our core functionalities strong. But at the same time, like any organization, new blood and new people help keep it fresh and alive, new development also helps keep a product fresh and alive. And so now, as we announced in the conference this year, we are entering the CAE area and I feel like there’s a broad enough range of applications we can release overtime in the CAE area. That’s going to continue to energize our product for a long time.
- ZW3D 2019 was released early this year. How do you think of it?
(ZW3D) 2019 release was characterized by many small enhancements and improvements. There were more than 800 improvements. Also, there are a few major programs that I feel pretty nice. But I suppose what characterizes this release for me is that we have so many sort or brush-up types of items that would come to a cumulative result for overall improved user experience with the product.
- In the short term, what is the plan for ZW3D development? What can we expect in one or two years?
In one or two years, one of our focuses will be mold design. We have had mold design for a long time, but we will be addressing it in a more advanced way: improving the workflow and adding new features. Another focus will be accelerating our progress in CAM development, especially improving our 2X milling capability by making it 3D-aware. And we will be focusing more on mill-turn and machining simulation. Back on the CAD side, there are three main topics — making it easier to create large assemblies, selective history regen, and improving the speed of drawing layout for large assemblies. Those are key topics.
- In your opinion, how ZW3D addresses IOT’s current and future needs?
The way we are addressing IoT in the future is integrating CAE technology with our CAD software. CAE allows us to use the digital CAD model to simulate the behavior in the physical product. IoT provides smart sensors that can provide data back to our CAD system. We can’t do much with that data in terms of improving product design and optimizing the behavior unless we have physics-based simulation capability. So integrating CAE is the next step for us to address IoT.
How to Democratize CAE?
- Your speech topic of ZWorld 2019 is “Democratize All-in-one CAx”. So in your opinion, what’s the main challenge to democratize CAE?
I think the main challenge will be making it easy to use. One thing we will do to make it easier to use is to do mesh generation automatically without requiring input from the customers. CAE traditionally has many options and many parameters that the user has to review and adjust. We will attempt to provide the minimum set of parameters with good default settings so the user can get an initial analysis with minimum input. We will do as much as we can to simplify the user interface, which will be a key factor for making CAE great.
- Do you have confidence in it?
I think we have a long history in ZWSOFT to make high-end technology easier to use. We’ve proven we can do that in modeling. When we started writing parametric modeling 30 years ago, there was only one other system that did it, and that system did not have advanced capability like class A surfacing, nor did it have integrated CAM and integrated mold design. We did all those things in a way that small and medium-sized businesses were able to learn and use with minimal training. I have confidence we can do the same thing with CAE. As I mentioned in the previous question, ease of use will be the primary consideration.
- To make CAE accessible, I suppose the price is another key factor. Are you also confident that ZWSOFT can offer affordable CAE?
Yes, I have confidence. We have been providing high functionality with affordable pricing for thirty years. We have a pretty good idea of what it takes to develop advanced technology. Based on that experience, I am confident we can develop CAE and release it at an affordable price similar to our other products.
- ZWSim-EM, ZWSOFT’s first CAE solution was presented in ZWorld and it will be released to the public soon. That is a milestone for ZWSOFT CAx product lines. How do you see it? And what other CAE solutions of ZWSOFT can we expect?
Well, I am super excited about ZWSim-EM, of course, our first simulation module for electromagnetics. Electromagnetics is an analysis area increasingly applicable to today’s products. Consumer products, traditional mechanical products, all of them include electronics. More and more they are connected through the GPS system, through the internet, providing sensory gathering and data from smart sensors. All of that involve electromagnetic signals, so the electromagnetic analysis is a really cool area to release first. Followed by next year is stress and thermal analysis, which is sort of a more traditional mechanical engineering area, where a lot of our customers undertake, so that will be great for them. Following that are dynamic assemblies and fluid flow analysis. Those will cover most of the key analysis areas that engineers are interested in. That will keep us busy for a while.
ZWSOFT R&D Team: Getting Stronger
- You and your team have devoted yourselves to ZW3D development for over 30 years. Could you share something about U.S. team with us?
The members of my team are located in the U.S. We have worked together for many years. The majority of my guys have PhDs or Master’s degrees in mathematics, geometric modeling or some form of engineering or computer science. They are all smart and dedicated. I love the guys I work with and have high regard for their capability. They are very creative and extremely intelligent and have as much experience in our industry than anyone in the world. I consider them the best in the world.
- After the acquisition by ZWSOFT, the U.S. and Guangzhou R&D team have been jointly developing ZW3D. How is your collaboration?
Our collaboration has been great. From the very beginning, we’ve had a good relationship. The team members on both sides, in China and the U.S., are sincere people. Everyone is bright and creative. Sometimes there has been a little English-language communication difficulty. But overall it’s been good — I have no complaints.
- R&D team is the key factor for ZWSOFT to develop CAx solutions. ZWSOFT is investing more in building and cultivating a more powerful R&D team. What do you expect for our R&D team?
I expect the R&D team to work hard and creatively. CAD/CAM technology is fairly complex. It takes more time and learning to become an effective developer with it than other types of software. We’ve hired many new engineers that are challenged to come up to speed quickly, but they have already shown the ability to do it. So I am confident our development will continue to go forward quickly.
- Do you have anything to say to R&D team?
I really appreciate you joining us. I appreciate your hard work, and I look forward to us working together for a long time. In ZWSOFT, we can make a great contribution to the world. Thanks for your endeavors. I look forward to a bright future together. Guys, I love you, I appreciate you, and I think you are the best.
I want to thank Mark for taking time to have a talk with me. He has devoted himself to CAD/CAM products since 1986. His contributions to the innovation and improvement of CAD/CAM technologies has made him one of the most revered figures in the industry. I do hope this interview can give you some ideas about how ZWSOFT makes high-end technology more accessible to ordinary users. For further ZWSight, please stay tuned with our blog.