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April 7, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

In the wake of its January acquisition of Computervision Corp and amidst proclamations of feeling good about feeling good, Natick-based Prime Computer Inc is now flexing its executive muscles and publicising its new-won position as the world’s second largest supplier of CAD/CAM solutions. At a theoretical level, this involves elaborating upon a future vision of a fully integrated manufacturing industry, while smaller, less erudite, steps comprise the formal restructuring of the company into two separate divisions, and, from the new Computervision division of the company, the Release 5 of Prime Medusa (CI No 903) and the introduction of two new software products, PrimeControl and PrimeDesign. Essentially PrimeDesign, whose mission is apparently to enable designers to design as fast as they think, and the way that they think, is an interactive three-dimensional solid, surface and wire-frame modelling system which runs either on the the PXCL 5500 graphics workstation, or in conjunction with Medusa’s graphic numerical control software. The system uses the mathematical non-uniform rational b-splines or NURBS technique to represent complex curves and surfaces, provides a variety of shading features, moves and rotate models, calculates physical properties and provide component listings of assemblies: by constructing models in the system through a single database, different design groups can work on different assembly parts simultaneously, and can view other group’s – automatically updated – designs: 70% of the system is written in C with the 30% user interface in LISP; an entry-level system costs UKP53,550. PrimeControl is an Oracle-based engineering project control system which tracks and organises computer-based design data into libraries, updates design changes and claims to provide engineering managers with overall control of projects, by providing answers to What do I have/Where is it/How do I get to it style questions. Meanwhile, the establishment of the two separate divisions mark the first manifestations of the restructuring of the post-aquisition company on an industry basis. The Computervision division of the company, headed by Prime’s Bob Fisher will sell the joint product range to the manufacturing industry, while the Commercial/Technical division, headed by Roy Brubaker will perfom a similar function within the education, government and financial services market. Integration of the two companies will never, apparently be total, but future plans include a single unified version of the flagship Medusa product.

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