The release of a new engineering software package (CI No 936) and the sale of its Gino-F graphics software routine libraries two weeks ago (CI No 927) has put the spotlight on Cambridge computer-aided design software company CADCentre Ltd. The company has come far since it was a government-backed software development centre. Privatised five years ago the company was bought by ICL, W S Atkins and Cambridge University and received Government backing for its first transitionary years as a private company. Turnover has risen by a million pounds each year, from UKP1.7m in its first year as a private company to UKP6.6m last year, on which it made pre-tax profit of UKP380,000. CADCentre was lumbered with 50 products five years ago but things have settled down a lot since then, it now concentrates on CAD/CAM software for mechanical and process plant engineering and employs 160 people worldwide. And the new package, Review, fits in with this strategy, being developed for use with CADCentre’s Plant Design Management System – PDMS – running on the 10 MIPS Silicon Graphics 4D workstation. Using the new package, production engineers will be able to examine plant designs using computer based images obtained directly from the PDMS database. PDMS already provides visualisations of plant designs via a software module but the new package takes this further by adding high speed interactive capabilities. The user may select the site or plant to be reviewed from within the PDMS database and then select areas of data for detailed examination. These may be displayed as fully shaded three-dimensional images and walked through and rotated in real time. The company claims the system is not only cheaper and more accurate than plastic models but it also allows changes to be made quickly using the PDMS. CADCentre hoped to sell 10 packages by the end of the year and would expect to sell an average of 15 over the next five years. The decision to sell Gino-F – it was not a growth business – was explained as being part of the policy of specialisation. Following its recent successes and growing financial stability a listing in the near future is very much on the cards.
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