Platform- sharing within and between manufacturers is the norm, and surfaces must be pristine. These pressures are combining to make vehicle design a much more intensive process. Designers need to understand how alterations impact the rest of the design as quickly as possible. Engineers must incorporate changes more rapidly than ever before. Feasibility analysis has to be incorporated into the development of the initial concept and the creation of clay models and physical prototypes is being pushed back to the latter stages of the development process due to time and cost constraints. All of which increases the importance of the software- based design environment, especially when it comes to Class- A surface design where the external surface of a product needs to be perfect in all conditions and in any kind of light. Ask yourself why premium- class cars look so special, while some products are interpreted as cheap even though
they feature the latest technology? The answer is because the brain processes subliminal information that is produced by the interaction of form and light. The exact smoothness of a smooth surface is defined by the technology used to design and produce it. Free- form surfaces, edges and curves designed using traditional CAD systems almost always have kinks or rough edges that are often only visible under particular lighting conditions or from certain viewing angles and impair the visual appearance of the final product. The best Class- A surface design tools act as a key interface between the design department and the car's engineering team. Developed in close collaboration with Class- A surfacing professionals, the comprehensive ICEM Shape Design suite of software solutions from Dassault Systems is used by a large number of leading car manufacturers and suppliers for the modeling of Class- A surfaces, making it a clear leader in this field. ICEM Shape Design enables mechanical designers, shape designers, and stylists to create, validate, and modify surfaces of any type, from exterior and interior trim to engine housings, particularly those which are visible and tangible to the end customer. No other surface design solution allows design professionals to create stunning surfaces of all types, as well as accurately measure and visualize the impact of individual changes to other parts of the design. No other surface design solution fits better within the all- encompassing product development environment. Class- A surfaces in CATIA Because Class- A surfaces cannot be developed solely in isolation, the integration with the virtual design environment is crucial to maximize efficiency, as well as the effectiveness of the entire product development process. The greater the emphasis manufacturers put on the development of Class- A surfaces, the closer design and engineering teams have to work together, making that integration more important. Without it, the resultant gaps in the development process chain lead to engineering headaches and expensive redesigns. ICEM Shape Design was the first Class- A surface modeling tool to be fully integrated into the CATIA virtual design environment, setting a new standard for Class- A modeling. Users can now work towards the surface quality required for end products throughout the entire development process within one system, and without converting or losing data. " No other surface design solution fits better within the all- encompassing product development environment"