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September 21, 1999
NIC is preparing a Web enabled CAD/CAM productL Prashanth in New Delhi
The National Informatics Centre is developing a CAD/CAM software product.
''The CAD/CAM software will be marketed internationally and a global market survey is being conducted for the acceptability of the product,'' senior NIC sources have revealed.
Indian companies have a software product designing capability but this is not of a sophisticated nature. ''The government, with this project, intends to demonstrate the future path of value addition in software industry for the private sector in India.''
''The software, of which primitive prototypes have already been developed, will be split into components and can be hosted on the Internet, enabling users to have online, round-the-clock development of design,'' they said.
This will be in sync with the highest priority in the global software industry - componentisation of software development.
In the initial stages, the testing ground for the new product will be India. ''After a certain number of tests, the product will be sold abroad.''
Claiming that NIC's CAD/CAM will be based on new codes, modules and, in fact, a new architecture, the sources said the Indian product would slowly replace the existing CAD/CAM software structure developed in the 1970s.
For the first time, a CAD/CAM software product will be Web enabled as the product would be divided into components and hosted on the Internet.
NIC's product will have to compete with three dominant players in the CAD/CAM market worth billions of dollars.
Parametric Technology Corporation's Pro Engineer is the market leader in terms of units shipped while ideas of SDRC and CADDS of Computer Vision are the other major players.
Norwegian agency NURAD has sanctioned about 17 million krones (about $2.5 million) for the project, NIC sources said.
Also, the product being Web enabled will greatly popularise use of CAD/CAM in designing and manufacturing. It will eventually cut production costs and time.
''Since the product will be an Internet application software, the user need not invest in a prohibitively costly standalone CAD/CAM. The client can simply download the required software from the Internet, work on and update the work to be put in continued use in other parts of the globe.''
Started in 1982, the CAD/CAM division of NIC serviced several automobile majors including Maruti Udyog Limited and German Luxury car manufacturer Audi.
Each of the 17 researchers in the division is earning about $3,000 a month, offering CAD/CAM services like solid modelling, translation development and software maintenance to several Indian and foreign companies.
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