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Mentor Graphics announces new Capital tools that expand coverage beyond the electrical design domain

Mentor Graphics Corporation (NASDAQ: MENT) announced today a significant expansion of the company's Capital® product suite. Already offering a powerful electrical system and wire harness design flow for the automotive, aerospace and defence industries, the Capital suite now includes three new products that extend that flow both upstream and downstream. With the introduction of new tools addressing configuration complexity, harness manufacturing and vehicle documentation and maintenance, Capital now delivers coverage from product definition to service technician. Employing breakthrough technologies, the new tools have high commercial value for platform OEMs, wire harness manufacturers and service organizations.

Two of the new tools address the challenge of configuration complexity management. The first new tool, the Capital Level Manager™ product, helps minimize costs caused by configuration complexity. Based on a feature-led design paradigm, the tool provides a quantitative link between marketing and engineering, delivering numerical feedback of configuration complexity and the resultant costs. Configuration simplification via a process known as give-away is supported, as is validation against product marketing plans.

The Capital Level Manager product is typically used at the early stage platform definition phase of a project, but can also add value during the production design phase by assessing and helping to mitigate the configuration complexity impact of new optional features. Bill Presley, Director of Global Wire Engineering at Lear, said, "Given the massive complexities in part numbers, the ability to perform cost estimates quickly—while validating the designs—delights our OEM customers and provides an efficiency gain measurable in tangible dollars."

The second new tool, the Capital ModularXC™ product, also addresses configuration complexity. While supporting the traditional composite (superset) paradigm, this tool also focuses on the alternative modular process where multiple configurations are constructed from harness fragments related to optional features. These fragments are analogous to letters of an alphabet from which many words can be constructed. The Capital ModularXC tool automates definition of the fragments, ensuring compatibility and managing additional components: implementing the "spelling rules" of modular design. The Capital ModularXC tool can also be combined with the existing Capital technology called "modular synthesis" to implement a highly automated, front-to-back modular flow.

In addition, the Capital ModularXC tool can be applied to the manufacturing engineering domain. While the finished wire harness depends on the optional features it supports, the build process typically involves multiple sub-assemblies. Though related, these sub-assemblies are certainly not identical to the feature-driven fragments but are instead chosen to optimize manufacturing or logistical efficiency. The Capital ModularXC tool can capture the sub-assemblies' syntax to ensure the correct harness bill-of-materials is always created, whichever pattern of optional features must be supported.

The Capital ModularXC tool complements the existing Capital tools targeted at harness manufacturing tasks, such as formboard design. Mentor® expects to announce additional Capital tools supporting manufacturing engineering tasks later this year.

The third new tool, the Capital Publisher™ product, accelerates electrical system documentation and vehicle service and repair. The product streamlines technical publications preparation by assembling electrical design information such as schematics, wire lists and location views into rich, formatted electronic documentation packages. Combining several innovative technologies, such as diagram synthesis and styling, the Capital Publisher product can accept electrical design data from the upstream Capital design tools or from third-party products. As an electrically intelligent application, Capital Publisher can validate and/or repartition incoming information, and also reflect as-built (as distinct from as-designed) data.

The Capital Publisher tool also provides an intuitive and highly productive environment for service technicians. This client application will greatly simplify troubleshooting of complex electrical systems. Functionality includes valuable capabilities such as signal tracing and related object navigation. Delivered as a "zero software installation", the Capital Publisher product requires the simplest of IT environments and can integrate with diagnostics systems. The data presented to service technicians can also be made vehicle-specific, further simplifying the task where high numbers of different vehicle configurations are possible.

Taken together, the Capital Level Manager, Capital ModularXC and Capital Publisher tools expand the Capital product range well beyond electrical system and wire harness design into an extended Define-Design-Build-Service capability. Furthermore, Mentor continues to add integration capabilities to tools beyond the scope of the Capital suite. For example, standard integrations are now available between the Capital suite and the Mentor Volcano™ Vehicle System Architect™ and the SystemVision® product. These provide an extended EE design flow (encompassing the embedded software, network design and electrical domains) and mechatronic system simulation respectively. Multiple integrations with third-party tools are also available.

Gunwant Dhadyalla, Principal Engineer at Warwick Manufacturing Group's Low Carbon Vehicle Technology Project, said, "I am pleased that a standard data export from Capital directly feeds our chosen EMI simulation tool. This sort of application connectivity certainly simplifies our daily research activities."

Martin O'Brien, General Manager of the Mentor Integrated Electrical Systems Division, commented, "After several years of investment in foundation technology and products for electrical systems and wire harnesses, we are now announcing a second phase of our strategy. These new products represent a dramatic increase in tool scope to cover all phases of electrical design creation through to product fulfillment, and highlight the unique approach taken by Mentor to support electrical platform engineering."

Press release issued by Mentor Graphics Corporation on June 2, 2011


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