When your fingers are slammed in a trunk or car door, you’ll experience a great, yet painful, appreciation for the tolerances that are built into the gaps. When your double mocha latte goes flying into the dash and you spend the weekend cleaning the crevices with Q-tips and your favorite soundtrack, even more so. There’s software that delivers the subtle detail our minds perceive and pass along to us in bursts of thought like, “I want to lick the side-panel of that Nissan 370Z.” One company making those outwardly-awkward thoughts happen is Icona Solutions and the new version of their flagship software is available today, with the long awaited release of Aesthetica V4.
What is Aesthetica?
While Aesthetica looks like a tool for inspection and simulation, it really falls into a category all its own. The main purpose of Aesthetica is to view the geometric variation that occurs in the manufacturing processes and see what effect it has on the aesthetics of a vehicle or product. It’s largely a conceptual stage software, but can be used along the path from design development to engineering and manufacturing. Throughout the process, the 3D model can be imported and then the assembly tolerances adjusted and alternatives tested in Aesthetica to resolve any issues in variation.
The news coming out of Icona Solutions has been sparse over the past years. Aesthetica 3.3 was released in October 2010. Not much has been heard since then and for good reason. They’ve been working on a new version that brings in a new 3D visualization system, new geometry-based measurement tools and a completely new user interface.
The main direction Icona went with this new version is in speed of visualization. The visualization is in real time and interactive, meaning that if you move a component in the rendered model, the measurements update in real time. The rendering engine has been developed in-house by Icona and is based on OpenGL using nVidia shaders. While the software is designed to run on a modern CAD workstation, Icona recommends nVidia Quadra mid-to-upper range GPUs.
If you’re wondering how Aesthetica works with scanned data, it is not designed to measure scanned physical parts against the nominal CAD model. Again, Aesthetica falls in the genre of design/engineering support tools and not in engineering inspection tools.
Aesthetica V4 Pricing
The cost of Aesthitica is $28,300 (£17,500) which places it firmly within the budget of larger automotive and product development companies, no doubt. You can find find more details on Aesthetica at Icona Solutions.
Aesthetica automatically moves the parts to visualise the model at the extremes of the proposed gap and flush targets allowing assessment of the resulting perceived quality from the customer’s perspective.