Preservation of Data Ensures Stable Future
Today's Medical Developments (03/12) Modic, Elizabeth Engler
Helena Laboratories is a clinical laboratory instrument manufacturer with clientele such as major medical centers, small hospitals, large reference laboratories, and small private doctors’ laboratories. With hundreds of laboratory products and more than 40 registered patents, Helena continues to be a market leader in the design and development of new diagnostic tests. In 2007, it switched from an aging 3D wireframe design tool to SolidWorks software, the popular computer-aided design (CAD) system from Dassault Systèmes Solidworks Corporation. Recently, Helena decided to redesign one of its most popular electrophoresis sample handlers after replacement parts for the unit began to grow scarce. Applications for handlers are areas such as forensics, molecular biology, genetics, microbiology, and biochemistry. Undertaking this and other major design work using SolidWorks seemed logical, but recent press shows that Dassault planned to remove the Parasolid software-modeling kernel from its SolidWorks, which worried Helena. Billy Oliver, a longtime SolidWorks user and design engineer at Helena, says Helena did not want to redesign its products in SolidWorks if the modeling kernel was changing. Bob Sarrine, a long-time design engineer at the company, says most of Helena’s data remains in the old 3D wireframe format, with 18 years’ worth of 3D wireframe design data that represents about 10 major products still in the market. Moving that data to a new CAD system is very important to Helena. With this in mind, Oliver suggests that SolidWorks users should run not walk away from their software, citing several observations from his research that ultimately led to the Solid Edge license purchase.