Houston, Texas, January 15th, 2006

MetaLab Inc. is proud to present PractiCAD™ — the first open release of the company�s Windows®-based and AutoCAD-driven three dimensional computer-aided design (3D CAD) software for sheet metal, HVAC, and construction industries.

PractiCAD is an integral component in the company�s product suite, which includes PractiCAM — the best sheet metal and HVAC CAM and estimating software in the world. The latest innovations incorporated into PractiCAD enable contractors, estimators, engineers, designers, and draftsmen to slash production time, reduce production costs, and minimize production errors.

PractiCAD offers three key user benefits by:
  • significantly increasing customer productivity;
  • providing unparalleled performance in automated design, routing, drafting, and detailing of HVAC systems;
  • enabling users to fully and seamlessly integrate the entire workflow, including design, drafting, detailing, estimating, and fabrication processes.
Just like other MetaLab products, PractiCAD was developed in tight cooperation with end users, who contributed a majority of the innovations and enhancements added to the software.

With PractiCAD, MetaLab opens the door to the construction methods of the future by providing new, powerful tools to automate, unify, and optimize the entire technological workflow — from design concepts to fabrication — once again confirming Making things. Easy.™, as the company’s trademark.

PractiCAD key features include:

  • A completely new approach to design, drafting and detailing procedures, featuring automatics — simple procedural blocks for building and executing on demand any workflow with any types and values of parameters, while encapsulating the essence of any work style and approach, allowing for sharing them across the enterprise. Automatics provide a robust, flexible, consistent, effective and efficient method for establishing, streamlining and executing all daily tasks;

  • A complete — and largest in the industry — set of fittings for building round, rectangular and oval ductwork, driven by the same set of specifications, defaults, fitting templates, and manufacturing allowances as PractiCAM software;

  • Extensive automated routing features, including simple straight-duct-before-fitting, straight-duct-before-and-after-fitting, z-routing (variable angles included), variable-routing-on-demand (connect any two duct openings by a user-selectable scenario);

  • Automated duct layout and detailing, including single-line layout, piece-by-piece placement, and automatic detailing of a given single-line trace — all fully driven by user-selectable scenarios, specifications and manufacturing preferences, and all available for round, rectangular, and oval ductwork;

  • Unlimited geometric and technological editing for fittings and lines after placement with an automatic intelligent adjustment of the fitting geometry;

  • Automated duct design, using modern user-selectable methods of HVAC design and construction;

  • Automatic and optimized system layout, tagging, numbering and dimensioning;

  • Direct downloading of created ductwork to PractiCAM for fabrication;

  • Architecturals, including walls and slabs, doors, windows, ceilings, lights, grills, diffusers, structural steel, columns;

  • Full utilization of AutoCAD-provided facilities — 3D photorealistic rendering, multiple views, color and layer management, placement, view, and direction options and many others;

  • Innovative, flexible and ergonomic user interface (including MetaLab’s proprietary dynamic tool and item bins and dynamic screen management), allowing for a much greater screen control and utilization of the scarce drawing space;

  • Effortless system of Internet-based software support and version update, built into the software;

PractiCAD pre-release version has been available to all MetaLab customers, and many of company’s customers have taken advantage of the product pre-release pricing. PractiCAD is currently distributed in English only, and in the near future will be available in four languages (English, Spanish, Russian and French).

For current pricing and availability, please contact MetaLab sales office.

Since 1982, everyone in the sheet metal and HVAC industries (be it a vendor or a customer) was eagerly awaiting the expiration date of two U.S. Patents: No. 4,551,810 and No. 4,554,635 (if, by chance, you have been lucky enough not to know what these patents are covering, then you, most likely, you are very young or you do not have any interest in sheet metal or HVAC…).

As a service to our customers, in the recent past we have provided the countdown timer for these patents on our Web site. Now these patents have expired, but continuing this tradition, we are happy to provide a new timer below, showing the time passed since this expiration date, when our industry was, at last, liberated:

0000 days, 00 hours, 00 minutes, 00 seconds.