Solid Edge, Siemens/UGS and the Inevitable Consequences

So today I read that Karsten Newbury has left Siemens.

Well first off I want to say that there are two people who I hold most responsible for the brief renaissance of SE and a period of time for hope for bigger and better things. Now Dan Staples is high on my list too but for technical reasons and not as a spark plug for serious growth in numbers and community for Solid Edge. Dan is perhaps more than anyone else the reason Don and Karsten had something truly great to sell to the world. But with Don and Karsten was hope for better things personified and moving forward in tangible ways that could be seen and touched.

I remember getting a call from Don about five years ago when I was expressing frustration in public with Siemens who seemed dead set on hiding SE under a rock and keeping it there. He told me he had a guy who was going to call me that I would find of interest. Karsten called shortly after and told me what his plans and goals were and we basically wanted the same thing. SE to take its place as its capabilities deserved as the company that would overtake SW. This began a five-year journey where at times it was kind of surreal. I mean just how in the world a single man shop ends up helping to influence the outcome of the software he uses is still something that surprises me. I guess I was a pretty good litmus test for how users felt about things and so off we went.

I can say as a guy that had a peek way behind the scenes of SE that neither Don or Karsten ever said they would do something and then not do it. They had a vision and goals and were steadfast to both SE and it’s customers as tireless advocates for the product and it’s users. They were serious about SE and us.

While I have fallen out of the “inner circle” so to speak of SE and Siemens and don’t have much contact with anyone there any more I do wish to say this. I have nothing but admiration for Dan and Karsten both as corporate figures and personally. They both had correct visions of how things should be and could be and eminently qualified plans on how to get there. Over the last year and a half though it became clear to me that they were being hampered in their efforts by Siemens.

I knew these guys and their goals and it was clear people above and around them did not share the same vision. Primarily North American UGS guys who had convinced Siemens that SE was a threat to NX. I think they were becoming quite alarmed at how good SE was becoming and the true potential that SE under Don and Karsten represented in possible sales. I consider Siemens to be quite anal and navel gazers to boot who sadly are stupid enough to believe these UGS guys, some of who have had a real hatred of SE that surpasses mere protection of NX sales. They have deliberately starved SE of funds and permission to market themselves adequately and the really sad thing is that this was with the very money SE had earned for itself. It is so pathetic that the public face of SE through the website had an $80,000.00 a YEAR budget and thought control police who hated SE making sure nothing right or wonderful could ever happen there.   Matt Lombard with a following that was staggering at one time was brought in by Don and Karsten as part of a master plan to eat up SW. Right off the bat Matt was shoved of to the side and deliberately throttled and his value to SE killed.

So in my opinion to protect a few lousy seats of their precious NX they sacrifice tens of thousands of SW conversions and increased overall profit for Siemens. And sadly really talented guys like Don and Karsten who are not going to work for people like this forever. Can you imagine being in charge of something as wonderful as SE and then have board room politics by simple-minded venal corporate turf protecting back stabbers shooting you down? Would you stay under those conditions? So the Siemens quality filter works and good people leave and the bad ones stay and now the whole future of SE looks bleak. Yeah, SE is not going away but until there is a shakeup of upper level management SE is doomed. It going to become like one of those little orange and black spotted Salamanders. They are around but you have to turn over rocks to find them. We have now gone full circle and the bad guys have run off the good guys and SE will once again take its rightful place as the best software you won’t hear about. It is clear to me the Siemens/UGS people who hold SE in contempt have won and will win for some time to come.

I would say that it is Don and Karstens gain and Siemens loss but that presumes Siemens even has the corporate mental capabilities to understand that losing a right hand is not a good thing. They can have a bunch of meetings and talk about all this while they try to figure out if losing body parts is good or bad. I guess the old adage about body parts and who really runs things at Siemens is true. The brain says it is in charge of things and other body parts chime in with why they are the most important. But the winning body part of this debate is the North American UGS a– hole that says if I close myself off none of the rest of you are going to work.

Guys, best of luck in your new jobs and I sincerely hope you both prosper at whatever you do. Your abilities and dedication deserve to be rewarded by someone who judges on merits and not short-sighted little boardroom weasels with axes to grind.

An additional comment.

Sometimes the sublime humor in life comes from strange places. Perhaps there is also more than a little bit of truth to saying like what goes around comes around. Just for the heck of it this evening I went to read the spam posts that accumulate with the filter WordPress provides. The post most frequently generating spam mail is, are you ready for this, “The Destructive Siemens Corporate Mindset”.  Uhh well lets see. Brilliant minds think alike,  birds of a feather flock together. Just some amusing thoughts going through my mind right now. Feel free to post any witticisms you might have in regards to this to dear readers.

Autumn Colors

I know, the way I have been talking about Siemens Mr UGS anti Solid Edge campaign I bet you thought I was going to mention drab sterile Siemens Grey and cloudy dreary days without a ray of sunshine. Or Fall which precedes the coming Winter for SE if Mr UGS is not fired and the upper management he has led astray reformed.

But no, I have another thing in mind. And after a week like the last two have been where I have spent lots of time and money trying to get an Elgi screw compressor and an ADX American Rotary unit to play together to no avail I have to find something nice to talk about. But before that have you ever been in a spot where you open your wallet and pour out the money and it all just turns to garbage? The rotary people say it is not their fault and I tend to believe them as their units have a fine reputation and everyone I know that uses them is satisfied. Elgi on the other hand certainly does not in my opinion now. Talking to their stateside engineer and he has no problem running this E07en unit off of a phase converter. But then we get into try this and try that and yes some of these did get out of the factory comments. So it finally works for a day and then here I am Saturday morning with a new problem. The motor will barely start and trips a 100 amp breaker and this on a 10HP compressor with no load. Some days it just does not pay to get out of bed and I am so mad I could spit nails. If they can’t solve my problem today I am going to just have them get it and I will probably buy the replacement unit from Eaton Compressors just like my friends have and run for years with no problems.

I have a Phase perfect true digital phase converter which fires this baby up with no problem but the rotary and the E07en compressor combination at this time is junk.

So I think of fall and the fall colors nature brings. I live in the country by choice and each season has it’s own visual panoply of beauty and fall has some of the best. Now the leaves are OK too don’t get me wrong but the best fall colors are the ones which ripen up this time of year. DSC_0007 Guaranteed to take your mind away from the onerous vagaries of equipment problems these little babies are just bursting with flavor crystals and bound to please any pepper head. Ahhhh, the bliss of Fall Colors appealing to all the senses from one end to the other ;)

The Leveling of the Playing Field for USERS

First go here http://www.upfrontezine.com/2014/upf-833.htm and read the theory of CAD commoditization Ralph brings forth. I have to admit to having similar thoughts for some time now and think the handwriting is on the wall for over priced CAD and CAM.

The exception to this will be those who have been sucked into the PLM world and the psuedopods of the Hydra so firmly wrapped around their stuff that there is no escape. At a certain level of manufacturing complexity this is necessary and an evil inflicted upon using companies by vendors that make it so difficult to use that not only do you have to buy the product you have to buy gobs of very expensive tech support. Mainly from people like Dassault and Siemens who are the chief culprits of complexity for their own benefit but others like PTC fit the bill to.

But for the rest of us who use midrange MCAD there is a revolution coming. Remember what the prices for rudimentary CAD was when it all got started? I read of things like $150,000.00+ for one seat along with the custom computer for crude stuff by today’s standards. With the exception of Synchronous Tech which I believe sets Solid Edge above the rest the similarities of all cad programs and their capabilities are sufficient for what you need to make. How easy it is to get there differs which is why all mid range CAD programs will end up having Direct editing if they want to survive with decent market share.

Let us use what I currently employ as an example of a business model which will be under serious attack by the end of this year. CAMWorks for Solid Edge with 3 axis milling, Volumill 3 axis, 2 axis turning and adding 4th axis milling adds up to over $15,000.00 and right at $3,000.00 per year for what ever they decide to put in there and tech support which most use rarely after the first year or so with most programs. Then we have Solid Edge Classic at around $6.900.00 and $1,500.00 per year. Grand total of $21,900.00 up front and add to that another $4,500.00 and your first years expenditure is $26,400.00 and $4,500.00 per year after that. Similar costs abound with most combinations out there for SW and SE with the exception of HSMWorks and SW which can as a package be significantly cheaper than others.

Yes, HSMWorks which brings me to the company that is going to break the back of overpriced CAD CAM. http://cam.autodesk.com/inventor-hsm is the current page for Inventor and HSMWorks. Look at these prices!! Yes I know that Inventor is clunky compared to SE and SW but they are working on it. Seriously working on it. Now how quickly they fix things remains to be seen but for most of us out there based upon the work I see being done with Inventor it is more than capable. I have used HSMWorks and while CAMWorks has some powerful things HSM does not CAMWorks is also far more complex to use and set up. The reality is that if you are a job shop with gobs of differing parts and small runs at the end of the year I think CW and HSM both will consume about the same amount of time to generate plans with ease of use to implement going to HSM as the hands down winner. Unless there is a significant improvement for SE in a revolutionary way and not just the incremental way the last two years have been I will more than likely not ever renew again. I can use SE as it is for the next six or seven years and all the capabilities I need are there. CAMWorks is just overpriced like Featurecam and Mastercam and Surfcam and many others with price tags way up there.

See here is the thing I am looking at. What have YOU MR CAD CAM company done for me lately? Just what is it you think I should spend MY money on? Remember, it IS my money. This thing you are supposed to compete to get not collude to fix prices at an artificially high level. You want me to keep forking out the dough when I rarely need tech support you have to offer genuine improvements that rate buyer loyalty. It is a thing that works both ways you know and what have you done for me that I should reward you with loyalty and money each year is a question most developers would rather you never ask yourself. Now if you don’t already own SE it is worth looking into to buy for at least a year just to get the Synchronous goodies. Like many SW users are discovering as their Dassault sells them down the river you can work many years without being current. Money in your pocket where it needs to be.

I expect that I will soon be buying into the Autodesk HSM Inventor world where I can replace most of what I need for $7,500.00 and $1,250.00 per year after that. For just the cost of two years maintenance with SE and CW4SE I have a new program that will save me at least $3,000.00 per year afterwards. Heck if I need only 2.5 axis HSM is FREE. That is like $4,500.00+ at CW4SE and Surfcam and Mastercam etal. It has been free for some time now and I expect it will be for some time to come. THIS is the commoditization that is going to happen and Autodesk is going to kick the prices down across the board and eat their competitors alive.

The next generation of pricing is right around the corner. HEY you UGS/Siemens SE haters don’t worry about losing sales of NX to SE but rather maybe you ought to think about will SE even keep most of its market share in the coming onslaught. If you care of course. So Nero fiddles for SE at Siemens and the lunatics run the assylum at Dassault and PTC Who is over there while a guy who is really hungry and commited with a vision and the will and power to make it happen plans your demise. I never used to think much about Carl Bass but this is certainly changing for the better as I watch what is happening under his direction.

The TL-2 Arrives

Yes this is more of a general interest post rather than a specific CAD CAM related post. But after all I DO have a business that is involved far more in fabricating and machining time wise than CAD CAM ever was. They all tie in together in companies to the best of the abilities of the decision makers to buy both software and production tools that make it all work. And when you are a small one man shop the arrival of a new machine tool IS exciting. Yes all you guys who work for Mr. Big and have gobs of machines sitting around you don’t own can tune out now. But for those of you who make the bills and pay the bills here is my latest toy. Toy moniker borrowed from my wife. Wives seem to think that when you buy a welder or machine tool you are really just buying a cool expensive toy you did not need. Of course they enjoy the income these “toys” represent in time but they have such fun saying things like this and I just grin and ignore her. Or say “Yes Dear”

Unwrapping the Goodies

Unwrapping the Goodies

This one only weighs in at a little over 5,000 LBS so it came in on a tilt bed wrecker with the unloading forklift. pretty slick and quick for lighter pieces of equipment.

TL-2 In Place

TL-2 In Place

This is a compromise between a manual lathe and a full-blown Turning Center. It has the same control cabinet and basic contents as the rest of the Haas machines. Haas standardized these types of things and it allows for fewer assemblies in the system and for buyers the same control so there is familiarity for any Haas user right away no matter what the machine. I do not plan on any production runs so I wanted a big through hole and a long “Z” axis cutting length and the ability to do complex turning capable only with CNC driven equipment even though I will have to manually change the tools each time.

Big Ol 3" Through Hole

Big Ol 3″ Through Hole

Three inch through hole. Most of my parts are 3″ or under and this allows me to cut pieces plural from stock and not just a chunk for one piece and throw the drop away. Now some of this commentary is for those who read this post but are not machinists. I know you guys know this through hole stuff but others don’t. Suffice it to say that to get the overall footprint of part size I can cut and the CNC control I would have had to spend way over $100,000 on a turning center or the $41,000 I did on this.

Mindless Time Occupier

Mindless Time Occupier

There are times where just your presence and two hands is required in the shop and for those moments I recommend something soothing and pleasing to help the time pass. I use a pair of Klipsch La Scalas with an Onkyo two channel receiver for this. These things are unbelievable and if you have never heard a pair you need to do so some day. The Onkyo only has 80 watts output but these Klipsch’s are so efficient that I have only had it up to 65 out of 80 once. They will run you out of the building at that level and sound becomes physical to as it will literally beat on your chest. Just the thing for a half deaf welder machinist eh? And since you don’t get to turn them up like you want in the house you just might find yourself out there listening even when you aren’t working. It is the best music you and your neighbors down the road will ever hear.

Speaking of mindless things by the way and I just can’t help but think about Siemens corporate and the UGS saboteur of Solid Edge employed by them.

Siemens/UGS Management

Siemens/UGS Management

If you are as familiar with Wild Turkeys as I am there are some amusing parallels here. Turkeys gather frequently into groups (meetings) where they literally run in circles and make lots of noise. As soon as the corn (paychecks if you will) is put out they come running. The number that feed at the trough will expand in direct proportion to how much you will put out. All you get in return is noise and piles of crap everywhere.

CAMWorks for Solid Edge Beta Released

OK folks the beta is out. Go to http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=99a7c340667821f4ee55fc3c5&id=fe1926d215&e=1458db190e for more information. This will only work for current customers as login to site is required. I would caution you to try the Beta on a second PC and not your main one. If you are not aware of this you can request a “Home Use” license from Siemens for Solid Edge which will allow you to run a second copy of SE. I have had trouble before with the Tech Data base on my daily user so I wont do that again and recommend you do as I will and try the beta out on my laptop and not my workstation.

You should also find there some info on what you might get if you participate in beta testing AND turn in any problems you find. Along with the download link there is of course information on whats new and install.

Try the beta of the only truly integrated CAM program in the SE ecosphere at this current time.

Update for CAMWorks for SE and SE ST7

Pleased to say that progress is being made for CW4SE behind the scenes. The beta for integration with ST7 will be out this week and if typical patterns are followed the official release will be within a month. Also the work continues on the new Tech Data Base that will allow for real world tools and I presume in time the importing of tool libraries from manufacturers. Of course along with this rework the out of the box tool path strategies will be improved so look for great things in the next year.

I know, next year? Why so long? While Geometric is a pretty decent sized software developer there is a limit to how much manpower they have to delegate to stuff like this and sadly real life things like trade shows and work for others like SW has to be done to. Lets face it here, while the population of CW4SE users is growing it is nothing at all like other specific programs in the size of the user base and they can’t drop everything just to make the new kid on the block happy. This is real life here but I can say with confidence that, and this includes the SW users of CAMWorks to, there is continued development of the new way and as far as I can tell they are quite serious and do not intend to stop. They are aware of how dated some aspects of the program are. Indeed with the work and super competitive pricing Autodesk is bringing to the world with the combination of HSMWorks and Inventor and others are also doing with integrating tool management and libraries and cutting strategies they know things have to advance. I find myself going back to ZW3D on occasion for really simple 2D tool paths. Is it not strange that of all cutting that simple 2D seems to be fraught with more problems than 3D? Strange but true and it is so with most CAM programs out there. ZD does these pretty well or I just happen to know it well enough to make it seem easy. But NOTHING beats the combination of Volumill and Constant Stepover with CW4SE as far as I am concerned. Cut some more dough extrusion dies this week and I just love it when customers call up and marvel over how nice the work is. Keep in mind I did not have to do ANY polishing after the fact to get these up to food grade.

Now we have ST7 to play with also and it is a very good release. Nothing remarkable that I have seen but improvements in how easy it is to do daily clicks and picks. Sometimes I would far rather see these things happen. Dimensioning and picking reference points for example are far easier and how many times a day does this kind of stuff affect you? I have not played with 3D points nor have I made much headway with Keyshot in the brief time I have given to it. Really not all that interested in things outside of my little work world and what is specific to my products. I can say without reservation though that if you are a developer or manufacturer of machinery for food products manufacturing this is where you need to be.

The caveat to this and it is a serious one is that there sadly dwells withing the Siemens Ecosystem a particular individual who will remain un-named who has considerable authority to compromise the future of SE. He is an old time UGS guy and he despises SE. Quite frankly he sees SE as a threat to the giant cash cow NX etal represents to Siemens/UGS and while SE was good enough to develop Synchronous Tech which NX had no clue about it is not good enough to be fairly represented and promoted by Siemens in this mans eyes. For years I had heard this was the case but until I was informed by those who truly know I did not believe it. So SE is once again and still the red headed bastard step child that just wont go away and leave the UGS guys alone. Bet that dude and his friends in high places just hate it.

I know it takes just one rotten apple in the right place to destroy more than you can imagine and the efforts of top flight people like Dan Staples and Karsten Newbury. These guys are the best in the industry and are over the best mid range MCAD program in the industry that has not lived up to it’s potential as far as I can find out solely because Siemens has been convinced it is a threat to NX sales. Heaven forbid that! I guess these people figure that losing all the sales they were virtually guaranteed by Dassault idiocies was not worth losing a few NX sales. Penny wise and pound foolish and all to satisfy the ego of Mr NX who just happens to be an SE hater.

I will say this too. I see these NX camp guys pushing CAM Express for SE like it was a fully integrated program. I am telling anyone who wants to listen this is misrepresentation by them and yes there is a nice CE icon on your SE toolbar but then you have to bring it into NX cad and THEN you get to use CE with it. With CW4SE you have true integration and it works inside of SE with native files and updates and you NEVER leave the SE environment. I get so tired of NX people claiming true integration when it is not. But I expect this from that side of the aisle and from the Siemens SE killers.

Apparently all the user summits and roll-outs that usually accompany new SE releases regionally will not happen this year. I suppose this falls under the don’t want to sell too many SE seats category and I would imagine it has been starved deliberately for funds like so many other things that would have ably promoted dramatic sales increases for SE.

Folks, buy SE and CW4SE because they work well. Don’t buy them because you expect Siemens to aggressively acquire market share you can benefit from with the increased work it would represent. Under the current regime there is no interest in this. It is why the crap publicity and promotion happens year after year. And until this is changed at levels above Newbury and Staples where the real power to determine outcomes resides this is SE’s fate in life. It is indeed “The Best Software Siemens Does Not Want You To Hear Of” and not as folklore has it “The Best Software You’ve Never heard Of”.

Siemens and the Power of One

Today I go to Novedge as part of my day and I have to admit that it gave me pause to consider a long time situation. How is it that a major international corporation can’t do something as simple as a web page or blog? Is it because they hire such incompetents or is it because they starve good employees for budgets because what is important to the world is not to Siemens Muckymucks? Or is it because they starve incompetent employees of funds but funding would not matter anyway because incompetents would produce nothing of value in any case. So who hires these people anyway? Why even have a Marketing and PR department if they are not going to do anything? And then you have to wonder who supervises the playground and why errant children are never disciplined and made to do what they were supposedly told to do. Of course that opens up another whole realm of conjecture about who manages those who run the asylum if the inmates are the ones selecting what is done.

Or do they despise SE and just wish the problem would go away?

Matt Lombard has a blog “On The Edge” that he produces and is responsible for. He had to fight to get this and indeed it is the first time an independent guy produced his own blog outside of official Siemens Muckymuck auspices. This by the way is the only reason his sight works. So today as I peruse various sites with Firefox once again I am reminded of just how anal Siemens is and how impossible it is to get anything done there. Poor Matt is stuck with yet another rerun of SEU2014 because there is nothing new to talk about I expect and Summits I figure may or may not happen this year. I am thinking that they are still having meetings on the Summits and so there is nothing to talk about in this area yet. So just what can someone talk about without getting in trouble when there is corporate paralysis? Why the past of course. Now you Siemens nutjobs leave Matt alone about all this. I don’t talk to him anymore and he is not telling me this. I make these statements based upon what I see online and what I have personally experienced over the last five years. From the mouths of Solid Edge leadership comes confirmation of Siemens idiocy this year as they admit to Ralph Grabowski onstage at SEU 2014 that Siemens corporate CHOOSES to hamper SE. You don’t like what I post here talk to the idiots in Germany and not Matt.

But anyway to the topic at hand which is what do I see today. Here is Matt’s blog page.

Matt's

Just for giggles here is Dave Ault’s $100.00 per year “SolidEdging” page which includes two domains and spam filters from WordPress. And yes my $100.00 per year page works with all browsers in common use. Shocking isn’t it?

SolidEdging's $100.00 blog

Here we have the top flight professionally done Siemens corporate page produced I assume under the auspices of social media expert Chris Kelley and per Siemens corporate standards for Marketing and PR. Kelley and Siemens are of course part of a major international corporation with unlimited funds and abilities for those things which they find important. So let us go to the Siemens site today and have a look. Still the same mess it was weeks ago.

Siemens

Chock full of information and all links work and the visuals are an integrated cohesive sight to behold. It is easy to see the professional standards that Siemens demands be present with their public face at all times is world class and without fail is ever present.

Do you people in Siemens Germany Muckymuck land realize how stupid you look here? Do you care? Do you ever do anything but have meetings where nothing is decided and no one is accountable for anything? Have you forbidden tie up shoes yet? I think if I were you I would because it is unseemly according to professional Siemens standards to fall on your face all the time while tripping over your own shoelaces.

Please please would you sell off this red headed step child SE to someone who cares? May I suggest you sell to Autodesk? They apparently have management that can put their acquisitions to productive uses and their meetings apparently also produce results and not just another meeting date. Why not get some cash for this thing you don’t want or care about and be done with it eh?

Say, would it help if I posted a screen capture of an Autodesk site? http://cam.autodesk.com/inventor-hsm/ It works with Firefox by the way. And check those prices out while you are there. Autodesk regards new customers as something desirable to have would be my guess.

ScreenHunter_05 Jul. 07 10.31