This post started over at another machine shop yesterday. I went to get some part files and the owner there knows I am a big fan of Solid Edge and speak disparingly of Solid Works when the topic of CAD comes up. “So” he says , ” what is all this talk about SW going away anyway? All my customers use it and none of them use Solid Edge”. He is not a CAD guy and uses files others create to machine from so it is kind of hard to explain to him why this is so. I mean it does work for him and the heavy CAD lifting is done by others and they use SW so what could be wrong, Right?
Perhaps those of us who read posts and industry related articles are the abnormal ones. Maybe most of us just use what tools we are given by our employer and watch the clock so we can precisely time our exit from purgatory to the precise millisecond. And I begin to wonder how many others who actually own businesses who have that same interest level in these software tools they use.
To me fascination with all things CAD/CAM is of interest as it is an integral part of my life and my future and directly impacts everything in my business. I can’t fathom not being interested. professionally as a user I should think looking at trends and capabilities of the software tools would be important. As a business how could I justify ignoring everything about directions of the companies whose software products I buy and also ignore emerging new better ways to do things. Sad to say I think the vast majority of CAD users fall into the I don’t care ignorance is bliss categories.
Trends and capabilities of your software are important. Are you planing for the future in terms of multiple years or just day-to-day? When I look at software I am looking for stability, longevity and functionality for the rest of my business career. I seek the answers which best provide cost-effective time use and where I can expect to plan for the future with a consistent forward-looking customer oriented company that understands if I don’t prosper they won’t either over time.
I ran across and article by Randall Newton on May 2, 2012 and the link is http://gfxspeak.com/2012/05/02/is-catia-v6-over-the-hump/ I will be using quotes from this.
Now before I go further I want to say that the myopia of many with SW, soon to be Catia Lite, and Dassault and Catia may well only be exceeded by the directors of Dassault. I am going to talk about some of these major disconnects.
File compatibility. This is one of the biggies for me as I often get files from others and I have to be able to use these. Direct editing solves this for me in an elegant fashion. There was thought behind ST to make it so.
“Neither Bell nor Cessna has yet grappled with how to share data with suppliers who use file-based CAD software from Dassault Systèmes or other vendors. Dassault announced recently that Catia V6 R2012x will be able to exchange data bi-directionally with an upcoming release of V5 dubbed V5-6R2012x.move to V6. Speaking at the 2009 COE conference in Seattle, Kevin Fowler, vice president of systems integration and process tools for Boeing’s Commercial Airplane division, said his company needed to recoup its investment in migrating from Catia V4 to V5 before considering a move to V6. Today Boeing people say their company still has no plans to move to V6.
Other Dassault Systèmes customers have taken the more radical step of announcing plans to migrate to Siemens NX instead of dealing with the complex transformation of their data-management systems required by V6. Such customers include Daimler Corporation, Chrysler Corporation, and Huntington-Ingalls’ Newport News Shipbuilding division. H-I’s Ingalls division in Pascagoula, Mississippi announced plans to move from V5 to a combination of AutoCAD and ShipConstructor, an AutoCAD application.”
OK, this is a big deal. If you can’t utilize past creations in an effective trouble-free manner in this new and improved way you are being asked to pay for what does that say about contempt for your time and money? I don’t have any trouble opening up files that are 8 years old from VX CADCAM in Solid Edge. The only problem I have had in opening files from anyone from any program has been that hole data does not come through RE threads. The rest is there. I can’t say how this would work with Catia because I have never had a file from them. (does this mean that no one uses Catia??? har-de-har-har).
If you can’t reliably open files from others exactly where does that leave you since oddly enough you will at times get files from others.
Just how does your software play with others anyway? How does it even play with itself? Now it would be nice if I could stay on one version and it could save forward to future versions. I don’t expect that nor should it be possible without crippling future advancements. But I do fully expect that my software should be able to open reliably past versions of itself. I have been told NX for example opens up NX stuff from way back in the 90′s reliably. SE will reliably open up prior SE stuff back to V6 or 1998. What you do today does not become obsolete here. I think it is safe to say that it will be this way for a long time since Siemens/UGS owns the proven kernal they have been using and have no need to change. Now I know a lot of this article from Randall touches on PDM PLM stuff and all I can say is that these big wins by Siemens were because Siemens set it’s software up to play well with everyone else AND deal with legacy files to.
Now remember SW users, where you are headed is to “Catia Lite” and so those Catia problems will of course become yours to I would think.
“called coexistence, the method of sharing data among three Catia versions turned out to be more complex than expected. Hull devoted most of his talk to the subtleties of doing so. Hull takes exception to Etienne Droit’s claim that importing V5 data into V6 is “a piece of cake.” “I’d accept that if he’d said fruitcake,” Hull quipped. “There are hard, chewy bits in the middle.” Coexistence actually involves migrating all V4 and V5 data to Enovia V6 with all the attendant errors listed below. The difference is that coexisting data is treated as a copy whose master is a V4 or V5 model in an older PDM system. So if a coexisting model needs to be changed, the change must be made in the legacy Catia system. However, V6 lacks implicit controls to prevent users from changing coexisting data. Consequently, system managers must make sure that V6 users don’t have permission to change V5 models. Setting up these permissions for a bulk data transfer requires writing business-process scripts and debugging them. Simple feature-based V5 parts may slip easily into V6, although the process involves “ripping each file apart,” in Hull’s words, to store its components as V6 objects. But parts with embedded Visual Basic scripts can have syntax errors. Sheet-metal parts may lose their design-table column headers. Electrical parts may suffer unspecified errors, and parts in some assemblies may be missing. Moving V4 files to V6 also can be troublesome, Hull said. Assembly constraints may not translate perfectly, and V4 mockup data also causes problems.
Neither Bell nor Cessna has yet grappled with how to share data with suppliers who use file-based CAD software from Dassault Systèmes or other vendors. Dassault announced recently that Catia V6 R2012x will be able to exchange data bi-directionally with an upcoming release of V5 dubbed V5-6R2012x.”
Now for SW users add in kernal change, GUI change, translation problems and a big fat question mark behind the can you use your legacy data comment. I think Airbus if I may be so bold can certainly talk about electrical parts and Cat4-5 translation problems.
I read stuff like this and I wonder at what will happen to those who are willfully unaware of the future. You have to plan for it I think and these Dassault self-induced problems you users are going to have to pay for both in fees for the software and especially in problems in its excecution are going to be onerous ones to bear and will last for years. Research these things I am talking about and don’t just take my word for it. Dassault has spent four years of their SW subs money to do things they wanted and not give a flip about their users and I expect at this rate this will go on for easily another four years providing GREAT value for subs money both today and in the future.
Or on the other hand I am sure that Lemmings were comfortable in following their peers until that last step over the cliff. All I am saying here is that you really need to dig into the facts,data and history available and not be complacent about the tools you use. There is danger and a cliff on the horizon for those who don’t care. Yes maybe your contacts use it today. Is that not the same thing ProE users and Authors used to say?