Are You COMMITTED To Your Customers ?

As SW World winds down this year I look at the lack of involvement by users and Dassault. Yes there were a lot of people there but I wonder what the real reasons were? I wonder where all the hub-bub that used to accompany this event has gone to? I know if I go to SEU 2015 it will be principally to see my peers again and not because I expect to learn a lot there I could not elsewhere for free. I have to believe that outside of people in direct employ of those who intend to make money like Dassault or vendors SWW is mainly a re-union of peers. Then I look at Dassault and they trot out stuff no one wants and if you buy into your profits will diminish Dassaults will increase. Strange thing its that as far as I can see you wont get as a buyer anything you really need beyond what you have now for far less $$$$$. So users show up to see each other and Dassault shows up to talk to themselves about stuff that is overpriced and users don’t want. Here is an excellent article on just this thing. http://www.solidsmack.com/cad/pricing-next-gen-cad-dassault-systemes-lost-plot-3dexperience/ I find with great interest they also mention Autodesk. Autodesk is transparent about what they do. They have the best prices for what is offered. Autodesk is serious about gaining new customers and unlike Dassault and Siemens apparently does not believe your primary reason for existance as a company is to be a cash cow for others. I fully expect in this tough market to get new sales generated and where your best source of new customers is your competing software peers that over time this combination of leading best prices and transparency and features of the programs from Autodesk will erode the base of Dassault and Siemens. Autodesk, get busy and fix Inventor and you will get much more attention.

But there is another aspect of this and it is are you committed to your customers. Do you listen to what they want beyond the top ten things to be fixed or do you take your subs money and devise products they don’t want or will run up expenses needlessly or both? How about do you take integration seriously and spend time to make sure your “Gold Partners” so to speak are delivering what they promised? Once again I see the huge contrast between Autodesk and Dassault and Siemens where everything Autodesk does or intends to do is an open book with lengthy beta periods where they give users free use of a product to make sure it is what they want or if it will even work. And they are doing so at prices that businesses will appreciate. (It looks to me like Autodesk wants to be your partner and not your overseer unlike others that come to mind.) Thinking of all the vaporware Dassault has come up with over the years here. Thinking of Siemens where you have to inflict sales drones upon yourself to even get a price. And in particular thinking of Solid Edge where this wretched mess of CAMWorks for Solid Edge has been allowed to fester and only after some real public user anger did Siemens decide to look into it. I have no idea if it will go any further than this because Siemens is so bureaucratic that they could not decide on a plan of action in a reasonable time frame if their lives depended on it. CW4SE has had serious problems from day one and I am convinced that Geometric had no intention of fixing it. Indeed a comment to one of the users about problems that plagued him their reply was this was “intended behavior”. I kid you not. Then after the big stink starts and the heat is on they want to fix it. Does this kind of reaction inspire any confidence in you as a potential customer?

What it says to me is that both Siemens/SE and Geometric will not do the right thing unless pressure is applied. What is also tells me is that a company like Siemens/SE has had no interest in what their integrated partners do and therefore no method of policing them for quality. At this time I can only say that by association and by their actions with CW4SE I would not trust a darned thing they have partnered with unless I first did extensive testing. They recently appointed some poor guy, that’s right one, to be in charge of this but I can tell you that in my experience with the gargantuan bureaucracy he will have to fight through this is meaningless. It is a see we are doing something now please go away action that will not affect the serious plight of every CW4SE buyer. So we will now have a barking dog on a chain who will be told when he will be allowed to do anything by those who have better things to do with their time than worry about their customers losing money with the garbage they produced.

In this day and time where people can verify statements of intent and the validity of promises made by software companies it becomes harder to fool them. What does a company do compared to what they say and what are the real life experiences of those who are users or buyers? Many years ago the automotive companies brought upon themselves the “Lemon Law”. It was a response to big-ticket items that were so fundamentally flawed they spent more time in repair than on the road. It was a legal response to companies who refused to honor the idea that customers had a right to expect a certain level of reliability in what they purchased. There remain whole industries that do not have protection of this sort for buyers and whose response seems to be too bad so sad. We have your money and if you don’t like it leave. You kept it past 30 days and now you are stuck with software that took you that long just to start figuring out you were had and the only lemon law here for you is the sour taste in your mouth.

Software in the business world is something that can make or break you. Remember some years back when K-Marts bought into that new whiz-bang inventory control system. The huge expense of this debacle is what tipped them over into bankruptcy and reorganization. The only recourse for the little guy is negative publicity primarily on the web where he can’t be shuffled to the side by excuse making corporate representatives. Most of the time this does not mean you get your money and wasted time back but you can prevent bad corporate entities from inflicting further harm on as many people as they would have otherwise. Over time when you hit their bottom line hard enough things can change for the better. I have two companies in mind here and one of them is duplicitous as far as I am concerned and the other is merely derelict in it”s responsibilities. Dassault and Siemens since you wanted to know.

Since this is the case and since we do not have a Lemon Law for CADCAM we will have to make do with user experiences. That word Dassault likes so much. Research carefully what other real users have to say and why. I have not seen one positive word about CW4SE for a long time online and this is for a reason.

Just like Dassault at SWW this year I have to sadly conclude that Siemens/SE is not committed to it’s customers. They have their own little worlds to live in and we are not decision making participants in it until we force them to listen by leaving and costing them potential business by warning prospective buyers off. Money, ours in their pockets and not ours by the improved bottom line for our pockets seems to be all they understand so here is some help. From a CW4SE victim buy SE because it is great even though Siemens will not work for you but put the ancillary products under a microscope before you buy and in any case DO NOT buy into CW4SE until (if ever) this mess is fixed.

Of the three big CAD dudes at this time Autodesk is the only one that looks like they care for the future of it’s existing and future customers.

No Interest No Bloggers SolidWorks World 2015

Have you been to http://www.novedge.com/pulse/items these last two days? I did not realize until I returned from a job in Orlando over the weekend that this yearly event was going on once again. With an attendance at over 6,000 even if many were VAR’s or SW employee types it is still an impressive number. One that Siemens and SE can only dream about if they even care. I perused some of the official SW blogs and noticed entirely too much cloud collaboration and crowd whatever paradigms but I also noticed something even more striking in my mind. We know what to expect from a company tooting its own horn but what has happened to the independent voices that used to spend their time writing about a topic they were passionate about? The bloggers today for instance were all paid employees of Dassault, VAR’s or of ezines whose income is derived from CADCAM centric activity. Not one independent that I could recognize.

I believe that user fatigue has set in. Way to many of us don’t like the direction our CAD companies have chosen to go or not go. In any case they are doing things we do not like and so after years of accumulating disappointments most of us have simply dropped off the map. Why write about companies who are tone-deaf and so wrapped up in their own little worlds that they forget we have ours too and the two do not juxtapose as well as they used to. When new features mean the cloud and crowd sourcing so the wages achieved for CAD users means a race to the bottom for wages are we all supposed to be happy? I bet this is the number one concern with long time users who used to also be passionate advocates for programs like SW. So we see companies yanking the rug out from underneath us and then additionally putting intellectual property in jeopardy to as the cloud still is sadly not secure and will never be. But somehow there is never any indemnification offered to protect us when we get sued for loss of out customers intellectual property because of the requirements to work online foisted upon us by companies that do not care about what we think. So we go away. Who wants to talk about Turkeys unless it is Thanksgiving?

There was one post though that really caught my eye. http://blogs.solidworks.com/solidworksblog/2015/02/the-cam-ecosystem-at-solidworks-world-2015.html As a Solid Edge user who has been soundly abused by the first true CAM integration for SE I could only look on in envy at the list of SW Gold CAM Partners. SW benefits from the tremendous forward looking visionaries that began it and created the community of integrated aps that has been so successful. Autodesk is another where this has benefited them in great ways. Then there is Solid Edge and their efforts too as haphazard as they have been. I looked at the CAM list for SW and #2 was CAMWorks. I can only say that you SW guys are darned lucky that much of the work for CAMWorks was done before Geometric bought them out. Judging by the repeat problems that stem from licensing and the Tech Data Base that have been there from day one (based on research into past forum postings by users in existence from the first day of CW on) you benefit from prior works by others. Here in SE never-never CAMWorks for Solid Edge land we have a program that after a year and a half is still so fraught with problems that it defies belief but for those who have to deal with it know. Geometric did not have others to do the heavy hitting here for them with prior works and boy does it show.

Part of what has made SW and Autodesk successful, and this is conjecture on my part as I have yet to speak to anyone who is in a real position to know for sure, is the maintaining of certain standards to be the equivalent of a “Gold Partner”. Solid Edge does not have in place any authority over this with teeth and the current CW4SE debacle is proof of this. People, I cant say this enough. If you are in the market for CAM integrated with SE you only have one choice and it is not at this time a viable one. You are far better off going with a good external CAM program that is not integrated than doing to yourself what I did. Do not walk but run when the CW4SE sales guy comes to your door knocking.

Of the three, Dassault, Siemens and Autodesk the only one who is doing anything of interest to this independent blogger is Autodesk. What is being done there is the establishment of a manufacturing ecosphere that is not only including best in class CAM products they went a step further and BOUGHT them instead of partnering with them. I believe in what is going on there enough to have spent my own money to be a part of it. Sad to say though I am in two worlds as SE is far superior (light years) to Inventor at this time and HSM beats the pants off CW4SE and even works right where getting much of anything done with CW4SE can be an epic journey of time and frustration. Bouncing files back and forth is no fun but beats the masochism of CW4SE.

So we limp forward into another year with dwindling independent blogger interest and is it any wonder? Users tell these guys what they want and then get ignored and so the interest wanes. Philosophical directions by the leadership in SW and in SE the bad integration issues with CW4SE casting a pall on CW4SE and indeed on any other integration partner for SE and then Autodesk buying up great CAM only to saddle it with Inventor. Don’t really have a goal in mind for this post as much as just reflecting on how many flies are in the ointment and wondering why no one seems to get it right. I hope for Autodesk to get things right but today with Inventor was a sad one and I wonder with SE and Inventor how one part can be so good and the other not and why? It would be nice if SE would kick Geometric in the rear end hard enough to make them fix CW4SE and then keep them on the straight and narrow in the future. Geometric will slack off the second the scrutiny goes away I fear so attention can’t wane. It would be nice for SW to drop the crowd sourced internet managed stuff and get back to CAD as its users use it and not undermine their wages and security. It would be nice if Autodesk would fix Inventor so that so many uneeded steps were not in there along with outright missing things. I am coming to the conclusion that with Inventor they expect you to work only with native files and not on imports and when you machine parts for others imports are what you get.

Is anybody really listening to the growing silence and of any of you software companies does anyone really care? Would you please start fixing what is there and skip the window dressing new doo-dahs for a while?

Does Geometric’s CW4SE QA Really Exist?

Some time back when I was more enthused about SE I requested and received a copy of most of the QA hurdles SE had to jump through before release. Some was proprietary and not released to me but the majority was. It is pretty amazing what people who are serious about what they produce go through to make it right as much as possible before release. In addition there are a number of beta testers that go to Huntsville each year where they receive some training and are then cut loose to use the software for a week while in Huntsville. With immediate access to the developers who wrote the code to see any problems testers come up with on their work flows and parts. This process goes on for months and is pretty darned thorough. I have been with SE since ST1 and as for bugs that affect what I do there have been very few. Yes ST1 and 2 were rough but this was new technology for SE and you still had traditional to work with if need be. The folks in Huntsville really know what they are doing and my hat is of to them for a great bit of software.

On the other hand we have Geometric which on it’s best day comes nowhere near the quality of SE on its worst day. I have been told there is no internal Geometric machine lab here in the States to proof out what is put into CW4SE. I don’t believe there is one in India either as the staggering amount of bad code that gets out indicates this. The flip side to this would be that they do have one but have so little regard for customers that they don’t care about what they find and send it out anyway. Personally I think they don’t have a lab, don’t care and use coders that are not qualified to fix problems. These coders also apparently have no machining experience to correctly determine how things should work and to be able to see that what they write will work correctly and not just shove an end mill through a part or cut gobs of air.

I quit talking to anyone from Geometric when they hurt me with a terrible ST7 beta release and huge delay in the SP0 release for the same. I just got tired of hearing stories and then having to deal with something that was so bad it did not really even qualify as beta worthy. Beta to me implies that there has been internal testing and QA and while it is not a finished product it should be usable. Beta evidently to Geometric means something different and what they put out to waste our time with was impossible to use. Considering this I moved on to Inventor HSM.

This led to a kind of good cop bad cop situation with another early CW4SE adopter and I with Geometric. While I did not pull any punches and had nothing but disgust over the whole mess the good cop still made an effort to communicate and plod through repeat email streams and videos and more and more time-consuming communications regarding flaws he would find. Time and time again where even elementary problems had to be explained to Geometric techies who could not seem to grasp the issue. In addition the idea that these should all have been found before we ever saw the program seems to be a thought that had never occurred to the staff in India. The good cop finally had it this week and in an email stream we have had for some time regarding CW4SE he had this to say. Now before the quote I want to say that Dylan is qualified to make comments on this topic and he has really made a great effort to make it all work out. To no avail and the people in India don’t seem to even remember they have had prior conversations about the very same problems that don’t go away time and time again. A history that is verified by comments on the closed Geometric forums where the same problem topics appear year after year.

I remember being on a conference call with a real machinist employed by Geometric and one of the guys from India where the machinist mentioned that now would be a good time to change language to reflect common usage and the India guy got kind of mad and said we have talked about this before. Bull nose instead of Hog nose for end mills for instance. Or open pocket instead of open slot for another. Or a tech data base that would reflect current technology. To much work to make things act like machinist users think and work and once done carved in stone forever. In any case on to the quote.

“On 1/28/2015 7:15 AM, Dylan wrote:
> Vivek asked for my input after 2015 was released. What a huge time-waster to have to go and prove out a million bugs again to him and the team and take video and evidence and explain things…all for bugs like SCREWED UP LEAD-INS AND FEATURES THAT EXPLODE. You guys really need customer input to figure that s— out?? I feel like I signed up for some experimental drug therapy, and now they’re hacking off limbs and going “Hey, does it affect your mobility when you’re missing this leg? Yes? Ok, how about if we cut the other one off? Better or worse?”

This is from a guy who spent his cash and now has to go and use his friends laptop and seat of Mastercam in the evening after hours to get his CAM plans done. This is where I found myself also using a demo version of Inventor HSM and or ZW3D 2012 just to get the work out. You can’t imagine the time spent trying to get things done right with CW4SE. The only reason he too has not left is that the high powered Geometric money vacuum has sucked up all his available cash for such things and he can’t for now.

Geometric in our cases has taken people who wanted the promise they portrayed and integration with SE and turned them into angry users and new hefty dues paid members of the CW4SE Masochists club. My recommendation would be that you not waste your time or money and run don’t walk past anything to do with CW4SE.

Without a Post What DO You Have

The interface between your CAM program and your production equipment is essential. No I do not mean the bits going across the network I mean the output from your CAM program that tells your machinery what to do. Without this in place and working right nothing is made.

What has led to this post is the refusal of Ally PLM and Geometric to honor a promise made to me to provide a lathe post when I finally needed it. So about a year after I paid for lathe in CW4SE my new lathe arrives and now I am expected to pay for a post. Make no mistake there is animosity between Geometric and I nowadays and I suppose this is their answer to me. They forget that I have reasons for this and my anger is predicated upon their failure to deliver a competently working product. Today add to this another broken promise with this post issue. Clueless from day one about how to handle customers and experts at stonewalling solutions for customer problems they don’t surprise me by acting this way.

In truth everything they do like this just clarifies the philosophical differences I have experienced between Geometric and Inventor HSM. Ever have anyone tell you that “no one ever does this” or “you are the only one we have ever seen with this problem” as bald-faced lies to you when you know better? When you know that your peers around you who are fellow users and have no motivation to lie agree with you and not them? I own Inventor Pro HSM. While it is the top of the line Autodesk CADCAM offering it is not as of yet complete. Many more missing pieces of the puzzle will be in hand though this April and if we compare apples to apples CW4SE CAM alone at this level will I imagine be over $20,000.00. Now Geometric you don’t like this number I quote you provide me with one reflecting equivalent features of I-HSM Pro and I will immediately post them. If you don’t these numbers stand and I am not going through the fiction of wanting to be a new customer to find out. Regarding these prices by the way. Don’t you love these companies that sneak around and hide prices and you only find out what the expenses are after the sales guy has had a chance to wave his magic canned demo wand over you? Most of the time this means at least a day and a half of your time wasted as you show the door to Mr. Sales Guy. Autodesk shows you the prices online and no secret password or salesman mumbo jumbo to go through.

But let us see some differences between a company that wants to charge you double up front and more than triple each year after where the rubber meets the road and one where they want to be your partner.

Of the following screen captures I have working knowledge of ZW3D, CW4SE and I-HSM. The provided posts from ZW3D and I-HSM work out of the box and only minor things like coolant on/off timing or table position at end of cuts have been things I change. Nothing of any significance has been a problem and you know what? These guys will help change the post for FREE. That’s right the free post gets work done on it for free. Understand that complex posts like 4 or 5 axis with unusual requirements will be something charged for. But simple 3 axis milling or turning no way. My provided post for HSM by the way I suspect can do far more than just 3 axis but since I don’t have these capabilities I don’t know for sure. Note that CW4SE says tutorial or sample only and they stress that in the program with admonitions not to use in production. As buggy as much of their program has been I can’t imagine what the dire results might be if you disregard their warnings against use for production.

HSM posts

ZW3D posts

CW4SE tutorial only posts

I have also used Surfcam in the past and their post provided was good. 57 posts for ZW and roughly 93 for HSM. Who cares how many for CW4SE since they recommend you not use them as they are. Thus the tutorial and sample monikers.

The sad story however goes from here and let me demonstrate some basic differences regarding posts between I-HSM and CW4SE. So now that Ally PLM and CW4SE have determined that I need to pay for a post where would I go to get help? CW4SE forum?

CW4SE forum

CW4SE has been out now for 1.5 years and this is it. Not much to speak of is it. Now over on the SW side of things it is better. Keep in mind though that these forum statistics cover a time period 12 years long.

CW posts forum

Over at http://camforum.autodesk.com/ it is a different story. On this open forum where Autodesk has nothing to hide we see……

Autodesk forum

I don’t know how far the forum goes back but I think it is clear how much more active this is. Post writers and techies from HSM frequent the forums every day and they are searching for problems they can answer and or fix immediately or in a future release. Speaking of releases I have had four HSM updates in two months and one CW4SE update in 9 months. Just something to ponder there regarding what the CAM provider just might think of you as a customer. But I digress and I guess what I want to say here is this. My experience with these two companies boils down to a pretty dramatic contrast and this post problem just exemplifies this. CW4SE/Geometric wants you to be their ATM. They do not seem to care if you succeed as a machine shop considering all the many year problems and inefficiencies never fixed. They want you to pay and shut up about all the software problems and pay them some more while you are at it. Help for SE guys is problematical as the VAR’s who have had this put off on them don’t make their CAM guys stay current. A common complaint among the few CW4SE users I know.

I-HSM guys have a post for you and will work with you to make it right. Yes that complicated hybrid machine post will cost you but for 90% plus of all HSM I-HSM users you are going to get a working post you will like for free. As far as I can see the HSM guys want you to make money and get fair value for what you spend. Even those who have stopped being paying customers attend the forums here and get answers to problems when their maintenance stopped being paid some time ago.

One of the other things I see with the Autodesk site is honesty where it is needed. Geometric will just ignore the forums and hardly ever reply to unhappy customer problems. Autodesk on the other hand will answer and will give you replies you might not like but they tell you the truth as far as I have been able to see. They do not over promise or make commitments until they know they can deliver the goods. They do work on solving your problems and they do listen and care. Don’t take my word for it go there and see for yourself. Of course as mentioned you can’t do that with Geometric but then again after what I have been through my thought is why would you abuse yourself by doing so anyway?

This is quite a progression for someone who was death on Autodesk a couple of years ago. But I have to earn a living with the tools I buy and I would be foolish to disregard what Autodesk is doing today for the offenses of the past. Offenses which by the way I think they have no intention of doing in the future as the cloud clearly is not going to be the answer for most of us and Autodesk knows this. Once this cloud paradigm was flushed it then became what works well. What works easily and quickly and has good support and people who care if you succeed? Today for CAM it is hands down HSM for this shop.

Keep your lathe post Geometric and thanks once again for proving the wisdom of leaving you for I-HSM.

Chip Evacuation in High Speed machining

One of the most important aspects of successful HSM machining is the evacuation of chips. Re-cutting of chips is the single most damaging thing to the life of an end mill besides outright improper selection of parameters for feeds speeds and step-overs. There is a whole science devoted to investigating problems in cutting metal and this has led to discovering another common problem with carbide and coated carbide end mills. The heating and cooling of the leading cutting edges from being embedded in the cut to turning outside the metal and being quenched by coolant leads to propagation of micro fissures and premature break down of the end mill compared to dry cutting and evacuation of chips with air blast. But the chips must go away before re-cutting no matter what method for doing so is used.

While cutting a simple part recently I was surprised at the different strategies used between Camworks for Solid Edge and Inventor HSM. Time wise it looked like this part would cut at close to the same time for the three tool paths. .875″ depth of cut and .06″ step over and 9067 RPM with 317 IPM travel speeds. Now when you are moving along at this clip things had better be right in order to get good life from your end mills. So it was with interest I see how two from CW4SE start off wrong and the one from I-HSM works right. Now I don’t know if this was a deliberate choice of strategies by the programmers with HSM or just fortunate serendipity but the effects are profound in any case.

I used to think Volumill was the very best thing out there until I put some time into I-HSM’s Adaptive strategy. Keep in mind the importance of chip evacuation and let us see what the three have to offer. First up is CW4SE’s Volumill.

CW4SE Volumill tool path

CW4SE Volumill verify

Notice how Volumill cuts a ramp down slot in the middle of the block. By the time you get down to the bottom of the slot there is no way you can avoid serious re-cutting of chips as these things bounce around like ricocheting bullets back and forth. I suppose at some sort of CFM and PSI you could assure the evacuation of chips but Volumill will make it difficult to do on this part. In any case your percentage of engagement is supposed to be low for high speed machining and look at the near 80% flute breaking engagement you are forced into with Volumills entry path. So much for my choice of .06″ max.

Next up is CW4SE’s Adaptive.

CW4SE Adaptive tool path

CW4SE Adaptive verify

The chip problem with the Volumill tool path is even worse here as I doubt anything under jet engine PSI and CFM could ever dream of evacuating chips in a little bitty pocket that even as it grows larger will still tend to bounce chips around in a pocket generating re-cut problems galore. I figure with my screw compressor max PSI at 125 I would have no chance of succeeding here. Kind of like putting sand in your end mill “engines” oil I figure.

Now one of the joys of CW4SE is wrestling with tons of parameters and unintended consequences. For those of you using CW4SE here is a gotcha to be aware of.

.CW4SE Adaptive will not work

As you experiment to find the best way to cut a part you will try this and try that. Better remember what exactly you did though. For instance if you use Volumill and check or uncheck “machine cavities” the result is the same on this part and it will cut. If you go over to Adaptive after unchecking “machine cavities” in Volumill and forget you have done so Adaptive will not generate a tool path. You have to go back and re-select “machine cavities” to get it to work.

Now let us regard what I-HSM does.

I-HSM Adaptive verify

I-HSM Adaptive tool path

Remember this end mill is climb cutting and the chips are automatically ejected from the cut and the block with no potential for chip entrapment. I see no way for re-cuts to happen here and air blast at regular PSI and CFM on my Haas will work just fine if indeed it would even be required as these bullets are all going down range so to speak.

Perhaps never planned to be this way at HSM but the results are what they are. Pretty darned good for a CAD CAM combo less than half the cost of CW4SE + SE I would say and guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

As a comment here. If you are a buyer shopping for a CAD CAM program I will say this. I was badly burned by CW4SE and the problems it had and has. I regret being responsible for people having bought into this expensive problematic program based perhaps in part upon my recommendation. Today I am using the program I had originally wanted integrated with SE but sadly inside of Inventor. You download and try these programs yourself and see for yourself what makes sense in your operation. I know where I want to be and have many reasons for this but you must do some serious investigation on your own and see for yourself what you need. I will say though that if I knew a year and a half ago what was in store for me with CW4SE I would never have bought into it and I would have bought SW HSM if I had to just to get the CAM. This week I have 19 different parts to cut and I need something quick and easy and intuitive to use with good tool path strategies that just work. Today I do have this CAM tool in my shop and it is kind of fun once again to cut chips. Life is better when things work right. By the way, if you are a refugee looking to flee a program you have sunk a ton of money into talk to the people at HSM. You might be pleasantly surprised at the consideration they may give your plight.

Discouraging Addition to the Semi Annual Marketing and Publicity Update

I have no idea what is in the water people in corporate boardrooms drink. No idea how they formulate ideas that are supposed to appeal to people like me who use their software. No idea why a cohesive multi-year organized effort to promote SE or a vibrant ecosystem or user community does not ever happen. No idea what salient features and promo campaigns they think are useful to grow market share because none ever survive long enough to even have results to judge by.

So today this is posted. http://community.plm.automation.siemens.com/t5/Solid-Edge-Blog/Interview-with-John-Miller-Senior-VP-of-Mainstream-Engineering/ba-p/288511

There has been a hiatus of driven and focused leadership for a while now with the Cooper Newbury team finally giving up before the Siemens corporate have meetings and do nothing culture. Seemingly obsessed with protecting make work jobs for those who could not produce real and meaningful results if their lives depended upon it and protecting NX et al at all costs SE has languished and continues to languish. So I read what this new guy has to say and I think empty words. Yet another Marketing PR guy with no real vision and no clue and no road map for success. I read what he has to say and think here we go with buzz words and catchy phrases that mean things only to the select group of psyco-babble market-speak cloistered company dudes. How many times do these guys think they can wrap up the same tired old promises and mantras and expect to be believed?

OK John you like the word passion. I used to have one for Solid Edge but nonsense like this empty rhetoric you bring to the table has killed it. All I see here is same old stuff new suit and SE is going nowhere. Yeah yeah synchronous. The best single thing to come down the pike for CAD and Siemens SE has been so inept at convincing users of its value that it’s power as a sales tool has been completely squandered. I sit in user group meetings where I am the only one who uses ST and the students who are supposed to be part of the future for SE are not even taught ST at the University of Alabama Huntsville. I don’t know which is worse. Teachers who are so lazy they can’t be bothered to put this powerful tool in student hands or the dumb company that gives software away and then never follows up to enforce what is done with it. Or VAR’s that should be showing the value of ST to customers who would then adopt it. Really, they don’t go out and prove this so customers think they have no time to learn new things when in reality if they did learn this new thing their time savings from then on would dwarf this supposed “expense” to switch over. But one thing is for sure we don’t have to worry about “passions” running amuck with you Siemens UGS SE guys and planing for and demanding results with cohesive long-term pervasive strategies. The market has been there to seize and Dassault did their level best to give market share to you all but corporate backstabbing and NX UGS turf protection stopped the only guys who wanted to deliver this.

Another year, no summits, no user organizing, best software you’ve never heard of campaign still going strong and no growing ecosystem to speak of to contend with SW’s large and established one. Big whoop, finally got rendering. Last one to do so. Finally get integrated CAM which then falls flat on its face because you don’t care enough about what is associated with your products to police your partners. Further more you have no established method for doing so and the belated chasing after Geometric to do right was started by disgruntled users because you guys failed to do your jobs. But meetings. Oh those wonderful meetings that go nowhere and do nothing were quite prolific and lots of wages were earned with them while staving off the dreaded specter of concrete positive results.

Or the ecosystem being assembled with bought outright superior tools by Carl Bass who does have a plan and desire and the ability to make it happen which is coming your way to make life even more difficult. I quite frankly can’t see Siemens or you ever coming up with any kind of strategy to beat SW or the giant billy club Autodesk is going to hold over your head later this year. You guys have no clue what you are facing although we little people here in the trenches that you would like to have as customers are certainly paying attention. I am completely thrilled that you are going to have meetings and conferences to jump-start your new way. Oh goody I can’t wait. Another SEU where over half the people in a rather small crowd are employees of Siemens one way or another or VAR types because you guys have totally failed to convince the world there is a reason to attend. And conferences too and all this nonsense that leaves convincing people to become your customers as an afterthought while you professionals talk to each other and mirrors.

I read this interview today and just shook my head. Not in disbelief anymore but rather with a sense of resignation to the idea that SE is never going to amount too much in the world of MCAD. We have come full circle back to the sad days of Bruce Boes Velocity Series genius I fear. I hope I am proven wrong about my suspicions. I would like for SE to have it’s technically deserved place in the world. I will however go to sleep tonight convinced this will never be. Whether it is Siemens culture or outright UGS veteran hatred of SE does not matter. The results are going to be the same.

It is a sad contrast to what I am seeing with Autodesk Inventor HSM after you guys forced a loyal customer into looking elsewhere with the Geometric CW4SE debacle.

Update 1-23-15

Yoo Hoo John new leader guy looky over here.

Anyone but Solid Edge

I figure you don’t mean any of the PR babble-speak emitted and I figure you are just there because there is a position that has to be filled. Even though the job description is to keep SE under the radar for the majority of potential customers so it can’t grow or possibly threaten any precious NX seat sales there still has to be a warm body there so why not you eh? Siemens will not take the chance of putting an effective person in this position again because, well you know why. You took the job and have your instructions so you do know. Be their rubber stamp take your pay and don’t rock the boat. Have all the meetings you want but don’t make progress OK. Here you go John, enjoy. The sublime irony of a job title like VP Mainstream Engineering when the function is Forgotten Pond Engineering.

Question for the day. Is there any particular mid range or high end MCAD program missing from the Dell list? If there is would there be any particular reason why?

2015 Solid Edge Semi Annual Publicity and Marketing Efforts Review

Continuing a tradition of heralding the single most important key component to the success or failure of SE to thrive. The program is and has been quite competent for some time now and with the level of capabilities existing in ST7 especially with Synchronous there is no technical reason for SE to be the best software you have never heard of. But we know there are core software competency technicalities and then there are Marketing and Publicity technicalities. The second has been and continues to be a failure.

I have recently become a customer of Autodesk because of this and let me explain why. Marketing, unless it exists in a mental void where meetings to plan for more meetings is the penultimate goal has to be aware of what draws and keeps customers and plan accordingly with a consistent multi year endeavor to both create an integrated software ecosphere customers will want and then consistently without fail year after year MAKE people aware of what you have. Geometric’s CAMWorks for Solid Edge is an example of where SE might have been heading until the powers that be set about destroying what Don Cooper and Karsten Newbury wanted to establish. The only major new integrated ap for SE in some time besides Keyshot and the first and only CAM program truly integrated with SE. But apparently with turf war troubles beginning some time back eyes were taken off of CW4SE and focused on who knows what. CW4SE is if Geometric would ever get it’s act together and stop stonewalling customer improvements and make the workflow reflect the way machinist’s work with current modern tools and strategies in the TDB before shipping pretty darned powerful. Recently Geometric had the heat put on them to get their act together and seemingly within a few weeks fixed a lot of problems they had maintained were “intended behaviors” prior to that point in time. Why weren’t they fixed sooner? Why were these things, numerous and aggravating to say the least and show stopping at worst not audited by Siemens SE and prevented to begin with?

Now no one from Siemens or SE comes right out and tells me much in this area but I can see what happens as time passes year after year and even though my comments are my opinions try and disprove what I say. So M & P who have no plans and have had no plans drift along grateful I suppose that the nuisance of Cooper-Newbury are gone and they can go back to doing nothing which they excel in. In the mean time CW4SE which they probably never wanted runs unattended and into serious trouble before any oversight agency at SE is aware there is a problem. You see no one really cares at Siemens SE anymore or else this would have never happened. Now Geometric much to my disgust was willing to stonewall a lot of these things and the idea they would do so deliberately bothers me a lot. Does this mean they will revert back to doing this junk again when the heat is off? I hope not but they have had problems with the same things year after year and somehow never finally fix them. I will say this current version of CW4SE has been the most painless install and the TDB for the first time is working correctly as far as I can see. But why did they have to be forced into doing this? This behavior by both Siemens SE and Geometric is pretty disdainful towards cash customers who have to guarantee what they do to for their customers only to find out that there is no guarantee of quality from Siemens SE CW4SE for them. A double standard that is not unique to them perhaps but never the less sure is in the minds of those who buy and are then abused by this cavalier treatment.

When I lost three weeks recently to problems that was when I jumped in my life raft and bought Inventor HSM. But this was dwelling in my mind this New Years as an example of how things never have really changed with SE. Back in the recent Halcyon days when it looked like SE was finally going to be the big dog it deserved to be on it’s merits one of the things that were done was the hiring of Matt Lombard. For a brief while he actually had some spot on stuff before the slimy psuedopods of the Siemens SE amoeba got in there and made sure nothing of even the slightest controversy could get out. In part thinking of all this today it was an old article from On The Edge that made me think about the way it is and was. He was the ONLY bright M&P spot I can think of besides the creation of the Universities for SE.

Here is a link

http://ontheedge.dezignstuff.com/is-solid-edge-the-best-cad-program-youve-never-heard-of/1044

Inside of this as I read through all of it I reread something Al Dean had to say. This time however I went to the article he referenced which was

https://web.archive.org/web/20031203205940/http://www.cadserver.co.uk/common/viewer/archive/2003/Aug/1/feature2.phtm

So this M and P failure precedes Siemens by many years apparently. I just don’t understand it and I guess there will never be an end to it either. This attitude is why the header in my blog was changed early last year and this is why it will remain the way it is.

The question I now have is was the original source of the Naegleria fowleri M&P amoeba from EDS and spread to UGS and then Siemens or was there an independent transmission vector causing all three companies M&P to independently fall prey to this only to then combine pockets of lack of vision and abilities into a large singular morass of the same?

2014 as far as I am concerned is another year of abject failure of SE to deliver value to it’s customers beyond the basic capabilities of the software which is considerable. Giving you an ecosystem like SW to thrive in with increasing market share for them and jobs for us? Nah not gonna happen. Like Autodesk where the guy running it is a builder and he understands every aspect of design to building far more than any other major CADCAM software company executive is planing. Giving his customers extra value with extremely competitive prices and a big ecosystem with lots of jobs and future workforce guarantees for employers and as the circle goes around more jobs and more jobs for Autodesk customers. From a guy who is hungry for conquest and is going to use his unique ability to use the software produced under his direction work. Now I say this and think about Inventor with crossed fingers in hopes for may things to change there. But even so just because I don’t get it yet I see lots of people who do good work with Inventor so I know it can be done.

So far I really like HSM and it is the program I had originally wanted integrated with SE. Inventor is painful to use compared to SE and I struggled today to just try and figure out how to apply dimensions to parts. A lot of my problems are newby problems but the way things flow in Inventor just don’t make much sense to me yet compared to SE. But by golly I CAN hire someone trained to use Inventor and HSM is a breeze.

I have to admit that the move to Autodesk for HSM has relieved a lot of pressure on me but I find myself in two worlds now. SE for CAD and HSM for CAM and quite frankly hoping for Inventor to dramatically improve so I can go with just one company. If Inventor was as slick as SE I would leave Siemens today. I am tired of the treatment SE customers get and I am tired of wrestling with CW4SE and I just want my days to be trouble free. I don’t trust Siemens SE to have my interests at heart after Don and Karsten left and I don’t think they much care about things like CW4SE either or this 2015 mess never would have happened.

So another half year passes and the fine tradition of the best software you’ve never heard of continues and you won’t hire in the state of Tennessee anyone trained in state in SE at any Tech school High school or University close to where I live that I am aware of.

I get tired of running into my peers who when they find out I use SE tell me I am the only one they know doing so. Thanks M&P for all you do and may you prosper for another year with your endless meetings and empty works.

May I propose a 2015 campaign for you. Yes our combination of CW4SE and Solid Edge will cost you twice as much up front compared to Inventor HSM and yes the yearly fees are almost triple but we give unto you dear customer the absolute thrill of being a part of Siemens. You won’t have to lift a finger to do this as all the real work is being done by Autodesk to your benefit. I mean judging by the last eleven years this is the way you want it isn’t it?