New Direction

Obviously there has been a shift in my loyalties in the last couple of years. With Solid Edge it has been a ride from ST1 until now with very few regrets regarding the software. Direct editing is what I came here for and while the first two versions were really rough the rest has been nothing but a validation of how correct this choice was. My principal complaint about SE has always been Siemens and UGS not caring if we make it or not.

What I mean by that is except for a period of time under Newbury and Cooper Siemens/UGS could care less whether SE’s market share grew or not. The ramifications to buyers ARE serious. From not having work from others who demand you be on the same page as in same software. Then not having a resource of institutions to train potential employees which of course leads to a lack of trained people. The lack of trained people stems from having few companies that use the program and since the job boards have few SE listings students do not ask their prospective educators for SE training. They look to SW and Autodesk courses because the job boards say they can find work with that training. So you as an employer have to find someone and then train them and then suffer under the other Siemens imposed handicaps to. Most just go on by and purchase SW and Autodesk whatever because these programs come equipped with better market/work presence and trained at no cost to you people to hire.

With the CAMWorks for Solid Edge debacle in combination with Siemens running off people who wanted the same things I did, namely for SE to thrive and acquire market share, has finally worn out my desire to even promote SE beyond saying it is the best mid range MCAD program out there. No more time with videos or how to’s or examples. Really I quit this some time back as I refuse to help those who have hamstrung my favorite CAD program. The Geometric CW4SE forum has not had a post in four months now and it is another sign of user fatigue over Siemens imposed problems. Yes that is right. I do believe all things go back to Siemens and the UGS people who have poisoned the well there for SE. It is a pervasive and under current management irreversible problem. Geometric has a lousy philosophy towards users but if Siemens had really cared about SE and CW4SE customers they would have kicked Geometric and kept kicking to make things right and in a timely fashion. Siemens/UGS has clout but zero desire to help SE in any way.

So I have changed the blog title to more accurately reflect my own personal direction. SE is and will be my principle modeler for some time I think. My maintenance will take me just over into ST8 and I have no intention at this time of ever renewing past this. I don’t believe in rewarding bad management that does not consider my needs with my money. Even the pace of improvements is dropping fast with SE. The very idea that they are touting as a major new ST8 deal the sparsely populated App store boggles my mind. You have to be a dofuss Siemens marketing dude grasping at straws and trying to turn a pigs ear into a silk purse to even put something like this out. last year it was all those partner products until someone went there and mentioned publicly how few there were and most certainly way short of claimed numbers. Of course marketing with Siemens is run by idiots so no surprise there but don’t you know if great things were happening they would at least talk about it? They aren’t so they can’t.

This takes me to Autodesk and what I see going on there and it is the only exciting place out there for future oriented people who are looking for a software company that believes in them too and wants them as partners and not chattel. Even as clunky as Inventor is compared to SE I fully intend to cut Siemens off and keep Autodesk. Siemens has malign intent towards SE and it’s users and Autodesk wants their users to succeed. Even to the point of donating free software to start-ups and trusting you to become a customer when you get past that point. And you bet most will and Siemens will never see any of these as customers. I had use of Surfcam 2 axis machining for free in 2002 and as a result when they finally did go cash only I bought from them. Autodesk has run free stuff far longer than anyone out there I have ever heard of. They believe in what they have enough to let you determine just how good they are for free. Who else is doing this at the same level? Who else is planting seeds for the future along with fertilizer and nurturing. Who else is confident enough in what they are doing to earn customers and their loyalties to do this?

Inventor Pro HSM everything both programs at $10,000.00 and $1,500.00 per year after. And I can tell you that if you are someone with a ton of money wrapped up into a program you have grown to hate they will probably take that into consideration when you negotiate for a final cost. Ask, all they can do is say no and you just might be really surprised. SE and CW4SE on the other hand for the same equivalent stuff would be well in access of $20,000.00 and well north of $4,000.00 each year after. Inventor HSM is right now producing about one update a week you can download if you wish. CW4SE had garbage until about seven MONTHS after the release of ST7 and have had one update they were forced into doing. These HSM guys want you to have tools in hands and work hard to get them there. Yes CW4SE has some capabilities beyond HSM right now. But the darned thing is so cumbersome to use and has been so buggy that why would you bother to try unless you were trapped there? The few shortcomings I see in HSM I happen to know they are aware of but more importantly they do intend to fix them and they don’t have to be forced to do so. I would crawl across nails before I would rely on CW4SE as my main CAM program ever again in the current state it is in.

Once again we see intent with Autodesk in HSM. Buy great tools and gain complete control over them and then use them. I don’t say much about Delcam products because I just don’t know much about them other than by reputation and peer comments. Bass bought them to though and they are part of the forward-looking plans. Carl Bass is the only big wheel out there that can program and cut on five axis manufacturing equipment and he gets the maker things from A to Z. The other guys talk about it but he does it and the programs he is assembling into the Autodesk fold prove his intent and hands on knowledge. Outside of NX CAM and maybe some CATIA stuff Autodesk now controls best high-end CAM with Delcam and it was no accident that HSM was bought before them. HSM is going to be vastly improved over the next year or so and really hard to beat for general CAM usage.

Why in the world would I not want to be here? So you see in the new header and name the beginning of a progression away from a combination of deliberately smothered great CAD and a duplicitously managed over priced CAM program made by people who don’t care if your days are ruined with SE and CW4SE to a company that is doing it all right. Yes there are problems with the programs but at this time I completely believe they will fix the problems. There is a lot on their plate right now and I know that. But they have not lied or give evasive excuses/answers to me and I have run across no-show stoppers yet. They just get in there and solve the issues in order of importance one after the other.

Perhaps some day this will be an Inventor Pro HSM blog only. For now though with my workaday feet in two worlds my blogging shoes will be to.

Fine Tune Your HSM Adaptive Clearing Results

The whole rationale behind high-speed machining is to remove more cubic inches of material per hour and per endmill or insert. I still watch in awe over what can be done and remembering how it used to be when you had to slow down everything so you would not kill your end mill as you buried it in a step over or corner. There are various flavors of high-speed machining programs out there but they all have one thing in common. Vibration control is essential.

One of the first steps is to have the correct tool holding and while heat shrink is supposed to be the best most of us will never know. It is to darned expensive to set up for and most of us will never need that last tenth accuracy in our life times nor do we have the metrology lab required for this accuracy. The second best and much more affordable option is hydraulic tool holders. Personally I use Schunk Tendo hydraulic holders and right now they are running around $250.00 from my favorite supplier Technology Sales in Chattanooga TN for the .75″ CAT40 holder. The sleeves will run another $80.00 each. The sleeves come in slotted for TSC that will allow for six “sprays” of coolant to be directed straight down into the cut for tooling that does not have coolant holes and unslotted that will allow you to use through tool TSC. The Schunks are very concentric (.003mm claimed runout at 2.5″ on their web site) and also have never in my experience suffered from cutter pullout and I sure can’t say the same for collets and set screw clamp holders which HAVE ruined some of my days. So the first step is to have reliable and capable tool holding. Concentric pullout proof tool holding is essential to your tool life and cut quality in high-speed machining. If you do not take care of this first you can just ignore the rest of this article since your maximum potential will never be achieved unless all the puzzle pieces are put in place.

Have you ever started a cut and found yourself scrambling for the feeds and speeds over ride? Sure you have and we all know the tooth jarring squeal of impending end mill doom. As far as I know there are only two methods to fight this. One is to just fiddle at the controls while cutting until we find the place that sounds and looks good and generally that is where we stay. I dare say this is how most places do it. The second way is to embark on a rational method to fine tuning your specific mill and cutter combination for best results.

Autodesk has a spindle vibration analysis tool that goes on the spindle and analyses during the cut and for all that cut paths conditions. It also costs over 10g. There is another way that any of us can do though and all it takes is chunks of metal and some time. The following link will take you to a PDF well worth downloading and the two screen captures are from this.
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCYQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fm.plm.automation.siemens.com%2Fen_us%2FImages%2FMMS-HSM-Oct05-17050hires_tcm1224-4241.pdf&ei=1RdiVcD_BoeyggT8_4DQAw&usg=AFQjCNHsI9TfE-5ynJtSg-M4bXol2gazlQ&bvm=bv.93990622,d.eXY (Yes I know the link is long but looking at link renaming tools always seemed to end up with junk so I just posted the real one. Any worthwhile suggestions and I am all ears as long as it is not a click for profit deal.) Here are two screen captures from the PDF that will show you a graphic example of why one should do this.

Block with cut paths

feeds and speeds breakdown

Every mill has a unique vibration characteristic based upon the actual machine variances and it’s environment like the floor stability. My Haas VF4 will be a bit different from yours and the same is true for those whiz-bang 300,000.00 dollar jobs too some people are so proud of. As a matter of fact UGS did this study and they deal in high dollar production and high dollar equipment where getting that last little bit of quality and speed makes a big difference. Speaking of Modern Machine Shop by the way here is a link http://www.mmsonline.com/articles/chatter-control-for-the-rest-of-us that will take you to a page with other vibration control articles.

Do yourself and your shop a favor and have a look at this idea. It is in most cases the last piece of the puzzle to be implemented and in many cases is never even considered.

Humorous update. I was looking for Helical brand end mills on EBay and these turned up. From the Buonshopping EBAY purveyor of fine goods in Hong Kong we have these fine tools. I went to see just what the end mill feedbacks had to say and much to my amusement the first few (I looked no further) had gobs of smiley faces and bad spelling har-de-har-har.

Hong Kong helical end mill

Buonshopping purveyor of fine goods

Inventor Pro HSM Development Updates Available

One of the things I envied for years when I was on the outside looking in was the speed with which HSM has made updates available. Besides the year updates there are two other types. The latest official version is the one that has been vetted by means I do not know of right now for QA. The other is developmental which comes with the admonishment “not for production use”. In practical experience though if there is something you really need in one of these all it means is to go slow the first few times and make sure it works right for you would be my opinion. There are some turning things I want to try so I intend to grab this one.

Inventor Pro HSM update

While there were things that did not get into the official 2015 release it is HSM’s intention to as quick as possible work on getting the new turning and the Hole Wizard done ASAP. Turning by the way is supposed to be a complete revamp which would be good since turning has been a big weak spot in an otherwise powerful program. My guess would be that these will first appear here in the development side so early adopters keep an eye out. The philosophy that HSM has had for some time now is to have regular updates figuring that it was more beneficial to the customer to get working tools in hand rather than making us wait for an annual or semi-annual update that made a big old impressive looking list but also delayed significantly the improvements put into users hands.

HSMWorks for example had at least seven official versions for 2014 so if this is a typical average every other month will see new tools or bug fixes in your hands. There have also been thirty-seven developmental releases for HSMWorks for 2015 so far so there have been many things made available to users if they need them before the aggregate official versions get out. The pace of the official versions for HSMWorks has slowed down a bit for 2015 but these guys have had a ton of stuff on their plates with the integration with Autodesk so I can understand. Considering the world of CAMWorks which I came from the update rate here is amazing and quite frankly the idea that we users are important to HSM is a big breath of fresh air. It is HSM’s intent that some time this year the SW and Inventor and online programs will achieve near parity in features and be handled the same from then on.

By the way http://cam.autodesk.com/inventor-hsm-experimental/ will take you to the developmental I-HSM page where there are links to all the other flavors to. It is worthwhile to have a look and see what people who want you to succeed think is the right way to bring new features and bug fixes quickly to you. It is one of the things that influenced me when I was shopping some years back and still does.

Solid Edge and the Night of Sharp Knives

This author catches flack sometimes from various places and one of the ones lately has been from some fans of Solid Edge. Of course I am in that number but I am not blind to what the plans just might be for SE as demonstrated by the actions taken and not the few words spoken by Siemens SE and the Siemens Corp people. I get an email today reminding me of the October SE University and following the bread crumbs tells me why for the first time this premier annual SE event is to be well after the typical SE rollout time frame. It is because the whole thing is to be buried as a footnote into the world of Siemens PLM World and pretty much ignored from there. Why do I say this? Follow me as I use Siemens own pressers and words and I ask you to tell me how I am wrong in my conclusions. Then if you think I am wrong present evidence as compelling as what I bring forth here today regarding the future for SE to support your opinion. Please, it would be nice to be wrong here but where is any evidence to support the bright future idea.

http://blog.industrysoftware.automation.siemens.com/blog/2015/05/18/solid-edge-st8-design-without-boundaries/ will take you to an interesting release where it is announced that SE ST8 will be released at—- PLM World in Dallas this week. I had not seen this before and the only announcement I remember seeing regarding SE ST8 which I had assumed would be rolled out at the premier SE event has been announced instead for this PLM World. So now I begin to understand why SEU 2015 was so delayed. There is history here and I sat there in the middle of it and what I will tell you is from personal experience with witnesses who also saw this.

The year is 2009 and I ran all the SE sessions with the dreaded blue survey forms in hand for the PLM World in Nashville that year. It was what directly got me involved with SE as an active advocate for change when much to my amazement there were only 37 actual SE users there in attendance out of over 50,000 SE users by a Joe Greco estimate. I’ve been told there were over 500 in the annual Summit as it was called back in Cincinnati in 2005. But some wise people somewhere in the corporate UGS food chain decided that they needed to save money and looked for unnecessary things they could afford to cut out. So they killed the Summits and rolled it into PLM World where SE users DID NOT want to be. It was made clear to them they were not important and by 2009 the results were irrefutable. Karsten Newbury and Don Cooper and I along with a few others decided that it was time to restore a specific annual event for SE users and thus was born the Solid Edge Universities. It was decided that yes an SE user community was worth while and the Universities would be the kick start to a hopefully vibrant user community. There was a lot of fighting over all this and the PLM World people were quite upset. Now these PLM World people are really tight with the NX/UGS side of things and they never did really care about SE. Talking with one of the PLM wheels after the 2009 PLM World he interviewed me to get my opinion on what had happened. I told him that SE needed to have its own separate meeting. You see SE guys are polo shirt casual work a day types and the PLM World people are fussy “professionals” with a bit of look down their nose attitudes for any other than their NX etal peers. We did not belong there and the numbers proved it. Tom Both’s response was well hey, if we do something for you then we will have to do it for all the others who whine too. The concern for user opinions was quite touching and the war against the PLM World way was born that day.

SEU 2012 had a surprise visit from PLM World just after the University was over. Karsten and I were walking to the room that the user group wrap up was to be held in after the last sessions were over. I remember Karsten saying to me that a PLM World guy was going to be there and he asked me not to say a word no matter what this guy did. So we get started and the PLM guy, John something or other and no I am not going to bother to research his last name again, says he is there to find out how to get us back under PLM World auspices. Now poor John is such a perfect example of the problem and no clue about it either. He was the only person in the room including the leadership from SE who had a suit and tie on. It is how they dress you know and also how they think. Two separate worlds. I even asked him as I walked with him after the meeting if he had noticed he was the only one in the room with a suit and tie on. He laughed and said yes but was, he was in marketing now I kid you not, oblivious to there being any significance there. I find this attitude bleeds over in other areas too and it is why the UGS NX guys try to smother SE and never understand that these programs appeal and sell to two different markets. They perceive it as a threat to NX.

But anyway back to the meeting. I am listening to poor old John pontificate a bit and sitting there in silence fulminating. Finally Matt Johnston had enough and he spoke up rather bluntly about all of the junk the PLM World guy was saying and Mr. PLM John says they would form a committee to study what the problems are. I kid you not. The true Siemens answer for anything I guess. Form a committee and have lots and lots of meetings and decide nothing in them but bury the problem so you don’t have to deal with it. In any case Karsten knew what I thought and he wanted to see what the other users thought. Karsten you see cared and I will never forget him looking time and time again at the actual users to gauge their reactions to PLM John. It was quite clear that SE users wanted no part of what PLM John had to offer and John was being given enough rope to hang himself by. But you see the good guys that used to run SE are now gone and we are back to the loving hands of PLM World and UGS/Siemens.

SE ST8 to be rolled out at an event that has not one thing for SE I can find in the agenda. http://www.plmworld.org/d/do/5396 is the link to the full agenda and I have looked twice for SE anything. Please help me to find what I may have missed and point out to me the nice little SE things. So exactly what are they rolling out and to whom if it is not on the agenda anyway? Why even bother with this stupidity is my question and do they think SE users appreciate this type of patronizing attitude of out right neglect after some thrilling empty words announcement? No sad to say the thought processes never got that far. Siemens UGS PLM World just simply does not care.

http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/solid-edge/st8/index.shtml will take you to the ST8 new stuff. Go there and please tell me how exciting you find it. I can only hope they have a lot more held back. I see incremental improvements on things already there which in aggregate can be quite beneficial but nothing new unless the idea of porting to a Surface Pro is exciting to you. Personally speaking I find a real 15″ Workstation Laptop at a minimum to be worthwhile in spite of the larger size since I want to be able to fully work when I get to my destination. But I know little bitty screens and crippled computing capabilities excite some so there you go.

Question for you dear readers. Is there a discernible pattern of behavior here and what does this foretell for the future of SE if this current attitude is to become permanent Siemens policy? I want to hear from any SE user regarding what you see and hear this week at PLM World. If indeed there are any SE attendees to begin with. RIP.

CAMWorks for Solid Edge 2015 SP1 with a bit of Inventor HSM 2016 for comparison

Made some time to work with CW4SE 2015 SP1 this weekend and other than some inherent inefficiencies with work flow it went without problems. If you are a current CW4SE user you really need to get this one. I went through a couple of parts and the post today will cover this and do some comparisons with Inventor HSM. The guys at Geometric did some pretty worthwhile work this time and hopefully they will treat the product like this in the future.

Two typical parts were used for this post and as of today no assemblies have been tried. One is 3D and the other is 2D.

The libraries and the Access driven TDB worked without problems. I did not try to edit anything in the included libraries nor add anything to them. This has been troublesome in the past. In any case there still are no 3 or 5 flute endmills in there and all drills are still 118 degree. For example there are 685 Bull nose mill entries and not one for 3 and 5 fluters. For me this would mean starting from scratch for bull nose mills since about all I use now are 3 and 5 flutes except for ball mills. But the links all worked problem free.

There are still no posts out of the box. The short list has big admonitions against use of the few there. If you are looking at CW4SE get commitments in writing regarding any needed posts before you buy and make working to YOUR satisfaction posts part of the deal.

post list

posts not for use

There is still no post output editor unless you want to spend extra cash to get one. I believe Predator Editor is in there but it is more $$ so consider this when negotiating to. This is the basic output screen.
cw4se nc code output screen

And this is code which you will have to edit in notepad or an equivalent.
CW4SE output sample

In comparison Inventor HSM (I-HSM) and HSMWorks have included an editor with every version along with gobs of posts for free. Here is some output code and note also the inclusion of tools used right at the start. A quick glance at the tool list and the tool carousel can save real grief and the real editor is quite useful.
HSM code output.

The first part CAM plan was this.
basic die part

CAM products represent two basic classes of thought here where automation or feature recognition are concerned. CW4SE uses feature recognition and automatic feature recognition. My default method of using CW4SE however is to pick all surfaces as the feature and then input tool paths one by one on it and use contains or avoids from there for specific features. I have never and will never take the huge amount of time required to set up the TDB so AFR in CW4SE will work according to the 80/20 rule Geometric espouses as ideal. This rule means basically that you have taken the time to set up all this to such a degree that CW4SE will automagically work roughly 80% of the time. When the demo jock from CW4SE or CAMWorks for SW comes to your door though make sure he shows you step by step a complete part set up on your part including generating the TDB entries and strategies relevant to making something “automatic”. It demos well but real life is far more complicated. I find the vast majority of CAM users do not want to have to do this.

The other paradigm is to use Templates as programs like ZW3D and HSM do. I have just started using templates with HSM and since the “hole wizard” is not complete yet my understanding is that templates will work well with only 3D shapes right now. The part I did this morning was the above one and taking a similar part with five oval holes instead of eight round ones worked by merely using the template and regenerating the tool path. I did not have to pick anything or any feature to create a complete adaptive tool path for the top side. Still a lot of work to do here though to be able to save a template for a complete part. With the wide variance of parts I cut the speed of initial tool path generation is the biggest deal for me and while AFR and templates are interesting I still prefer to just knock the tool path out quick and be done.

I used Volumill for this part CAM plan and this is an interesting comparison. CW4SE and Volumill worked fine on this part and I have no complaints about this understanding of course the extra time it takes to generate tool paths in CW4SE over I-HSM. One thing CW4SE does have that HSM does not is their true Constant Step-over tool path. This is the single best finishing tool path I have ever used for complex 3D cavities on food extrusion dies yielding a true constant X and Y step-over irregardless of angle or slope. This is the only thing I will be using CW4SE for in the future by the way. It is that good. In many cases HSM Adaptive or Volumill with small enough intermediary passes will give you a useable finished surface for most parts. On straight side walls you might need a finish pass and the same is true for flat surfaces but for 3D work on most parts intermediary passes will finish up fine.

Time is a consideration though and here it gets interesting. This part was as close time wise all things being equal between Volumill and HSM Adaptive as any I have seen yet. Still though HSM Adaptive cut roughly 20% quicker.

Volumill
cw4se volumill 8 hole

and HSM Adaptive

hsm setup

Now the HSM setup sheet shows 400 IPM but that is rapids no cutting speed.
HSM no cut feed rate max

hsm s & f

CW4SE
CW4SE S & F

Both use the same end mill and a .01 step up intermediary pass and .112 step-over but yet HSM Adaptive cuts faster. In the past half-year I have yet to find a single part where Volumill time wise does a better job. Getting into true end mill life and true cubic inch material removal over the expected life of the cutter between these two is something I can’t give concise data on. But I can say that I do know the cost of my end mills and the reduction in time to cut and make an accurate judgement on benefits to me. The end mills seem to last about the same number of pieces where I have cut exact parts to compare by and HSM does so quicker so guess who wins in my shop.

The second part was a basic 2D part.

cw4se corner round crap

It is a mystery to me why 2D can be so tough compared to 3D. I spent little time on the above 3D part but trying to get this “simple” part right in CW4SE was problematical. I spent about a half an hour trying to find the magic combination to get two sides only to cut in corner round. I never did find the actual command for this but there was mention of corner round in one of the feature picking prompts. But then you got all four and not the two ones required. Where is the corner round or chamfer in the strategies?

wheres the corner round

Good question and I never did find it. There is probably a simple answer here but this is my point. Stuff is hidden and finding them is time-consuming and not straight forward. Dirt simple in HSM and since I knew I was not going to cut this kind of path in CW4SE I just quit looking. You go look and have fun without me. Tell me what you found and I will add it here.

Geometric has done a lot of work with this release and if they were to continue to do this where usability is concerned they could be a market beater some day. It would require them two have two basic programs though in order to cater to most shops I know. One could be the existing complex and hard to use/set up TDB AFR way. The other could be a simple easy to use without the AFR TDB baggage way like HSM does and this would be where most of the seats would be sold. I have discussed this with them in the past and HSM is a topic of discussion for them. So far however they are adamant about the AFR TDB way and kind of stuck in it since this is their principle differentiator from other CAM programs. It would require years of serious effort and a complete rethinking of who they want to target for two ways to evolve. As it stands right now they have to be somewhat deceptive with prospective clients and get them in there with cool demos and not real life efficiencies. I do not see this philosophy change happening quite frankly until their backs are really against the wall. By that time of course people like HSM are marching on with improvements so it gets harder and harder to play catch up.

The integration with SE is the single biggest thing Geometric has going for it with this SE user. Second for me is the Constant Stepover tool path. But I find myself using HSM with imported parts because I just like simple that works predictably, quickly and reliably and with good tool paths. Geometric is on the right path and really fixed a lot of things this time. Problem is that there are just so many more to go for CW4SE to operate like I want my CAM program to be that I doubt it will ever happen. Plus it is far more expensive to buy and hugely more expensive each year after and I refuse to spend more money hoping they make something I will really like some day. If you are already there with CW4SE though and intend to stay this latest update will put a smile on your face. The best by far of any version I have yet used on some parts typical to this shop.

Solidedging and Solid Edge and the Future

This will be a long post today and is an accumulation of thoughts and conclusions I have been having for some time now.

I went to Matt Lombards site “On The Edge” this morning and I see now that a link to my blog has been removed. While I am not at all surprised it did get me to thinking about the last few years and where I want to spend my time in the blogosphere.

Regarding Siemens it is funny how the question of why someone who was such a fan of SE has had this change of heart is never asked. But then asking in sincerity would mean a desire for SE to succeed and this does not exist inside of Siemens corporate where the decisions are really made regarding SE’s future. This is all I have ever wanted and as I have said many times and will again today SE is the very best mid range MCAD program. I see articles on direct editing in SE and picture my head nodding up and down in agreement. It is so powerful and all my major work is still done here. I wanted for SE to take by merit of capabilities it’s rightful place in the CAD world. Such was not to be.

It is hard to take the future of SolidEdge as a positive when so much is going wrong. The pace of improvements is slowing down and I hear nothing about any revolutionary new stuff. Only tinkering around the edges and improvements that are merely moderately evolutionary based on what is already there. Don’t look for any breath-taking announcements for ST8 would be my guess.

No I don’t think SE is going away. I remember thinking that SW would when it was clear Dassault corporate had determined SW was not the real future. It is still there and I guess will be until they can figure out how to keep their customer base intact while eliminating the program they came there for. Like Dassault Siemens is stuck with something that they can’t sell and don’t want and is not any part of their desired plans for the future. So the future is auto pilot but do not sell and don’t waste money on it either. SE represents income already paid for though so at least they see this and will keep it going to some degree. It will however remain the adopted red-headed step child that seems to be SE’s fate in life. Overseen by stupid people who do not want or desire for SE to have the success it technically merits for whatever reason. The idea that North American Siemens Software, and by extension I mean Chuck Grindstaff directly since he is in charge of it all has cast aside SE is plain silly. All because of a perceived threat to the sales of NX. The UGS people never did have much use for SE. I was there in person to see the love they had for SE in 2009 in Nashville,TN PLM World where SE user attendance was down to 37 people. You can lie with words but actions trump these and this was proof of the regard UGS etal had for SE and users responded likewise.

Just like this current user behind the SolidEdgeing blog is responding. Really don’t look for much in the way of hope for SE anymore. Follow me as I assembly bread crumb trails that make me think like I do. I still know a lot of people associated with SE from Europe to Huntsville. They know I was and am a huge fan of SE. They also in most cases share my discouragement over the plight of SE’s future. So let us go through some random dot connecting here.

I knew Don Cooper and Karsten Newbury fairly well. They were wholly dedicated to the idea that SE was the best and should take its place as number one. They lived and breathed this idea and worked for it. When Karsten left he still had about three years if I remember right on a five-year contract. I don’t know what Don’s status was. But the idea they left or were run off is the important thing here. It heralded I believe edicts from Siemens Corp to deliberately stifle SE and I figure that after a while Don and Karsten just quit fighting. After all why should eminently qualified people stay where their success is artificially limited by those who have no desire to see SE succeed.

I remember standing in a circle with Karsten and Tony Affuso and myself at the first SEU in Huntsville. Karsten insisted I come over there and meet him and I was really hesitant to do so after some of the things I had written. It was kind of strange and no one came to join the huddle so it was just the three of us for quite some time. Tony made clear his desire to beat the pants off of Dassault. He also made mention in reply to a comment Karsten made that the budget he had was his to spend as he saw fit. I left with a different opinion of Tony Affuso. I also noticed that with the changing of the guard to Grindstaff that the desire for SE to beat the pants off anyone was gone from Siemens.

We now have John Miller as head of SE in Karstens old spot. I don’t believe he has contacted a single user. There have been two posts by him at the SE Siemens BBS since he acquired this job. Well let me rephrase that. There have been two posts written for him. No one talks that way and I have been around long enough to see deception as blatant as those were. So the new guy could care less and has not evinced one iota of interest in SE’s users or future. He is a place holder by his very actions as far as I am concerned and this is not the sign of a company that wants SE to thrive.

Absolutely no mention of SE in any of the major Siemens Software grants I can see. I have asked for breakdowns of some of them and no one will provide them. I do see lots of high dollar Siemens NX and PLM Teamcenter related things though. Is SE in there? Who knows but for sure Siemens does not care to say so if it is. WHY?

SE has a custom car building kit thing of some sort. No it is not Local Motors it is a purely academic thing. The link evades me right now and I am not going to bother to look it up. I think however it is mainly the result of caring people inside of SE’s educational branch doing what little they can as they can. Siemens has not and wont be getting behind this in any major way I believe. Think about it. When was the last time you saw any pervasive long-term acted upon marketing strategy for SE? That’s right there has been none and this is solely because UGS and then Siemens do not want to allocate funds to something not important. You would not believe the fights that went on over stupid turf things with UGS and Siemens people where rational profit seeking corporate decisions were out the window. It is not like SE sells into the same market but try to tell the UGS and Siemens dudes this. Back to UGS veterans don’t like SE and until they go or have a change of heart forget it.

I admire the stance Carl Bass has taken with Autodesk. He has made long-term plans and bought control of key pieces for this and looks I believe decades into the future for the seeds he plants today. Siemens plants no seeds for SE and makes no acqusitions to bolster it and can’t even be bothered to vet the only major manufacturing integrated app SE has ever had. I am talking about CAMWorks of course. I don’t care about rendering and all that stuff I make parts. All design software has to make parts at some time to have a reason to exist. When Karsten left and SE was in Siemens loving hands CAMWorks went to crap. I to this day don’t know how much of the problem with CW4SE 2015 was with lack of co-operation from Siemens SE. But I do know that development budgets for SE are not what they should be and some top talent has been taken from them and put on the Siemens side to boot. So we see here intent by Siemens. Take good people away and make funding problems and do not pursue an integrated family of aps for SE. So just how does this indicate concern for SE’s future and yours to if you are a user might I ask?

There has never been a real aggressive marketing campaign for SE since ST1. I came on board just as ST1 was released for $3,000.00 and that bought one years maintenance and SE Classic. The main reason was to get SW users but if you really dug they would take any equivalent design package for this. This has not happened since then. I knew some people who wanted to do this but their hands were tied. Why when SW was doing all they could to give sales to SE for a few years did Siemens not take advantage of this? Perhaps what is going on in places in Europe right now might be a clue. SE can’t I guess discount beyond a certain price. I would imagine there are corporate hoops to jump through to do this. NX however is discounting to whatever level is necessary to clinch sales from, you guessed it, SE. Is this the hallmark of a company that might care about the future of SE or is it part of a plan to slowly subsume SE users into the NX side of things? In any case is there any sound fiscal reason to do this to part of your corporate body that could be making a lot more money for you? I don’t believe or subscribe to the idea that SE and NX serve the same basic markets. There is a place for both and not a whole lot of overlap. But for seven years now SE has not and never will do what was done for ST1 and I believe it is a deliberate choice by Siemens to not allow SE to thrive like it should. But apparently it can be allowable for NX. Why? I still remember the post by a major US VAR Saratech touting how easy it was to learn NX over SE https://solidedging.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/is-siemens-retarded-or-just-anti-solid-edge/ How did this bit of insanity ever even see the light of day except for the culture Siemens and UGS have created for SE to reside in. Funny thing about this post. It has been read more than any other past posts the last couple of weeks and I wonder why?

I remember sitting in an office in Huntsville talking to one of the marketing dudes who now works for Siemens and not SE. He belongs there to as far as I am concerned. I asked him why there were no spots made for bloggers and people who might give them favorable publicity at the SE Universities. I would have like to get a free pass for myself to no doubt but my main reason for asking was to try to get them to bring in bloggers that would give them press. His response was that this was too expensive to do. A short time SE employee sat there and heard this with me. We left and the comment made by the employee was that was just so wrong on many ways.
“You should NEVER tell a customer to their face they are not worth it”. I just shook my head sadly and said you see what we have had to deal with? This employee did not stay there long and left because it was clear Siemens did not intend to see SE thrive. Why stay at a dead-end? Subsequently that same year over fifty percent of the attendees were Siemens employees who were not going to write any press releases, not publish one blog post nor in any way do the good some free passes to bloggers would have done. Vacations for result free Siemens Employees however were dollars well spent. Is this the way an outfit that cares about the future is run?

Siemens promoted Dan Staples to be above the day-to-day management of SE he used to be in. Dan is brilliant as far as I am concerned but he is not a trench warfare fighter for SE who will battle corporate like Newbury and Cooper did. When Siemens promoted him they took this guy who was responsible for so many good things at SE and pulled him out of the real hands on loop. I hope he is making a lot more money now but as an SE user I have to say that I miss him in his old spot like I miss Newbury and Cooper for the same reasons. There is a dynamism certain teams have that can’t be easily replaced. They can however be easily dismantled by corporations that do not care. Like Siemens. I figure like Karsten and Don Dan will get fed up with seeing the thing he loves dearly wrecked by Siemens and he to will leave one day. Or acquire a trench warfare mentality and be told to leave because SE is not a part of the plan. How would you like to be in his spot with this great thing and then see it hidden under a rock?

CAMWorks for SE. Before I burned my bridges there with Geometric’s US guys I remember a conversation I had with a big wheel. He wondered why I had stopped blogging about SE and had started complaining about corporate and marketing. I told him exactly why and this was shortly after Don Cooper left. I explained to him what my suspicions were about corporate sabotage of SE and he said that could well explain why they were having trouble getting co-operation from SE. Like I told him Siemens NX people would rather we just buy Cam Express even though it was not truly integrated. I have to wonder how much of the 2015 CW4SE debacle blame should be allocated to which side. For sure Siemens is partly to blame and is this the action of a company that cares about what the SE users have to make a living with?

Speaking with some attendees from last years SEU in Atlanta. The general consensus was that Chuck Grindstaff did not want to really be there. Considering what is going on with SE I think these guys are spot on. You do not have to be present in a room where decisions are made to be able to discern what decisions have been made. The actions corporate officials take in so many ways telegraph what is going to be. I tend to think this was another indicator and since this was followed up with the appointment of John “Place Holder” Miller and the loss of Karsten do you have any doubts here about the veracity of the SE users observations regarding Grindstaff’s apparent disconnect? I don’t.

Marketing and Publicity. Where should I start regarding this mess? Or is it really a mess or is it by design? Siemens is eaten alive by rules and regulations and don’t even sneeze without running it by legal first. So we have this aspect of Siemens and it is a worrisome one. The paralysis created by meetings that do nothing and never reach a result is unbelievable. For this alone I fear for SE. Once a policy of neglect and or outright suppression is reached you are not going to change it. Once it has been DECIDED it is carved in stone. When the UGS people poisoned the well for SE I am afraid it will be so for many years. But above and beyond that does a company that wants a division of theirs to succeed spend some money and make a plan to do so? I think so. By the absence of a plan they also indicate their desires. You can go all the way back to the stupid days of Bruce Boes Velocity junk and continue to this day and see an unbroken string of marketing and publicity failure for SE. The reasons are two-fold. One, the UGS guys don’t want SE to make it and 2, Siemens corporate suffers from self-inflicted paralysis and they literally also do not have the ability to formulate and implement a marketing strategy. Thus you see Siemens but not Siemens what in advertising such as it is. Bold generic say nothing about anything but have generalities and say Siemens somewhere in there and you are done. WHOO-HOO!

I was sent a link to a video some time back and the premise of the author was that when a company that is big becomes old to there is a paralysis of bureaucracy that sets in and it stifles innovation. One of the methods to fight this by CEO’s who see this but can’t prevail against it is to buy competitiveness. Buy a lean mean going somewhere outfit and bring it in-house to improve your company with an end run around the killer culture of old, tired and bureaucratic. I have always felt that Siemens bought UGS to improve manufacturing efficiencies and to do so with something they would have sole control over. But now as it is subsumed into the monster what happens to it? Now decisions are in the hands of those who make a living by perpetuating layers of inefficient bureaucracy and they are not ever going to make or allow to be made decisions that might in any way reflect back upon them. And in this culture they are rewarded with weekly checks and almost guaranteed jobs irregardless of performance so in essence they are being trained that this stifling stupidity is right. SE is never going to have a bright future with this paradigm.

I could go on but I think you get the idea. Quite frankly my interest in this whole SE thing has been killed by Siemens and this debacle with Geometrics CW4SE was just the icing on the cake. I use SE now and regard it as my main design tool but since manufacturing is far more important in my shop now CAM must and does come first. Is it not ironic that I find myself in this spot with software bought by a manufacturing giant to improve their manufacturing? That I have to leave them and go to Autodesk and get Inventor HSM Pro to achieve manufacturing efficiencies in my shop? I am going to keep this SolidEdging site for some years yet as I believe in what I say and think it should have life on-line. But the desire and excitement all belong to Autodesk now and I will probably startup another blog for that. Hopefully Inventor will be improved enough soon so I can just quit the whole Siemens induced disaster for SE. For now though it is with real mixed feelings I still use SE. I have pretty much decided that I will not be renewing SE as there are just no new exciting things on the horizon worthy of more money above what I already have and I don’t believe in rewarding mediocre corporations with my hard-earned money so Siemens is OUT. I can use SE for years to come after all.

I may very well attend SEU in Cincy this year. It is the best bargain in annual cad conventions and this year it is cheaper yet. If they really end up having it. I will not be going because I am excited nor to make waves but rather it will be to see friends I have made over the years once again before I close the SE chapter of my life.

Thanks a lot you crap heads for doing this to a product I really had high regard for. Pardon my French but it is the way I feel about all this today.

CAMWorks for Solid Edge 2015, Finally Some Good News

This won’t be a long post today because other than the event I have no further knowledge. SP1.0 early release is out which means there is a fair amount of confidence a working release to the public is soon to follow. There are 158 fixes on the list and as I went through them a number were pretty serious. What will actually be there quality wise I don’t know. What they intend to do for the months of unusable software in the way of maintenance extensions I also don”t know. But for now the weeks tally is on hold pending what we find with this.

It is my hope that through this severe trial by fire learning experience for Geometric, assuming they really have fixed things, they will have put this sad chapter behind them. I really think they are at a crossroad here and have to make choices. To determine to put actual and rigorous user equivalent testing methods in place with verification in use in the field and QA that is proactive. One that does not seek to cover it’s lack of ability or corporate lack of desire for things to be right with evasions like the “intended behavior” or “imperfect modeling by user” by some unknown metric excuses so often floated. Synchronous Tech by it’s very nature means there are a number of ways to achieve a result and all are quite capable and sound as the only result of importance is the final destination. “Imperfect Modeling” by user my rear end. If you Geometric guys don’t come to grips with geometry recognition no matter how we get there you will never succeed. And quit using that excuse on the SW side too as how long have you had to find out the ways users work as compared to how some cubical dude thinks they should work.

That they have had to be forced into this multitude of fixes is not a good thing. So for another choice they might make I hope one of them will be that they undertake on their own through a sincere desire for a quality and competently working product to fix things. To be proactive and to never ignore users again like this. This will require a complete change of management philosophy towards users and to listen and learn about problems AND FIX them. Not to just offer up knee jerk evasions. Or they could continue down this path and when the heat is off screw the users again. There is an abundance of mistrust that has been created between both the SW users and in particular the SE users and Geometric. It is going to take a long term concerted effort to correct this. How do you ever get customers like me back when there has been so much trouble with the software we once used to try to make money with? In particular in my case now that I have migrated to Inventor PRO HSM which works admirably and reliably and costs much less up front and only $1,500.00 per year maintenance for both CAD and CAM everything HSM has to offer? Users listen to other users and right now Geometric has considerable problems with reputation AND reliability and on top of it all they have become grossly overpriced upfront and by the year compared to Inventor Pro HSM their main competitor for SW related CAM sales. How are they ever going to get many new customers when there is price and quality competition like this and the word about expenses and usability can’t be hidden? They have a real thorny set of problems to solve here if they are to prosper. They will only prosper in direct proportion to the regard they give towards users prospering first. In costs and quality and they could certainly learn from HSM’s example if they cared to.

I don’t know who the people over Geometric’s Marketing and Publicity or QA are but that this could drag on for so long and NEVER a word about anything is the single worst example of software customer disconnect I have ever seen. They might think about the people who made these decisions and replacing them with those who could give them good advice on how to deal with problems and customers. Hint, it is not by ignoring them in word and deed.

Siemens SE deserves bad press in this regard too for not telling it’s customers a darned thing about what is going on and how they intend to fix this and prevent it from happening again. I believe they have not had much to say because there is no intent for a dynamic manufacturing ecosystem to surround SE and the Halcyon days are over. Why bother with people you don’t care about? It is not incompetence here it is Siemens corporate decisions to focus on higher value software and we’uns SE folk donne bees dat. From the we love you section of Siemens SE we have this. John Miller I am sure did not write this so some inspired talking head PR dude probably did. I especially like the definitions part because I would be lost without them. I wonder where the definition section for “concern” as in what customers get and “diligence” as in we follow up on our commitments to our customers which should have been preceded by “pledge” as in what we make to you our customers. But then empty comments are appropriate since place holders are meant to be seen and not heard. Is is not strange how quickly this thread died when a real question was asked and two weeks now with no reply from those who are here for you dear esteemed SE users.

“Siemens Experimenter
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎01-22-2015
Welcome from the new guy
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Edgers,
I may be new to the Solid Edge Community, but I am a long time CAD and Siemens PLM guy. I want to take a moment to personally welcome you to the Solid Edge Community. This community exists for you, so please let us know how we can continue to improve it. The community consists of several areas:
Forum: A place for users to interact and ask/answer questions about related topics. Frequented by Solid Edge employees when definitive answers are needed.
Blog: Articles on a variety of topics by a variety of authors. Interact in the comments for each article.
Knowledge Base: a searchable repository for presentations and special information
We have made this place for you, so we hope that you will benefit from it as much as possible. Whether you seek answers or connections, you’ll find both here. The more you participate, the more value you’ll find.
John Miller
Senior VP of Mainstream Engineering
Me too
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bshand
Genius
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Hello,
I wonder if SE development peruses these pages? It seems to me there is a lot of feedback herein which they might find useful
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MattJohnsonPAC
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YES! development is amungst us… they are watching… and from time to time they do chime in…
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JFM
Siemens Experimenter
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Hello again. I think more than just development watch this. I am here for the entire Solid Edge Business, and I think folks from Marketing, Sales and other parts of the company are also listening.
John Miller
Senior VP of Mainstream Engineering
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DaveAult
Master
Posts: 477
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Great to see you check in to the community. Curious to know if you are aware of the situation with CAMWorks for Solid Edge. We have not heard for many months just when there will be a working version for ST7 and it is very discouraging.
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It will be a while before I can do anything more than a cursory glance at SP1 so comments for now on CW4SE will cease until there is something to say. My license has expired and now I have to go chase down the six month extension I was supposed to get and we shall see how that one goes. I hope it is not the same as their promise over my lathe post which they reneged on but I will not be surprised if they do. Four months of the six promised ones are gone of course. I expect I will have feedback from others before I have my own. I just don’t have the time or the desire to play much with it until there is spare time since so much real value time has already been squandered here. In any case here is hoping for the future and a sincere desire that there will, finally, be good things to talk about.