Tag Archives: Siemens

Matt Lombard’s Dezignstuff Returns

It is with sadness and a grin I see Matt’s blog revived. Happy to see him back without the shackles of corporate droids tied to his hands and mind. Sad because in some ways Matt’s departure and the ending of the multi day national event Solid Edge University represents to me the closing of the final chapter of Solid Edge’s foray into the user community.

Now what is about to be said is my opinion based on people I have known over the years who were in positions to be aware of what was going on internally with UGS, Siemens and Solid Edge. It also is based upon personal observations of things seen with my own eyes. Corporate can be so ugly and petty and being privy to what goes on behind closed doors is often more disgusting than it is a privilege.

Some years back the discussion of reaching out to the user community and potential customers was a desirable thing. The halcyon days of Karsten Newbury and Don Cooper running Solid Edge and actually caring about the outcome for both users and Solid Edge. They believed as I did that Solid Edge was the best and should become #1 in sales in its category. As an aside here after exposure to Inventor for three years and seeing how terrible it is compared to SE it amazes me there are so many Inventor users. Drink the Kool-Aid I guess and use a program that is far harder than SE to work in.

Matt was part of a plan to appeal to SW users and also give insight into how SW users worked, what they expected and how to set up SE to make the transition from SW easier. And of course Matt had a monster blog with numbers you would not believe and was the author of the popular “SolidWorks Bible”. Sad to say from the very beginning people in the PR departments of Siemens and UGS and SolidEdge resented his arrival. Not one of them had ever accomplished what he had nor will they ever. Company programmed droids far more fond of meetings to decide everything and then more to talk about prior meeting conclusions. Bereft of any personal initiative and eaten up with all the rules that say you can’t do this or that, off they went to slay this dragon that suddenly appeared in their midst. Make no mistake Siemens has a culture of meetings and don’t rock the boat and an almost petrified approach to progress. It is why the company is in trouble and is nowhere near as profitable as it could be. Self imposed paralysis and never-ending turf wars.

Like the one the NX UGS guys have waged against Solid Edge from day one. They bought SE for Synchronous. Something they did not create but could appreciate. But once you adopt the Red Headed B——- ya gotta work to hide him from proper company. They did this and the fight was constant. Moving SE forward was as much fighting against those internal corporate saboteurs as it was the market place where it is difficult at best to get people to switch CAD programs. I believe Matt was contained in a hermetically sealed room insulated from his potential market appeal and severely limited as to personal initiative. Something the droids hate with a passion because if someone ever did prevail in a big way in the personal initiative arena they just might look as bad as they really are. Questions could be asked and that’s a no-no. Can you tell I have nothing but contempt for these people? These people who have conspired to make a brilliant product be hidden from public view as much as is possible. It continues to this day and who knows what pissy little company droid was finally responsible for running the last vestige of the good old days off. Matt’s departure is the final closing of the make SE bigger and the community better as far as I am concerned.

Writing a blog when your heart is no longer in it can be difficult. I hope that Matt can find a love for blogging again and these corporate idiots have not beaten it out of him. Speaking from personal experience when you spend lots of uncompensated time doing something as silly as being a “fanbois” for a product you like and use it is discouraging when A, companies take you for granted or B, even worse conspire against their users which in my case means me to. I don’t quite know where Matt will go with his new-found freedom nor what he is going to write about as an underlying theme with his blog. I suspect he has not fully decided either but you know what?

Welcome back to the real world Matt and I wish you the best.

Now for the sordid Autodesk world as it revolves under the onerous hand of Andrew “Baked Beans” Anagnost. “Blog Nauseam” is the very best aggregate blog site I know of to keep up to date with the shackles of slavery being formulated for Autodesk customers and has been added to the blog roll. Steve Johnson is meticulous in his documentation of current Autodesk events and has tons of people feeding him information. You have any interest in Autodesk products you need to read his blog. While primarily about Autocad the slave owner problems are universal for every Autodesk customer of any Autodesk product.

This betrayal of a customer base is unprecedented in the software industry. Yes I know Adobe but they are far from being an industrial design build civil engineering motion picture studio tool like Autodesk is. Autodesk just needs to fail completely and miserably in this extortion effort. If you are currently a perpetual seat holder with Autodesk make your rational plans to leave. If you are thinking about buying into Autodesk think again. If you do go along with or buy into this new Autodesk world there is something wrong with your decision-making process. Willful masochism and a total lack of regard for IP security from forced online exposure comes to mind and you go there. I am not. The clock is ticking and my perpetual seat renewal is this coming December and Autodesk will never see another penny from me.

Geometric The CAMWorks Author Bought Out By HCL Technologies Ltd

For what it is worth http://schnitgercorp.com/2016/04/04/geometric-acquired-hcl/ will take you to information regarding this. What ramifications this will have for Solid Edge integrated users in particular I don’t know. I suspect the uptake of CW4SE (CAMWorks for Solid Edge) has been very poor for obvious and well documented reasons. Whether the new bosses will consider this market to be worth pursuing any more may well be in doubt. Will new owners change old rules? Are the obligations between Siemens and Geometric/CW4SE binding after the buyout? Would Siemens actually even care if Geometric walks away from this anyway since it takes potential sales of Cam Express away from the UGS remnants inside of the corporate beast?

I have mixed feelings over this. CAMWorks if it could actually implement the underlying premise of its program to be usable without consuming vast quantities of it’s customers time just to set it up and keep it running right each year could have been really revolutionary in it’s power to streamline the effort to create CAM programs. Whether this is even possible to do today with existing math skills available to Geometric I don’t know. It has not been to date. The program as it exists if you try to use it without setting up the Tech Data Base takes far more effort than should be just to get a plan out the door. Either case means huge amounts of time wasted in the end to do the same things as HSM with Autodesk takes to do and time is money.

The parsimonious behavior of the Geometric people I have had to deal with makes me wonder though if a new owner/boss could change things. Is it possible that HCL would be willing to put serious money into making CAMWorks truly be what the glossy promos say it is in reality? Time will tell. It would be nice if this new arrangement would end silly things like provable user problems being dismissed as “being done by design” and “improper cad files creation by users” when it is supposed to be integrated with a program like Solid Edge. Which by design frees you from having to do things a certain way and just right to arrive at a correct and definitive end result. Improper cad design never was defined for us by the way but it was a good alibi. With a new source of potential money comes a new source of potential commitment to acquire the right talent to solve CAMWorks problems if they desire to do so.

The track record of buyouts results for companies I have had to deal with generally have not been good. UGS buys out Sold Edge and the step child thing goes into full swing. Siemens buys out UGS and then after a period of hope the step child thing goes on and in addition to that the gutting of SE developer talent then goes into full swing. Not good for SE users. HSM and Delcam are acquired by Autodesk which I thought was a real part of a master plan to conquer the market for mid range MCAD to be combined with manufacturing in a way no one else was doing. Then come the onerous burden of subscription only for all new customers chattel mindset. VX now ZW3D was bought by the Chinese and has pretty well not advanced much beyond what it was five years ago and indeed compared to it’s competitors is slowly falling behind.

Of course I no longer use CW4SE but I still would like to see it live up to it’s promises as I would like to see any program I have had to deal with achieve. First and foremost I am an end user and what I talk about are things that I have to deal with personally and each affects my bottom line. Unlike 90%+ of all blogs out there with CAD and CAM as a main topic I am not employed or paid by anyone but myself so I am free to write as things unfold in the real world in my shop.

It would be nice to see HCL get behind Geometric and fix both flavors of CAMWorks. I have become very cynical about the trends that software companies are taking towards users though so I doubt much will change. I can see a huge percentage of small and medium size shops soon deciding to just step off the pay each year bandwagon for things that just are not bringing new features that are worth it. Most certainly these permanent seat holders which are I bet 95%+ of existing users are not going to go subscription either. So just like many shops around here we can and will work just fine for the next five years or more and give none of them any more when these companies offend us enough. Unlike Autodesk, Siemens, Dassault and ZW3d most small to medium size businesses can do fine without having to pay anymore to them for some time. I wonder if they can however thrive if WE don’t send them the money they have been accustomed to receiving.

Treat your customers like crap long enough and in time someone a bit wiser will seek them out and take them from you and once gone wont be back.

The Autodesk Juggernaut Picking Up Speed

It was a couple of years ago when I gave up on Solid Edge ever getting the market share it deserved. One of the chief reasons was what I perceived to be a new ploy by Autodesk to assemble pieces of the complete manufacturing puzzle together to smother competition. This first really began with the acquisition of HSMWorks and continued with the purchase of Delcam lock stock and barrel. Today I was perusing the CNC Cookbook site and specifically this area. http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCCNCSurveys.html

Reading the CAD and CAM surveys was a bit of an eye opener. Now there is a section in here where they talk about how they generate the data used if you are interested. I was not as I figured with a couple of million visitors a year the surveys probably had a pretty good representation of what is reality in shops earning a living with software.

As a CAD side note here go through the years and see how poorly Solid Edge fares here. This has been my personal experience also for years as I have heard “you use Solid Edge? you are the first person I have met to do so” so many times it makes me ill. This is true by the way 60 some miles north of the SE headquarters in Huntsville. It fully explains why there are fewer than 500 users at the annual convention which ought to draw many more with its bargain rate pricing. The users just are not out there to begin with and CNC’s surveys are the first independent effort at generating market share data I have found that appears valid based on my own experience. It is what happens to a fine product whose future is determined by people who would just rather it went away.

Of even greater interest to me were the CAM surveys done here in 2010,2012,2014 and 2015. Go there and read in full these various years for CAD and CAM but in a nut shell here is what they had to say about CAM market share.

2010 2015
HSMWorks all Inventor and SW 1% 17%
Camworks I assume SW and SE 2% 5%
NX 6% 5%
Powermill 2% 5%
Featurecam 5% 3%
Mastercam 29% 27%

Basically Autodesk has gone from nothing to 25% of the higher end CAM per CNC Cookbook criteria.

In the “low-cost” category per CNC cookbook data we have Fusion 360 going from 0% in 2012 to 55% share in 2015.

I have been fascinated with the well planned multi-year conquest of Mid Range Manufacturing started by Carl Bass a few years ago and this survey was the first time I could see quantifiable results coming in. It does not look good for the competition. It is not my intent to hammer on the subscription thing here but with these stellar numbers I wonder why common sense has not overtaken the agenda at Autodesk. It is time to rethink this and stay with the seats and subs and let users choose. You guys are whipping the market as it is far better than I had imagined so don’t get greedy and keep winning customers just the way you have been by earning it with superior products and prices. Clearly it has been successful to date and market share is accelerating.

The other amazing thing here is the stark contrast to Dassault. SW has been famous for vaporware and grand visions from the bizarre mind of some French guy who could care less about reality. For years they have trotted out one cloud based thing after another just to watch them crash and burn. Autodesk on the other hand has Fusion 360 and the only thing that has crashed here is Dassault’s abortive plans to be first and foremost with the cloud for manufacturing.

I just sit here and think about SE as I write all this. Here longer than Inventor with 8% current market and here as long as SW with 22.7% bringing up the rear with 1%. It really makes a difference when the guy in charge has a plan. There was a brief period of hope under Newbury Cooper but they were run off for the cardinal sins of competency and caring about the future. Things not valued at Siemens who is struggling financially and can’t figure out why. SW’s share by the way has declined from 25% in 2013 and that is the result of mismanagement also. SW has had to work really hard to run off their long-suffering and amazingly loyal customers but they have begun succeeding.

Here is my vote for Autodesk to not change things as they were at the end of 2015 and continue on the way they were with a proven method for conquest.

CAD CAM Software Subscription Only, Unforeseen Complications for YOU

Recently I received an update to my HP printer. It ended up telling me that I could not run without buying more ink from HP. Now in the user manual it clearly states, that is the user manual and the conditions under which I purchased their printer to begin with, that I could run on black ink only. Furthermore there is a setting under printer properties that clearly states select grey scale to run in black ink only. So as a contract to me by virtue of the conditions I bought under and the properties which confirm the grey scale black ink only to run settings were intended I get this crap from HP. Extortion would be another way of stating this. The warning from HP I had from the printer after I installed much cheaper ink cartridges stated that any warranty would be voided by their use but did not prohibit their use. Legally I am sure they can’t since as a condition of buying this Officejet Pro 8600 I did not have to sign or commit to HP only ink.

ScreenHunter_139 Oct. 07 19.48

OK today I get this email from the ink cartridge people. HP sends you an innocent looking update which does not specify what is in there and does not allow you to select what parts of it you might want like Microsoft does. You get the whole chilona. Today I and every other HP 8600 printer buyer are being told we HAVE to do things we never signed up for and did not ask for. Arbitrarily and after the sale HP decides they want to make more money and make it in ways customers can’t run from. It is the capability to squeeze their customer base for more money that is just something no company seems to be able to resist over time no matter what the promises if they can do it. You see if you give people this kind of power over you it WILL be used sooner or later.

Is it to much of a stretch for you to see how this type of thing will come your way too if you cede the idea of permanent seats of software for rental? Where the conditions can and will change over time and there you are. Stuck with something that won’t work if you do not pay to play. All the power and might of legal hostage taking will be underlying your rental plans. When you have data created and locked under chattel securities and usable only with further payments that are subject to change with benefits to you subject to change why would you even go there? Here is one for you. You think data storage is free? You think there wont be a day where with cloud run software your stuff won’t be held to a cloud server and they wont charge you for the use of your data each month for the program and then the new server farm rental fees? Where they will force updates on you that will change the conditions to be different from when you signed up and you can blow it out your rear end if you don’t like it?

I want you to sit down and think about the ways you can come up with to screw customers over if you were in charge of a situation where where you could force pay to play. And change the rules to your benefit whenever. The company you signed up with today may well mean all the good things they say. Then like with Solid Edge the good guy leaves and utter junk takes their place. Or they get sued and now have to raise lots of cash. Or they get bought out (don’t think it can’t happen to whatever you currently use) and the new guys have saddled everything with more debt that has to be paid for. Just as soon as corporate leadership determines they need to change how they deal with you and in direct proportion to how much power you have given them over you, you are their hostage with no recourse. Except to leave entirely and if you have years of data locked up with these mercenary companies will you ever be able to?

Gee Dave it’s just printer ink don’t blow it all so far out of proportion. I mean after all no software company will EVER change the rules on you like HP did.

Isn’t it just peachy that software companies are doing this to secure their stable future? Without regard to your future or care for your expenses or profitability or your secure stable future? Where you better pay them before you pay your light bill or lose accumulated years of work and the ability to use that work? Am I wrong about this? Can you prove me wrong about this?

Some Thoughts on Solid Edge and Manufacturing Software

Before we venture into the primary topic of this post I want to reveal some of the thinking behind what I do and say here. Some of you have told me I speak of the same basic things to many times or the same theme to often. Or I am not polite and prim and proper with my comments at times. On the face of it all it may appear to be that way but there is a method to this. You might be surprised how many in the software industry read me. So keep in mind when I choose what to talk about I address two target audiences. One is the users. It is my intent to afford them the customer/user real unvarnished experiences I have and the opinions I form and why I form them. I have some news for you software guys and VARS to. You think I am the only user who has these at times rude things to say you are wrong. I just happen to say them out loud and make sure you hear me. It gripes my rear end to get bad information and then make financial decisions based on sources that did not prove accurate. Sometimes with the best information I can find after digging it is still not enough and over time reality proves the initial conclusions wrong. I will also tell you that.

The second group is those who produce software. It amazes me how willfully tone-deaf many are and how many times you have to bring up the same things again and again before they even begin to think about what you are saying. Sadly the only way to reach many of these guys is repetition and letting them know the problem exists and that we/I know about it. And that one month or a half-year of stonewalling or ignoring this is not going to make the comments go away. I warn the first group whose money and profits are on the line about how they will be treated. I write to the second and often most resistant to reason group in the industry because in many ways getting things fixed is the very best way to protect users. The second group is in general people who have to be dragged into doing what is right far to often and seem to want to communicate with you about once a year if you know what I mean. We live in a strange world as makers where what we sell we have to stand behind and make right or not get paid. Somehow too many software people seem to think right and working and guaranteed are not applicable to them and they should get paid no matter how junky what they make is. Not having even halfway competently working CAMWorks for SE ST7 for seven months is a perfect example of this double standard. It is also a perfect example of a software company that ignored it’s users until it’s feet were publicly put to the fire for many months in a row. So you see there is a reason and even if it bores you to tears remember that it is my desire to see things work right and a little hammer has to hit a big nail many times to drive it home.

I remember getting a call from Karsten Newbury on a Sunday morning two years ago last January. I had posted three ugly posts about those idiots in marketing. They called up and whined to Karsten about can’t you make him shut up!! I was pretty mad and he asked me don’t you want to have these people as friends and to like you? My reply was NO. They are stabbing you in the back. That meant we users to were also getting the knife. I think we all still are but like Karsten I have moved on to greener pastures. I still entertain some sort of hope someone somewhere in a position of authority with Siemens will think about what the UGS SE killers have done and how foolish it is to a company that is starving for better profits to aid in killing a golden egg laying goose because paranoic turf protecting UGS personalities have triumphed over profit oriented rational management. In the mean time I have moved over to Autodesk where I miss SE but live in a much more economically friendly world in a much more useful manufacturing ecosphere.

When I talk bad about SE remember this it is not the technical aspects of the program. With the exception of Second Floor cubical training Guy and some marketing people who suffer from being such and thus detached from any valid life model every one I have ever met and worked with in Huntsville has been top notch. It is my belief that the slowdown in SE improvements are because Siemens is taking to much of the profits from them because they are not interested in the R&D needed to continue SE’s rapid advancements. SE suffers from myopic overlords still and again and maybe forever who knows.

On to Some Thoughts

What prompted this post today was an interesting conversation I had with someone whose name will remain anonymous. Rather than talk about what the subject material of the call was about I am going to talk about what it in part revolved around which is Solid Edge.

I hope my readers know I think of SE as the premier mid range MCAD program for what I do. If you don’t you need to re-read what I have said over the years. From the magic I saw with the very first part edited with Synchronous and through the rough edges of ST1 and 2 and then with the way it should have been from ST3 and on I have always loved the power here. I have recommended and believe sincerely that even the full Inventor or SW shops with gobs of seats should have one seat of SE as a secret productivity weapon using the power of direct editing that they can’t begin to touch.

It is true I am letting my SE subscription lapse on 8-30-15. This has nothing to do though with the power of SE that exists at my fingertips. The power that I still use and then import into Inventor for use with HSM. It primarily is an economic decision based on what I see as the slowdown of new features of use TO ME. It is also because CAM is far more important now and capable CAM like HSM dictates where I need to be. Your needs may be different and you might be thrilled with getting access to SE on a Surface Pro. I still recommend that a shop that is a closed loop manufacturing concern that produces objects from their own CAD designs seriously consider SE. You may decide as I have that the only real value in the future with your subscriptions is updated translators but you can certainly benefit from getting SE into your processes. New to you the power is undeniable and you will benefit.

Throughout the years though SE has been the software that remains anonymous to many because of the people who have dictated this sad result who controlled SE from outside of SE itself. One way or another whether from venture capitalists who bought a vehicle to manipulate quick money out of and had no idea of the jewel hidden within or UGS which desired some technology but could care less about its parent. SE has suffered from what can only be described as benign neglect to outright stifling by those who do not like it. It should not be this way and the primary reason I am leaving SE is because it IS this way.

I am quite certain that many within Siemens and elsewhere think oh good, the idiot is leaving SE and I hope he just finally shuts up. They fail to remember that I did work in the belly of the beast to try to change things I thought were needed through the ground rules they worked by. We see things quite differently I guess. Whole years go by and the marketing people see meetings and busy schedules and think things are being done. I see from the outside no change no progress and no indication they even care about whether the product they want us to buy is made as profitable as possible for us and them. Another year where my income is affected and I can’t get back what I have lost. Remember, corporate marketing and software guys get paid no matter how worthwhile their work or results so they never suffer financially like we business owners do when things are screwed up. They live in a world insulated from the results they produce whereas our bottom lines get directly effected immediately. Is it any wonder why they can’t relate to us?

I hear comments about this John Miller who is supposed to be doing things behind the scenes but you could not prove it by me. His desire to communicate with his customers is zero. Even the comments “he” made on the Siemens BBS were written for him. We as customers make plans that span years and part of what we need is to see that our important components are in place and can be relied upon to stay so and be so in competent and qualified ways. Even worse is that the company that he works for thinks this silence of his is acceptable and they make no effort to change what we see or hear.

What we actually see is only longevity. Mr Big never talks to us and we deserve the respect of being informed of plans for the future. Hearing nothing and knowing nothing is not sufficient and
customers will fill that information void with conclusions over time right or wrong. This is the guaranteed result that is justly earned by a company that evidently does not care enough for us and our future proof plans. No future proof data has been forthcoming. Is there a future besides the one the SW users have been subjected to? Who knows and those who do are not saying.

So we see the ecosystem our important tool is relegated to in the eyes of those who control it. And many of us wonder when the shoe will drop and we are going to be told here is your incentive to buy Catia or NX and your favorite program is now history. And this perpetuates because those who can put a stop to this are not talking. The longer they do not talk the worse our suspicions become.

This is manifest in other ways to. Is the pace of improvements slowing down but you still have to pay each year like those great things are still going on? Of course you do but each ensuing year of this the question of do I need to do this again becomes harder and harder to say yes. There are tons of SW users who are doing just fine with older versions. It is happening with SE is my guess I suspect for the same reason. Note to software companies. If you want to get paid the same each year when you know after a while we don’t call you for support you need to provide worthwhile new capabilities. Worthwhile to users and not the marketing people who have never designed a part and have no clue about what we need and expect.

Attention VARS. If the software you are banking on to earn a living with is subject to a company that has no desire or commitment to aggressive market share acquisition you are in fundamental trouble just waiting to happen. Your success is on the line unless they are fully on board with this concept.

This is one of the topics that fascinates me with Autodesk. They have plans and they are implementing them and the VARS know it. The developers know it and the users I talk to feel it. It is like it was around SE during ST4-5 where people involved with SE at all levels felt things were all going right. The big difference though is that the guy who is in charge of Autodesk is also committed to it. A general rule of thumb in the restaurant industry is that restauranteurs can create and build success stories which are then ruined by the CPA and Banker heirs to the throne who have no idea what brings in customers AND KEEPS THEM. They can’t perceive what drives customers. A smart barbecue restaurant dude makes sure you smell the mouth-watering smoke when you walk or drive by. He just might even get a lot where the prevailing winds mean that irresistible aroma is going to be drifting over the nearby busy street most often. They want you to be enticed and once in the door they have this big-ol reasonably priced menu with great food.

Siemens and UGS controlled SE have no concept of this. They have mediocre people in charge of publicity. Or worse they have people from UGS who try to stifle any attempt. Dassault is not much better and SW thrives as it does from legacy data and people who don’t want to move away from this. And from remnants of the once inspired team that made SW great and who still fight the fight.

What we want and need besides capable modeling is this. Aggressive incorporation of the design software into education and industry. And followup to make sure teaching is current and correct. This is our future work force and we don’t want to have to pay them and train them. We want to acquire trained people. No education system will be interested in what we use and desire to teach it if there is no future for the taught in it. Especially in levels past High School where people are focused on being able to find jobs with what they were taught in. So SW and Autodesk is taught around here because these guys made sure they had industry market share which drive jobs which drives the pre-trained work force which drives use in industry as a percentage which drives more work for those who use common software and on and on this self feeding thing goes. Sad to say SE has been around as long as SW but look at the difference.

In other words a plan and the resolve to execute it to our mutual benefit. Mutual being the key word here. I could care less if you, Mr Big software guy, are profitable if you are not seeking to make me so to and that means more than just the program itself.

We need an ecosystem of integrated apps. These can be a part of the program you author or it can be a partner. SE has never and still does not offer much here. Why this decision has been made for many years and today I don’t know. I just have the reality of few integrated apps. SW and Autodesk have a far different scenario.

We need market share. For the first time in eight years I now have customers that use the same design software I have. Yes SE imports and works with imports superbly. That does not stop customers from demanding you have the same design program though does it? For the first time I have available trained users to hire. For the first time I no longer hear comments like I have never met anyone who used SE before sixty some miles north of SE’s headquarters. Directly and solely the failure of the dictators over SE to care about what we need in the whole to thrive.

What users need is the model Autodesk is operating by. With the exception of the loss of permanent seats which I abhor. Warning to the wise. Make your move before February next year and this will not be a concern of yours.

Value Is Where You Find It

Received my final renewal notice for Solid Edge yesterday. In June I had my last one for CAMWorks for Solid Edge. It is with some very fond memories and some really ugly ones that run through my mind as I ponder the idea of corporate intent and regard for customers. CW4SE of course never had a chance with me again after the debacle of software failure endured at this end from them. They have considerably improved their time frame for releases with ST8 being done a little over a month after release. Technically I could have expected a license for this since the cut off date was 6-15 and my license was good until 6-30 but why ask when I would not use it?

I had a little time under my belt with the ST7 SP1 CW4SE release which appeared to be as good as anything they had produced since the integration with SE. But I was struck at that time with just how cumbersome and time consuming CW4SE was compared to IP HSM and never cut another part with it again. Why take a chance on these guys again when their forums on the SW side are littered with long time problems, like the Tech Data Base which is fundamental to making CW4SE work like promised, that don’t seem to be well resolved since Geometric bought Pro CAM in 2008. When the time to complete a CAM plan took so much longer and was far more complicated than IP HSM.

Solid Edge is of course my favorite design program. Inventor is clunky to me and while part of it is being new to it part of it is inherent direct editing and importing deficiencies. I deal with a lot of imported parts and SE allows me to do what I want right away and quicker than the original authors could in the native program. The direct editing capabilities are far better at this time in SE and this is how I have worked for seven years now. The pace of improvements for SE has dropped off the chart though and the single biggest thing touted this year appears to be the ability to work with Surface Pro’s. Pure window dressing and the equivalent of SW offering two rendering programs at the same time a couple of years ago rather than digging in deep and providing meaningful new functions for CAD creation. It is what companies do when the desire to improve a product goes away for whatever reason and they want to leave it on autopilot because it does still represent income. Plus who could you sell it off to anyway?

The grand total of the maintenance for SE and CW4SE for one year would have been $4,000.00. For a combination of a design program that seems to have peaked and a CAM program that only masochistic people would inflict upon themselves while eagerly waiting for today’s problems to inflict pain on them.

http://descriptive.link/siemens-product-news-sans-solid-edge will take you to Siemens new products page. An industry news letter that talks about software they have. I see interesting things for the high dollar stuff but for SE there is just a silly rendering contest. Why nothing about what SE designs and the cool stuff made with it and case studies utilizing it? Because Siemens does not care to sell or promote SE. The corporate regard for SE shows in examples like this where Marketing and Publicity for Siemens chooses the topic. It could also just be laziness on the part of Siemens Marketing and Publicity where a whole group of people who must have had talent at some time are employed. But Siemens has a culture where if nothing is done and you can pass the buck for another day and not make a decision but show you had meetings you get this big fat paycheck so why work? Why be productive and make decisions that may come back and haunt you?

If I was a stock analyst and I knew how much time and potential was being wasted through this smothering bureacracy Siemens has allowed to develop I would dump my stock TODAY. It is no wonder their profits are down with the massive amount of unproductive overhead they have. I figure the Mr Big over Siemens bought UGS in an effort to make Siemens manufacturing more efficient. Sadly now the short term effects of buying efficiencies have been subsumed into the belly of the beast and the do nothing think nothing make no waves culture reigns supreme. Now put SE into these hands that not only can’t run what they have well but have genuine animosity as the UGS people do towards SE and tell me how bright the future is. Siemens admits they are not as productive as their main competitors and they are going to have to suffer real financial pain before changes are made. I have no idea how you would turn something like this around though when you have trained your workforce to be unproductve and have paid them handsomely to be so. They think it is what you want and the paychecks are proof of it.

I refuse to fund the people who have ruined SE’s future and have deliberately choked off funds to develop it with.

Here is the starkest contrast I can think of between Siemens SE and Autodesk’s Inventor. On one hand we have Mr Big Carl Bass who owns serious manufacturing equipment and has it in his personal shop. He writes CAM programs for parts his two hands and mind produces with this equipment. He is all the time making an effort to be in places that revolve around manufacturing and education for manufacturing. As far as I can tell not only is he in charge but he is committed to the idea that what he does is important not only to Autodesk’s future but Americas as a manufacturing giant. He is a maker of things with his own hands and he gets it.

Siemens has a guy over SE named John Miller that no one sees. No one hears from him and he has absolutely no desire to make chips or promote manufacturing or SE. Unlike Karsten Newbury who while he did not personally cut parts had a manufacturing degree and DID get the idea. Siemens ran him off and replaced him with a mindless drone place holder. This then is the measure of what these two companies believe and think of you the customer. Remember you make a living based upon the software you use and you better think hard about what regard the authoring company has for you. If I was an SE VAR I would be seriously concerned since it is clear Siemens does not worry about the future with anything SE.

So on one hand we have Inventor Pro HSM everything Autodesk has to offer for $10,000.00 and $1,500.00 per year. Over there we have SE + CW4SE at $20,000.00+ and at least $4,000.00 per year and this is far from everything there is to offer. You stick in 5 axis for CW4SE and you are probably up to nosebleed heigths. On one side we have a software company that believes in manufacturing and has spent money to buy the tools to make economical best in class manufacturing a reality if not now in the near future. They make their living off of software and it has to be right or they won’t thrive. On the other we have an ossified manufacturing concern where the software they purchased represents a tiny fraction of their gross and they quite frankly don’t care about you. They bought the software to improve their internal efficiencies. At one time I thought this was a good thing but now conclude for SE users it was not. A program on autopilot in a company that could care less about you is not good.

On one hand we have a company that offers free software to startups and free two axis machining to SW and Inventor users. They desire to be your partner. On the other hand we have, well we have Siemens SE. Run by what’s his face and stifled by UGS hatchet men in combination with Geometric who evidently only cares about your results when the heat is on. Oh, and two axis milling for SW and SE users is $4,500.00. People who like your money but don’t see things as a two way street where the benefits must accrue to both sides of the equation.

I have not made up my mind about SE in the title of this blog. I still really like the program and the Siemens UGS people can’t kill the productivity already there they can only limit it’s future development. I sit here with fond memories and a program that is still my principle modeler. It feels more and more though like Solid Edge belongs in the title of this blog as a memorial to what was and not what will be. Sure do miss you Karsten and what you represented that is no longer here.

Are Marketing and Publicity People really Aliens?

As an aside here. What is it with marketing people? Does their designer bottled water they must consume before any planning is done contain serious sedatives? I am seeing the same thing with Autodesk as I did with Siemens although not as bad. There are lots of things to talk about regarding events and activities already paid for or done. Human interest stories that revolve around software use or the educational field and you don’t see squat. I don’t know who is in charge of Autodesks marketing but the same disconnect as Siemens is there. Why is it so hard for these people to talk about what is here and present and relevant to existing and potential users?

I was told about a Walter cutting competition in Germany I believe it was. Where HSM did really well and the only negative thing was the endmills did not last quite as long time wise as they did in Volumill. Well the physics of cubic inch metal removal rates being what it is I imagine they did not. But when you are cutting parts in less time I know what I want and it is the most metal gone per minute and HSM won that. It would have been interesting to see the total cubic inches removed per tool to. So why has marketing not talked about this and why can’t I get this information to blog about? I have asked and nothing although admitedly I have not asked marketing people for this I have asked others within Autodesk.

Carl Bass was on sabbatical recently but he made time to go by an educators conference and talk about software I presume. He does not need a prompter or a script. He has a passion for this and I hear it was very well received. Is this not a relevant human interest story to CAD and CAM users? Somewhere buried in the files of things good to talk about and already paid for that Marketing and Publicity is so clueless about this too dwells. I would really like to be in the mind of a marketing dude for one day just to see how they figure out what is important and what to talk about. The public face that is the result of their efforts is so alien to me and so lacking for content readily available that I just can’t figure out what makes them tick.

But then I drink spring water and not “designer” water so perhaps I never will understand.

Inventor Pro HSM Six Months In

Sometimes as a blogger there can be a compulsion to do SOMETHING all the time. If you happen to have to earn a living outside of blogging though time does get away from you. Sitting here this morning reflecting on various things and it dawned on me that day by day I have been using a new program for a while now and how remarkably trouble-free it has been. The trauma of CAMWorks for Solid Edge fades into the back ground as time passes and getting caught up in finally starting on my own line of manufactured equipment it’s easy to forget just how fundamentally life has been changed for the better here this past half year.

HSM has been a bit slow in development in some people’s eyes, notably SW users in the pace of improvements. These HSM guys have had a huge job on their plates the last two + years and have done well considering the numbers of people they have to dedicate to it. Speaking of which Autodesk has and is hiring new CAM people and while it will take a bit to get them up to speed these are additional resources being employed to speed the process up. Later this year the move over to some significant new logic in HSM should be done. One can go to the Autodesk CAM forums and read the gripes but I just sit there and think about where I came from and just how bad it really could be for these guys. Familiarity breeds contempt as the saying goes. I just use HSM and enjoy the rapid deployment of CAM plans and go on.

HSM has just plain worked here without any real complications and this is a problem. For a blogger that is. Unlike CAMWorks for SE where there are a ton of things you have to do (And extraordinary program coding complexities that can and do fail on you which is another topic I am happy to not have to rant about anymore) all the time. Or a labyrinth to wander through which can yield a ton of how to or commentary videos and articles. HSM is straight forward and quite simple in comparison. I did a video a while back https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lW6GfkmdSo Considering it this morning and how quick and easy it was to go from A to Z on a basic part and how do you follow that up?

There are other things as you get further into the program for sure but the basics of how to from zero setting to code posting is so simple. That perhaps is the biggest part of the genius behind HSM. Why make things overly complicated so you can try to fit every possible variable known to man? This kind of complexity takes time to use and set up and in the end unless you are going to cut tons of those parts does not benefit you time wise. Most of us would rather be able to knock out a CAM plan quickly with good to great tool paths and be done with it. Do most of us really want to spend hours trying to eke out that last millisecond of cut time? To take the same amount of time that in HSM does a number of parts for oneseys and twoseys or a handful as is typical for most of us?

Templates is something I am slowly learning about. There is not a lot of information out there and this surprises me. It is the way to go compared to trying to shoehorn tools, procedures and strategies into a Tech Data Base strategy which introduces so much complexity to code that it is impossible to do well. HSM is working on Templates and indeed already has more than I thought. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhITd_sAbdk will take you to a most excellent video that talks about setting default behavior and templates. I guess I am like most of us and I learn just enough to get out of the fire but not into the lake. Somewhere in the how too’s and literature I missed this default setting stuff and in combination with setting up templates I can see utilizing this a lot in days to come. It is nice to discover new good things today. I remember dreading every day in CW4SE and wondering what would go wrong now.

HSM is the primary reason I came to Inventor Pro HSM. I have recently started to create my parts in Inventor and as always the new program just does not do it as well as the one you have been using for years. You know, the one you have taken the time to learn. So the new kid gets beaten up on until you take the time to learn it to. Some of the logic behind the Inventor GUI is under my belt now and it is not bad just different. Since integrated CAD CAM is so much more efficient where it is possible the migration to Inventor has begun from SE. I can’t see that there is anything as powerful as Synchronous Tech in Inventor and working with imported parts is nowhere near as efficient in Inventor. How much of this is newby problems on my end and how much is reality I don’t know. For now though I am going to say SE is better by a wide margin in these two areas. The ability to use integration though means more and more all my new parts will be created in Inventor and the end for much work now done in SE is in sight. I am becoming more impressed with Inventor as time goes on.

Six months in to the belly of the beast is a time to reflect upon the philosophy of the company whose products you have bought into. Siemens has basically killed the public face of Solid Edge. I noticed today that even the once super active SE BBS has dropped of a lot in posting. Is it any wonder that people over time respond to what is put before them? 600,000+ posts at the Inventor forum and 60,000+ for SE was pretty shocking the first time I saw the numbers and it kind of put some things in perspective. The larger trained user base and potential for peer work relationships clearly belongs to Autodesk. They have worked for a long time to get here and you benefit from this. I now benefit from this and actually have files sent to me now by people using the same program for the first time in seven years. While I have been sent files from SE users for a variety of reasons they have never resulted in paying work. The closest I ever came to that was last fall and the problems with CW4SE shot that down because I could not guarantee parts delivery with all the problems going on with CW4SE. Let me restate that. I did not even quote the work because who knew when and if I could even do it?

Autodesk is doing everything right as far as I am concerned regarding making a software suite for people to make things by. The only fly in the ointment is this stupid insistence upon no more permanent licenses issued past this coming February. Now I am covered since I do have one and they are not going to stop updates to these as long as you remain current. And whatever you get will be permanent at that point in time if you ever do drop off. The price is right as the industries best bargain for what you get in Inventor Pro HSM or Inventor HSM. I can’t even buy worthwhile CAM alone from Autodesk’s competitors much less have it all from soup to nuts like I now have. Six months in and the value of this over anything else out there for what I do is proven every week.

I have to admit that the idea of no more permanent seats disgusts me. I also have to admit that after the debacle with CW4SE that I am tired of fighting stupidity or corporate arrogance and dismissal of customer concerns. I just want something that works and does so competently and for my days to be as painless as possible. I live in that world now. I have also taken care of my future concerns about stupid rental only data hostage taking. Hey, that’s what it is when you take idiot marketing cubical automatons cutesy verbal slants on reality away from the situation. What do they do when they train marketing people anyway? Do they teach them that by calling the foetid stench from a pig sty Organic Floral Essence somehow changes reality and their clever words really hide things from us? I don’t know about you but it insults me every time these people speak down to me and it seems like every one of these companies hire these goofs. I would rather they just be honest and say something like “at this time we will move to subscription only for new customers in the future. We want to preserve cash flow in the future because we think the world is heading into troubled times and we figure it is better for us and you the customer to make sure we survive long-term.” This is the only true benefit to Autodesk customers I can see out of this whole paradigm as in the end somehow being chattel always costs more and in ways not yet fully apparent.

People you are being warned ahead of time this may happen. Autodesk may not do this at all or for long if the response is bad. I happen to think it will be. Think Space Claim here. The reality is though once you get past corporate babblespeak PR stupidity Inventor Pro HSM is the best buy and getting your permanent seat before February if you are shopping for something new would be prudent. Do I think this data hostage thing is reason to stay away? No. It is reason to however make your move before it is too late and avoid the mess to begin with. There are so many compelling reasons to own this program that along with the price it mystifies me why this is even going to happen. It is the only thing Autodesk has done or is going to do that goes against the idea of value for money and selling new and existing customers on the merits of the program and ecosystem rather than just saying pay up or else. Personally speaking the old-fashioned way of earning my loyalty with value was what brought me here. Were I new and confronted with subscription only I would have walked on by. Time will tell how it all goes but don’t expect me to get to excited or say a whole lot about this. My life raft is in place and I like where I live today.

I can honestly say that today it is fun to work again. Well not when it is 95 and humid but you know what I mean. I don’t know how to calculate the true value of trouble-free productive days. All I can say is that I know I make more money and my wife really likes it when software is not putting me in a foul mood all the time. I happen to like not being in a foul mood to. Make chips, smile, go to the bank and come home to domestic bliss. What a deal.