CAM Fly in the SE Ointment

I have thought for some time about posting on this topic, which is primarily lack of integrated CAM for SE. I have had a stop gap measure in place for some time with VX, now ZW3D for CAM, but in light of what I see to be serious problems for 2012 ZW cam I know I am going to have to finally cut those ties and look elsewhere for my answer. So what to do.

I am completely satisfied with the CAD side of SE and truly believe it is the best midrange MCAD program out there for what I do. But then I also have to produce that which I draw and this has become a real pisser for me.

Rather than create a post from scratch I am going to just quote posts I have on the SE BBS forum today on this topic of integrated cam and a sumation of the replies. The very best solution I could wish for would be quality CAM integrated with SE but I suspect that I will have to buy another companies product well before the glacial progress towards CAM in the SE ecosystem produces anything. I mean SE has had no integrated cam for 24 versions now so why hurry?

I really dislike writing this because I am a huge fan of SE but I am tired of quietly waiting for the bun to be put on the top sirloin Black Angus burger.

“CAM for ST5(or will it be ST9 or never ???)

Yes I know this is not the cam section, but then what is around here. We have Cam Express which is not and probably won’t be truly integrated with SE and from what I hear is way complicated to learn. I know for sure it is expensive and has the cam industries highest yearly % fees BY FAR from what I see. Therefore I declare the SE Cam Express section to be irrelevant and post here instead.

So guys with me sitting here cash in hand are we going to have ST5 rollout and you make me buy cam elsewhere or are you going to get something going and to be announced at ST5? I am not the only one asking and this is a big problem for me. I don’t have to know what program I just need to know it will happen. I have put this off about as long as I can and if I buy somewhere else it won’t matter what you come up with. The money will be gone and I won’t spend it twice just to be here.

If you are going to whip on SW with a big stick start putting some knots on it, know what I mean?”

The reply from someone in a position to know is basically there are no plans for this in ST5 and Cam Express (CE) is the only answer. For those of you interested CE is very proud of themselves in up front costs and then to the tune of like 21 or 22% yearly cost of purchase for maintenance.

“Thanks XXXXXXX for the update. Sadly Cam Express seems to be a solution very few SE users pick for a variety of reasons. Check it out and see for your self when you talk to customers about what they use. Is it the intent of SE and Siemens to just ignore integrated cam for SE? I am not including Cam Express as integrated by the way because we still have to use parts of NX CAD to use it and have to step outside of the SE GUI. I am going to look at Featurecam tomorrow and if I get it it will be probably $16,000.00 or so and I just don’t understand why Siemens/SE don’t want a part of this market.

You guys want to take the throne from SW you are going to HAVE to offer peripheral programs like cam to do it. I think cad with SE is the very best in the market for what I do but then when I make what I design it becomes a problem and I end up looking elsewhere for the answer.

A friend of mine has a machine shop and he bought HSMWorks for cam. It works natively inside SW where most of his files originate from and he loves it. I don’t envy him working with SW but I sure do envy him the ease with which the integration with SW allows his days to be more profitable.”

Reply from another user. “It gets even better. HSMWorks now offers HSMXpress for SolidWorks…and it’s free.”

Yeah I have seen that to. It is still entirely possible that SE will give away their technological advantage over SW by doing stupid traditional SE/UGS type things and I just don’t get it. Six months have passed and hardly any efforts at building the user community, few announcements of any sort with good sustained publicity to build interest by prospective buyers and absolutely NOTHING being done any user can see to add peripheral programs like CAM to the basically non existant SE Ecosphere.

They had great momentum after Huntsville last year and now they will have to pretty much start completely over again with the ST5 Summit. It’s harder to rekindle enthusiasm a second time which they are going to find out the hard way.

All I know is this is becoming a huge problem and a big issue for me. I know in talking to other SE users in person and reading comments here that more than a few SE users share my disgust over this.

Maybe I am wrong about how many SE users actually do anything besides create data and that the vast majority might just never have to make anything with what they create. I know when Jeff asked us to put our candy in the jars at the end of a session in Huntsville last year I was both shocked and disappointed at how few there were in the cam jar.

Are there really that few of you who make things with the data you create? I don’t think so but unless you all start speaking up this problem will remain unsolved. I am begining to think most everyone who uses cam has been forced into buying elsewhere since day one so they have quit asking. CAM Express which is the automatic corporate reply is not a good answer but that is the stock defensive reply to why nothing is done under the SE/UGS and now Siemens umbrellas.

Maybe since users have been forced to buy elsewhere and with money allready spent they have no intention of ever buying into an SE integrated product, I don’t know but this is another stupid self inflicted wound SE did not have to suffer from.

HA HA HA, while I am typing this I get a call from Saratech asking me if I was still interested in Cam Express. I did have an opinion to render of course.”

Reply here was basically we are trying to do something, but nothing is being talked about for details on possible CAM. Users are asked to tell CAM companies of interest they want integratedCAM with SE. OK, I HEREBY NOTIFY ANY CAM COMPANY INTERESTED IN TRUE INTEGRATION WITH SE I AM INTERESTED IN YOU.

“No you are not the problem. I figure it takes at least a solid month of time to learn a CAM program enough to be able to get a good idea if it is suitable for your use. That is a month with few to no interuptions. You try four or five programs and there is almost a half a year gone. In your case where you are soliciting for partners after appraisal of the program you have to discuss/convince a cam company to work with you. Another few weeks per I would think. So there goes seven of your nine months. This integration is a big deal time wise and if you are the only one working at it they have given you an impossible task to do well. I don’t know this to be true but I do wonder how much help you are being given and the level of help is a measure as to how important third party applications are to corporate minds.

I will be meeting with Featurecam again this week and I will make a point of persisting in finding a “Mr Big” somewhere to talk about the idea of tighter integration or at least perhaps a deal for SE to offer it’s users.”

Another user reply,      “….and to think we are told the reason why surfacing takes a back seat is because SE is focused on the Machine and Equipment marketplace and not Industrial Design. So you’d think CAM would be more important then a good rendering. And when you realize how clumsy SE is at doing simple renderings, it can only make you wonder.”

“Yes it makes you wonder how they can be so on track for some things but then lose sight of the practical application of these things. When the day is done someone still has to make this stuff. It reminds me of that wretched Velocity stuff where it was forgotten that without the CAD program backbone the rest of the Velocity stuff was just useless junk. Factories and people who build things made it a long time without CAD but without factories and people who build things CAD would not ever have seen the light of day. It is a shame that software companies forget that so often. But then I only make things and Neanderthal Dave I am sure just does not grok the correct perspective a software user should have.

Render schmender, what use is a pretty picture if you are going to have a hard time making the thing depicted in it. I am going out to my reality rendering device now and make some chips with software Siemens and SE earned no part of.

I am in a poetic mood today and no integrated cam inspires me so—-

There once was a rendering farm

It cost you a leg and an arm

But then in the factr’y

Twas not satisfactr’y

Much to the buyers alarm”

Another user reply.     Dave I guess the problem is two-fold. Firstly, Siemens already has its own CAM solution in CE, so management will never push for a third party solution as it has the “potential” to compromise its own sales. I say “potential” as I think CE is priced as a high end solution and third party solutions tend to be aimed at low to mid market. In terms of better integration, again I just don’t think there is the motivation, as customers using a mix of mid range CAD and high end CAM is probably thin on the ground, so demand is not sufficient to warrant the investment.

Secondly, where is the incentive for the third party provider when your potential partner has their own solution? At least when competing against other third party providers it would feel like a level playing field. It is just not an attractive arrangement.

I reckon the best bet is a CAM Express LITE aimed at mid market, as that seems to fit their strategy. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Well, thinking of what you are saying XXXXXXX and some thoughts.

Catia/Dassault had machining before the aquisition of SW didn’t they? And well after that SW STILL has people like HSM Works introducing cam for SW in the last couple of years. The mindset that built the great software empire of SW has gone away in many areas but even the French guys still understand you are going to make a lot more money by offering things people WILL buy over stuff they won’t buy even if you only get a part of the action. And what the heck, let someone elses developers create something, let them offer it and if it proves popular buy them out and then get all the money with a prior proven product you did not have to develop.

Based on conversations I have with SE users I bet that less than 5% of SE cam users use CE. Now if your thought about Siemens being afraid of competing software costing them CE sales is what their mindset truly is, it is myopic stupidity. SE sales are competition for NX sales by that mindset so why don’t we just shut SE down so NX (and Inventor and Alibre and SW and Spaceclaim and ProE and the rest) can be more profitable?

I do not believe that just because things have been done a certain traditional corporate way means that it was correct. I think this lack of things like cam for SE is a serious problem and I am debating what I may do about it. It’s a rotten way of doing things and needs to live in the garbage heap along with it’s brother “Velocity”.

My primary purpose in commenting on replies here is not to debate with users. It is to respond to user comments. Comments which have their origin in years of neglect and I know it reflects the past and in some ways the present attitude of the company that gave it to them. Cad is coming along so well I almost have to bite my tongue sometimes and not comment on the ancillary problems. However, SE is the only major cad program without cam integration that I know of.

Looking today briefly I see that Alibre, Inventor, Catia, NX, Sw, ProE all have integrated solutions. They all seem to understand that your best customers for new things are your current customers who allready know and hopefully trust you. They understand I am sure that the more you can get customers into your ecosystem the greater the chance they will be there forever.

This will also, sadly I am concluding, be the chief reason SE will not aquire nearly as many SW customers as they should and the quality of the cad program which with the right ecosystem would eat SW’s lunch will instead be “also ran” in market share.




Just as a spot of humor here. Unless you have a blog you don’t know the stuff we get sometimes and don’t allow to be posted because some things are better left alone. I wanted to allow this response just once but did not want to run the risk that by approving it more could slip in under the radar later. So instead we have a screen capture collage. JB, put your hand on the screen, think thoughts of harmony and bliss.  AHHHhhh, there now, don’t you feel better?

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