Tag Archives: Dassault

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.

The Corporate Philosophy of CAMWorks For Solid Edge VS Autodesk Inventor HSM

I was struck by the difference between the public face of Autodesk HSM and Geometrics CAMWorks for Solid Edge (CW4SE) and Siemens Solid Edge last Friday. What started this has been an ongoing failure of Geometric to fix problems that are systemic and pervasive with CW4SE to the point where I just pulled it off my workstation this week. I have been using Inventor HSM for CAM for months now and CW4SE sits idle as I wait for an update some day some month some year. Who knows as Geometric does not keep its CW4SE customers notified about anything. The reason I pulled it off was licensing. Once again for some unknown reason the Sentinel dongle with CW4SE is interfering with the Sentinel dongle from SE and now I have to reload the license file to use SE again. That was it for me. I don’t even use this afflicted program anymore and it STILL messes with my day. This by the way is a known problem that goes back many years on the SW side of CAMWorks and is still not reliably fixed for either flavor of CAM. Funny how I have never had this problem with SE Sentinel dongles for the last seven versions I have been on board for. So, off it goes until the next service pack comes out hopefully within the next six months to maybe fix some of these problems. I would hope it to not be six more months but who knows as Geometric does not tell the CW4SE customers they have treated so poorly anything. No hope, no updates on why things are the way they are and what is being done. I have asked Geometric, yes they do read this blog so they know I have, to come here and give updates or good news or something. They hardly ever respond and I have found this to be typical behavior. Even when I was on good terms with them they had to be pursued for information. I guess their idea of keeping you up to date is hire some PR dudes to make some glossy ads that cover over how difficult this program is to get up and running and to work reliably and to do all these wonderful things they promise. That not ONE single CW4SE customer I know of has seen to date but still they try to sell new potential victims on this efficiency fallacy. Great sounding but completely untrue in the actual experience of every CW4SE user I know.

Speaking of CW4SE customers let us take a peek behind the closed-door of the Geometric CW4SE forum which was started thirteen months ago. (“Program Smarter Machine Faster” right there at the top. Someone at Geometric has a twisted sense of humor.)
CW4SE forum on 3-1-15
There must be very few of us judging by the participation rate here. I found only one mention from Nishant about V2015 where he stated that they would typically release CW4SE within two months of the official SE release in July 2014. Took them four plus and then it was terribly buggy so what we have is still not usable in many cases. No word on why the delay for CW4SE 2015 and now no word on when the numerous show stoppers will be fixed either. It is not like Geometric or Siemens SE don’t know about user angst. They just prefer to ignore the situation when they have no good answers not understanding that silence is worse than saying here is the problem and what we are doing about it. Perhaps they are embarrassed about it all as they darned well should be and don’t want to talk about it.

As an aside here there is a new guy who replaced Karsten Newbury over SE a number of months ago and he has squat to say about anything. No direction, no communications with users and no public face I can find. It is like SE has dropped off the map as far as Siemens is concerned with Karsten’s departure. I am coming to the conclusion that Chuck Grindstaff who is over the Siemens UGS/SE software division, could care less about SE. That he has put a place holder over SE just to say the position is filled. What else can possibly explain why SE has for all practical purposes just dropped off the map and this new guy has had nothing to say and no interaction with users anywhere? I lean towards the idea that anyone who wanted to make SE a true success story has been run off because that is not the desires of those who run it all. I see some really great people leave and in some cases they have told me why. SE is in the same spot now as SW where it appears these lesser programs are not in the future vision of the anointed leaders. This by the way does not bode well for CW4SE victims looking for relief from the nightmare they are in.

So we have Geometric with a proven history of really buggy software and now add in disdain for SE from those who bought it to plunder Synchronous technology from to incorporate into NX and are now stuck with something I figure they don’t want but can’t sell off. Wonder if SE will be subsumed into NX one day like it appears SW will be into ‘Catia Lite”. In the mean time just what are we who have bought into this to think of our long-term futures here? Actions speak louder than words and I do not like what I see and hear darned little on top of that. Thanks guys, glad you like our money but could care less about us.

You know what, if you people don’t like the way I talk about things maybe you could make some sort of effort to give me something good to talk about. When you say nothing month after month what am I to think? My experience in life says that those who keep quiet at the least could care less and at the worst know there are problems and want to hide them. I get tired of having conjecture and lousy reports to give on something I had such high hopes for.

I have watched Autodesk for the past three years and have been quite critical of what I perceived was going to be a cloud only paradigm for its customers. Even in the middle of all that I have to say they were in communication with the world about what was going on. They were working on cloud based programs and told customers about it and then gave lengthy free betas of the products to work with. Things that actually did stuff and not vaporware like Dassault was so enamored of. My main point here is that Autodesk has been the epitome of open for scrutiny. Like or dislike what was going on you at least did know.

So I go to the open Autodesk Cam forum today and read this. http://camforum.autodesk.com/index.php?topic=6395.0

I guarantee you that over in the closed Geometric forums there is not one word to CW4SE users about the current situation with CW4SE 2015. Over on the Siemens SE forums the same thing for CW4SE users. They had a guy show up one time during all this mess and say they were appointing him to “look” into the problems. That has been the totality of the evinced concern for us there. If anything is being done by either company to remediate the CW4SE mess I don’t know because neither group cares enough about their customers to be bothered to tell us. HEY GUYS, you tell me and I will post your words verbatim. Watch me hold my breath waiting for that one.

Here is a little chuckle for the day. http://allyplm-solutions.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-latest-camworks-promotion-dont-miss.html
For $4,500.00 dollars you can have the same capabilities that SW and Inventor customers can have for free. The additional consideration here is that free HSM works and makes your day productive while the one you have to pay for brings a boat load of trouble to its SE customers.

I am reminded on a regular basis of the philosophical difference between these companies and in spite of how clunky Inventor is right now compared to SE seeing more and more value with Autodesk CAM. It is nice to be wanted as a customer of a company that is making efforts to keep you in all the loops as compared to Geometric who wants you to be an ATM and keep quiet or SE where you can use a great CAD tool that “no one has ever heard of” but don’t look for anything else. Let me put it this way. I am excited about the upcoming release of Inventor HSM 2016 and I could care less about SE ST8. I used to laugh at “end of life” SW users and now have to wonder about the same for SE. I am so mad at Geometric over CW4SE and I have progressed from being excited and one of the four original CW4SE beta testers to complete fury over what they have done to the first and probably last shot ever at integrated CAM for SE.

All I can say is that if you are thinking about CW4SE stop it right now. If they started working on it seriously today it will still be some time before they can get it mostly right if they ever do. Software companies do not change things on a dime and Geometric is apparently incompetent and Siemens SE apparently did not care enough to check under the CW4SE hood to see what was going on. Let me rephrase that. Siemens SE did not and still does not even have a real oversight arm to see how integrated partners were doing. Not a stellar combination for you to put money into.

Folks, put 3-23-15 on your calendar as the day when Inventor Pro HSM 2016 will be out and we can check out some goodies worth getting excited over.

And Geometric, that lathe post you promised me in the beginning when I paid for turning over a year ago before I bought my lathe ? The one you won’t give me now but want to ATM me on? Pssst, it’s free for everyone over there with the HSM guys who care if I make money to.

Are You COMMITTED To Your Customers ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Interest No Bloggers SolidWorks World 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discouraging Addition to the Semi Annual Marketing and Publicity Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update 1-23-15

Yoo Hoo John new leader guy looky over here.

Anyone but Solid Edge

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

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

The Builders Philosophy

I have considered for some time that there is a philosophy that directs how programs are focused and who determines or how this is determined. You have people who are convinced that the design of something is paramount and all that happens around after and before is just what follows this most singularly important event. Then there are the guys on the shop floor who know that if it does not work well there it can impact the bottom line of a company far more than the design ever did. Then there are the PLM types that figure it all hinges on them and rather than making the collator organizer type thing PLM is supposed to be they make it the chief entity and all other programs have to be shoehorned into it. Then you have the customer who judges the end result and finds themselves wondering on occasion what genius came up with this mess. Most of the people contacted through my business fall primarily into one category with perhaps another as ancillary to the primary. They may design for instance and they may walk out onto the shop floor and look at parts being cut or talk to the machinist so they have some knowledge of what goes on there but no real knowledge like they have for designing.

I remember about four years ago starting an argument with the SE guys about thread data that would go with a part file. My complaint was the only reason for SE to exist was so someone could manufacture something from it and in order to do this efficiently the right manufacturing data had to be in there. It was not until last year that SE began to fix this so that manufacturing data would be reflected in the actual dimensions on the CAD file. Prior to this point in time for instance none of your surface data could be used in the part. For instance a 1/4 20 thread would not show a .2010 drill hole size but rather a silly .25 hole size. Decisions made by programmers who just could not understand why this was a big deal. Had they been made to deal with the problems this created on a shop floor or CAM program they might have had a better appreciation for the thought that no software meant for any part of the manufacturing process truly is an island by itself. By the way ST7 finally has this fixed right for the first time ever in the history of SE. Why did this take so long? I wonder if it was because they finally decided to consider manufacturing or whether it was the fact that the US military will soon require all correct and actual part conditions and tolerances to be incorporated in the actual part files in design software used for things they consume. But this is a perfect example to me of the divide perpetuated by management and coders that see themselves as the primary entity and not as a part of an integrated system which as an aggregate is in reality the primary entity.

I find very few individuals who have the knowledge that I have and an appreciation for the how it all must work together. When something is done here I design the part, go and program the CAM paths and cut the part, weld the sanitary tubing or sheet metal assemblies. Assemble the product to the degree required and then deliver this and make sure the customer is happy. Every single aspect of the complete manufacturing process I have hands on experience with. I go to the SE Universities and am in awe of the skill level there with some of these guys. They are so far ahead of me in design abilities and I never expect to be their equal in that area. But I am an expert in shop floor procedures and I am good enough at design to create all I produce. I actually create the idea build it and guarantee it and so I have to deal with every aspect of the part. Very few people do. This leads me to the idea of what philosophy determines the content and capabilities of the software that you use.

I have a builders philosophy. I just want what I use to work well and competently with all the other aspects of building real things so I can, well uhh so, well so I can build real things and my living depends on ALL of it working together. This is one of the things that really excited me about Karsten Newbury being in charge of SE. He had an industrial degree and he grokked the importance of how it all must work together. Miss you Karsten and hope you come back some day and they give you the free rein you and the SE customers deserve. It is this world view of software I find missing so often from people who work with software programming who have a tunnel vision and everything else is below them in the “real” world they live in. So these types of people build little compartments where each thing is separate and the manufacturing ecosystem has to go from room to room to work with dividing walls everywhere hindering efficiencies. And heaven forbid the upper management of these companies getting this in most cases.

Last February Autodesk ran an ad during the Superbowl. Well yes it really was an ad but so cleverly done. The dynamics of air flow around a football and showing how it was done. I was floored with the originality of this presentation and it started the wheels spinning. For some time Autodesk was #2 bad boy after Dassault in my view based on my utter loathing, which I still have by the way, for being forced to work on the cloud. Carl Bass had been accumulating essential and best in class components for A to Z manufacturing for a while by then and it dawned on me what he was doing. He was assembling a comprehensive integrated manufacturing ecosystem. He was also laying the foundation to create interest in design/building/engineering amongst the future and existing workforce. Those who just might be inspired by this and end up using Autodesk products while learning in schools and universities and expect to afterwards to when they were in the private sector as employees. So here I was as an SE user watching Siemens cut SE off at the knees and looking over the fence at Autodesk who had a plan and was implementing it. I wondered then and still do wonder if the companies that compete against Autodesk have any idea of the peril they are in with small to medium or perhaps even larger manufacturing ecosystems? I just have this idea of a juggernaut that was being assembled as people watched in shock apparently incapable of reacting in any meaningful way. The really good CAM bits left on the market get snapped up by Autodesk as part of a plan while others who could have done something elected to relegate the idea of complete manufacturing ecospheres as secondary. I was in admiration of Carl Basses plan at that time and said so. Still not convinced though that the cloud was unavoidable with them. But he and they had my attention and I ask questions.

One of the remarkable things I have since found out is that unlike any other CEO or major corporate officer of any other design software company I know of Carl Bass personally owns CNC machinery himself. He makes things and he writes the programs to do this and I have concluded that out of all the corporate executives out there in design software land he is the only one with a builders philosophy. I am completely fascinated with this and regard Autodesk today as the most singularly exciting place there is because the builders concept is being put into place there by a builder.

So far unlike some past acquisitions by Autodesk things are now being handled in exemplary fashion. The fears the HSM users had have never come to pass and they were treated with respect and courtesy and I don’t know anyone who has left. Not that I know many but of those none complain or leave. Delcam is being integrated but not subsumed and don’t hear squat for complaints on the web from Delcam users about all this now. What I am saying is that by all the information I can dig up there have been no stumbles and no duplicitous garbage forthcoming from all this. I was for some time quite angry over the cloud issue and the lack of information about how the future was to be shaped regarding it but this fear has left for me now and I am today a customer. I am seeing a company that is the most transparent about what they are doing amongst their peers and making prices right to be a player with small to medium-sized and above companies who make or design things.

For me with a builders philosophy I am certain you can find singular programs outside of Autodesk that are much better like SE is compared to Inventor. But for the driving philosophy behind what is being implemented and the future roadmap being planned there is nothing else that touches the potential of what I see unfolding today at Autodesk.

Solid Edge, Siemens/UGS and the Inevitable Consequences

So today I read that Karsten Newbury has left Siemens.

Well first off I want to say that there are two people who I hold most responsible for the brief renaissance of SE and a period of time for hope for bigger and better things. Now Dan Staples is high on my list too but for technical reasons and not as a spark plug for serious growth in numbers and community for Solid Edge. Dan is perhaps more than anyone else the reason Don and Karsten had something truly great to sell to the world. But with Don and Karsten was hope for better things personified and moving forward in tangible ways that could be seen and touched.

I remember getting a call from Don about five years ago when I was expressing frustration in public with Siemens who seemed dead set on hiding SE under a rock and keeping it there. He told me he had a guy who was going to call me that I would find of interest. Karsten called shortly after and told me what his plans and goals were and we basically wanted the same thing. SE to take its place as its capabilities deserved as the company that would overtake SW. This began a five-year journey where at times it was kind of surreal. I mean just how in the world a single man shop ends up helping to influence the outcome of the software he uses is still something that surprises me. I guess I was a pretty good litmus test for how users felt about things and so off we went.

I can say as a guy that had a peek way behind the scenes of SE that neither Don or Karsten ever said they would do something and then not do it. They had a vision and goals and were steadfast to both SE and it’s customers as tireless advocates for the product and it’s users. They were serious about SE and us.

While I have fallen out of the “inner circle” so to speak of SE and Siemens and don’t have much contact with anyone there any more I do wish to say this. I have nothing but admiration for Dan and Karsten both as corporate figures and personally. They both had correct visions of how things should be and could be and eminently qualified plans on how to get there. Over the last year and a half though it became clear to me that they were being hampered in their efforts by Siemens.

I knew these guys and their goals and it was clear people above and around them did not share the same vision. Primarily North American UGS guys who had convinced Siemens that SE was a threat to NX. I think they were becoming quite alarmed at how good SE was becoming and the true potential that SE under Don and Karsten represented in possible sales. I consider Siemens to be quite anal and navel gazers to boot who sadly are stupid enough to believe these UGS guys, some of who have had a real hatred of SE that surpasses mere protection of NX sales. They have deliberately starved SE of funds and permission to market themselves adequately and the really sad thing is that this was with the very money SE had earned for itself. It is so pathetic that the public face of SE through the website had an $80,000.00 a YEAR budget and thought control police who hated SE making sure nothing right or wonderful could ever happen there.   Matt Lombard with a following that was staggering at one time was brought in by Don and Karsten as part of a master plan to eat up SW. Right off the bat Matt was shoved of to the side and deliberately throttled and his value to SE killed.

So in my opinion to protect a few lousy seats of their precious NX they sacrifice tens of thousands of SW conversions and increased overall profit for Siemens. And sadly really talented guys like Don and Karsten who are not going to work for people like this forever. Can you imagine being in charge of something as wonderful as SE and then have board room politics by simple-minded venal corporate turf protecting back stabbers shooting you down? Would you stay under those conditions? So the Siemens quality filter works and good people leave and the bad ones stay and now the whole future of SE looks bleak. Yeah, SE is not going away but until there is a shakeup of upper level management SE is doomed. It going to become like one of those little orange and black spotted Salamanders. They are around but you have to turn over rocks to find them. We have now gone full circle and the bad guys have run off the good guys and SE will once again take its rightful place as the best software you won’t hear about. It is clear to me the Siemens/UGS people who hold SE in contempt have won and will win for some time to come.

I would say that it is Don and Karstens gain and Siemens loss but that presumes Siemens even has the corporate mental capabilities to understand that losing a right hand is not a good thing. They can have a bunch of meetings and talk about all this while they try to figure out if losing body parts is good or bad. I guess the old adage about body parts and who really runs things at Siemens is true. The brain says it is in charge of things and other body parts chime in with why they are the most important. But the winning body part of this debate is the North American UGS a– hole that says if I close myself off none of the rest of you are going to work.

Guys, best of luck in your new jobs and I sincerely hope you both prosper at whatever you do. Your abilities and dedication deserve to be rewarded by someone who judges on merits and not short-sighted little boardroom weasels with axes to grind.

An additional comment.

Sometimes the sublime humor in life comes from strange places. Perhaps there is also more than a little bit of truth to saying like what goes around comes around. Just for the heck of it this evening I went to read the spam posts that accumulate with the filter WordPress provides. The post most frequently generating spam mail is, are you ready for this, “The Destructive Siemens Corporate Mindset”.  Uhh well lets see. Brilliant minds think alike,  birds of a feather flock together. Just some amusing thoughts going through my mind right now. Feel free to post any witticisms you might have in regards to this to dear readers.

The Leveling of the Playing Field for USERS

First go here http://www.upfrontezine.com/2014/upf-833.htm and read the theory of CAD commoditization Ralph brings forth. I have to admit to having similar thoughts for some time now and think the handwriting is on the wall for over priced CAD and CAM.

The exception to this will be those who have been sucked into the PLM world and the psuedopods of the Hydra so firmly wrapped around their stuff that there is no escape. At a certain level of manufacturing complexity this is necessary and an evil inflicted upon using companies by vendors that make it so difficult to use that not only do you have to buy the product you have to buy gobs of very expensive tech support. Mainly from people like Dassault and Siemens who are the chief culprits of complexity for their own benefit but others like PTC fit the bill to.

But for the rest of us who use midrange MCAD there is a revolution coming. Remember what the prices for rudimentary CAD was when it all got started? I read of things like $150,000.00+ for one seat along with the custom computer for crude stuff by today’s standards. With the exception of Synchronous Tech which I believe sets Solid Edge above the rest the similarities of all cad programs and their capabilities are sufficient for what you need to make. How easy it is to get there differs which is why all mid range CAD programs will end up having Direct editing if they want to survive with decent market share.

Let us use what I currently employ as an example of a business model which will be under serious attack by the end of this year. CAMWorks for Solid Edge with 3 axis milling, Volumill 3 axis, 2 axis turning and adding 4th axis milling adds up to over $15,000.00 and right at $3,000.00 per year for what ever they decide to put in there and tech support which most use rarely after the first year or so with most programs. Then we have Solid Edge Classic at around $6.900.00 and $1,500.00 per year. Grand total of $21,900.00 up front and add to that another $4,500.00 and your first years expenditure is $26,400.00 and $4,500.00 per year after that. Similar costs abound with most combinations out there for SW and SE with the exception of HSMWorks and SW which can as a package be significantly cheaper than others.

Yes, HSMWorks which brings me to the company that is going to break the back of overpriced CAD CAM. http://cam.autodesk.com/inventor-hsm is the current page for Inventor and HSMWorks. Look at these prices!! Yes I know that Inventor is clunky compared to SE and SW but they are working on it. Seriously working on it. Now how quickly they fix things remains to be seen but for most of us out there based upon the work I see being done with Inventor it is more than capable. I have used HSMWorks and while CAMWorks has some powerful things HSM does not CAMWorks is also far more complex to use and set up. The reality is that if you are a job shop with gobs of differing parts and small runs at the end of the year I think CW and HSM both will consume about the same amount of time to generate plans with ease of use to implement going to HSM as the hands down winner. Unless there is a significant improvement for SE in a revolutionary way and not just the incremental way the last two years have been I will more than likely not ever renew again. I can use SE as it is for the next six or seven years and all the capabilities I need are there. CAMWorks is just overpriced like Featurecam and Mastercam and Surfcam and many others with price tags way up there.

See here is the thing I am looking at. What have YOU MR CAD CAM company done for me lately? Just what is it you think I should spend MY money on? Remember, it IS my money. This thing you are supposed to compete to get not collude to fix prices at an artificially high level. You want me to keep forking out the dough when I rarely need tech support you have to offer genuine improvements that rate buyer loyalty. It is a thing that works both ways you know and what have you done for me that I should reward you with loyalty and money each year is a question most developers would rather you never ask yourself. Now if you don’t already own SE it is worth looking into to buy for at least a year just to get the Synchronous goodies. Like many SW users are discovering as their Dassault sells them down the river you can work many years without being current. Money in your pocket where it needs to be.

I expect that I will soon be buying into the Autodesk HSM Inventor world where I can replace most of what I need for $7,500.00 and $1,250.00 per year after that. For just the cost of two years maintenance with SE and CW4SE I have a new program that will save me at least $3,000.00 per year afterwards. Heck if I need only 2.5 axis HSM is FREE. That is like $4,500.00+ at CW4SE and Surfcam and Mastercam etal. It has been free for some time now and I expect it will be for some time to come. THIS is the commoditization that is going to happen and Autodesk is going to kick the prices down across the board and eat their competitors alive.

The next generation of pricing is right around the corner. HEY you UGS/Siemens SE haters don’t worry about losing sales of NX to SE but rather maybe you ought to think about will SE even keep most of its market share in the coming onslaught. If you care of course. So Nero fiddles for SE at Siemens and the lunatics run the assylum at Dassault and PTC Who is over there while a guy who is really hungry and commited with a vision and the will and power to make it happen plans your demise. I never used to think much about Carl Bass but this is certainly changing for the better as I watch what is happening under his direction.

Update for CAMWorks for SE and SE ST7

Pleased to say that progress is being made for CW4SE behind the scenes. The beta for integration with ST7 will be out this week and if typical patterns are followed the official release will be within a month. Also the work continues on the new Tech Data Base that will allow for real world tools and I presume in time the importing of tool libraries from manufacturers. Of course along with this rework the out of the box tool path strategies will be improved so look for great things in the next year.

I know, next year? Why so long? While Geometric is a pretty decent sized software developer there is a limit to how much manpower they have to delegate to stuff like this and sadly real life things like trade shows and work for others like SW has to be done to. Lets face it here, while the population of CW4SE users is growing it is nothing at all like other specific programs in the size of the user base and they can’t drop everything just to make the new kid on the block happy. This is real life here but I can say with confidence that, and this includes the SW users of CAMWorks to, there is continued development of the new way and as far as I can tell they are quite serious and do not intend to stop. They are aware of how dated some aspects of the program are. Indeed with the work and super competitive pricing Autodesk is bringing to the world with the combination of HSMWorks and Inventor and others are also doing with integrating tool management and libraries and cutting strategies they know things have to advance. I find myself going back to ZW3D on occasion for really simple 2D tool paths. Is it not strange that of all cutting that simple 2D seems to be fraught with more problems than 3D? Strange but true and it is so with most CAM programs out there. ZD does these pretty well or I just happen to know it well enough to make it seem easy. But NOTHING beats the combination of Volumill and Constant Stepover with CW4SE as far as I am concerned. Cut some more dough extrusion dies this week and I just love it when customers call up and marvel over how nice the work is. Keep in mind I did not have to do ANY polishing after the fact to get these up to food grade.

Now we have ST7 to play with also and it is a very good release. Nothing remarkable that I have seen but improvements in how easy it is to do daily clicks and picks. Sometimes I would far rather see these things happen. Dimensioning and picking reference points for example are far easier and how many times a day does this kind of stuff affect you? I have not played with 3D points nor have I made much headway with Keyshot in the brief time I have given to it. Really not all that interested in things outside of my little work world and what is specific to my products. I can say without reservation though that if you are a developer or manufacturer of machinery for food products manufacturing this is where you need to be.

The caveat to this and it is a serious one is that there sadly dwells withing the Siemens Ecosystem a particular individual who will remain un-named who has considerable authority to compromise the future of SE. He is an old time UGS guy and he despises SE. Quite frankly he sees SE as a threat to the giant cash cow NX etal represents to Siemens/UGS and while SE was good enough to develop Synchronous Tech which NX had no clue about it is not good enough to be fairly represented and promoted by Siemens in this mans eyes. For years I had heard this was the case but until I was informed by those who truly know I did not believe it. So SE is once again and still the red headed bastard step child that just wont go away and leave the UGS guys alone. Bet that dude and his friends in high places just hate it.

I know it takes just one rotten apple in the right place to destroy more than you can imagine and the efforts of top flight people like Dan Staples and Karsten Newbury. These guys are the best in the industry and are over the best mid range MCAD program in the industry that has not lived up to it’s potential as far as I can find out solely because Siemens has been convinced it is a threat to NX sales. Heaven forbid that! I guess these people figure that losing all the sales they were virtually guaranteed by Dassault idiocies was not worth losing a few NX sales. Penny wise and pound foolish and all to satisfy the ego of Mr NX who just happens to be an SE hater.

I will say this too. I see these NX camp guys pushing CAM Express for SE like it was a fully integrated program. I am telling anyone who wants to listen this is misrepresentation by them and yes there is a nice CE icon on your SE toolbar but then you have to bring it into NX cad and THEN you get to use CE with it. With CW4SE you have true integration and it works inside of SE with native files and updates and you NEVER leave the SE environment. I get so tired of NX people claiming true integration when it is not. But I expect this from that side of the aisle and from the Siemens SE killers.

Apparently all the user summits and roll-outs that usually accompany new SE releases regionally will not happen this year. I suppose this falls under the don’t want to sell too many SE seats category and I would imagine it has been starved deliberately for funds like so many other things that would have ably promoted dramatic sales increases for SE.

Folks, buy SE and CW4SE because they work well. Don’t buy them because you expect Siemens to aggressively acquire market share you can benefit from with the increased work it would represent. Under the current regime there is no interest in this. It is why the crap publicity and promotion happens year after year. And until this is changed at levels above Newbury and Staples where the real power to determine outcomes resides this is SE’s fate in life. It is indeed “The Best Software Siemens Does Not Want You To Hear Of” and not as folklore has it “The Best Software You’ve Never heard Of”.

Celebrate Fireworks Free July 4TH with Siemens SE Sales Supression Team

I had a young lad from my church stop by Thursday. Like many he has graduated from a two-year community college with an Autodesk oriented study mainly Revit and architectural stuff. He also claimed to have six months of Inventor and some SW under his belt. He was curious to see SE though and I always make time to show anyone who is interested. He has been working sweating copper for an HVAC company doing installs for Walmarts. He decided that he did not like the boss though and quit. Now in this retarded Obama economy he is finding out that work is hard to come by and he stopped in to see what I am doing and to see SE.

So I run through some SE stuff for a while and listen to the oohs and aahs that you hear from Inventor types and SW types when you start in on the direct editing goodies. And I get to sit there and grin when he says how long it would take to do these things in SW or Inventor. But then we get into the serious life questions that revolve around this kid getting work and a future. And we get into the serious questions of a potential employer not being able to find the skills he needs in potential employees.

Of course the local college is teaching Autodesk and SW. They all do don’t they? Now this did not happen by accident it was by design with companies that have the ability to be forward-looking and to plan a market conquest based upon creating a need and a labor resource to fill the need. It is called smart business and planning and laying a foundation for the future. Of course this is something the overlords of SE have never done from Integraph until today where Siemens with huge financial power continues this legacy of ignoring the best mid range MCAD program out there. So I sit here with this young lad and ponder this situation that bugs the heck out of me. Namely the idea that Siemens SHOULD be seeking larger market share for the benefit of all involved with SE. But oblivious to things that would benefit their customers and drive more sales for them we see nothing. Again and still and apparently forever.

I look at yet another prospective employee that has no skills I can use unless I am willing to teach him SE. And I would have to be the one to do it because it is not taught by any school I know of closer than a 75 mile drive for him each way to UAH in Huntsville. And even then the instructors in Huntsville are stuck on lazy and do not teach anything about SE ST SIX YEARS AFTER IT’S RELEASE. I figure it is because they might have to be bothered to learn something new before they can teach it. Yes you heard this right, they only can be bothered to teach ordered. And yes Siemens does not police what is done with contributions here so these students never see the most powerful part of SE. It’s no wonder why the adoption rate of ST is so darned low. How are people supposed to know about and be inspired about ST if Siemens can’t be bothered to get behind SE and push this technology? Osmosis? Siemens is truly anal and retarded about this and it just furthers the idea in my mind that they bought SE by design for internal use only. Buy SE because it works for you not because Siemens will work for you. If you are looking to buy SE you better think hard about this. This kid CAN however go five miles each way to Columbia Community College and be taught SW and Autodesk stuff. By design and by plan there is work out there for people trained in virtually everything but SE.

I find myself in a sad position with people and SE nowadays because what I say can influence life changing decisions. I do not try to talk people into buying or using SE anymore because there is just no work out there for them anywhere close to where I live and after five years I have given up on Siemens trying to change this situation for the better. I do highly recommend SE under these two following narrow sets of circumstances. If you are like me and you do design build under your own roof and are basically a closed complete manufacturing entity you absolutely can not beat the power of SE. Bring in your customers files or do your own and then make the designs become reality better and faster than any other way. The second is that I recommend for those shops that have multiples of seats to get at least one seat of SE to deal with imported files and editing quickly internal files that would otherwise consume whole days to fix with SW or Inventor. But your primary customers will in all likely hood be using SW or Inventor and they will expect you to do the same. Refer back to the shrewd planning idea that the masters of SE have been bereft of since the very beginning.

My advice to this kid was I will teach you how to tig weld. There are ads in the paper for welders. I was not going to waste his time and mine teaching him SE when I know he can’t find any work with it. Once again I come face to face with eventually having to train someone how to use SE if I ever hire a designer. Or buying a seat of Inventor or SW and bypassing the training hassle. I hate to say it but my up front costs as an employer will be far cheaper with software I can get trained users for. This is the reality of the world that has been inflicted upon SE by idiots like Siemens German Management Experts. At least they do meetings well and the meetings to plan further meetings bit to.

I am getting really soured on the SE ecosystem. It seems like every time I turn around there are roadblocks placed before the usefulness of SE to me as a company if I step outside of the narrow range of design build under my own roof with just myself. SE does not get me a single bit of work because I have customers that use it. At this time not one does. SE does not provide me with a potential trained work force because students choose to learn SE based upon the idea they will be employed using it. Students just 75 miles north of the SE headquarters have never even heard of SE and when they and the colleges look at help wanted boards SE is absent there to. So just why should the colleges and students be interested in something that will gain them no work? Answer, they aren’t. So we have these inflicted wounds upon the body of SE that have no relationship to the outright capabilities of SE but have as its sole source owners of SE stabbing SE in the back. Time and time again and year after year they inflict these wounds upon SE.

For five years now I have fought to change this and I have just given up. These Siemens people are truly terminal adding to the long list of idiot owners where SE is concerned and who do not care. I have nothing but the highest regard for Karsten Newbury and I know he gets all the right things and wants the right things to happen. Siemens shoots him down all the time. I am only going to say this one time but I mean it. Karsten, if this is the way Siemens is going to do you why stay? Why not join the others who are leaving because Siemens is NOT going to ever get behind SE as far as I can see and you can do far better than this for yourself. Siemens is not going to give you the support required to make SE #1 and in truth they could care less about that whole idea anyway. So where does that leave you? I don’t know how much time you might spend thinking about this but I do and I wonder where it leaves me as a small business owner. Artificially crippled by idiots in Siemens Germany Muckymuck land is what I am thinking. The dead and utter silence since SEU 2014 does nothing but confirm this to me. Not a word about the Summits this year and just space-filling SEU2014 junk on the official blogs. The CADCAM blogosphere seemingly could care less and has nothing much to say about the best software no one has ever heard of. Every day I can read a lot of stuff from individuals and companies about Autodesk and SW but not SE. I don’t have to be there to know that Siemens has cut the purse strings to SE and that they do not care what happens to SE nor do they care what their existing customers think of all this. I can look around me and see what is being done and make this most accurate judgement based upon what I see in the real world. Quite frankly I doubt entirely the idea that SE is #2 in midrange MCAD and I figure it is another thing pulled out of some marketing guys rear end. No provable numbers and no corporate office that cares and you can’t be #2 under this kind of environment. But you can however put a smiley face on this mess because smiley faces are free and within the Siemens authorized budget for SE.

The only hope for SE as far as I can tell are right minded VAR’s and they are the only ones doing good work and trying to get the word out there. They appear to be the only ones who really care about the future of SE. I think of my VAR which is Ally PLM. They do a superb job of support for SE as a product and me as a customer. They care in all the important ways that the Siemens Overlords do not. Heaven help SE if these VAR’s ever get tired of all this.

So Happy Fireworks Free 4Th to you all at Siemens and may you enjoy contemplating the environment of externally imposed failure you have created for SE.