Tag Archives: Proe

Industrial Psycholgy 101, Camworks for Solid Edge-SolidWorks and Solid Edge

I am going to try to make a point here to these two mentioned software authors but in truth it applies to every program out there in some way. Why are simple things left not done because, well because I don’t know. It baffles me why the authors deliberately leave these loose edges for every user to have to deal with.

Here is an example from SE. Now this is being worked on finally but there is a principle here I am going to touch on. Why oh why have users been told from day one until now that if you don’t like the thread data here is where the text file is and you go edit it? We who write these programs and do not have to make things with these programs see no reason for you to get accurate manufacturing data from us on threads when after all you can do it yourselves appears to be the principle here to users. After 20 versions of SE and six versions of SE ST the data for threaded holes is finally right but threaded shafts are not. Now let me explain something here. It is not that we users can’t change this on our own. It is that we resent this having to be done at all. So the answer for many of us, and you may not understand this at all but none the less it is true, is to get mad for years over this and post notes on our drawings that can and do get messed up. Our answer is not to go in there and do your job for you but rather to resent this every time we send money in or work on an effected file. Looking into my own mind and assuming this is a typical response my choice, irrational to you guys or not, is to get mad. We EXPECT these simple basic things to be right for the money we pay. We do NOT expect to be told that our time has so little value in your eyes that each and every user has to make these edits on our own. How about we have hired you guys to do this right and you need to put your intern on this. Here is the equation to keep in mind. One guy x hours is what we pay for and not 50,000+ users x hours. Kinda get my drift here and see why users resent this stuff? This one has popped up at the BBS periodically so I know others feel this way.

Here is one from CAMWorks for SE and I understand SW. It is the pitiful tool library that was put in the program from day one and NEVER updated. The difference here though is that users are forced into correcting this because the program will not work right without you doing do. So once again lets look at the human equation of one guy x hours is what we pay for and not ???,????+ users x hours. When I finally get my seat I will have to add one by one every tool I use in there. There is not one 135% split point bit in there. There is not one type of coated carbide endmill in there. There is not one three flute endmill in there. There is not one five flute endmill in there until you get to .75″ and above. So here we have Volumill as an important part of CW4SE and SW and there is not one thing in the TDB that reflects that this program is even there. The answer is, that is the lazy programmer and software authors answer is, well we know you will need to set this up to reflect your unique and individual needs. So here I am, a user and the first thing I am expected to do is create a tool database to work from. We are each and every one of us expected to manually addin everything we use. You can’t import a data base here by the way is my understanding so it is one by one. Now I get that proffered cop-out that well we can’t tailor make this for everyone and everything. I understand evasion of responsibility to give your customer a better out of the box experience because you are to lazy or cheap to do so. How ever, you do understand someone will have to do it and who does it as long as it is not YOU is fine with YOU. This is something that will offend every looker or buyer. No it is not a show stopper but it is a major days long irritant that we users all will have to suffer under. A three axis mill package with lathe and Volumill is north of $15,000.00. Buyers expect these things to be taken care of up front and if you think it does not aggravate us, think again. It is expected that there should be a decent and complete tool library. See Surfcam’s tool library for a great example. Gosh looky you mean it can be done? Yup it sure can Ethel. We can fine tune things from there. The whole idea of feature recognition with CW is powerful. And it would be far more immediately powerful with a real tool library. I bet your demo guys would sell more to if this was in there by the way. Instead you say here it is and it is great and after a couple of days of work your tools will be ready to be a part of this. And don’t ask me what I think of the procedure to add these tools in by unless you want an earful.

Part and parcel of customer satisfaction is the implementation of practical databases and libraries that reflect what we all have to deal with. When a customer starts to dig into the program these things are expected as a part of the purchase. Useable information to be incorporated into whatever we are doing with minimal input from our ends. These things are cumulative and if there are enough of these irritants it results in alienating potential customers and in aggregate perhaps eventually running off existing customers when they find a program that does care about these things and does the rest to.

OK you industrial psychologists, you want to make more sales and happier customers don’t look exclusively to tabs and layouts on tool bars or ribbon bars. Don’t limit yourselves to vernacular and syntax. Find out some of these simple but egregious things in our eyes and measure user satisfaction incorporating this to. A powerful sales tool, at least it would be to me if I was looking, would be how complete the implementation of your program is to immediately produce trouble and hitch free workdays. In this day of the internet you can run but you can’t hide this stuff from people any more.

SolidWorks, Direct editing and Data Hostages

Over the last week I have had an opportunity to see exactly what SW has when they talk about direct editing. Really the claims made for direct editing capabilities have been there for some time but I never thought to go and hunt down specific examples that included screen captures of actual parts being worked on. Silly is it not? I know the power of the web to find information but sometimes it seems I get a mental block about using tools right at hand to verify comments, claims and opinions. This led me this morning to go further than just looking for videos of actual parts being edited and into the reality of SW’s failure to have more than the most crude and rudimentary form of direct editing known as move face. It appears their only answer seems to be Catia Lite. So, What do I base this on.

Bertrand Sicot, CEO of SW whose opinion and comments might be better informed than most about what is going on over there had this to say in September. This is not ancient history nor can it be misconstrued. It is their road map and you don’t have to like it. Embrace the new

And I quote,
“Direct Modeling

Direct modeling allows a digital connection from concept to detail design by paramaterizing the model after the initial design. While other CAD vendors have either purchased or developed their own direct modelers, Solidworks has remained the lone holdout.

Last January the company announced that it was working on a product called “Mechanical Conceptual” that would support concept design. Solidworks now has 10 customers using Mechanical Conceptual and plans to make the product generally available in January 2014. According to Bertrand Sicot, when Mechanical Conceptual is released users will be able to create concept geometry and then fluidly pass that into the Solidworks detail design environment and back.”

Ha-Ha, when it is released. Originally scheduled for release about the time Sicot made this speech it has been pushed back until next year now. It appears to be following the same development path as so many other Dassault SW related attempts these last few years where if something actually even makes it out of the door it is flawed and problematical. DAVE, how can you say that about Mech-Con? (well I liked the abbreviated title an industry analyst gave this program even if you don’t 😉 ) Based upon the sterling achievements these Dassault guys have had these last few years with all the SW stuff they have tried and failed at do you honestly think things are OK with Mech-Con? Kernal translation joy I suspect. There is a reason so much of the Dassault stuff is kind of Freudian and I bet CGM really is turning out to be Concentrated Geometric Masochism in Mech-Con. Of course all this idle conjecture and these evil aspersions could be swiftly ended by Dassault actually doing something right for once. I still think Dassault may be seeing bigger dollar signs outside of pure cad creation and may be trying to figure out a way to make money out of “socializing” their users. I don’t mean the worthless Obama commie stuff but I mean it in the Google and Face Book sense of the word. It seems to be all about the cloud and 3D Experience and design by committees of hundreds over the web. No problems there Eh?

I want you readers to try a test here to ascertain the interest of Dassault giving you this tool of direct editing. Google “Solidworks Direct modeling” 681,000 hits and when you dig into some of them a bunch are talking negatively about it, as in SW users. SE has 3,150,000 hits on this topic and of course most are discussions and not demos but dig in there a bit and see the topical contrasts. And note that according to SW they have four times the subscribers. Now Google SE and SW with “direct editing”. 53,900 for Mega Number#1 SW and 1,600,000 for SE. Now try the same searches adding Video to the string and we get things like 1,660,000 for SE and 470,000 for SW. Now obviously a bunch of these are not actual videos and indeed in any of these categories I am asking you to type in the majority are not strictly what we asked for. BUT you can go through these and get an accurate picture of where these two companies stand on their opinions of the usefulness of direct editing, their commitment to bringing useful tools to users, (and yes I consider any company that does not have more than the most crude forms of direct editing is leaving the most single powerful productivity tool now out there from their paying customers) and the response from actual users where the rubber hits the road.

You need to look at a real version of direct editing before you dismiss it as the powerful tool it is. I believe with my own out-of-pocket money that you can’t beat Solid Edge and ST. I believe in it enough that I spend my own time and dime talking about it and let me assure you I don’t get one thin dime in any way from Siemens or SE. I have to pay my way at the Universities,buy my blog site and the computers I use, buy my software and if I am late like I am this year on renewal they graciously charge me interest on top of the yearly fee. (Then these same guys turn around and want me to help sell seats for them 😦 Quite frankly they make me mad sometimes but I have to remind myself that I started doing this because I wanted to and that reason is still valid.) But I think that in the community of all cad users once you get past the fanbois stuff if you are going to be an advocate you ought to at least have a good reason besides being a zealot. I talk about SE because it interests me as software and because I honestly believe it is the best value and most useful MCAD tool out there. The guy that talked me into SE ST saved me a ton of money and time over the years and maybe I can pass that on to you. I know I appreciated it. This little journey into the world of SW and move face has been an eye opener. I know I spend my own money and so do you, or your company does. I know I hate getting bad information that I will later be spending my time and money on. This is precisely why I am here with SE and Siemens. There is a proven track record of doing what they say they are going to do and bringing the single most powerful tool in the design world to you, ST. I get a chuckle out of those bemoaning old kernals when I think well yeah, some people can do new things with proven “old” technology and others can’t.

So what really is left for SW users. Three things I believe. They get to work with a design program that is quite capable but is quickly falling behind the productivity advances being made elsewhere. It is still the largest single user base with the not insignificant benefits that can bring. And finally they are data hostages whom Dassault hopes will have to stay because the perceived grief of changing will be too onerous. I see only one compelling reason here in market share and it is going to diminish. In the mean time I am bringing in your MCAD files and doing things quicker than you can with your own created data. Is there something wrong with this picture?

I believe, and so does Dassault because they tell you so if you care to listen like Sicot did in September, that you SW users are in for turmoil and forced change anyway. I think it is patronizing corporate-speak when these Dassault guys tell you your beloved SW will not change. You are soon not going to get the choice of continuing on as you have been accustomed to with your old familiar tools unless you drop maintenance and stay with a particular version. That has a price tag to and you all know this. Or you can make a rational decision to pick the change you are going to be inevitably forced into. You don’t have to like it but you WILL have to deal with it. I think of all the programs out there switching to SE is more painless than anything else and I am betting far less painfull than the migration from SW to Catia Lite will be. Change brought to you by Parisians that have forgotten what made SW great or change brought to you by SE with stable planning with attention to what users want with far more productivity.

Editing Around a Pattern, Solid Edge for Manufacturing

This one is for you 3D. Let us try a little more complicated edit which SE breezes through.

Here we have a “Magazine” that feeds capsules into a machine that will fill them.

complete magazine

There are feed problems with the original factory parts and we are changing the end of the magazine assembly to a rounded instead of angled feed end. While doing so and being in a hurry and having three different change requests thrown at me I see a .02″ offset that could conceivably hang a capsule up. Now I think the chances are really slim this would happen but we are going to eliminate this. Now as you look at this part remember that both ends could have been just as complicated and the edit would work in the same exact fashion so this is not a situation where I am fudging things by leaving the XYZ zero point on a simple set of corner faces. It is just how this part is made and since it is a real world part how it is going to stay.

Magazine close up

Now keep in mind as you work in Synchronous the direction you assign to dimensions is important and good habits here will save you trouble later. I assign (lock down) directions where ever possible radiating out from my X Y Z zero point. I also assign the right rear top corner of the part whenever possible ( or the imaginary corner of the block of stock this will be cut out of if there is a corner round or radius at that point. ) as XYZ zero because someone will have to make this thing and you might as well anticipate how they will have to set up to cut it. One of the BIG things to remember here is to check and see that you have as few dimensions as possible to make the part work. You will find that there is a tendency to apply a dimension twice to the same feature as you work without realizing you did so. For example it is easier than you think to have a block and assign a “z” dimension twice to different corners because you did not quickly see the first one. One of the two can cause you problems especially if they are directed to be locked down for different relationships. So look twice and clean these things up or better yet learn not to do it. When you are working with faces and features that can interrelate you can cause problems that can be solved but may take extra trouble to do so. If you want certain behavior to happen just turning live rules off to complete your edit can defeat this and though it is the quick and easy answer to almost all problems caused by dimensions you want to learn to work with rules when you need to have predictable behavior in selected features. Holes constrained as a set for instance where you don’t want to have to pick each feature for an edit but would rather just click once and edit.

Let’s edit this part.

Cookie Dough Die Round to Ellipse, Solid Edge for Manufacturing

Here we have a part that failed to produce like the customer wanted. Using a similar die for testing the deposit was elliptical in shape and the deposit needed to be round as in round cookies. The solution was to redesign the die and create elliptical cavities that would yield round deposits and send the customer a screen capture and drawing for approval. So follow me as I edit this part. I have to admit that I can barely remember how clunky life was in a pure history based world and man what a difference.

Now I thought this would be a CAMWorks post too but my temp license ran out. My first time updating this file there worked and did so flawlessly updating ALL the changed geometry and tool paths with a couple of mouse clicks. Sad to say as I redid this video it never worked again so blame the license gremlins. It was nice to sit here tonight though and edit this part with ST and then step over to CW4SE and do an update and it all went so quickly.

You know what? Time IS money and I can’t fathom wanting to work any other way ever again.

Join with me as I edit this part.

CAMWorks Handbook 2013

We all look for information that can be used to our benefit and of course I have been searching for info on CAMWorks for Solid Edge (CW4SE). There is not a whole lot of information out there yet and looking through YouTube videos and online searching does not reveal much. Geometric was supposed to be looking into a forum for CW4SE users but as of today no forum and darned few videos either. They are falling down on the job here sad to say. There is a lot of similarity between CW4SE and CW for Brand X though. It is my hope that Geometric would open up the CW4BX (Camworks for Brand X 😉 ) forum to CW4SE users though. I understand that they may not want us posting over there but the CAM problems that those guys run into will be the ones we will also run into I would think. I have asked that they open it up for us to be read only but no reply to that idea as of today.

As an aside here and speaking of forums and the Siemens BBS. I wonder if any of the mucky mucks in PR and Marketing have noticed that the guys that don’t wear suits, that be you SE users by the way, also have the largest number of posts BY FAR in SE Misc over any other category. Perhaps the SE guys should be dictating what goes on there since clearly the SE users are the most active. Perhaps the lack of starch and suit jackets in our haberdashery and attitudes just might be a good thing for the whole BBS and Community sites to embrace if they want lots of readers. Just a thought and this thought not approved by PLM World, Darth Vader nor the masters of the straitjacketed public face of Siemens. In addition here is a link that is up to 52,000+ views as of today that ought to be making these straitjacket guys rethink their isolation from the real world. I wonder just how prolific the sales of SE really would be if the corporate marketing and PR roadblocks to success were removed?

In the mean time let me get back on track here and ask you where do you go when it is after hours and you want a question answered? The best solution I have found is the “CAMWorks Handbook 2013” by Michael Buchli and here is the web link http://shop.camworksguide.com/

This PDF also comes with 80 minutes of video and of course when you are banging your head on the desk at 10:00PM or on the weekend and wondering how to do your part tech support is not available. Not that any of us ever find ourselves working past 3:30 in the afternoon and never on weekends of course. $49.95 gets help on your way and I have bought it and I consider it the best single resource I have found yet for CW4SE. You SolidWorks Camworks users should also look into this and for the price how can you lose?

CAMWorks 4 Solid Edge Comments and Thoughts

In a bit of a holding pattern for now until September for posts on actual CW4SE parts I will be working on. However there is a bit of news and a bit of reflection and comments upon CW4SE.

As of right now there is no forum for CW4SE. The official Geometric forum has a section for SW users only and this should be changing soon and will include a section for SE users. Even though the basic program is the same it has been Geometrics decision that SE users should not have access to the SW users forum. Since both are closed forums I guess that you must have a seat of one or the other to access them. I have no idea what will be there and it is a shame that years of experience as cam users on the SW side of things will be roped off to SE users but with the politics that could result I guess I can understand why the two will be kept separate.

I don’t think SE at the official BBS site has any intention of having a forum either and the one time I mentioned a need for one it was met with a rather curt reply from a Siemens guy that this was Geometrics job and not Siemens. Sometimes I wonder about who talks to who and who plans these things as I would have thought that a forum would have been planned and who was responsible for what would have been picked and resources dedicated. Support for CW4SE is important and unless the VAR’s are slated to fill this area I am not sure how smooth the initial support for CW4SE will be. I think this gets back to the Dart Board idea I promulgated some time back where planning is chaotic and meetings are had to decide what to talk about in the next meeting and then another one to determine if the first two meetings were effective and on and on they go. People, time passes and this is a roll-out of a new product and an important addition to SE’s ecosphere. It is important to get this right and we are months after SEU2013 and this forum is still not established. But beyond the forums there is another category and it is who does your potential VAR have as a trained support guy? CW4SE is a new integration with SE but it is not a new program. I am hoping all the major VAR’s intend to have a veteran of CAMWorks for SW on staff to answer questions on the CAM side. The program is the program and if your VAR is intending to provide support based on freshly trained guys who have not themselves cut chips with this program it could be a problem. Make sure you ask your VAR of choice what he intends to do in this area. I have no idea what Siemens official policy is towards mandatory minimum support required of VAR’s to sell CW4SE and so it is left up to the buyer to be aware of this. Make sure your VAR can support you before you buy would be my suggestion.

There is a book out there, “The CAMWorks Handbook 2013” that is for the SW integration that looks interesting. Obviously the CAD side of it is for “Brand X” and includes nothing for direct editing 😉 but from what I have read and seen with the CW4SE manual given out with the program (I assume it will be the same one I was given during beta testing) it may be a decent alternative learning method for the bits and pieces of CAM needed to decide what features are needed to do differing CAM plans. Disregard the constant references to the class B modeler and you should be alright. If I order the book I will report on what I find.

There have been webinars from various VAR’s out there. I don’t know what all of them are doing but I do know that Saratech has a veteran CW user running theirs. Now is the time by the way to tell your VAR’s that you expect at least one guy in the organization that has actually cut chips with CW4SE to be there for support for CW4SE. Remember that the only time you have to get your wishes across to these guys is going in so push for all you can before signing with one.

On the program front as planned and announced some time ago September is rapidly approaching and working with assemblies will be an additional function to be released then. I don’t know what else is coming out and as I have reminded people if they want it talked about they have to release information. Hopefully this will happen soon.

In any case I expect to have my seat soon and then it will be on to some real parts. One thing I will be interested in is how CW4SE will work for a small shop like mine where automation and the Tech Data Base setup is not so beneficial. I want to just recognize features I want to pick and go from there and also avoid populating the TDB with my own tools so I can just pick them as I go. For instance, the TDB has a lot of tools in it but not one three flute endmill. This is the preferred endmill for cutting aluminum and as it is recommended by Volumill for just this I am surprised that Geometric did not have any of these in the tools for milling section. The TDB is an area where there could be improvements made and from what I gather in talking to some SW users of CAMWorks they agree. Now the TDB is a powerful tool for automation and I think is particularly beneficial for larger shops with a system set up for tool and machine management but this is a little complicated for those who just want to pick a tool, or input the cutter data individually for each tool path and go from there. In My old program for instance I can scroll through a list of tools and just pick it and edit it right there if I need to and save the new tool to the library. Far easier than this TDB thing is. Of course I am quite familiar with the old program and not CW4SE yet so my opinions here could change as get used to using it. It would be nice if Geometric would allow for the importing of tool libraries into their TDB from manufacturers but as of right now you have a tedious excel like chart to fiddle with and you have to add these things in one by one. It would also be nice to be able to do away with having a tool library required to create a cam plan and just pick and assign tools to the cam plan and have it be remembered as tool whatever in spot whatever and then just save it. Automation is really cool for those shops that want or need it but some greater consideration for those shops that don’t want this would be nice.

One of the things I really liked during beta testing was the constant step-over tool path. I was over at the HSMWorks forum the other day and they were complaining about how tough it is to get a constant scallop heighth there. Kind of like I use to have to do with ZW3D you have to create different tool path stepovers at differing places in the part to get a really consistent finish on the part. So you end up with four or more toolpaths to do almost as good as the single toolpath in CW4SE will get you quickly and easily. Just a word here by the way. I find some of the CW4SE GUI to be clunky and some of the nomenclature to be worded in such a fashion that it is hard to remember what it means. So welcome to the real world where no program is perfect and they all expect you to learn according to the idiosyncracies of each different set of programmers. Many of which I believe don’t really grasp what actual users want because they have never cut chips and don’t understand our work flows and the reason for how we choose our work flows. The programmer liked it and it made sense to him so it must be right, right? But don’t mistake my grumbling about these things to be really serious objections to the program as a whole. I know enough about it to state that the improvements to my bottom line for cutting efficiencies will be large over time compared to programs I have used in the past. And of course the fact we now have true integration between CAD and CAM.

The insanity of allowing programmers who have not cut chips to be the final determiners of how a program is set up to work for users is a topic for another day and I am of the opinion far greater heed to user wishes should be made. I am afraid that with Geometric, like most other software authoring companies, once the program gets out the door the silliness is programmed in and it will take an act of God to get programmers to understand that just because what they did can be made to work does not make it the right way or the best way to work and to then fix it. Kind of like how dumb is it that SE still after all these years does not yield accurate manufacturing data for threads but someone in Programville decided it was OK so every user subsequently has to struggle with this. I bet this comes back to haunt them as how can they recognize accurate manufacturing data on holes imported from say SW if they can’t do it for their own program? You use software to design or cut I am sure you have pet peeves based on programmers choices too and this problem is everywhere.

The Parable of “O’Charleys” Restaurants and Solid Edge

O’Charleys is a restaurant chain based out of Nashville TN that I used to do a lot of work for. In years gone by they had franchise holders and one of them owned a store on University Drive in Huntsville not far from SE’s headquarters. And it is this store where this story began.

My wife had been a server at O’C’s for a while and I had worked on probably over a hundred of their stores by then. We were very familiar with the standards that were supposed  to be in place for service and hygiene. At that time they had the best Prime Rib you could buy and so we decided to go to this store for a meal.

Well we get in there and sit and wait. For quite a long time actually before the waitress could be bothered to approach us. In the mean time I go to the restroom and come back out with a bit of disgust as I tell my wife what a foul smelly cheap bar place it was. Still no yeast rolls and these were supposed to be quickly presented according to corporate policy. None was ready it seems and so the waitress could not bring them out until after we had our salads. Big no-no and the server attitude was lackadaisical at best as she was more interested in talking to friends than customers.

I came back to the Commissary operations for O’Charleys which was in Nashville and my biggest customer at that time and told some of the people there how awful the meal was. Their comments to me were “did you tell Wayne (franchise holder who also had an office there) about this? I was a little hesitant to do so but they prevailed upon me and I did so. Talked to Wayne about it and described from beginning to end what I saw and experienced there. Wayne did not have much of a response and I left his office.

A few weeks later I ran across him and asked him about the store and this is what he said. He went down there and walked in unannounced for a surprise little visit and it was every bit as bad as I said it was. He spent some days there getting things fixed up again and firing the managers that had allowed this to happen. I asked him how this situation had occured when the store was just a two-hour drive away from the offices in Nashville and easily checked on.

Wayne went on to tell me that the numbers from the store were decent and based solely upon this there was no reason for him to go there. He had six other stores  so I guess he would concentrate on the worst one only. I don’t remember asking him about this so I can only conjecture.

Some time  later I asked Wayne about that stores numbers  and he said that after his surprise visit and  ensuing cleanup and management purge there was a pronounced uptick in sales.

The moral to this story is that numbers only do not tell the complete story. Here we have Solid Edge whose numbers are decent and sales are going up in spite of how the help is presenting the “food”. They should be and could be much better is my belief.

It is not just the basic quality of the food you sell but it’s appearance and presentation too. You can have great food and spend lots of time sending out select aged prime rib from the commissary but if the people “selling” it in the store don’t do their job it will never matter how good the commissary’s beef is.

CAMWorks for Solid Edge Beta Team

Beta Team

Wanted to take a bit of time to thank the BETA testing team for CAMWorks for Solid Edge. Some of these guys flew in and spent four days of time in Huntsville and we all spent time there and afterwards fiddling with stuff new to us. So from left to right we have Solid Edge users and testers Tim Hoeing, Dave Ault, Joe Hourihan and Larry King. Jim Wright from Siemens, Marc Bissell from Geometric and Mark Burhop from Siemens.  This was a small team because what we were really testing was the interface between Solid Edge and CWFSE. The CAM program is robust and proven but the integration with SE was new. I have been particularly impressed with how quickly and dramatically this integration has improved from the first beta version we had to this last one from 6-19. I look forward to using again a completely integrated CAD and CAM program and not having to look for another CAM program again in my working career.

A special tip of the hat to those with Siemens who knew that things the way they have been were not good enough and they determined to change this to the way things should be.  This lack of CAM integration was perhaps the single largest remaining vestige of the Venture Capital types who are so good at buying up companies and then saddling them with new debt, starving them of funds, direction and R&D while writing themselves grossly out of line benefits packages.  It appalls me to think of both the damage to the companies and then to this head below the radar cookie cutter mentality that has become so pervasive here they are having to work on as a result of these guys. Who knows where Solid Edge could have been if someone like Siemens who understands what CAD and CAM and PLM etal software really is about had bought them before the loot and plunder venture guys did.  I am sure that the competitors of UGS/Solid Edge have really enjoyed watching them being shackled but those days are over.

Just as a reflection upon the CAD and CAM community with any software here. It takes people who are willing to spend some of their time they can’t replace to help things move forward to the benefit of all concerned. From a local user group you participate in or help to run up to beta testing software so what is released can be better your involvement is important. Have you considered getting involved in your software of choice to make it better?

CAMWorks For Solid Edge

Yes folks it is finally time to talk about this program and not have to hold anything back. Formally announced today CAMWorks For Solid Edge will be the first truly integrated CAM program for Solid Edge. The question has been posed many times why NX Cam Express  (NX CE) could not be ported to Solid Edge. Quite simply NX CE is design to work inside of NX and to accomplish that has to be capable of opening legacy files from way back in NX and work on them.   Solid Edge files could be imported into NX CE but they had to then be translated into a version of NX Cad to work right.  There was and is no way to take and make Solid Edge directly and truly integrated under these conditions so the search began for an integration partner.  Siemens owns it all by the way so the idea that NX did not want to port NX CE to Solid Edge because it would cost “them” profit is not valid. It was for technical reasons only.

A truly  integrated CAD and CAM program  brings efficiencies to the manufacturing world that can’t be accomplished any other way. One mouse click to get to Solid Edge and one mouse click to get back to CAMWorks For Solid Edge. Right there in the same environment and on the same “page”.  It is the only way to go if you can. I am pretty sure every reader of this post understands the power here so I am not going to dwell on this.

The criteria to be met once NX CE was ruled out was to find a company that had solid knowledge of CAM with proven products and a track record of success with integration.  Along the way it became more complicated when HSMWorks was bought out. Now it became imperative that the partner company not only be qualified but also not  be in danger of being bought out from under Siemens feet as HSMWorks was with Solid Works.  Siemens works in ten-year planning periods and they had to be sure that their partner choice was also committed to this ten-year planning period too. Not only do they want to know where they will be in ten years they want their customers to know. Stable rational management planning capabilities both in Siemens and with their customers is predicated on knowing what your tools will be so you can make plans accordingly.

There is something like fifty or so differing CAM programs I have been told and when the search began it was a little daunting for the Siemens SE integration guys who had no idea the CAM market was this populated. They were used to CAD and that market is nowhere near as fragmented. However when you start tire kicking a bunch of them fall to the side quickly for a variety of reasons.

Geometric’s CAMWorks was the final pick and became the integration partner. I have had the privilege (Such as being a beat tester is as those of you who have been there know!) of being a beta tester for CWFSE (CAMWorks for Solid Edge). Now understand that we did not have the Beta to play with until three weeks ago and I did not actually cut parts with it until Wednesday through Saturday last week. As a result it is hard for me to sit here and try to answer questions other than in generalities. I do feel qualified to do that however.

CWFSE is not a simple CAM program and there is not a simple one out there however that can do all the things CWFSE does. This is the price to pay for having a powerful program at your fingertips.  Automatic Feature Recognition like that found in CWFSE  is a very powerful tool that is in many ways the CAM equivalent to the Synchronous Tech capabilities in Solid Edge. To make it work right you have to properly set up your tool crib. Once this is done AFR is quite powerful and in many cases will automatically yield tool paths that will need little tweaking to completely cut a part. For those of us like myself who still like to work off of features I pick Individual Feature Recognition is a great tool. Plus you can get  Volumill with CWFSE and the metal removal capabilities there are nothing less than phenomenal. We were looking up recommended speeds and feeds from the Volumill Milling Advisor and were a little timid to take their word for things at first. Cutting 4142 with a .5″ five flute end mill at 1″ depth with a 7% step over at 287 IPM is not something I have done before.  I am counting dollar signs for the future as I contemplate the increased efficiencies CWFSE and Volumill will be bringing to this shop.

In any case there will be a far more about CWFSE in the near future as this new program is put through  its paces.  I am just VERY pleased to be sitting here at SEU2013 today and see the culmination of CAM integration finally happen for Solid Edge. This is extremely important to Solid Edge considering the fact that  design software has no reason to exist without a product being produced somewhere at some time from it.

Solid Edge is now a complete manufacturing environment. I prefer to think it is the best midrange MCAD/CAM  manufacturing environment out there. There is a synergism that exists here with Solid Edge’s direct editing capabilities with Synchronous Tech and the Automatic Feature Recognition when set up with CWFSE and run in conjunction with Volumill.  OK, I admit I am biased and opinionated here about this. But I have good reason to be and I don’t see anyone else out there with this power to deliver productivity to shops that actually make things. And as a big bonus feature I know where Siemens is taking us in the future and it is to better productivity tools and no cloud type junk.  Their feet are firmly planted on the same ground I have to walk on and their manufacturing considerations are the same as mine because they are using it in their own manufacturing ecosystem.  Practical solutions and planning for real problems we all encounter and I can’t ask for anything better.

Now all you guys over at the Siemens  BBS SE Misc category know what “Quiffsee” is 🙂

CAMWorks For Solid Edge open window

Assimilative Synchronous Directus Editoidosis Warning

The CDC  (Centers for Dassault Control and Prevention)  are on high alert the next two weeks for a predicted outbreak  of the  highly contagious disease known as Assimilative Synchronous Directus Editoidosis.

This highly infectious disease has crossed traditional vectors of transmission pathways into new areas of contagious transmissible behaviors and therefore the CDC issues a critical warning for all SolidWorks users.

In addition to contact with prior infected individuals contact with any keyboard or PC or viewing a monitor attached that contains the ASDE (Assimilative Synchronous Directus Editoidosis) virus must also be avoided at all costs to remain disease free. The CDC also recommend that videos in diverse places such as YouTube which may have also been exposed to ASDE should be avoided.  The CDC maintains that YouTube type exposures can lead to lessened awareness on the part of SolidWorks users  increasing the potential for risky behavior resulting in increased rates of contamination from primary computing vectors.

The CDC maintains that this is not treatable at this time. They are working towards a cure in the future with something called CGM (Concentrated Geometric Masochism) but conflicting reports on results are all that is known about this. It’s efficacy has not been proven by the CDC and while they say that they are aware of the need at this time they are experiencing few concrete results to comment on. They are hopeful however for the future and with years of experience behind them they are certain the answers are at hand.

In the mean time the unaffiliated Solid Edge Research Labs in Huntsville, Alabama have produced  a remarkable technological breakthrough outside of the auspices of the CDC.  SERL (Solid Edge Research Labs) has produced a complete cure for this with a 100% success rate of fighting the infection through a revolutionary inoculation they have developed. Proven with years of rigorous field testing their clinics will begin serious distribution of this product next week and the first major treatment center will open its doors next Tuesday, 6-25-13.

It is not to late to get in the initial queue to be inoculated and here is the contact info for the clinic.


For those of you interested in the science behind the inoculation procedures I recommend the following two links.

Click to access seu2013agenda_handout.pdf