Tag Archives: Synchronous Technology

Solid Edge DWG Import Problem And Solution + General SE Community Update

Today the discussion is primarily about my favorite MCAD program Solid Edge. This may change over time as I have switched my Inventor Pro HSM maintenance to Hagerman and with live bodies to support me in Nashville I will be making an effort to learn Inventor. Quite frankly I expect that what I can do in SE Inventor can also do but with much more trouble will be what I find out. My chief complaint with Inventor and one so bad it has no chance of letting me past first base is how it deals with imports. I get a lot of imports to work with and it still blows my mind that in order to assign dimensions to a solid body import into Inventor I have to recreate the sketches and part to drive these things. If I am wrong, and I hope I am would one of you Autodesk types set the record straight here? This is what I have been told and it appears to be true. So unlike SE where I can import anything from anyone and immediately assign dimensions to a solid and drive edits pain-free with direct editing or apply directly dimensions for reference, no recreated sketch or part required. I get inside of Inventor a road block I don’t even attempt to get around because this is impossible to do there. So all the serious work is done in SE and then brought into Inventor so I can use that yummy HSM machining program.

It will be interesting to see what the tech support guy does when I show him how I want Inventor to work by using SE as my benchmark for what I expect to do. Future posts regarding this. Fortunately I am not a VAR so I get to work with reality and not have to pretend Inventor is great just because it is attached to HSM which truly is great. I hope I am going to find out good things with Inventor this next year but I am not optimistic. I get tired of having to learn yet another program just to do the same things I can already do AGAIN but not the same way or as easily when SE works so well.

In the mean time here is a current interesting problem. Hundreds of DWG files from 1999 to 2002 have to be opened and then 3D files generated from them. This is a rack oven for commercial bakeries and the owner has never brought the files forward or indeed even generated anything 3D. The only 3D file I have found to date was an ACIS file for a shipping pallet of all things. Production probably will be resumed on these soon and the owner wants to have current modeling practices put into place and all the files checked for accuracy. So the conversion of everything to 3D where fitup can be assured in cyberspace and not the shop floor first. It amazes me how good some people were with 2D and how things were done. I bypassed the whole 2D thing and went straight into 3D modeling because I had to have solid geometry to feed CNC machines and 2D would not do. But in any case 2D is where I get to start with this project.

The problem on some of the DWG imports is that the dimensions on the DWG file are one half the size and two inches there becomes four inches in the import. This means problems at times importing the line geometry into part or sheet metal file sketches. Inquiries as to how to solve this in a few places never got an answer. This week it became fix this or re-create geometry from scratch and I found the magic bit in SE that does this. Life is funny at times and no doubt people who knew how to do this will crawl out of the woodwork now but finding the answer from them beforehand was difficult to say the least. Follow along with me as I import and fix an example file.

I would write more about Solid Edge the program itself but for two things that stop me. One is I do not intend to do one bit of work for a mediocre outfit like Siemens to sell their product other than what I have been doing. They deserve no help and what I do say is primarily aimed at saving users some part building headaches for their own benefit. I do respect the users in front of the keyboards. The other thing is that I have been using SE for some time now and I have been almost exclusively a Synchronous modeler except for occasional ventures over to Ordered for Sheet Metal for eight versions. When you do the same basic parts it is rare that something new you want to talk about comes up and compels you to write about it. One becomes accustomed to days that go by without problems and work gets done as it should be and I forget for those who do not have this work flow it may not be so. I have yet to see a method of modeling for what I do that is better than direct editing as is found in Solid Edge. Perhaps I will do more in this area this year who knows.

Value Is Where You Find It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are Marketing and Publicity People really Aliens?

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

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

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

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

Inventor Pro HSM Six Months In

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solid Edge ST8 Is RTM and CW4SE Is Kaput Again

Much to my delight and amazement I received my license file on Saturday. Of course out here in cloud never never land the 4+GB file takes me about a day to finish but there it was finally and off I went. I have not had much time to play with it but walking through it this release seems to me to be primarily about fine tuning capabilities that are already there. Now I know there is some hoopla about working with Microsoft Surface pro’s and from what I gather this is considered perhaps the biggest “new” deal this year. I don’t plan on owning bitty screens and compromised power in the field so this is of absolutely no interest to me. Even at the age of 61 somehow I can still subject myself to the extreme burden of being a pack mule with 6 or 7 pounds of gear in tow. It’s tough to carry all that weight and I amaze myself with my never ending endurance. I get about seven hours in the field with my 15″ workstation laptop and can do anything I want. The extra battery is proof against no electricity but in practical experience it is rare that I can’t plug in if I wish.

I know the theory is about how convenient it may be for the uber small eviscerated CPU guys to show stuff to prospective clients but my customers and I somehow manage to get along. And quite frankly there are a lot of us who young and old have to wear glasses and don’t need the convenience of eyestrain compounding future problems.

But anyway on to ST8. I am in two worlds right now and the design is almost completely in SE and machining is totally Inventor Pro HSM. My old data from years of work is in SE and Inventor of all the major CAD programs has elected not to have a direct import of SE file types so bringing it all over would be a lot of work. I only work in Synchronous though and I intend to work VIA direct editing for the rest of my career. And of course as a half job shop and half design build entity there has to be a good way to deal with imported geometry. The very best way I know is with SE in hand. I hope for the day Inventor will step up to the plate in this area but until then I stay where work is most efficient. As of Inventor 2016 I still can’t import geometry and do basic things like assign driving and notational dimensions on imports from my parts. It is completely true with SE that what I bring in I can work on as though it were a native part with little loss of intelligence and that primarily in hole data.

My initial impression is that there are a lot of little things that are going to improve work flow based upon what I have read, been told and see in person with my cursory examination to date. SE is for this shop the very best MCAD program available. I very rarely get into complex surfacing and like the majority of shops around here will never see a fru-fru coffee pot or car tail light housing. So complex surfacing is something I have never and probably will never need to know and I am the wrong guy to give input on this. I will say though that I checked out “T-Slines” the other day in a video and the power there reminded me of some of the stuff I have seen in NX. Of course “T-Splines” along with other strategic buys is part and parcel of forward looking management at Autodesk in assembling in Inventor what will in time be the best mid range MCAD suite out there. I went to the app store touted by Siemens SE and just shook my head. SE guys don’t go to Autodesk or SW’s app sites unless you want a bad case of app program envy.

Autodesk is a forward looking company and T-Splines is now a part of Inventor. I have to say the pace of improvement with Inventor is greater than SE right now and looks to be for some time. I don’t expect to have these import problems in the somewhat near future and I figure Autodesk is working overtime to improve Inventor. You see the owner of Inventor wants things right and better whereas Siemens would kind of like the Red Headed step child to just go away. As Scott said buy the company. I trust the direction of Autodesk and I do not trust Siemens one bit to consider my future unless I buy into NX.

I will probably not do anything in the area of how to’s or videos for SE ST8. I will tell you my opinion and that is it as I refuse to spend time helping to promote such an inept group as Siemens and sadly they are the overlords of SE.

Well as you all know I have left CAMWorks for Solid Edge because of a boat load of problems. The 2015 SP1 release was I think their best yet since the involvement with SE. Sadly by this point in time I had moved on to the far greater simplicities and efficiencies found in Inventor HSM. Note to software companies. You make your customer mad enough to look elsewhere you better fear what they may find. So anyway after Geometric gets forced (Never forget they were forced into this. They had no concerns about product quality until a big public stink was made and it is their long time corporate management philosophy towards customers as far as I can tell.) into getting their act somewhat together I get the thrill of about a month and a half’s potential use out of it. Had trouble getting ST8 to work initially and one of the problems was— you guessed it—CW4SE.

CW4SE time to fail again

We could not get SE to run until this little jewel popped up and once the license server for CW4SE was shut down SE worked just fine. I am SHOCKED and sitting here in stunned disbelief that this could happen. Perhaps in a few months Geometric will get up and running for ST8 but I wont be there. Inventor Pro HSM 2016 in comparison worked from day one as an integrated program. My maintenance is up at the end of June and this headache is history. These will be my last comments about this most aggravating Geometric CW4SE saga and my cost per part cut with wasted time and the expense of the program and the inherent inefficiencies here far exceeded any rational performance expectations any business owner I know would have. I have no idea how bad sales for CW4SE are but Geometric deserves to sleep in the bed they have made for themselves. Check out the frenetic most recent post CW4SE user activity at Geometrics closed forum.

HaHa program smarter machine faster

The SW side of things there is pretty bleak too considering that this was the first integrated CAM program for SW and I don’t know what their market size is. I can tell you that HSM has been a topic of discussion over there too with users who vent extreme frustration over problems that never stop looking elsewhere. Geometric is pretty tone deaf and some of these fed up SW guys are begging them to get their act together or lose them. A situation very familiar to me.

Buy SE ST8 for the efficiencies it can bring to your in-house and imported parts and family of parts designs. I think even big SW and Inventor shops should have one seat as a secret weapon back there somewhere. Avoid SE because Siemens does not care if market share in seats will ever get you work or trained individuals to hire. Buy Autodesk for the future and for todays economic savings as inventor Pro HSM is by far the best deal out there right now and you won’t have to train anyone with a ready and available labor market. For the same $1,500.00 I will have to send Siemens to renew SE only I get Inventor PRO HSM everything and I like my money in MY pocket. HSM just works and CW4SE just fails again and again and again.

Sadly SE ST8 will be a release of a tremendously capable CAD program smothered by ex UGS people at Siemens and destined once again to be the best software you won’t hear much about. Sure do miss you Karsten and Don and the hope and plans and excitement that lived here for the future with you. I have yet to hear anything from the mouth of Miller whats-his-face who is supposed to be in charge and it has been over a half-year now. No plans no direction no user interaction AT ALL! I find the attitude of Siemens/UGS management towards SE to be the single largest reason to never buy into SE and it just should not be this way.

6-14-15 Update.
I had mentioned above that I would not be discussing CW4SE anymore. I went to Geometric’s site today in the faint hopes that they would have an update for ST8 out. You see I would still like to use their constant step over tool path at times but I am not willing to stay a year behind with SE to do so. Much to my amusement/disgust I read about current SW CAMWorks user problems with the Tech Data Base which is in combination with Feature Recognition the only differentiator for CAMWorks. This being the whole basis for their grossly exaggerated motto of “Program Smarter Machine Faster”. So I retract my never talk about them again statement as I will be talking about them again at least once more.

New Direction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inventor Pro HSM Development Updates Available

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

Inventor Pro HSM update

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

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

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

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.

33 Weeks After ST7 Release And Still NO Viable CAMWorks for Solid Edge

Today I am going to talk more about the Siemens SE side of the equation than the Geometric side. First though the count.

37 Weeks since the last communication from Geometric to SE CW4SE users about CW4SE for ST7.
33 Weeks since ST7 was release to customers.
14 Weeks since the last CW4SE user post at the Geometric CW4SE user forums.

Can you offhand think of a single example of such woeful neglect of a buying customer user base? I mean it. Think about your experiences over the years with any software vendor and can you think of another debacle equal to this one besides perhaps an outright bankruptcy of a software company or Dassault Cloud Vaporware? Refund our money Geometric. You can’t fix this mess and your inability to do so I think has been pretty well established. Give us our money back and just GO AWAY. What are you going to do this time? Give us another extension of maintenance so we can have another year or half-year of waiting for nothing? I have really enjoyed my half-year extension which is now four months up and still nothing to use in sight. In reality this means as an SE user I would still have to be using ST6 and LAST years cam program to have a semblance of working software.

The other side of the equation is of course Siemens Solid Edge. I don’t refer to Solid Edge much as an independent entity anymore as those days died when Karsten left. Thus the Siemens Solid Edge moniker. Look at the contrast with the following two screen captures. First we have one from a real person who cared.

ScreenHunter_06 Apr. 13 08.50

Now we have one from somebody whom I am not certain exists as a real functioning head of Solid Edge/Siemens Mainstream Engineering Software.

ScreenHunter_07 Apr. 13 08.52

I want you to pay particular attention to the rate of comments posts per month and the stark contrast between one who cared and one who quite frankly can best be called MIA.

Now read this. http://community.plm.automation.siemens.com/t5/Solid-Edge-Forum/Welcome-from-the-new-guy/m-p/296259#U296259

Can I be blunt here? This is the most mindless empty bunch of verbage, referring to what was supposed to be coming from John Millers mouth that is, it has been my misfortune to have read for some time. It is just as bad as the first introductory post he supposedly made some time back.

I remember sitting down with a couple of marketing people while we had just a couple of days under our belts with CW4SE during beta training before CW4SE was released. These marketing people were silly enough to actually ask us how much improvement we were going to gain by using CW4SE over our current CAM programs. My response was I have no way of knowing when I have not cut a single part with it and I forbid you to use my name in association touting the wonders of a program I have yet to cut a part in. The stuff that John Miller is supposed to be saying reminds me of the empty Marketing garbage they wanted me to sign off on. I mean it literally. They were presenting me with comments from their fertile imagination and all I was to do was sign off on the use of my name. They were not there for real feedback or commentary although that is what they ended up with. Subsequently they never used anything from my “interview”.

John Miller I am beginning to think has yet to actually speak to the SE user community. I base this on the marketing and publicity babble-speak nonsense it has been my misfortune to see from empty heads in the past who are however paid to produce something. So the end result is an eruption of industry accepted phrases and empty words that fill a spot that we in the intended audience are some how no doubt going to get excited or pacified over. That is how I regard the commentary that has so far populated Millers “posts”. The direct contrast between what Karsten Newbury used to say and the clear interest and genuine interaction is diametrically opposed to the empty junk coming from the automaton P&R generated script purportedly coming from Miller. Marketing and Publicity has I figure been given orders to fill an empty spot is my guess with something because perhaps the idea that Solid Edge has been cast adrift with a place holder manager is gaining traction. But even here the paucity of comments and the vapid empty words used reveals the lack of interest Siemens has for SE.

Mr Big has yet to reply to my questions about CW4SE. I don’t think “he” will and marketing for darned sure will not touch that one with a fifty foot pole. I am sadly coming to the conclusion that the CW4SE users are being cast adrift and are of no consequence anymore to the decision makers at Siemens. BUYER BEWARE! Buy Solid Edge because it is the best midrange MCAD program with the best direct editing capabilities out there. Do not ever consider SE for any other function though as there will probably never be a robust family of integrated aps and pursuit of market share which would gain you additional work potential. If you do work in-house design SE can’t be beat. I use it all the time and can’t imagine working without it. Even if you are an SW or Inventor house you still would benefit from at least one seat of SE just for editing imported parts and best in class sheet metal. But you are not going to work with other SE using companies in all likelihood and you probably will not have a resource of trained users unless it is you who creates them. I have yet to work with another company that uses SE here in southern middle Tennessee, just north of Huntsville by the way, and quite frankly I am tired of hearing surprise about my choice of CAD programs from others. Comments like you are the only one I know of using it.

Solid Edge, the best software you’ve never heard of from Siemens the company that does not care if you ever hear of it. Co-sponsored by CAM prize fighter Geometric that could not punch it’s way out of a wet paper bag.

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.