Alerting all CAD users!

Posted on 29 Oct 2010 by The Manufacturer

Say goodbye to ProE and CoCreate, used by 25,000 PTC customers worldwide, as PTC launches a new breed of applications-based CAD software, Creo, which supersedes its well established brands.

With typical stateside glamour PTC yesterday unveiled the product of Project Lightening, a development initiative announced at their annual user event in Orlando earlier this year. The aim of this project was to reinvigorate the CAD market, which many vendors and users alike have considered to be saturated for some time, but in which PTC identified existing problems and unlocked potential centring on usability issues, inclusiveness for non-key design roles and interoperability.

With launch of their new application suite PTC have taken the bold move of scrapping their existing and widely used CAD brands and subsuming them under the new Creo philosophy which takes 2D, 3D, parametric, direct and assembly design tools back to the drawing board. Looking to get the best out of each of these approaches to design PTC has created a suite of applications that are driven by a consideration of the user’s role – including the ‘casual-user’. For instance, a Creo app for a manufacturing engineer will include capabilities for validating tool paths for a suggested design concept and can run machining simulations while the analyst’s app will be optimised for data analysis supported by direct modelling visualisations and the service planners app will interact primarily with engineering software to display detailed assembly and disassembly processes.

The increased level of inclusion that these apps will give to a broad range of individuals previously locked out of the design process is validated by the intelligent sharing of data between apps which will communicate changes made by one user when another logs across the application suite. Impressively the data will also translate the relevant intelligence about a change made in one app to fit the capabilities and specific role of the next app.
This means that a change can be made using direct modelling capabilities but appear with parametric intelligence for a parallel user. Furthermore – to prevent the creation of unsound or unmanufacturable products changes can be tracked and easily accepted of rejected on the grounds of the different expertise dispersed across application users. Usability across these applications is maximised by a common look and feel so that a single user can switch between design modes with minimal adjustment – the desire is to provide “the Goldielocks of apps” each of which has not too much and not too little for each user.

Another driver behind the use of an applications based approach for Creo is largely PTCs desire to monopolise the growing SME market for CAD. Selling the bitesized applications (possibly from an Apple style online ap-store) will make it easy for small organisations to buy just the applications they need for their current priorities and although specific pricing will not be clear for some time yet, a PTC representative said yesterday at a London press briefing that the intention was to make the cost meet a level that a manufacturing or design manager could sign off from their personal budget without the need for capital approval.

With regards to current PTC users the software provider is reassuring. Pro Engineer and CoCreate users can be confident that the succession of Creo will not put them at a disadvantage. For all users on maintenance contracts the new flexible architecture will come to them in the natural course of their maintenance upgrades and there will be no switch over fee.

Beta versions of Creo will be available from spring 2011 while the first Creo 1.0 release will come in the summer with a 2.0 release planned in the autumn. This second iteration is planned to include connectivity with bill of materials assembly and will link Creo to a company’s broader PLM portfolio. This communication will empower organisations to go further with customisation and customer service innovation, a key differentiator in a world becoming expectant of instant gratification.

Although Creo appears to have comprehensively mapped role requirements and to offer exciting interoperability potential with in terms of importing foreign data without the need for laborious translation processes which often create errors there may yet be room for improvement in terms of allowing easy flow of information between suppliers operating on different CAD systems. For more information on the technical details and capabilities of the Creo portfolio users and interested parties can track developments and see app specification on PTCs dedicated subsite