Debate Siemens vs PTC vs Autodesk

chadjacksonOn February 20th, there will be a debate hosted by Design World and led by Chad Jackson between Dan Staples of Siemens PLM, and personnel from PTC and Autodesk. The topic of the debate will be “The Pros and Cons of 3D Modeling Paradigms: Direct Modeling and Parametric Modeling”.

Sometimes debates are as interesting for who is involved as for who is not involved. I think that’s partially the case for this event. Notice that Dassault is not participating. I doubt it is because they were not invited, maybe it’s just that they aren’t ready to come out of the closet with their new non-history Catia-based modeler to the general non-conference attending public.

SolidWorks has a lot of momentum they can live off of for the time being, with a lot of what looks like mild dissatisfaction from their connected customers and denial from those folks who have not yet figured that they are being Mechanical Desktopped.

The one thing about this debate that I’m curious about is that direct modeling and parametric modeling aren’t really opposed to one another. If this is about direct and parametric, we could just see 3 executives generally agreeing with one another, but posturing to say “mines better than yours”.  Siemens PLM has an advantage because Synchronous Technology has a lot of practical experience behind it, coming up on its 7th release. Autodesk has the advantage of having TSplines functionality baked into their mechanical modeler. I would not underestimate the value of this, even in a space where machine design is king, the need for non-prismatic shapes is immense. (Ever step into Target or Walmart?) Consumer products are all designed in CAD. And finally, PTC is a formidable force because… because they have such a nice interface and focus on CAD users.

The real debate I would expect would be between direct and history. Between these three players, Siemens PLM, PTC and Autodesk, there isn’t really a proponent of straight history-based modeling. Part of me wonders if the debate title was poorly chosen, or if the history part of the debate became moot by SolidWorks declining to participate.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this event, and if you’re interested in which company/product really understands what users need in developing the future of CAD, you should attend too.

Sign up for the Design World webinar here.

[edit] Design World indicated that they may change the title of the debate to reflect history-based systems instead of parametric systems. I’m not sure what affect this will have on the debate/discussion, however, since the dynamics between the involved parties and their products are the same.

Updated: February 11, 2014 — 7:15 am


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  1. …because they have such a nice interface and focus on CAD users?? Eh? Last Creo version I used was totaly out of focus on most things.

    And last thing I saw about Solidworks is:

    1. LaNorvege,

      I started the convention of using purple text to denote sarcasm a while back, and find I still have to remind people about it.

      Did you have an opinion on the new SolidWorks offerings?

      1. Matt – I got the sarcasm. And the dots – kind of searching for words. :-)
        Re. SW. I don’t want to hijack/derail this thread. I just wanted to point to the article and find it strange that they are not taking the opportunity to talk about their newborn(s), and how much better it is (at least I hope they think so themselves). The pricing is high, I think. The interoperability remains to be verified. But in general, isolated as an independent tool, it looks… fun? But to limited for my needs.

  2. Will the webinar be recorded?

    1. I would guess so, since the previous event they did like this comparing overall company vision for the big CAD companies was recorded.

  3. While I tend to be an easy going guy, misusing the word “parametric” is one of the easiest ways to get under my skin. This isn’t just me. I know several technology oriented folks at the other CAD companies that feel the same. Sometimes there is just no stopping marketing.

    THe point is, history is just one of the things that can be “parametric” in a CAD system. In any case, here is my blog posts from the last debate:

    I’ll be curious what will be different from then.

  4. >And finally, PTC is a formidable force because… because they have such a nice interface and focus on CAD users.

    SE doesn’t have the greatest interface either, and Siemens marketing wouldn’t know a customer if one ran up and hit them… ;)

    I guess no one is perfect….

    I’ll keep a look out for the event on YouTube. :)

  5. A small example of the Solid Edge interface what I can not undertund.

    Deselecting edges/surfaces in Part and Assembly works with [Ctrl] key, in draft I have to use the [Shift] key???

    1. CTRL works for me in Draft to select or deselect elements…

      1. Try to select and deselect a hole in a table of holes.

    2. Ikso…. or is that you Jon Banqueer trying to get hits on your LinkedIn forum?

      1. Ikso also goes by other names on here, such as donced, donceod, and Chris. Appears to be in Switzerland.

        1. What does it matter?

          Or are critical questions not allowed here?

          1. It matters if you come here multiple times under different names, trying to stir trouble. That kind of thing doesn’t really help your credibility. Critical questions are always allowed, why don’t you try to ask one? Just blurting out insults doesn’t really qualify as a critical question. We’re all familiar with the techniques of internet trolls.

            Solid Edge does not have to be a 1:1 copy of SolidWorks to be valid. You may find some things that Works has that Edge doesn’t. Such as dissection. And the totally broken draft analysis tool. And the Web toolbar. And semi annually replacing the rendering tool. And a library of parts that’s really a time bomb for your assemblies.

  6. Another issue:

    Why is it still not possible to open a referred drawing directly from the part or assembly?

    On the other way it works!

    1. You can open the drafts from the model… Go to the App button, Manage menu, select “Where Used” and uncheck all files except Draft and run. Select the referenced draft you want to open (there may be several if the model is referenced in many drafts).

      1. What a user-friendly approach. In Solidworks just klick RMB ==> open drawing.

        Just as outdated as the Revsionmanager, where still the Win95 user interface is used.

        1. Yes – if the drawing resides in the same folder…
          So you found a couple of things that works better – are they affecting your productivity? would you trade them in for functionality that would make you more effective? Better stability is one for me. I seem to get errors related to solidwork even when I’n not using SW ???

    2. I believe there is a macro that will open a draft having the same name as the part if they reside in the same folder.

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