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Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »
MCADCafe Weekly (10/4/2012): Autodesk Acquiring HSMWorks CAM Technology
October 4th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Autodesk has acquired certain assets of HSMWorks Aps, a developer of computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software. Through the acquisition of the HSMWorks technology, Autodesk will add software to control machine tools and related machinery to its portfolio of software for manufacturing. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“The acquisition of the HSMWorks technology brings machining expertise and next-generation CAM technology to the world’s most comprehensive portfolio of manufacturing software,” said Buzz Kross, Autodesk senior vice president, design, simulation and lifecycle products. “Autodesk has a long history of making design and engineering technology more accessible, and we look forward to bringing HSMWorks’ CAM technology to a broader group of users.”
Autodesk intends to integrate the HSMWorks technology with its industry leading software and cloud services for manufacturing, and will make current HSMWorks products available for purchase and HSMXpress available as a free download. Existing SolidWorks customers using HSMWorks will continue to receive support and product updates. HSMWorks Aps is based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Over the years I’ve seen CAD/CAM/CAE customers blindsided by vendors, but this acquisition may well take the cake. It was announced on October 1, but when I went to the HSMWorks website on October 3 to look for some background company information, the only information available was about Autodesk. That was quick.
I talked briefly with Noah Cole, Autodesk Corporate PR, on the acquisition. I asked him about what Autodesk actually acquired when the press release says “certain assets.” Cole said that specifically what Autodesk acquired were the HSMWorks technology and development team. When asked who within Autodesk would head up HSMWorks going forward, Cole said that was still being decided and that no organizational structure had been announced yet.
I think the biggest consequence of this acquisition is what happens to SolidWorks customers who have HSMWorks as an integral part of their businesses? After all, until a few days ago, HSMWorks was a SolidWorks Partner, and a Gold Partner at that, but no more. Keep in mind, though, DS SolidWorks is the “decider” when it comes to partner status.
How about these sentences, though, from the HSMWorks website: “Autodesk HSMWorks is designed from the ground up to work inside SolidWorks, providing a logical extension of the parametric SolidWorks assembly environment into the CAM world. Experienced SolidWorks users will feel right at home working with Autodesk HSMWorks and will be able to create high-quality toolpaths within minutes.” Takes a little getting used to seeing Autodesk and SolidWorks in the same sentence.
The HSMWorks website also includes something I thought I’d never see in the graphic below:
The question has to be asked, how long will Autodesk continue to support HSMWorks for SolidWorks once it is integrated into Inventor? I’m sure both SolidWorks and HSMWorks customers would love to know the answer to this question.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great acquisition for Autodesk, but you have to wonder, did Dassault Systemes SolidWorks have the opportunity to make the acquisition? With HSMWorks being a SolidWorks Gold Partner, DS had to have known that the company was in play. Did they choose not to act? And if so, why?
The following is from Tom Mortenson, an HSMWorks insider on the “official” Autodesk HSMWorks forum:
“What happens to HSMWorks?
Aside from the obvious name change, nothing. The product will continue under the new name, Autodesk HSMWorks, but the technology remains the same.
Will Autodesk HSMWorks continue to be developed and Will I Get Updates?
Yes, and yes. Autodesk HSMWorks will continue to be developed and we will continue to release updates. Autodesk HSMWorks 2012 R5 is now available and supports SolidWorks 2013. Autodesk HSMWorks 2013 will be released in the near future.
Will you be able to purchase new licenses?
Yes. Autodesk HSMWorks represents the very best of integrated of CAM for SolidWorks and there are no intentions of discontinuing the product.
What about support?
Support will continue through the existing channel of resellers, email (email@example.com), and the Autodesk HSMWorks forum (forum.hsmworks.com).
What are Autodesk’s plans for the HSMWorks technology?
Autodesk intends to integrate HSMWorks technology into the Autodesk portfolio of software, suites, and cloud services for manufacturing.
Does this mean that HSMWorks technology will be integrated with Autodesk Inventor, similar to its current integration with SolidWorks?
Autodesk is not providing specific details of future product plans at this time. The intention is to leverage the HSMWorks technology across their entire manufacturing portfolio.”
However, all may not be lost. While they were rebranded with the Autodesk name, the company still sells and supports applications such as Moldflow, T-Splines, and Algor to users of CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER, and SolidWorks, etc. Will that be the case with Autodesk HSMWorks? There’s no way of telling, but that might just end up being the case.
I guess a more unsettling aspect of the acquisition is that reseller contracts with HSMWorks have been discontinued effective immediately that will provide product support only through October 31, 2012. What happens after that, especially with contracts that are still in force?
Will this latest acquisition by a competitor be reason for some customers to jump ship to a completely new CAD platform? A few might, but I suspect relatively few. However, I suspect a larger number of current HSMWorks customers will be shopping for standalone CAM alternatives, but might include an associated CAD alternative, as well.
So, the march of CAD/CAM acquisitions and market consolidation goes on. Is this necessarily a bad thing? That all depends which side of the fence you’re on. Could this be a good thing? That depends on how Autodesk decides to treat current HSMWorks users – continue to support SolidWorks users for a steady income stream or discontinue support and force the hand of current users to make major decisions about CAD and CAM software. That’s all in Autodesk’s hands now.
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
MSC Software has acquired e-Xstream engineering, a spin-off of the Division of Applied Mechanics at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), renowned for multi-scale simulation. e-Xstream’s software platform, Digimat, is the reference solution for manufacturers and research scientists allowing them to design high performance composite materials more quickly and at lower cost by means of an accurate and reliable computational approach. The cplatform for modeling composite materials developed by e-Xstream offers advanced technology to materials suppliers, automotive and aerospace industries, and consumer product manufacturers as a way to innovate and reduce cost. Digimat multi-scale simulations can predict the physical behavior of a composite material from numerical simulations, the properties of its constituents, and the morphology of its microstructure.
INUS Technology released a new version of its inspection software, Rapidform XOV3. With this release, Rapidform XOV becomes a full-fledged contact inspection platform, with support for every major portable CMM device on the market. The completely new LiveInspect system, unique to Rapidform XOV, offers an automatic measurement guide that makes inspecting parts with a probe easy. After defining dimensions and tolerances on a nominal model, the software guides the operator how to measure a part and then generates a report automatically. Calculations are up to 10x faster than before, making the process of aligning, deviation analysis and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) faster. XOV is also the only native point cloud software with in-depth GD&T support for every callout in the ASME Y14.5 standard. Highlights of the 50+ enhancements include:
As Quantum International works to deliver robotics innovations to customers, the market is trending toward smaller, more user-friendly robots designed to work alongside humans—not replace them. “Small manufacturers are the future for industrial robotics,” said Quantum CEO Robert Federowicz. “We’re exploring the development of smaller, safer assembly line robots that you won’t need a hard hat to get near. Smartphones and tablets like the Apple iPad could provide the ideal interface for these new machines.” This more affordable, more flexible generation of robots could help bring more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., eliminating the need to outsource complex, repetitive tasks in the manufacture of electronics such as smartphones and laptops to countries with low wages. “The next generation of industrial robots will be closer to iRobot’s Roomba than the one-armed giants welding cars together today,” Federowicz said.
PTC has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Servigistics, developer of a suite of service lifecycle management (SLM) software solutions. The combination of the two companies firmly establishes PTC’s market presence in SLM by positioning PTC with the most comprehensive “system for service” in the industry. By adding Servigistics, PTC is now fully able to help global manufacturers service those same products. From a technology perspective, PTC’s SLM solution portfolio is now covers technical information, service knowledge management, service parts management, warranty and contract management, field service management, and service logistics. With its comprehensive SLM capabilities, PTC is now positioned to help discrete manufacturers transform their service strategies and operations into a true source of sustainable competitive edge – what PTC describes as “service advantage.”
Stratasys and Objet Ltd. announced that the closing of their pending merger will not occur during the third quarter as previously announced, as the process under the Defense Production Act of 1950 is not yet complete. The statutory period for completion of the process under the Act has extended beyond the end of the third quarter. Stratasys and Objet expect a conclusion in the fourth quarter. Since the parties did not close the merger by the end of the third quarter, Stratasys and Objet have agreed to amend their merger agreement to extend the end date under the merger agreement to October 19, 2012. Under the merger agreement as amended, either party can terminate the merger agreement if the merger is not completed on or before that date. As announced on April 16, 2012, Stratasys and Objet entered into a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will combine in an all-stock transaction with a combined equity value of approximately $1.4 billion, based upon the closing price of Stratasys’ common stock on April 13, 2012. The transaction has received HSR approval and also been approved by Stratasys stockholders.
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