So the think3 saga continues . . .
The exclamation point was from a press release issued by think3 early in May. The question mark was from me. So what is the real story about think3?
In the previous issue of MCADCafe Weekly, we discussed the announcement and implications of think3 declaring bankruptcy in April.
Here’s the first press release issued by think3 (with the headline that does double duty as the title for this edition of MCADCafe Weekly) about the time of our last publication date:
Upon authorisation of the Appointed Judge of the Court of Bologna dated 4 May 2011, Think3 Inc. restarts its operations pursuant to Section 104 of the Italian Bankruptcy Law. Think3 Inc. will be managed by the trustee, Dr. A. Ferri, and the Creditors' Committee, under the supervision of the Appointed Judge.
As a consequence, Think 3:
- provides customer care services, with its long trained personnel and through its official website THINKCARE;
- manages the licenses and the activation codes;
- sells its products directly through the authorized dealers.
On May 11, think3 issued the following “official” press release:
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Think3 restarts operations and confirms that it is the only owner of the software and the intellectual property rights
Bologna May 11 2011 - Think3, a leader in the development and sales of cad and plm solutions for the manufacturing market, announces that it is now operational again.
From today the following activities are operational:
- The customer care service, operated by professionals with years of experience as well as through the www.think3.com web site the Thinkcare service is running.
- The license administration for license code management
- The sales and distribution of products through authorised think3 resellers
Pursuant to Art. 72 of Bankruptcy Law (R.D. 16.03.1942, N. 267) the Trustee dott. Andrea Ferri has terminated the license contract entered into and between Think 3 Inc. and Versata FZ-LLC on October 7 2010. On May 2 2010 the Court of Bologna (dott.ssa Velotti Judge Delegated to the bankruptcy procedure) issued an order in which is stated that this license contract has to be considered terminated to any legal extent. All documents are available at
"We are honored to announce that think3 has got back to work after a difficult period and the market has responded very enthusiastically. Over the last few days we have resolved over 100 cases from our customers. We have also decided to offer all customers a grace period until the end of the year to cover any assistance even if customers currently have a maintenance contract with Versata" stated Andrea Ferri, administrator of think3. He added "the worldwide feedback from the thihk3 customers and partners has been truly incredible and we look forward to organising new events and announcements for the think3 Design Community".
Next, let’s take a look at think3’s current home page of its Web site.
Let me direct your attention to a couple specific areas on this home page at the bottom.
First, the panel that is titled “TEMPORARY MANAGEMENT.” When the link is clicked, you are directed to the “Official” press release of May 11 (from above). I know that think3 has rotated management in and out for years, but coming right out and advertising it without any explanation or detail of who and when or where it’s coming from is beyond me. The only reference to “temporary management is in the next panel to the right under “THINK3 CONFORMED COPY OF TEMPORARY MANAGEMENT” When you click that, the only thing that really applies to company management, temporary or otherwise is, “the temporary management is essential in order to re-establish the continuity of the business activity previously and seriously interrupted and in order to face the requests of assistance of clients and resellers . . .” What continuity? Customer confidence warning flag #1.
Customer confidence warning flag #2 in the lower right panel – “CAVEAT EMPTOR” – Buyer Beware. As I understand it, under the doctrine of caveat emptor, the buyer cannot recover from the seller for defects on property that renders the property unfit for ordinary purposes – in this case, CAD. The only exception is if the seller actively conceals defects or otherwise makes material misrepresentations amounting to fraud. However, this implied warranty can be difficult to enforce and may not apply to all products, such as software. Therefore, buyers are advised to be cautious. As with any purchase, the cautious part I get. The part I view as unprecedented is that a company offering something for sale is telling potential buyers to be cautious.
As an aside; does the company seriously think it “owns” the product development process. Delusions of grandeur, especially now in the state of flux that it’s in.
think3 has evolved and come full circle in just a matter of months – a company that was acquired, declared bankruptcy, and now “back in business.” Pretty phenomenal, even for the CAD industry. So has think3 thought it through this time? Will its future be punctuated by an exclamation point or a question mark? I don’t think it will take long to determine that one way or the other.
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.
New Industry Report on Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Unveiled
Wohlers Associates, Inc. has published Wohlers Report 2011, an annual global study on the additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing state of the industry. This 270-page report, considered by many to be the industry’s “Bible,” marks its 16th consecutive year of publication. According to Wohlers Report 2011, the AM industry rebounded strongly in 2010 from the global economic recession. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of revenues produced by all AM products and services in 2010 was 24.1%. In 2009, the industry declined by 9.7%. The CAGR for the industry's 23-year history is an impressive 26.2%. Wohlers Associates conservatively forecasts industry-wide growth to be $3.1 billion by 2016 and $5.2 billion by 2020. The report includes new sections on intellectual property and product liability implications, and expanded information on end-use part production. It also includes industry growth estimates and forecasts, new developments and business opportunities, emerging applications, research and development, and where the industry is headed in the future. The study was created with support from 58 co-authors, 70 service providers, 32 system manufacturers, and many others worldwide. The report is priced at US$495 worldwide and is available in PDF form. The report’s table of contents, as well as additional information on the market and industry, are available at wohlersassociates.com.
CADENAS Forms Partnership With Siemens PLM Software
CADENAS GmbH, a software developer in strategic parts management and electronic product catalogs, became a Foundation Partner in the Siemens Solution Partner Program. CADENAS will work with Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Industry Automation Division to help customers optimize their business processes for engineers and purchasers while eliminating cost-intensive redundancies across the enterprise.
CADENAS' strategic parts management system, PARTsolutions, works with Siemens PLM Software's Teamcenter , NX, and Solid Edge. By enabling the configuration of 3D standard and supplier parts in native CAD formats within a larger PLM context, PARTsolutions enables engineers to find, reuse and control standard and supplier parts more effectively. The partnership validates the CADENAS concept of "Purchineering," a symbiosis of standardized purchasing processes and the application of preferred components as specified by engineering. By offering the ability to put more controls in place between buyers and the engineers who specify what to buy, PARTsolutions integrates silos within a company in order to negotiate volume prices with strategic suppliers. It eliminates the introduction of parts that cannot be sourced in a timely manner, or prices for "one-off" purchases and enables procurement to maintain a list of items that can be standardized around the world in order to keep costs and downtime as low as possible.
TopSolid’Mold 2011 Released
Missler Software has announced the launch of TopSolid’Mold 2011, an integrated CAD/CAM solution for designing of molds and machining tools for mold and cutting tool makers. To be efficient a CAD mold making solution should propose increased automation for repetitive mold design operations. In order to manage all projects the CAD software should ideally be completely integrated with a CAD/CAM solution that can manage all shaped forms, general mechanical engineering and machining operations in a parametric and associative way. TopSolid’Mold manages the design of the mold, the machining of the mold base, milling mold cavities, electrode production and mold assembly. TopSolid’Mold 2011 offers improved functions such as a more intuitive ergonomy, improved cavity block management, plastic injection simulation and a complete solution for the design and manufacturing of electrodes.
Delcam Offers Free Data Translation
Delcam marked the tenth anniversary of its pay-as-you-go, online data-exchange service, Delcam Exchange, with a day of free data translation. The normal fee of £34 (approximately US$50) per model was waived for all translations carried out on May 17. Delcam Exchange is a service under which the translation software is downloaded free of charge and then stored on a user’s computer. To undertake each translation, the user obtains a real-time authorization from the Delcam Exchange website. Users can either pay for each translation or buy a set of 20 vouchers with a bonus of four free translations. The Delcam Exchange approach offers two advantages of over other online translation providers – speed and security. Most other services require the CAD model to be sent to the service provider for translation and then returned to the customer. Delcam Exchange gives much faster results since transferring a short authorization code is much quicker and easier than transferring a complex CAD model. Once the authorization has been obtained, the translation normally takes seconds, with complex models never needing more than a few minutes. The service also provides a high level of security, since the model file stays within the user’s own computer, there is no chance of sensitive information being intercepted or mailed to an incorrect address.
ZWSOFT integrates MachineWorks Simulation Software
MachineWorks Ltd, supplier of CNC simulation and verification software solutions, welcomed ZWSOFT as a new partner. Following the acquisition of technologies and products of VX Corporation (now ZWCAD Software America), ZWSOFT signed a new agreement with MachineWorks that covers its entire customer base. ZWSOFT wanted to offer to customers worldwide an effective solution for all their simulation requirements. After months of exploring different avenues, ZWSOFT decided that licensing MachineWorks software would provide the level of accuracy and stability they required.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at Email Contact or 719.221.1867.
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