A few weeks ago, we discussed the launch of PTC's Creo -- a reinvention and rebranding of several of its venerable mechatronics design products that include Pro/ENGINEER and CoCreate. The launch left a lot of unanswered questions that we posed to PTC. Since those questions were published, we spoke with Mike Campbell, PTC Divisional VP, Design and Visualization Products, who answered all of them.
Campbell was very up front about the fact that Creo is something evolutionary and entirely new, and not just a repackaging of the monolithic Pro/ENGINEER, CoCreate, or ProductView product lines. Functionality was pulled out of those products as role-based apps that provide what he termed “any mode modeling.”
The 1.0 release of Creo will have a total of nine apps. He said that ultimately, Creo would consist of approximately 35-40 role-based apps, but gave no time frame on when this might happen, only saying it was possible in the future.
According to Campbell, Creo 2.0 is scheduled to be launched sometime in the spring of 2012.
MCAD Weekly Review (from MCADCafe.com) recently posted a review of Creo 1.0. In it, we asked a number of questions about Creo 1.0. Below are the original questions with answers.
What about the level of Creo integration with industrial design and CAM? Especially CAM, because it is so closely related to the Creo CAD apps.
PTC continues to develop and deliver CAM solutions that span a broad set of needs and are integrated with our design solutions. The Creo CAM strategy is mainly focused on improving the usability of our products, developing functionality to serve the production machining market, and expanding the user base mid-market, by serving the mold & die segments. Creo Parametric has CAM extensions to serve those areas.
We also offer our PTC partner program, which provides access to a range of third party applications in the manufacturing domain, including: NCG CAM Solutions, Gibbs and Associates, and Austin N.C.
Campbell said that for industrial design, there would be a democratization of G2 surfacing with a technology called Freestyle available in Creo Parametric. He also said that in the future there might be one or more apps specifically aimed at industrial design.
How will Windchill integrate and interact with Creo? Admittedly, Windchill is a totally different ballgame. Will it ever have a Creo-like moniker and branding?
Windchill 9.1 and higher integrates with Creo 1.0, and is the PLM platform of choice. Windchill 10, our latest release, introduces a new user experience that has been well received by users. Users will continue to see improvements in the user experience across all PTC products with each release, including consistency.
There will be no rebranding of Windchill to Creo, but it will manage Creo with its common data model and structure.
To what degree does Creo Parametric (formerly Pro/ENGINEER) possess direct modeling capabilities and to what degree does Creo Direct (formerly CoCreate) possess parametric capabilities?
There’s an extension for Creo Parametric, called Creo Flexible Modeling Extension (FMX) that offers ‘direct modeling like’ capabilities. This is ideal for users of Creo Parametric who want to stay in that same environment and edit their model in ways similar to direct modeling. It enables users to directly edit parametric models, but with the simplicity and flexibility found in Creo Direct.
Creo Elements/Direct is a comprehensive direct modeling solution. It serves as the core product development tool, supporting engineering teams in developing complete products from art-to-part using the direct modeling approach. There’s an extension called Advanced Design, that enables users to add relations and constraints to models.
Note: Creo Direct and Creo Elements/Direct are two distinct products. Creo Parametric has what we call flexible modeling inside of it. Creo Direct, which contains no parametric capabilities, is targeted at a more casual type of user.
Ultimately, will Creo Parametric and Creo Direct become one app? I know that gets back to the monolithic thing, but having direct and parametric modeling capabilities in one package can be a good thing.
No, there are no plans for Creo Parametric and Creo Direct to become one app, they will continue to be developed as seperate apps, focused on different user roles, and modeling approaches, leveraging a common data model. In Creo 1.0, there are two 3D modes people can work in, direct modeling and parametric modeling. For parametric modeling, Creo Parametric is the app for that.
As direct modeling addresses a number of different needs, it’s available in a number of ways. As mentioned earlier, there’s an extension for Creo Parametric, called Creo Flexible Modeling Extension (FMX). This is ideal for users of Creo Parametric who want to stay in that same environment and edit their model in ways similar to direct modeling. It enables users to directly edit parametric models, but with the simplicity and flexibility found in Creo Direct.
What is the upgrade path and associated cost for current PTC customers?
Customers who have existing products can take a no-cost upgrade to the corresponding Creo app, extension, or package – there is no loss in capabilities. We’ve posted a product mapper to help explain the transition.
Our goal is to protect customers’ investments in our technology going forward. There are no regressions for customers who upgrade to Creo 1.0, because there is 100% upward compatibility.
How long will current pre-Creo PTC products be supported?
As we have tens of thousands of customers using pre-Creo PTC products, we expect that there will be a long period of time where pre-Creo products will continue to be supported. The PTC Product Calendar describes our current plans for the end date for standard support.
For example, we will support Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 until well after Creo 2.0 is released next spring.
Beginning with the release of Creo 2.0 apps, PTC plans on providing customers with an annual “synchronized” release cycle, meaning that the new versions of Creo apps and Windchill will be released at the same time. The first synchronized release is scheduled for March 2012, and will repeat annually thereafter.
How consistent is the UI across the various Creo apps with regard to look, feel, and behavior?
The Creo apps are standalone programs, but have a common UI paradigm and experience, including the use of the Ribbon, common icons and common tools (such as the 3D Dragger) that are all consistent across the various Creo apps. Key areas, like saving, opening, dynamically viewing, and other functional capabilities and default settings behave consistently.
So for example, a Simulation Analyst working with Creo Direct to defeature and prepare a model for simulation will find that Creo Simulate has the same look and feel and UI experience for core areas, including were part files are stored by default, view set ups, etc.
"PTC developers have worked very hard to ensure that the UI is consistent across the apps. The common data model that all Creo apps share ensures that users can easily move data across the various apps."
How does Creo fit with its acquired publishing arm, Arbortext?
“One of the nine apps introduced with Creo 1.0 is Creo Illustrate. Creo Illustrate repurposes CAD data to generate rich, interactive 3D animations and illustrations. This app is fully integrated with Windchill, Creo, and Arbortext products to deliver fast, up-to-date 3D technical information for the support of products throughout their lifecycle.”
"While content creators are obviously important in the Arbortext universe, the main focus of Arbortext is ultimately the consumer of the information created as a service information solution and business. Viewed another way, you might have 40 people creating content, but 400,000 consuming it; therefore, the emphasis on the consumer." Makes sense to us.
Our thanks to Mike Campbell who provided us with some good answers to the questions we posed. Now we're anxious to download and try out several of the Creo apps for ourselves to see if the claims are indeed justified.
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.
Dassault Systèmes Drives PLM Innovation in Automotive Industry
Dassault Systèmes announced that its Version 6 platform is being adopted by a growing number of automakers. As the industry faces a major transformation and a need to reinvent itself, leading manufacturers, such as Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Mercedes, Renault, and Tesla Motors, have reconsidered their entire PLM strategy. They endorsed Dassault Systèmes’ vision and adopted the Version 6 platform to address increasing vehicle complexity, the need for reduced time to market, quicker reaction to consumer desires, globalization, and stringent fuel economy regulation standards. Dassault Systèmes’ Version 6 enables global collaboration on a single integrated IP platform, providing full traceability from early requirements to the final vehicle. It helps manage automotive systems increasing complexity through a unique collaborative environment that brings together multiple systems engineering disciplines and manages hundreds of disconnected tools. By consolidating design in a single PLM platform, automotive manufacturers can tap into "proven design" concepts and re-use them across all product lines, achieving significant time savings in the design and manufacturing of new cars. Besides, the Version 6 collaborative platform opens car development to consumers, in order to capture their expectations with a 3D lifelike experience. Version 6 offers an extensive and unparalleled portfolio of integrated industry-leading process applications including styling and surfacing, wire harness, Body in White Fastening, Composites, Mold & Die, Powertrain Functional Modeling, Weight & Balance, Material Compliance, and Crash Worthiness. To protect its customers’ investment, Dassault Systèmes continues to support and enhance CATIA Version 5 with Version 6 technology. To facilitate the smooth transition to Version 6, Dassault Systèmes guarantees data compatibility between Version 5 and Version 6.
Objet Introduces, the Objet260 Connex
Objet Ltd. revealed the Objet260 Connex, a compact addition to Objet’s family of multi-material 3D printers. The Objet260 Connex is based on the company’s patented inkjet 3D printing technology -– the world’s only rapid prototyping system able to jet two materials at the same time. This technology allows users to select from a large range of composite materials when building 3D models, such as Objet’s recently released ABS-like material. The system can also print a model replica made of up to 14 individual materials in a single print run. The Objet260 Connex allows users to create prototypes containing distinct material elements, such as rigid walls with flexible, rubber-like joints or models combining transparent and opaque parts. This opens up a whole range of new applications for 3D printing, including the accurate representation of assembled goods and consumer products. The Objet260 Connex has a 260 x 260 x 200mm (10.2 x 10.2 x 7.9") tray size and uses sealed material cartridges that are easy to insert and remove. Models are cured during the build process and can be handled immediately after printing. The system prints in 16-micron layers.
GibbsCAM 2011 Released with Extensive New Enhancements and Improvements
Gibbs and Associates announced that it has released GibbsCAM 2011, with several enhancements to make NC programming easier and faster. The multiple additions and enhancements within the 2011 release include:
Enhanced Feature and Color Recognition and Preservation – To optimize efficiency and throughput, new tagging capabilities, combined with automatic feature recognition (AFR), allow users to control how GibbsCAM imports CAD models and manages part features and attributes. Color Modes were added to extend tagging and selection criteria of geometric elements – geometry, faces, surfaces and solids. When a part contains user-defined features, or elements tagged with a color attribute, users can switch among Color Modes to distinguish, select or isolate features or elements for manipulation, copying or machining. As a result of these enhancements, upon opening CAD models, GibbsCAM can read attributes, then recognize and preserve them as attributes in the GibbsCAM part file. Colors are preserved as CAD colors in the part file, and hole features in the model are recognizable and usable as hole features within GibbsCAM hole operations.
Hole Making Capabilities -- For selecting, organizing, recognizing and drilling holes have been broadly enhanced. Hole Manager, a productivity tool within GibbsCAM, now includes a new Auto Wizard, which allows users to store default settings for reuse, quickly and easily, at any time. Using AFR, holes (and entities that resemble holes) are selectable by part face, set of faces, a hole’s interior faces, or by coordinate system to which a hole feature is aligned. Also, GibbsCAM now includes support for the full range of SolidWorks hole features.
5-Axis Enhancements -- Various new drill cycle options, toolpath conversion, toolpath smoothing and additional machining styles. The new hole making features make programming drill cycles at off-axis orientations very easy and extremely fast. Programmers can choose drill, variable peck, tap and custom drill cycles. A new Operation Modifier enables the conversion of 2.5- and 3-axis toolpaths for 5-axis machining, which allows use of shorter tools to achieve smoother toolpaths through tool-axis rotation when the work piece or tooling interferes with the tool holder. Toolpath smoothing methods have been implemented for all types of geometry, both STL (triangle mesh) and traditional surface geometry, to improve both tilt and rotary toolpath smoothness. Support for B-axis (tilting live tooling) was added to enable programming 5-axis milling with Y-axis offsets on lathes and multi-task machines equipped with a live-tooling B-axis.
Tork Trux Advances Skateboarding with Autodesk Product Design Suite
Tork Trux, a skateboard component company, is using the Autodesk Product Design Suite to advance its mission of “revolution through skateboard evolution.” Tork used Autodesk Product Design Suite to realize the company’s vision of a super-light skateboard truck that is easy to securely fasten to the board, without needing multiple tools. Tork has developed ACT (Advanced Capturing Technology), a type of skateboard “truck” — the metal axle component that attaches the wheels to the board — that integrates a built-in wrench shape into the baseplate portion of the truck design. Equally as important is the use of a flange nut that keeps the nut in the wrench-shaped area, allowing skateboarders to attach the trucks to the board without having to use their fingers at all. The name Tork Trux is a play on the concept of torque, the turning force provided by a wrench. Tork Trux was entirely designed using Autodesk Inventor software. Using the built-in finite element analysis (FEA) tools within Inventor helped Tork develop the truck to be sufficiently strong enough to withstand the stresses of riding, while eliminating unnecessary material and making the truck as lightweight as possible. The company also used Inventor software to create a short animation of assembly instructions Autodesk Alias software enabled Tork to make design variations to the truck, such as varying truck widths for different sizes of skateboards. The company was also able to explore and visualize different color combinations using Autodesk Showcase software to create vivid and realistic 3D renderings of its skateboards. Finally, Tork Trux used Autodesk SketchBook Designer to design the company logo.
ZWSOFT Updates ZWCAD 2011 with Improved User Experience
ZWSOFT announced the release of ZWCAD 2011.6.30. This update provides a cost-effective CAD solution for an entire workflow, enhances stability, provides new functions, and adds to the API (application programming interface). ZWCAD 2011.6.30 is an update for ZWCAD 2011 that offers the following enhancements:
- Improved file compare – now compares changes to block entities, block attributes, font styles, and dimension attributes.
- New SelectionPreview system variable – controls the preview display when selecting entities.
- Improved snap – significantly improves the accuracy and efficiency of snap operations, especially when working with large drawings.
- Greater stability – provides editing and viewing operations that now work more smoothly.
- Optimized APIs – makes it easier for users to write more powerful applications with LISP, VBA, and ZRX, and to migrate ARX applications to ZWCAD.
Some Questions Answered About Creo