June 20, 2011
PTC Delivers First Creo Apps
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor


by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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PTC announced the availability of Creo 1.0 and delivery of the first set of Creo apps. The release of Creo marks another industry first for PTC, whose tradition of technology innovation began with the introduction of the industry’s first 3D parametric modeling software. The Creo breakthrough technology enables enterprise wide participation in the product design process to unlock potential for creativity, teamwork, efficiency and value.

“Since we unveiled our Creo product strategy last October, we’ve seen incredible customer interest in Creo,” said James Heppelmann, PTC’s president and CEO. “Based on the reaction of the marketplace, we believe that Creo has the potential to deliver the renaissance in CAD innovation that we had predicted at the launch.”

Creo is designed to solve the unaddressed problems remaining in the mechanical CAD market: usability, interoperability, assembly management and technology lock-in. Creo provides a scalable suite of interoperable, integrated design apps- built on a unique architecture with patent-pending technology, to meet the needs of the wide spectrum of users that form a company’s extended product development team. By more fully engaging these users throughout the product lifecycle, companies can increase productivity and improve operational efficiencies, getting better products to market faster.

“We participated in the Creo beta program and in all customer events aimed at Creo development. We believe that Creo delivers capabilities that will help increase the productivity of everyone involved in System S.p.A.’s product development process,” said Roberto Dolci, Chief Information Officer of System Group. “By allowing a broader set of people across the company to access product data in a way that fits their role, and by introducing 3D direct modeling to speed up new product development, Creo helps accelerate our business agility, which drives our success.”

The first set of Creo apps are designed to optimize engineering, manufacturing and service processes. Role-based packages are designed to help increase productivity for everyone from service planners, technical illustrators and industrial designers to engineers who have historically driven product design processes using 3D direct or parametric modeling, while also benefiting CAD users in the extended enterprise.
  • Creo Sketch –for simple “freehand” drawing of ideas and design concepts in 2D
  • Creo Layout – for capturing early concepts layouts in 2D that ultimately drive 3D design.
  • Creo Parametric – for powerful, 3D parametric modeling capabilities currently available in Creo Elements/Pro (formerly known as Pro/ENGINEER). Extensions deliver a broader range of seamlessly integrated 3D CAD/CAID/CAM/CAE capabilities. New extensions offer more design flexibility and support for legacy data adoption.
  • Creo Direct – for fast, flexible 3D geometry creation and editing using a direct modeling approach. Provides unprecedented levels of interoperability with Creo Parametric for greater design flexibility
  • Creo Simulate - delivers capabilities an analyst needs for structural and thermal simulation
  • Creo Schematics - for creating 2D routed systems diagrams for piping and cabling designs.
  • Creo Illustrate –for 3D technical illustrations, providing capabilities to communicate complex service and parts information, training, work instructions, etc. to improve product usability and performance graphically in 3D.
  • Creo View ECAD - for viewing, interrogating, and marking up electronic geometry
  • Creo View MCAD - for viewing, interrogating, and marking up mechanical geometry

    Additionally, Creo offers a highly flexible and open solution that helps companies obtain maximum business value from their CAD investments. For many companies Creo provides the opportunity to divest from a heterogeneous CAD environment and consolidate on a single design platform. However, the AnyData Adoption technology of Creo ensures that consolidation is a choice and not a requirement. Creo respects and protects existing investment in data and working methods - enabling access to data from any CAD system.

    “With the delivery of Creo 1.0, PTC is spearheading an unprecedented transformation of the CAD industry for the second time in history,” said Brian Shepherd, executive vice president, product development, PTC. “Creo’s role based apps make a typically closed process open and inclusive, enabling more people to make a meaningful contribution to product designs. This is a huge advance that will help our customers create better designs, and ultimately better products.”

    The majority of Creo1.0 apps are available now in ten languages. Creo Sketch and Creo Layout are planned to be available later in late July and late fall 2011 respectively.

    Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

    What seemed a mysterious and curious MCAD technology announcement a year ago called Project Lightning has become a reality known as Creo. Last year PTC heralded it as a “revolutionary” technology set that would influence CAD for decades, but relatively little concrete information was forthcoming until last week. The products, known as Creo apps were officially launched at PTC's annual user conference to quite a bit of fanfare, but also some questions left unanswered, at least for now.

    Since the Creo brand was announced last fall, I initially had a difficult time with why change well-established product lines brand and identities? I'm guessing to provide a clearer sense of purpose for what the various products do (such as Sketch, Illustrate, Simulate, etc.), all with a Creo prefix. This new nomenclature provides a little better commonality between the various products, but did the consolidation go far enough? For example, since they basically do the same thing why not combine Creo Sketch and Creo Layout into one 2D tool. The same goes for Creo View ECAD and Creo View MCAD; to just Creo View for Mechatronics? Obviously, the reason is to sell more product, but
    on the customer side, I'd prefer fewer, more comprehensive choices. On the other hand, splitting the products (actually known as role-based apps with specific functionality) is a welcome departure from PTC's historic tendency to offer monolithic software applications that were often overkill for many users based on an over-abundance of features that few of them used – tough to learn, tough to use. Too many features also contributed to many of PTC's products having labyrinthian user interfaces with confusing commands and endless cascading menus. Hopefully, Creo is addressing this major usability issue.

    The launch of Creo brings a number of questions to mind:


  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • What is the upgrade path and associated cost for current PTC customers?
  • How long will current pre-Creo PTC products be supported?
  • How consistent is the UI across the various Creo apps with regard to look, feel, and behavior?
  • How does Creo fit with its acquired publishing arm, Arbortext?

    Creo may well be the biggest gamble that PTC has ever undertaken. With risk comes potential for great opportunity and success, but at this stage of the game, the opposite can also be true. Will customers jump on the Creo bandwagon, or wait and see how it evolves? Because PTC's customers are typically a fairly conservative lot, I'm betting on the latter, at least for the time being. However, that could change relatively quickly if some of PTC's marquee customers make the switch and report positive results.

    To relive the “good old days” of the 1990s when it revolutionized the CAD process and industry with Pro/ENGINEER, PTC really needs to hit a home run with Creo. It doesn't have to happen tomorrow, but it has to happen. Will Creo bring some needed excitement to its staffers and customers? Hard to say, but I hope it does because the MCAD industry as a whole is in need of some excitement.



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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


    Reviews:
    Review Article
    • Questions and Answers around Creo 1.0 June 28, 2011
      Reviewed by 'Geoff Hedges, PTC'
      Hi Jeff,
      thanks for taking the time to review Creo 1.0 and to post your top questions. We've taken your questions and answered them on creo.ptc.com, please visit:
      http://creo.ptc.com/2011/06/28/jeff-rowe-creo-questions-and-mcadcafe-com/
      We're definitely convinced Creo brings excitement to the CAD industry, addressing the top challenges, and delivering the next generation of design software to manufacturers. The reactions from our customers have been very positive, and now Creo 1.0 is here, we're seeing terrific interest in deploying Creo.
      Thanks again for taking the time to review Creo 1.0.
      Best Regards,
      Geoff Hedges
      PTC


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    • Direct & Parametric capabililities June 21, 2011
      Reviewed by 'Ron Keeley'
      I certainly hope that they don't end up going back to one monolithic app in the future. I'd like to see a Direct Modeling focused app with some parametric capability (heck, CoCreate has had that for years, actually) and the other a parametric-focused app with some direct modeling capability. That way, users wanting/needing to start from either end of the direct-parametric paradigm can do so, plus get some of the other end-of-the-spectrum capability. I'd really like to see the Direct Modeling tool (Creo Direct) make the existing parametric capability in that tool be something that's also usable (i.e. user interface is fairly simple and understandable and elegant to use, but perhaps doesn't do everything that the high-end Pro version of parametrics does.) This has been a long-standing wish of mine (many years, actually), so I don't really expect it to happen...

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