12 Replies Latest reply on Oct 8, 2012 6:29 PM by Jerry Steiger

    Should SolidWorks Purchase A CAM Company?

      My answer:

       

      SolidWorks should have purchased Geometric's CAMWorks a long time ago.

       

       

      Jon Banquer

      CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

        • Re: Should SolidWorks Purchase A CAM Company?
          Kevin De Smet

          Although this will alienate all other existing third-party CAM vendors, I too think they should purchase a CAM company or at least brand one officially like has happened with elecworks and simpoe.

           

          There's something quite attractive about the whole ecosystem SolidWorks has created already, in terms of having officially branded Simulation and Data Management solutions. It's almost like the business model of the high-end systems but it's still got a unique character to it and I think.. I think I like it.

           

          Remember, when the Simulation products were introduced it alienated Ansys, CD-adapco, NEI, et al. just the same. So it has happened before, and with CAM it probably should happen again.

            • Re: Should SolidWorks Purchase A CAM Company?

              CAM  that runs inside of SolidWorks has many parts that aren't like using SolidWorks at all and are unique to each CAM system that runs inside of  SolidWorks. How you set up work coordinate systems, how you copy and paste machining operations, how you define and manage stock, etc. The sad fact is that every CAM system that runs inside of SolidWorks has created their own unique (and often bizarre) ways to manage these tasks. Most CAM vendors who run inside of SolidWorks do their level best to hide the exact details of how these parts of their CAM program work because it contradicts their claim that running their CAM inside of SolidWorks is just like the SolidWorks experience. This is  especially true when you are dealing with an Assembly approaches to machining multiple different parts.

               

              The only true fully integrated CADCAM that I've ever seen is when one vendor creates both the CAD and the CAM programs. This makes a huge difference because then the CADCAM vendor can create unique Assembly type files for CAM and for Stock that act just like their regular Assembly files. No CAM program I've even seen that runs inside SolidWorks creates its own unique Assembly type files for CAM and for Stock and instead what they appear to do is run on top of the SolidWorks Assembly file. When this  happens the CAD and CAM integration is severely disrupted!

               

              Creating CAM programs for multiple different parts really taxes the capabilities of a CAM system running inside of SolidWorks and nowhere is this more evident than when you are trying to do serious production machining and you wish to program multiple setups for multiple different parts and machine them all at once. While the tools you get  with a CAM system that runs inside of SolidWorks are much better than legacy code CAM systems like Mastercam, Surfcam, FeatureCAM, Gibbscam, etc. they still aren't anywhere near ideal or good enough compared to what I've seen in CADCAM systems where one vendor is creating both the CAD and the CAM parts of the program.

               

              Jon Banquer

              CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

                • Re: Should SolidWorks Purchase A CAM Company?
                  Jerry Steiger

                  Jon,

                   

                  I don't know diddly-squat about CAM, as I'm sure you are well aware, but I have been watching how SolidWorks has developed for over 14 years now. It seems like their MO is to buy a partner, claim to integrate it, and then either leave it to wither on the vine or give it just enough development effort to keep it afloat. I wouldn't wish that on some poor CAM company, nor on the users who get sucked into thinkiing that their life is going to be made easy because they have integrated CAD-CAM.

                   

                  Jerry S.

                    • Re: Should SolidWorks Purchase A CAM Company?
                      Steve Ostrovsky

                      Jerry - I'll disagree with you on the purchasing of 3rd party software and letting it whither... DesignSource & Conisio. These were both purchased and fully integrated into SolidWorks. Yes, PDMWorks Workgroup has not seen any really dev in the last several releases, but it's about as a mature product as you can get and is still kept current with each version.

                       

                      Enterprise PDM (Conisio) has seen continued dev every year since it's purchase - 2013 has several new updates that are going to make users want to upgrade. The only area is the Items - which is being left out in the cold.

                       

                      3Dvia Composer, even though a Dassault product, also sees continued improvements.

                      • Re: Should SolidWorks Purchase A CAM Company?

                        "I don't know diddly-squat about CAM"

                         

                        I could teach a guy like you 90 percent of what you need to know about 2 1/2 axis milling CAM in one day.

                         

                        You could not pay me enough money to try and teach the leading SolidWorks blogger CAM and deal with his ignorance and lack of actual manufacturing knowledge. The old legacy CAM program he use to love to recommend on Usenet is very problematic. I have used this old legacy CAM program for the last five years almost everyday because it's the most popular one and it's what almost all my clients use. It's pure garbage that wastes tons of a users time. I use it only because I make very good money using it. However, unlike others I tell the truth about what it really is and hope for change. Here is an example of how much of a PITA it is to create toolpath for an open pocket with this old legacy CAM program because it's so stupid and doesn't make full use of the information a solid model contains:

                         

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9LcincT_ng

                         

                        CAM is not rocket science and anyone who wants to make the effort can understand it. The problem is most don't want to make the effort including most people who use CAM and just accept the lousy tools and approaches offered by the CAM systems they have learned to use.  Most CAM users never question if there is a better approach to CAM other than the one they know how to use.

                         

                        "I wouldn't wish that on some poor CAM company, nor on the users who get sucked into thinkiing that their life is going to be made easy because they have integrated CAD-CAM."

                         

                        All CAM right now is a compromise but some CAM is significantly better than others and can easily save hours of toolpath programming time. A specific example of what I mean by this:

                         

                        Most CAM systems require the user to constantly chain geometry in order to create a path for the cutter to travel on. (toolpath). A few CADCAM products don't require chaining geometry because unlike most other CAM systems they make full use of the information a solid model contains.

                         

                        Better CADCAM also keeps constant track of a stock model and can adjust and change the toolpath automatically or with very limited help from the user.

                         

                        Better CADCAM allows you to drag and drop existing backplotted toolpath wireframe to a new unmachined part of the solid model and it will automatically change the machining parameters based on the features contained in the solid model. Example: You drag the backplotted wireframe toolpath that is a contour toolpath to an open pocket and the machining parameters will automatically be changed to reflect the new geometry condition (open pocket).

                         

                        Fully integrated CADCAM is the only way to go, Jerry. The benefits are huge over older stand along CAM like Mastercam, Surfcam, Gibbscam, etc. The best fully integrated CADCAM occurs when one company makes both the CAD and the CAM. Here are just a few of the many advantages of when both CAD and CAM are produced by the same company:

                         

                        http://www.cimsolutions.com.au/main.asp?p=4

                         

                        http://www.cadcamtechnologyleaders.blogspot.com/p/fully-integrated-cadcam.html

                         

                         

                         

                        Jon Banquer

                        CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

                          • Re: Should SolidWorks Purchase A CAM Company?
                            George Macy

                            "Most CAM systems require the user to constantly chain geometry in order to create a path for the cutter to travel on. (toolpath)."

                             

                            Indeed. This is why I loathe Mastercam. Of the 4 CAM systems I've used, Mastercam is by far the most cumbersome when it comes to geometry selection. Yet, it appears to have a huge market share.

                              • Re: Should SolidWorks Purchase A CAM Company?

                                I'd certainly agree with you in regards to cumbersome geometry selection in Mastercam and the fact that it has a huge market share in the US. These are among the many reasons why it's long past time for SolidWorks to purchase a CAM company.

                                 

                                It would be nice to finally see a true fully integrated CAM product in SolidWorks in a way that we haven't seen yet. What I mean when I say this is that by allowing CAM to create its own assembly file you get much better integration than when CAM rides on top of a SolidWorks assembly file. CAM does create it's own assembly file in other products where one company creates both CAD and CAM:

                                 

                                HSMWorks was plagued with problems. Here I discuss some of the many issues that HSMWorks had/has:

                                 

                                http://worldcadaccess.typepad.com/blog/2012/10/autodesk-acquires-cam-maker-hsmworks-finally.html

                                 

                                 

                                Jon Banquer

                                CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

                      • Re: Should SolidWorks Purchase A CAM Company?
                        George Macy

                        I'm curious to know if you're familiar with Solidcam, and how you think it compares with CAMworks when using within SW?

                        Currently learning ESPRIT and am probably going to have to learn either CAMworks or Solidcam. Thanks for any insight.

                        • Re: Should SolidWorks Purchase A CAM Company?

                          http://forum.hsmworks.com/index.php?topic=1358.120

                           

                          "But it will be a cold day in Hell before I ever would consider another 3rd party CAM solution again."

                           

                           

                          Jon Banquer

                          CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn