24 Replies Latest reply on Oct 12, 2014 3:49 PM by Jerry Steiger

    SolidWorks vs ProE Creo

    Stephen Reed

      We are long time users of SolidWorks having migrated there from AutoCad Mechanical DeskTop back in 2003.  Since then we have new owners that are long time users of Pro E (now Creo) and they are wanting us to make the switch. I've been asked to give some of the top reasons to stay with SolidWorks. I am well aquainted with SolidWorks but have no real knowledge of Creo's strengths or weaknesses.  I guess my questions is for anyone that has experience or knowledge of both SolidWorks and Creo as to how they compare? Strengths and/or weaknesses of Creo in particular.

       

      Thanks,

      Steve R

        • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
          Kelvin Lamport

          I know very little about Creo other than cutting my 3D teeth on one of it's former incarnations (SolidDesigner). It has changed greatly since then.

          No matter which software is chosen, changing 3D systems all share the same basic problems.

           

          Top reasons to remain with SW:-

          The expense of purchasing new seats of Creo will be far more than just renewing SW licences

          No retraining required

          No loss of productivity caused by learning new system

          Even if Creo turned out to be a better fit for your company, the users will be frustrated during retraining

          No need to convert legacy files to new system

          Importing to new system will not maintain parametric design intent

          2D drawings will be lost ... unless you have them saved as PDF (or another non-parametric format)

           

          Most of the above might also apply if a new PDM system would be need to be implemented

            • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
              Stephen Reed

              Thanks Kelvin.  I've been trying to find how many use Creo as compared to SolidWorks. I know SW claims over 2 million but I haven't found any similar info on Creo.

                • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                  J. Mather

                  Stephen Reed wrote:

                   

                    I've been trying to find how many use Creo as compared to SolidWorks.

                  Rather than what the rest of the world is doing (at this point) I think your first step is finding out those numbers within your (new) company.

                  I suspect 5 SWx users might have a tough time converting 25 Creo users, or the other way around.

                   

                  Then look at your customers (inside or out?  You have not really supplied any useful information).

                • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                  J. Mather

                  Kelvin Lamport wrote:

                   

                  Top reasons to remain with SW:-

                  1. The expense of purchasing new seats of Creo will be far more than just renewing SW licences

                  2. No retraining required

                  3. No loss of productivity caused by learning new system

                  4. Even if Creo turned out to be a better fit for your company, the users will be frustrated during retraining

                  5. No need to convert legacy files to new system

                  6. Importing to new system will not maintain parametric design intent

                  7. 2D drawings will be lost ... unless you have them saved as PDF (or another non-parametric format)

                   

                  1. Are the Creo users going to standardize on SWx?  Isn't there an expense associated with that?

                  2. Is SWx so similar to Creo that no retraining is required?

                  3. See #1 & 2.

                  4. What users?  The Creo users or the SWx users?  If Creo is the better fit, and that group prevails and the company standardizes on Creo....

                  5. If the company standardizes on either....

                  6. #5

                  7. #5

                   

                  What is the purpose of asking the question if the SWx users are to continue using SWx and the Creo users are to continue using Creo?

                  I suspect there is going to be a lot of pressure to standardize the entire company on one or the other.

                  Not easy!

                    • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                      Jamil Snead

                      I think there is some ambiguity about whether or not there are actual Creo "users" at this company. It sounds like all of the engineers are SW users, and the new owners are the only people at the company with a Creo history. Whether or not the owners are actually going to be "users" for the company is unclear.

                       

                      I believe Kelvin's response was based on the assumption that there are currently only SW users and no Creo users. That is why sticking with SW would not require training or frustration or conversion.

                        • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                          J. Mather

                          Jamil Snead wrote:

                           

                          ... Whether or not the owners are actually going to be "users" for the company is unclear.

                           

                          "Since then we have new owners that are long time users of Pro E (now Creo) and they are wanting us to make the switch."

                           

                          This is what I interpret as an executive decision.  Any challenge will be a challenge to executive authority. 

                          Are the new owners deficient in their decision making and need educating in the current market (all facets of the decision)?

                           

                          I am not advocating one or the other.

                      • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                        Greg Fowler

                        I agree with most of your sentiments, but I'm 99.9% positive Creo is just the new name for PTC's Pro/E software and it has no connection with SolidDesigner...

                      • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                        Kelvin Lamport

                        Regarding Creo's strengths weaknesses, check out the various Creo forums...

                        PTC: Creo Parametric (Pro/ENGINEER) Forum - Eng-Tips

                        PTC Community: Community: Creo

                        MCAD Central

                        • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                          Joe Kuzich

                          What type of work does your company do?  That will play a big part in determining which is the better fit for your company.  What other companies will you have to work with and what are their platforms?  Converting files is not something you want to do if you don't have to.

                           

                          I recently heard that Ford is getting rid of Pro-E (not sure how true it is) which will make a lot of suppliers get rid of it too.  That might be a bummer because if you do have to switch over to Pro-E it will make you more marketable to have another system under your belt but the market for that system may be shrinking drastically.  I have heard rumors that other areas in the world do not rotate around the Big 3 but here everything does.  Anyway if you supply FORD (& if that's true) it would be a good reason to not switch over just yet.

                           

                           

                          Kelvin gave you some good reasons to stay with SW.  If the new owners have other employees using Pro-E they can use the same reason as a case for Pro-E .

                          • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                            Jamil Snead

                            One risk of switching to Creo is that any employees who are super dedicated to SW might quit. It may sound crazy, but personally I think that if my company switched CAD software I would look for another job, mainly because SW is so common that I want to stay expert at it or else I risk losing qualification for some future opportunity I might want.

                              • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                                Joe Kuzich

                                That's interesting in my area there is a SW presence but it is far from leading the pack.  UG & Catia are the ones in biggest demand around here lately, with substantially higher pay grades.

                                 

                                Again depending on what you guys do it might make sense for you to keep both.  For instance if you design part for various customers rather than an isolated market.  Or if your company is retaining both your old companies clients who use your SW files and bringing on clients that the new owners are bringing with them that use creo files.

                                 

                                That might be the best solution for the employees too since it will give you all a chance to learn both systems.  The systems are just tools and like any tool they all have their place.  If the only tool you have is a hammer all your problems start to look like nails.  The more tools you have the better prepared you are for any problem.

                              • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                                Stephen Reed

                                We manufacture office furniture and are part of a Fortune 500 company. There are 28 SolidWorks users here. Our parent company has many seats of Pro E ( I know it's now Creo but bear with me); don't know how many seats but likely in the hundreds.  However, this is not a discussion of whether or not the company should go with one or the other; that is not up for debate; it is about establishing a convincing argument for our one little corner of a large corporation to stay with SolidWorks.

                                 

                                I read some replies as implying I'm not asking the right questions, especially about number of users.  My motivation in asking that is that I think it establishes SolidWorks as being in even broader use than Pro E but I don't have the numbers to prove it.  I did find that SolidWorks claims more than 195,000 customers while Pro E claims more than 28,000. I see that as a huge difference that may or may not have implications as to superiority.

                                 

                                Thanks to all that have contributed, it has all been very interesting reading. Ultimately, we will likely be dictated as to which direction (ProE) we are going.

                                 

                                Steve R

                                • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                                  Nathan Rollins

                                  Many good points are being made here.  I will add some thoughts.  I am an independent contractor and have active maintenance / subscription to both SWX and "Cro/E" (pun intended - the marketing decision at PTC is laughable)

                                   

                                  Stephen, you will hopefully reply with some more details, but certainly the question of "what does your company do?" is key to the answer of which package to choose.  However, I think from reading your post is that you are given the choice (again, an assumption) should MamaCompany allow KidCompany to keep SWX and the whole entity will have two platforms, or do they force KidCo to switch to Creo?  It does not seem like Mama is considering a wholesale switch to SWX...

                                   

                                  If that assumption is true, the question is "What arguments are there for keeping SWX in a division of a larger company that has Creo as a standard?"  But, Stephen's question is to compare strengths and weaknesses of the two CAD packages.  Given the nature of your question, I think the decision needs to be based on bigger things than specifics like "variable draft" and "assembly mate stability" and stuff like that.  We're all assuming some things here... but it sure does make for a good discussion.

                                   

                                  I've used PTCcad for ~19 years and SWX for almost 3 years now.  My transition was not "fun," and I am sure that everyone has similar experiences switching - some will handle it better than others.  I believe that CAD is a tool that allows an engineer to do their job and Both of these packages have their strengths and weaknesses.  A bad engineer is not a bad engineer due to the software he uses.  After only 3 years, I am starting to lean toward SWX as a tool of choice.  So I think that says something.  But, if you are forced to switch, the downsides were nicely listed for you by Kelvin above. (I am a little confused by most of Mr Mather's response to that list - but Training WILL be required - formal (expensive) training would be the best way to minimize the transition time)

                                   

                                  However, one thing that I did not read above is the negative of having a company with multiple CAD platforms.  Again, depending on the company and how much interaction there is / will be between the different divisions, there could be ZERO issue with this, or it could really be a nightmare dealing with it.  I have seen both cases.  If there is any overlap in the work done or parts used or PDM systems, I think that settling on one system is the way to go.  Even considering Kelvin's list.  Creo is a decent package that works very well and is pretty stable.  No one should fear it, but migrating is not cheap.

                                   

                                  • Specifically, Creo excels in model stability and the user's ability to salvage work that has been done and is failed (rebuild errors.)  Creo has an awesome tool set for interrogating the model and features and even entities (edges, vertices, etc.) and allows the user to easily find out what is wrong (specifically down to the edge that was picked as a reference) and then manipulate those refs in order to fix the problem - potentially not affecting any children.  This can save HOURS of work when making early model changes to a complex part. I spend way too much time in SWX recreating sketches and features that lost their refs and then dealing with the failed children. Resolving failed features is where SolidWorks really falls down.
                                  • Selection in Creo is far superior.  Try selecting a face of a surface that is enclosed in another surface body when creating a surface trim in SWX.
                                  • Visualization in Creo is superior with respect to previewing drafts and rounds and features.  Creating and editing and maintaining draft features in Creo is SO much better than SWX.  Drafting in SWX is infuriating for me...  "A feature that does not get highlighted when selected... hmm. There must be a reason why."
                                  • Navigating a large (long tree) file in Creo is very straight forward and in SWX I find myself getting lost in the tree often.  Features in SWX get absorbed.  This is troublesome and thankfully they have given us the ability to flatten the tree - this helps, but still falls short of Creo's methodology.  Creo adds a column in the tree called "feature number" - simply a sequential numbering of the features - so helpful when "extrude45" fails and you need to know if "round132" is before or after the extrude...
                                  • SWX user interface ROCKS and Creo's SUCKS.  This is the main reason I am leaning toward SWX as my tool of choice.  I really feel like I am working faster in SolidWorks - when things are going well, on fresh designs and on easy jobs.  On more complex models or difficult failures or deep changes to existing models, things slow down significantly and I find myself yearning for Creo.
                                  • Peripheral things in SWX are so much better - things like configurations and tables (BOMS) and parameters (forgot the term - "description" or "material properties" or "finish" - things posted on a drawing)  SolidWorks uses techniques that we already know and understand (e.g. MS Excel)  Creo is just stupid in that regard and you need to learn a whole new way of thinking.  Creating an assy BOM in Creo has got to be the craziest workflow...
                                  • File management (running without PDM) is much more flexible and safe in Creo.  I do not like how SWX handles file saves and save-as and there is no "rename."  I think SWX wants to force the users to use (buy) EPDM, but in Creo, once you learn the techniques, file management is very robust.
                                  • Did I mention that Creo's UI is just plain horrible?  Customization is like navigating a maze and then you need to do it again and again. 
                                  • BUT - Creo has Mapkeys - a very simple and EASY way to create, manage and use "macros."  Macros are still something that I have not figured out in SWX and would really like to, I just have not made the time to learn how.  In Creo, you don't need to learn anything.  Tell it the keystroke to execute it, record it and save it. Done.  I have and use maybe 30+ mapkeys in Creo.  SWX has such a great UI that I would probably only need a third of those keyboard shortcuts, but I sure would like to have them and after three years and several attempts to create them, I still run without.
                                  • One last thing - the tech support for each is vastly different.  With SWX you go through the VAR and there is a fair amount of incentive for the VAR to provide GOOD tech supt, because if they fail my needs, I will get my subscription somewhere else next year.  PTC has all tech supt go through PTC.  This can be frustrating when the supt agent has ESL - or a thick accent and thinks that YOU have a thick accent.

                                   

                                  As you can imagine, I could go on and on.  There really is not and never will be a clear winner.  One comment above made by Joe is that you will have another CAD package under your belt to make you more marketable.  And Jamil's indirect response to that was switching CAD might cause you to lose your expertise.  These are both true in my experience.  After 16 years of being a Pro/E expert, I suddenly spent most of my efforts conquering this new CAD and I felt like my Creo skills were getting diluted.  It is true and does happen.  But I am really happy to know both systems now and would not trade the experience.  I will say, though, tongue in cheek, Ignorance is Bliss...  Meaning, now that I know both systems and the shortcomings of each, I tend to hate both more than I ever hated the one!  If only I could just merge the best of both into one CAD package.

                                   

                                  Wow - that was long.  I need to get some work done.  I hope that is helpful. Feel free to ask more questions.

                                   

                                  -Nate

                                    • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                                      Stephen Reed

                                      Nathan,

                                       

                                      Wow, you put a lot of effort into that reply and a lot of useful information from someone that has experience with both ProE and SW, thanks very much for your effort. That was the most helpful reply thus far.

                                       

                                      You are correct, momma company has no intentions of switching from ProE to SW.  It is a matter of allowing us, the new (relatively speaking) kid on the block to continue what we've been doing for some time. Does parent company force everyone to their standard or continue allowing a smaller, secondary system to exist?  Ultimately, I think, we will be "forced" to make the switch to ProE so it is good to know that maybe it won't be as painful as I thought.

                                       

                                      There are no doubt benefits to using only 1 cad system but the reality is that we seldom need to share files. When we do, it is more often us converting a ProE file to SW rather than the other way around. Another point on the ProE side is that I think momma company has some sort of special licensing agreement with PTC that makes it more competitive and maybe even less expensive than SW.

                                       

                                      I like SolidWorks and hope to stay with it but it is unfortunately more a matter of "when" rather than "if".  My intention in starting this discussion was to gather enough "ammunition" to siginificantly delay the switch.  Who knows, if what Joe said about Ford proves true, maybe there is a chance that idea could spread to our parent company.

                                       

                                      I have discovered through these discussions that my written communication skills are not what they need to be. I will try to improve on that; but, hey, I'm an engineer, what can you expect.

                                       

                                      Thanks again to all; this has been both interesting and enlightening.

                                      Steve R

                                        • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                                          Jerry Steiger

                                          Steve,

                                           

                                          I'm going the other direction from Nate; 15years of SW and moving to Creo Parametric. I've taken just the basic Creo training and have had very little chance to use it since then, so I am barely able to function. As Nate said, the user interface sucks. There are a few things that Creo does well (I can't think of any right now) and they have done a lot to make the interface better than it was in the old days (I used it for a short period pre-Wildfire and it was worlds worse), but they have a long way to go. Getting good instruction is absolutely essential. We tried to learn on our own with tutorials and some how-to books and most of that time was wasted. (On the other hand, when I learned SW, I worked my way through the tutorials and breezed through the Basics class.)

                                           

                                          I'm sure I will eventually become a competent Creo user. Some of the things that drive me nuts now will become second nature. I won't enjoy the process and I find it hard to imagine that I would ever promote it to others. Part of this is just the normal "first love" syndrome, where the first tool you learn is better than the next one, but SW was actually my fifth CAD tool. I'm not at all happy to be making the move to my sixth.

                                           

                                          One other thing to watch out for if you make the switch. Our company handles the Creo licensing through corporate. It seems that most of the divisions using Creo are very conservative about switching versions, so the corporate licenses are stuck at 2.0. Since it seems unlikely that we can talk them into moving quickly to 3.0, we may have to buy our own licenses, since there are several new features that we would really like to use.

                                           

                                          Jerry S.

                                            • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                                              Joe Kuzich

                                              Jerry,

                                               

                                              Is Creo backwards compatible?  Would you run into file sharing issues?  I could be wrong but I thought Creo was/is like SW in that respect.  Just curious.  I don't have access to it.

                                               

                                              Joe

                                                • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                                                  Nathan Rollins

                                                  Joe - If you mean "Can Creo 2.0 open files created or saved in Creo 3.0?" then the answer is "no."

                                                   

                                                  I can receive SWX 2014 parts and open them in 2013 as "future version" files and I get to at least see them, xsection, measure, etc...  Creo does not even let you do that.  Creo has a version-less format called "neutral file" that lets you bring into any version (like x_t) - It is better than STEP or IGES in that it does allow the part / assemblies to update if the part changes - just replace it in the folder with the new version.  But that neutral file does need to be exported each time.

                                                   

                                                  -Nate

                                                • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                                                  Nathan Rollins

                                                  Jerry,

                                                   

                                                  I gave a presentation this year at the PTC Live Global event in Boston called "How to Successfully Transition from Another CAD Package."  The PPT is pretty useless in terms of meat, but I made a handout that I have attached here for you to check out.  I hope you learn at least one little tip from it to aid you in your journey.

                                                   

                                                  Remember, I owe you much from all of the valuable responses you fed me in my transition to SolidWorks.  Please feel free to cash in on the favors!

                                                   

                                                  -Nate

                                                  • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                                                    Stephen Reed

                                                    Jerry,

                                                     

                                                    I share many of your points also. I'm a long time Cad user; since somewhere in the mid 80's.  I started with a program called Anvil, which I think is the answer to the trivia question "name one superior competitor to AutoCad that didn't make it".  Then it was AutoCad LT, standard AutoCad, AutoCad MDT and now SolidWorks. Of all these, SolidWorks was by far the easiest transition with the exception of LT to standard AutoCad.

                                                     

                                                    Thanks for sharing your feelings about the transition to Creo.  I will press for training based on your experience if it comes to making the transition. I'm not looking forward to it and I'm hoping the decision gets delayed for an indefinite period of time.  The fact that I was asked for my input is hopeful. I've always had a knack for learning new software packages, so I'm confident I can transition to Creo if and when the time comes.

                                                     

                                                    Thanks for sharing your experiences,

                                                    Steve R

                                                  • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                                                    Jamil Snead

                                                    My company was acquired about 3 years ago by a very large company (Lincoln Electric). We are tiny, 2 and a half mechanical engineers, and we use SolidWorks. Lincoln is enormous, and they mainly use Solid Edge. I don't know what the exact deal is, I heard that there are some SW users at Lincoln too, but most of the engineers use SE. After the acquisition there was some talk about us switching to Solid Edge, but the the other ME and I pretty much said "no, we'll be more productive with SW" and they dropped it. There haven't been any compatibility issues. Sometimes we want models from them and we just get them in STEP format, or we just remodel them from prints. Without much file sharing going on I don't see any reason why it would be a problem to have a child company use a different CAD package than the parent.

                                                    • Re: SolidWorks vs ProE Creo
                                                      J. Mather

                                                      Stephen Reed wrote:


                                                      Ultimately, I think, we will be "forced" to make the switch to ProE so it is good to know that maybe it won't be as painful as I thought.

                                                      I like SolidWorks and hope to stay with it but it is unfortunately more a matter of "when" rather than "if". 

                                                       

                                                      My intention in starting this discussion was to gather enough "ammunition" to siginificantly delay the switch.  Who knows, if what Joe said

                                                      about Ford proves true, maybe there is a chance that idea could spread to our parent company.

                                                       

                                                      I have been hearing that "fill in the blank" is switching for years.

                                                      Some have, some haven't.

                                                       

                                                      For a good laugh, maybe this is prophetic.

                                                      What does the acronym CREO stand for -

                                                      Committee on Recently Extinct Organisms (CREO)