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Engineers Cheer 'Multi-CAD' Strategy

Engineers Cheer 'Multi-CAD' Strategy

Software maker PTC drew applause and cheers from an audience of 1,800 engineers at PTC Live Global 2013 this week when it announced it will offer a "multi-CAD" strategy early next year.

During a keynote address on the future of product design, PTC executives mentioned that customers "will be able to use data from other systems, such as SolidWorks, CATIA, and NX" in the next iteration of its Creo product design software, due out in 2014. The statement caused an unexpected wave of cheers to erupt from the crowd.

"I've been coming to these [shows] for years, and I've never heard an audience spontaneously cheer that way," Brian Thompson, vice president of CREO product management for PTC, told Design News after the keynote.

Today, most companies buy multiple "seats" for competing computer-aided design (CAD) environments, and data is typically not shared between them. PTC's Creo 3.0 will change that. It will allow users to employ data from Dassault Systemes' SolidWorks and CATIA, as well as Unigraphics NX from Siemens PLM Software, "as if they were native CREO objects," the company said. The strategy would enable designers to therefore bring data into CREO from projects that may have been done in other environments.

The idea of giving "native treatment" to third-party data apparently struck a chord with designers. PTC's new strategy raises the possibility that some seats for competitive environments could disappear, thus reducing overall cost for design teams. Thompson said, however, that the approval of users isn't simply about cost, but about the reduction of complexity, as well. "It's partially about the pain in the neck of dealing with third-party CAD formats," he told us. "Some people consider that to be a real pain point right now."

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