PTC Launches New Creo Design Platform

DN Staff

October 29, 2010

4 Min Read
PTC Launches New Creo Design Platform

Amidst the fanfare of a multimedia presentations and a completelynew brand strategy, PTC pulled back the coverson its Project Lightening initiative announced earlier this year, revealingdetails on a new scalable suite of interoperable design apps under the Creomoniker.

Described by CEO Jim Heppelmann as a "fresh start" and thenext-generation mechanical tool platform for the next 20 years, PTC laid outits vision for Creo, which incorporates key elements in its existing productlineup along with a range of new patent-pending technologies. Creo, whichcompanies executives insisted is not a simple repackaging of products, isspecifically being architected to address the unsolved problems that have causedthe mechanical CAD marketplace to remain stagnant: Usability, interoperability,vendor lock-in and assembly modeling. "If we take stock of what we have, wehave a lot of the right elements to build a new solution that addresses thosebig problems," notes Brian Shepard, executive vice president of productdevelopment for PTC.

There are four principle components of the Creoarchitecture:

AnyRole Apps: This is a concept PTC describes as aright-size, role-based application as opposed to serving up a single,monolithic CAD platform that tries to be everything to everyone in the designchain. This strategy, designed to simplify CAD and make it more inclusive,would result in dozens, maybe even hundreds of "apps," built by PTC and apartner ecosystem, for specific roles within the design process. In thisscenario, for example, there could be an industrial designer app that hasselect surfacing tools for that individual, an analyst app with functionalityspecific for simulation experts or a service platform app that might let thoseindividuals easily create 2-D and 3-D technical illustrations. "These arepurpose-built tools for specific roles," explains Mike Campbell, PTC'sdivisional vice president. "There's nothing extra and nothing missing."

AnyMode Modeling: By creating a common data backbone, Creowill allow users to design in any paradigm-2D, 3D direct or 3-D parametric-yetstill be able to share and access data from any other mode. Key to thiscapability is patented technology that will let users seamlessly switch betweenmodes without losing intelligence or design intent. "What's critical importanthere is that there is data flow-there are no dead ends," Campbell says. Userscan start a design in 2D and then flow it into 3-D when it is appropriate,providing a better transition between the two paradigms then what haspreviously been available, he explains.

AnyData Adoption: While AnyMode modeling addresses datasharing and interoperability between apps in the Creo suite, it doesn't accountfor data and models created in other CAD systems. Heterogeneous CAD is fact oflife in today's design environment and sharing data between systems-and having itbe useful-is a long-time challenge for customers. "One of the barriers forinteroperability in CAD systems is that is been very difficult to share this recipe-basedapproach to geometry construction that is parametric modeling," Shepard said."Creo adopts [data from third-party apps] as if it were created in the system."

AnyBOM Assembly: This design principle of Creo addresses thechallenge of assembly modeling as companies struggle to create highlyconfigurable products. Using the PTC's Windchill PLM software as theconfiguration kernel, Creo will enable a top-down approach to assemblymodeling. Companies using Windchill will be able to push parts and assemblymodels into the CAD environment, enabling reuse and simplifying the design ofnew configurations. "Here to date, the integration between CAD and PLM has beenaround sophisticated document management and the vaulting and storing of CADdata," Shepard says. "This is the next level of integration between PLM and CADtools, enabling business processes around configuration management."

Creo 1.0 will roll out in Summer 2011 with the first AnyRoleApps: Parametric; Direct modeling; Conceptual Engineering; StructuralSimulation; Schematics; 3-D Technical Illustration; and Visualization. Creo 2.0will follow up for release in the fall and will include AnyBOM Assembly.Pricing on the apps and modules has not yet been determined.

In addition to the new Creo platform, PTC has rebrandedexisting products. Pro/ENGINEER becomes Creo Elements/Pro; CoCreate becomesCreo Elements/Direct; and ProductView becomes Creo Elements/View.

Customers and industry analysts generally applauded PTC'sefforts, particularly around the concept of AnyRole Apps, which they said wouldmake CAD more accessible, and the idea of tackling the problems aroundconfiguration management. Execution, they said, would be PTC's biggestchallenge. "The real truth of the matter comes when the software becomesavailable and gets tested by users," says John MacKrell, a senior consultant atCIMdata.

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