PTC Lifts the Project Lightning Curtain, Introducing Creo28 Oct, 2010 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson
Promising to redefine the CAD market, a new suite of role-specific product-development apps support any mode of modeling and can incorporate data from any CAD system. New versions of Pro/E, CoCreate, and ProductView are rebranded for immediate availability.
All the buzz and speculation that grew from PTC's announcement last spring of the mysterious Project Lightning ended yesterday when the company introduced an entirely new suite of mechanical CAD and related software applications called Creo. Does Creo live up to the hype that preceded the announcement? Yes, in many ways, it does. In fact, PTC is banking on Creo so much that it is ditching the brand names — just the names, not the technologies — of Pro/ENGINEER, CoCreate, and ProductView, all of which come into the Creo fold immediately.
PTC's announcement earlier this year promised to redefine the CAD market, changing it for the next 20 years. The company carried out this theme at a global web presentation dubbed Project Lightning: Unveiled that started off with four convicts — labeled Teamwork, Efficiency, Creativity, and Value — being escorted to a jail cell to illustrate the company's assertion that these pursuits have been "locked away by the tradeoffs of traditional CAD." The webcast introduced Creo and its ground-breaking new approach to product design and development, then concluded by playing "I'm Free" by The Who. A recorded version of the Project Lightning: Unveiled web presentation is now available online.
All About Creo
What makes Creo so different? It's not a product, said CEO Jim Heppelmann, but a suite of simple applications, or apps, that are purpose-built for specific roles, or users, in the product-development process. The apps concept itself is unique but not surprising. It's the technology surrounding the apps that takes the Creo concept beyond the norm.
As PTC puts it, "Creo will deliver four breakthrough technologies that address the lingering challenges of usability, interoperability, technology lock-in and assembly management. " They include:
- AnyRole Apps offer customers the right tool, for the right user at the right time, from industrial designers and engineers to project managers and marketers. Brian Shepherd, executive vice-president, product development, called them the Goldilocks of products — that is, "just right" apps.
- AnyMode Modeling is built on PTC's CoCreate and Pro/ENGINEER technologies to enable users to design and use data in any modeling mode — 2D, 3D direct, or 3D parametric — without losing intelligence or design intent. Models can begin as a 2D sketch using simple drawing and dragging, then users can move the design to 3D and it will maintain the model's geometry and intelligence. "This level of fluency is unprecedented," said Michael Campbell, divisional vice-president, Creo product development.
Changes that one user makes to a design via the direct modeling approach will appear highlighted when the model is opened in the parametric modeling environment, and that user can accept or reject the proposed changes. Switching between design mode poses no risk of data loss, PTC reported.
A demonstration of specific new modeling capabilities is available in the Project Lightning: Unveiled web presentation.
- AnyData Adoption allows users to incorporate data from any CAD system and it becomes native Creo data, PTC explained. Then you can visualize, edit, and analyze the design, create toolpaths, or perform any number of other product development tasks.
- AnyBOM Assembly gives teams the option to link Creo and PLM (product lifecycle management) — or not. Users can create and validate serial number-specific product configurations by bringing any bill of materials into any Creo app.
Creo architecture: At the top, it is a suite of role-specific applications, or apps, for the different people involved in the product-development process. The apps are built on a common data model that support work in a multi-CAD environment. A configuration kernel supports a new approach to assembly modeling that bridges the gap between assemblies at the enterprise level and systems like Windchill PLM, and in the design tool environment.
New Branding for Familiar Products
Rob Gremley, PTC executive vice-president of marketing, took the stage at the web presentation to clarify how PTC plans to transition the current product line to the Creo suite of applications. "Creo is created from the elements of Pro/ENGINEER, CoCreate, and ProductView with a lot of other code mixed in," Gremley said. "That term, elements, is critical because it's the tie that binds these products to the future of Creo. That tie is so critical and so meaningful to our customers, that today we're also announcing the rebranding, the renaming, of these products — Pro/ENGINEER, CoCreate, and ProductView — as Creo products."
- Pro/ENGINEER will be renamed Creo Elements/Pro
- CoCreate will be renamed Creo Elements/Direct
- ProductView will be renamed Creo Elements/View
The new names, Gremley explained, communicate the future of the familiar products while maintaining their ties to the past. "These products are here and alive and well, they're maintained, they're supported, they're valued." Read more about the rebranding of existing PTC products on the PTC web site.
PTC announced it will rebrand Pro/ENGINEER, CoCreate, and ProductView as elements of the Creo suite.
Creo is designed as a "very open system," Shepherd said, and PTC partners will deliver even more apps to extend its reach. Following the PTC announcement, Luxion announced that Keyshot, its real-time ray tracing and global illumination program, will integrate with Creo. Henrik Wann Jensen, chief scientist and co-founder of Luxion, said, "With a few clicks, users can take their part or assembly file in their desired representation and transfer it to KeyShot.
VISTAGY demonstrated its FiberSIM composites engineering software running in a Creo environment. The Creo version of FiberSIM adopts PTC's new user interface and ribbon menu. VISTAGY will continue to support PTC's existing installed base, while providing clear upgrade paths, the company reported.
Creo Elements products are available now. Creo 1.0 is expected to be available mid-year 2011, followed by Creo 2.0 next fall.
The Creo product roadmap shows the timing of new app releases to come.
What's in a Name
About the new name, Heppelmann explained that creo is the Latin root of the word create. It's a full word in Spanish, Latin, and other languages as well, where depending on the context of its use, means, "I think, I create, I believe."