Q&A with Dan Staples, Vice-President of Solid Edge Development2 Dec, 2015 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson
In an interview with Cadalyst, the executive discusses the state of Solid Edge ST, its position in the MCAD market, Solid Edge on the cloud, and more.
It's not just engineers who need a simpler tool? In the early days of direct modeling, people would say that direct modeling was mostly for those who didn’t use history-based CAD.
No, absolutely not. In fact, early on when we came out with Synchronous, I had to dispel that notion because there was a lot of talk about that. We're for the 24/7 engineer. [We’ve documented] the productivity increases of these engineers. They say things like, "I thought this was going to take me two weeks, but now with Synchronous I get it done in about five hours." Another engineer says, "I allocated three days for this project and it only took me an hour." There's that kind of productivity for the people that use it. It's really dramatic.
My next question is the obligatory one: Where are you in terms of cloud-based Solid Edge now and looking forward?
We are asking our users what they want from us and what benefits they believe it brings to them. I need to be very clear that I don't speak for Siemens PLM, but strictly from a Solid Edge point of view, we aren't interested in making technology just because other people are making technology. We're about the productivity of the engineers. That's why we’ve put the [cloud version of Solid Edge] trial out there. If you go to download the Solid Edge free trial, you're going to get a choice: “Download now and install” or "Run now in your browser." Select "Run now in your browser" and you're running Solid Edge in the cloud.
We feel like it's important for us to discern what users want [regarding Solid Edge on the cloud]. The technology is well within our reach — obviously, because we're doing it. The question is, Now what? What we want to know from people is what they hope to gain from the cloud option. How are they benefiting? Does it help mobility? We know who these users are [because they provide contact information in order to access the trial] and we are talking to them directly.
Do you see any broad differentiators between those who use Solid Edge and, say, users of SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor?
I would say in general, the markets are largely the same; we're competitors. Traditionally, people have chosen Solid Edge for one of four reasons. The first is Synchronous Technology. If they're doing the kind of work where they have a lot of parts and assemblies, making a lot of changes, Synchronous is the thing.
Our traditional strengths before Synchronous remain our strengths. Massive assemblies, such as the one I’ve described that was 88,000 parts, and we have assemblies much larger than that. We have users competing when they're in beta: "Mine's four hundred thousand parts!" "I got one that's almost seven hundred thousand!" And sheet metal. If a large quantity of what you do is sheet metal, it's very likely they're going to be a Solid Edge customer. And drawings. We’re just simply the best at drawing creation and making it as fast as possible with all the tools you need and all the standards and so on.
For assemblies, I’ve always heard SolidWorks was the go-to choice if you have massive assemblies. You're saying that Solid Edge capabilities could compete toe to toe?
I would go head to head with them, and I feel like I'd beat them almost every time. You should see the work some of our customers are doing.