CAD Tech News (#63)

3 May, 2017 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ Bricsys Seeks to Take DWG Community 'Beyond AutoCAD'

Belgium-based developer expands the scope of BricsCAD with support for building information modeling (BIM), sheet metal design, and Intergraph's plant design package.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

With AutoCAD, Autodesk has long enjoyed the lion's share of the 2D CAD market, but it is far from the only option available: Numerous companies develop competing CAD applications that support the DWG file format. Many of these competitors, which offer varying levels of capabilities, have promoted themselves as lower-cost alternatives to AutoCAD. Ever since Autodesk began its transition to a subscription-only licensing model, however, these applications have been drawing new attention from professionals for whom licensing flexibility, not price, is the primary concern.

The Belgium-based company Bricsys, developer of BricsCAD, has experienced this firsthand. "We received over the past weeks, tons of e-mails from large companies saying they are fed up [with Autodesk]," said Mark Van Den Bergh, COO of Bricsys, at a media event held at the end of April. Although Bricsys offers rental licenses, the vast majority of its business — perhaps 95% — is in perpetual licenses, according to CEO Erik De Keyser.

The BricsCAD name may be unfamiliar to many who use CAD software; Bricsys has maintained a tight grip on spending over its 15-year life, limiting expenses such as marketing. "We force ourselves to be profitable, and then you have to be lean," said De Keyser. Now, the company has established "substantially different technology" than its competitors, De Keyser believes, and is ready to make itself known to a broader audience, without fear of being written off as an AutoCAD clone.

"We are starting what I would call a second life now," said De Keyser, who expects the workforce of fewer than 150 people to reach 300 or 400 in the next 3 to 4 years. He is determined to keep his company lean, however, with sales shouldered by an 80-country network of resellers and a heavy emphasis on development staff. Although Bricsys may need to slightly reduce its investment in R&D — which currently accounts for 40-45% of spending — during this time of growth, the company's priorities won't change. "I think we will stay about 80% developers," De Keyser predicted. "What we are good in is basic research and development — that's the focus." Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's editor in chief.

▶ Wohlers Report Finds Slower Overall Growth, More Competition in 3D Printing Space

Industry watcher counted ninety-seven manufacturers producing and selling additive manufacturing systems in 2016, making established providers sweat a bit.

By Cadalyst Staff

In April, the independent consulting firm Wohlers Associates published Wohlers Report 2017, a review and analysis of the additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing industry. (The two terms are often used interchangeably, although additive manufacturing sometimes denotes higher-volume production, such as creating hundreds of dental bridges and crowns for end use instead of one prototype of a part for design verification.) Input for the report was collected from service providers, industrial system manufacturers, producers of third-party materials and low-cost desktop 3D printers, experts, and organizations in 31 countries. This is the 22nd consecutive year that the annual report has been published.

Wohlers Report 2017 states that 97 manufacturers produced and sold additive manufacturing (AM) systems in 2016; this figure is an increase from 62 companies in 2015 and 49 in 2014. According to Wohlers Associates, "This wave of development and commercialization is putting pressure on established producers of AM systems."

According to the report, The AM industry grew by 17.4% in 2016, down from 25.9% the year before. Much of this decrease in growth came from declines by the two largest manufacturers of AM systems, which together represent $1.31 billion (21.7%) of the $6.063 billion AM industry. "If these two companies were excluded from the calculations, the industry would have grown by 24.9%," Wohlers Associates stated in a press release. Read more »

▶ HP Rounds Out Line of New ZBook Mobile Workstations

Fourth-generation models described as most secure to date; ZBook 17 G4 can be configured for virtual reality.

By Cadalyst Staff

HP has unveiled four additions to its fourth-generation lineup of HP ZBook mobile workstations, joining the HP ZBook 15u Ultrabook announced in January. The company describes the new models as the most secure and manageable mobile workstations to date, incorporating security features such as HP Sure Start Gen32, reportedly the industry's first self-healing PC BIOS with comprehensive encryption, as well as strong authentication, malware protection, data protection, identity assurance, and threat detection and response. In addition, the powerful HP ZBook 17 G4 can be configured to visualize work in virtual reality (VR).

The HP ZBook G4 line of workstations now includes five models.
The HP ZBook G4 line of workstations now includes five models.

Read more »


Sponsored: A Design Tour of the HP Z2 Mini, Part 2
The project's lead mechanical engineer discusses the achievements — and the challenges — of designing the world's smallest workstation. Read more »

CAD Manager: Your Training Wake-Up Call, Part 2
Instructor-led, remote, one-on-one — all types of training have their own requirements, so it's crucial to learn the differences. Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Mind the Gap in AutoCAD!
Snapping to gaps in linetypes in AutoCAD used to be impossible — until the amazing system variable LTGAPSELECTION came along! In this video from Cadalyst and Lynn Allen, you'll see how to finally snap to the gap after all these years. Watch the video »

LULU Software Provides Full PDF Capability in Cloud-Based Solution
With Soda PDF Anywhere, users can create, convert, and edit PDF documents, then digitally sign and send them — all from a browser. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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