CAD Central

30 Jun, 2005 By: Sara Ferris

Analysis of CAD industry news and trends

PTC has set itself an ambitious goal of topping $1 billion in revenue by 2006, said CEO Richard Harrison at the PTC/USER conference in Orlando in June. The company has rebounded from the financial doldrums of a few years ago. It's been profitable for six consecutive quarters, Harrison noted, with growth coming mainly from organic growth in its core products, not through acquisitions. Its only significant purchase during this period was OHIO Automation.

 PTC Pro/INTRALINK 8 uses a Web-based interface for workgroup data management.
PTC Pro/INTRALINK 8 uses a Web-based interface for workgroup data management.

Chief product officer Jim Hepplemann believes the company is well-poised to take advantage of increasing interest in global product development, citing estimates that 90% of manufacturers plan to offshore 10%–30% of engineering within the next three years.

With $400 million in cash on hand, PTC plans to make strategic acquisitions, and announced two at the event. PTC filled a gap in its PLM lineup with the purchase of Canadian company Polyplan, a developer of MPM (manufacturing process management) software. Polyplan is a member of the PTC partner program. Its Polyplan software is built on a Web-based architecture similar to Windchill's, which should facilitate PTC's plans to integrate it with Windchill. Polyplan handles tasks such as process plan creation, line balancing, and time and cost analysis. It also integrates with ERP systems such as SAP and Oracle. Polyplan's primary customer is Bombardier Transportation. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The second acquisition is aimed at strengthening PTC's appeal as a PLM option in the retail, footwear and apparel market. Aptavis Technologies develops a Windchill-based product that PTC has distributed since 2002. The PTC Retail, Footwear and Apparel Solution manages market-specific tasks such as seasonal calendaring, line boards, materials, color and product specifications.

"One of PTC's growth strategies is to extend our solutions to vertical industries beyond the core discrete manufacturing verticals traditionally served by PTC," said Harrison.

PTC also presented the next versions of its data management products Windchill and Pro/INTRALINK. Pro/INTRALINK 8.0, for the Pro/ENGINEER workgroup, is now built on Windchill's Web-based architecture. This unified architecture eliminates the need to synchronize multiple systems and databases and also smooths the upgrade path to Windchill for those who want to move from workgroup to enterprise data management.

Existing Pro/INTRALINK users will need to migrate data to the new version, so PTC is offering services and extended support for Pro/INTRALINK 3.x to June 2008. The new version also features improved WAN (wide area network) performance and new capabilities for document management, lifecycle management, reporting and archiving.

PTC is excited about the potential of migrating its 4,500 Pro/INTRALINK customers to Windchill, which currently has 1,650 customers.

Version 8.0 of Windchill, PTC's enterprise PLM (product lifecycle management) solution, features improved LAN (local area network) performance, delivering search results 83% faster than previous versions, according to PTC. It also focuses on companies that use multiple design packages by adding support for various MCAD and ECAD file formats, including AutoCAD, SolidWorks, I-DEAS, Unigraphics, Inventor, CATIA V5 and, on the EDA side, Mentor, Cadence and Zuken. Enhanced configuration management tools enable rapid development of product variants, and integral parts classification and reuse is designed to prevent proliferation of part numbers.

Dassault enters 3d format fray with 3d xml
Dassault enters 3d format fray with 3d xml

New optional Windchill modules include PartsLink Classification and Reuse, Archive, and Enterprise Systems Integration, which now supports Oracle Manufacturing as well as SAP.

As for Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3, its debut has been pushed back by about six months to early 2006 because PTC wants to focus on delivering a higher-quality product. Another new addition to the PTC lineup is what the company calls PLM On Demand, a hosted version of Windchill aimed at small- to midsized businesses. Rick McGee of IBM, which is hosting PLM On Demand, sees growing interest in on-demand software and IT outsourcing by companies that want to respond more quickly to challenges and opportunities.

Sara Ferris is Cadalyst's Editor-In-Chief

Autodesk revises DWG library accessibility

By Michael Bordenaro

In hopes of making its DWG libraries appeal to more third-party developers, Autodesk released RealDWG 2006, DWG and DXF libraries with new pricing and licensing schemes. RealDWG includes the popular Microsoft .NET tools and C-Sharp.

Formerly known as ObjectDBX, the RealDWG libraries now cost $5,000 for the first year of one product release and a renewal fee of $2,500 per year.

Mark Strassman, senior director of marketing for Autodesk's platform technology division, said that ObjectDBX was previously priced in a more expensive and obtuse manner based on the number of units shipped. Strassman also indicated that Autodesk had fewer than 100 customers of ObjectDBX.

The Open Design Alliance, which offers its OpenDWG libraries for a $5,000 membership, has around 2,000 member firms, including Microsoft.

Evan Yares, president of the Open Design Alliance, sees the Autodesk release as motivated by the Alliance. "RealDWG sounds similar to OpenDWG and the pricing is the same as ours. If Autodesk wants to help prevent corrupt DWG files, they can join the Alliance and help us support DWG file creation in third-party software, or publish the DWG spec."

RealDWG includes new documentation and streamlined licensing that prevents use by Autodesk competitors. Software developers can request a license to access Autodesk RealDWG by completing an application form at

Michael Bordenaro is a Chicago-based writer who focuses on architectural technology.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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