28 Feb, 2005 By: Sara Ferris

A behind-the-scenes look at the CAD world.

Top dog

UGS bills itself as the first PLM (product lifecycle management) company to break $1 billion in revenue, with an FY2004 total of $1.018 billion, up 14% over the previous year. Revenue for what it calls its cPDm (collaborative product development management) products grew 35% over the same period the previous year. The most recent year also saw UGS land 64 enterprise contracts worth more than $1 million apiece. UGS also went back to the bank for an additional $225 million term loan to help it cover the cost of its Tecnomatix acquisition. That loan was added to its existing $625 million revolving and term loan facilities.
How old is your workstation?
How old is your workstation?

More on money

Though Autodesk doesn't call itself a PLM company, it also passed the billion-dollar revenue mark for the first time with $1.234 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2005. In keeping with its push toward a subscription sales model, Autodesk reports that revenue from program subscriptions increased by 54% and upgrade revenue grew by 12% during fiscal 2004. The company is optimistic that new releases of all its major products this month will push revenue for FY2006 into the $1.3-$1.4 billion range.

Backing its BIM

Bentley is providing templates, examples and other material to help firms document their use of BIM technology based on IFC data exchange standards for the GSA (General Services Administration). Deadline for documentation is March 15. In July, GSA will require IFC-based building models for the preliminary design phase of all new FY2006 projects. Find these resources at

Just trying to help?

To help AutoCAD users with version compatibility, SolidWorks released DWGgateway. The free AutoCAD add-on enables earlier versions of AutoCAD (starting with Release 14) to open, edit and save DWG and DXF files created by more recent AutoCAD versions, including AutoCAD 2005. AutoCAD LT is not currently supported. Planned enhancements include the ability to generate PDF files from AutoCAD. The utility uses DWGdirect libraries from the Open Design Alliance. Download DWGgateway at

Alternate take

Autodesk blogger and technical marketing manager for the AutoCAD group Shaan Hurley greeted DWGgateway with this dire warning: "Using products such as the recently announced DWGgateway, which are not created or supported by Autodesk, puts customers' data at significant risk and can severely compromise the integrity and accuracy of their designs." Find Shaan's blog at

Giving it away

There's no shortage of free PLM samples these days. Qualified small businesses can sample Agile's OnDemand PLM Small Business Startup Pack at no charge for up to eight user licenses. And Arena Solutions offers the first year free for its PLM Workgroup edition, designed for teams of five or fewer. Visit

Worth the wait

Despite customer grumblings about the holdup, SolidWorks CEO John McEleney said delaying release of Service Pack 1.1 for SolidWorks 2005 was the right thing to do because of issues with Windows Installer. The good news is that the patch is now available at:

Search success

Imaginestics landed a half-million-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an "engineering advisory system for early product design" based on the company's 3D shape search engine. Such technology will help engineers evaluate product cost and manufacturability early in the design process.

CADfidential is a roundup of quick insights, noteworthy trends and other interesting tidbits from the world of CAD. Harry’s joined the rest of our product-specific tips and tricks online at

Head out on the highway

How much did SolidWorks pay for its custom chopper from Orange County Choppers ( “A lot,” said COO Jeff Ray. Though he wouldn’t disclose the exact figure, he did say that standard, noncustom choppers from OCC start at $50,000–$60,000. The company plans to display the motorcycle at trade shows and at its newly expanded home office in Concord, Massachusetts.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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