CAD software vendors have touted product usability for a long time. However, they haven’t really delivered on that promise until recently. There were a few software debuts in 2011 that changed that premise. True user usability could lead to a broader CAD audience and a bigger market share.
The product development team at PTC came up with the idea of a creating single program that does everything versus offering diverse programs with no connectedness. The strategy addresses its customer base and the trend toward solid modeling for the masses. Creo 1.0 is the result of that concept. The software currently has nine applications including Creo Parametric, Direct, Illustrate, Schematics, View MCAD, View ECAD, Sketch, and Layout.
The company focused on a group of traditional user problems and applied a core of technologies against them, specific roles having options for modeling modes with the click of an app. Simplifying a process that has plagued engineers and designers for decades makes using the software and being productive all the difference. The Creo GUI is much cleaner than the Pro/E GUI. According to those who have used the new product, the GUI strategy is most evident in Creo Parametric and Creo Direct. PTC leveraged the best features from CoCreate and made it easier to use. The company added features to Creo Parametric that will make Pro/E seem like ancient technology. Creo proves that a feature can live in a history-based and history-free environment keeping the parametric relation to features within each if needed.
Another 2011 debut was SolidWorks 2012 that also sports new features to help a more diverse audience. The software has improvements in assembly and drawing capabilities, built-in simulation, design costing, routing, image and animation creation, and product data management. Dassault Systemes says SolidWorks 2012 will help automate design functions, change product development processes, and extend support for collaboration and connectivity. This technology could change how the software is marketed and sold. The product helps users streamline design processes by removing traditional steps.
Autodesk’s AutoCAD 2012 and Design Suite 2012 series are available in a range of offerings including web and mobile applications. Thus more users have access to the technology and can stay connected to their work no matter where they are. In addition, AutoCAD 2012 and Design Suite 201212 are directly connected to the free AutoCAD WS web and mobility application.
With CAD pretty much saturating the engineering and manufacturing arena, CAD vendors are realizing that pumping out a redressed version of what went out the door at the last launch is not going to work much longer. They have to offer tools that appeal to other audiences. We have seen that starting to happen in the retail, hobby, and jewelry industries where non-engineering types are using 3D programs to crank out new products.