Differentiation Among CAM Software Products

Many software products perform the same function, which makes distinguishing among them rather difficult. However, there are, in fact, distinctions among CAM vendors and their products.

Columns From: 10/2/2005 Modern Machine Shop,

Many software products perform the same function, which makes distinguishing among them rather difficult. However, there are, in fact, distinctions among CAM vendors and their products.

In an effort to differentiate their products from competitors; vendors focus on different types of users; develop distinctive application solutions; have differing product development and sales strategies; and provide differing levels of customer support. For example, some vendors target toolmakers and some target production users; some develop their own modeling software; and some use third party CAD products and so on.

CIMdata recently assessed four CAM software vendors—Cimatron, Open Mind Technologies (OMT), SolidCAM and UGS and their products. The companies illustrate the vendor and product differentiation that exists in the market, as Cimatron is focused on the needs of toolmakers; OMT’s strength is in five-axis machining of complex components; SolidCAM is a Gold partner of SolidWorks and promotes this relationship; and the UGS focus is on providing an integrated manufacturing solution within a PLM environment.

Cimatron excels in the toolmaking software marketplace. Its total focus on toolmakers is the company’s primary distinguishing characteristic, as it supports the process from quoting to delivery by offering a specialized, end-to-end integrated solution that meets these requirements. The company also offers a range of software capabilities that are designed for toolmakers, including those for data import, manufacturing modeling, core and cavity parting, mold base design, electrode design, machining, drafting, management of engineering change orders and information management. Moreover, the company is unique among CAM-centric vendors for establishing distinctive supporting applications, such as quoting solutions for mold and die makers and collaboration software for preliminary tool design.

On the basis of revenues received in 2004, CIMdata ranked Cimatron in the top 10 among CAM software vendors worldwide. The company was also among the top ten in Europe and Asia.

Open Mind Technologies has positioned itself as "The CAM Company" and is concerned with providing CAM-specific software for milling and drilling applications with a particular strength in machining of multifaceted surfaces. Viewed by CIMdata as an industry leader in providing software for positional and simultaneous five-axis milling of complex components, the company offers extensive resources and specific application solutions to support five-axis milling of intricate products, such as impellers, blisks, turbine blades, tubes, pipes, tire molds, aerospace components, dies and deep cavities within molds.

In 2004, OMT was listed by CIMdata as the second most rapidly growing CAM vendor with an annual revenue growth rate of 28 percent.

Ranked by CIMdata as the most rapidly growing CAM software vendor in 2003 and 2004, SolidCAM has established a distinctive position in the market as one of only two CAM software vendors that are certified Gold partners of SolidWorks, which has attained acceptance as the de facto standard product in the mid-range solid modeling market, with approximately 200,000 industrial seats.

The company uses SolidWorks products for design and design-related functions, such as part design, mold design, other design functionality, interfaces with third-party products, access to engineering analy­sis products and other CAD related products, information management, process planning and PDM. It has also been effective in promoting the SolidWorks certification and building on the SolidWorks brand name.

Within NC, a strength of SolidCAM is that it offers the user an easy-to-use and modestly priced product. It supports all aspects of hole making, two-, three- and four-axis mill­ing, five-axis posi­tioning, simultaneous five-axis milling, high speed milling, indexed "tombstone" machining, basic turning, mill-turning and wire EDM.

Traditionally, the strength of UGS has been at the enterprise level of the CAM market. Overall strengths are market presence, breadth of offering, integration from design through manufacturing, consulting resources available and being among leaders in process planning, mold design, progressive die design and high speed machining.

The recent acquisition of Tecnomatix broadens the UGS manufacturing product offering and provides a number of opportunities for the company to enhance the NX CAM product line. Its broad, integrated manufacturing software product line is conducive to further expansion.

CIMdata cites UGS as the worldwide largest CAM vendor in 2004 on the basis of revenue received and number of seats shipped. The company is also listed as one of the largest PLM vendors in 2004.

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