By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
For more than 20 years, Cimatron has been a persistent force in the CAD/CAM market, quietly going about its business building up an impressive user base. But it hasn’t been quiet lately. First, Cimatron created a lot of buzz acquiring Gibbs & Associates last year. Then, according to CIMdata, Cimatron’s growth in 2008 positioned it as the sixth largest CAD/CAM provider globally and one of only five vendors to rank in the top 10 in every geographical region. Now, the company has introduced version 9.0 of its CimatronE suite.
CimatronE comes in extensible suites that provide the tools needed for toolmaking, mold and die design, discrete part manufacturing, reverse engineering, and even shoe making. If your gig is 2.5- to 5-axis milling, wire EDM, multitask machining, tombstone machining, and so on, Cimatron has something for you. Its electrode design offering is considered among the best available anywhere, and Cimatron has viewers for collaboration and data translators to handle all the major formats.
All that aside, it’s the software’s operational approach that has made Cimatron the force it has become. The idea behind CimatronE is to get product to market faster with powerful, easy-to-use tools. Which, of course, is what everybody says. The difference is that Cimatron focuses on two things. One, it helps you get rid of design and manufacturing processes that waste time and tend to introduce errors that jack up scrap and rework costs—processes like reworking data from one task to the next.
A key to this is full associativity among modules. In short, what associativity means is that you work in the same environment when doing, say, design or NC programming. This, in turn, means that you are not constantly stopping to translate and fix data from one application to another. But it also makes engineering and design changes events that propagate through the process instead of things that throw up roadblocks.
And that leads to the second focus Cimatron offers you. These guys get the reality of many CAD/CAM environments. They understand that many CAD/CAM sites have computerized old-style manual processes and that computerized mimics of inefficient processes are still old and inefficient. CimatronE is designed to get the CAD/CAM shop into the modern era by removing roadblocks to efficiency and enabling you to create new, highly efficient processes that leverage the power, flexibility, and potential of digitization fully.
I’m going to skip getting into the specifics of Cimatron 9.0 since that’s covered in today’s Pick of the Week write-up. What I recommend you do is have lunch while watching and ingesting the “Tool Shop Optimization” video linked off the write-up. The video really demonstrates just how much Cimatron understands where CAD/CAM environments are at and where they should be to succeed in a down economy.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering Magazine