Home / MCAD / Autodesk Completes Delcam Acquisition, Increases Its Footprint in CAM Sector

Autodesk Completes Delcam Acquisition, Increases Its Footprint in CAM Sector

A photo op that marks Autodesk's pending acquisition of Delcam. (Left to right) Glenn McMinn, president, Delcam North America; Clive Martell, CEO, Delcam; Carl Bass, CEO, Autodesk; Steve Hobbs, development director, Delcam; and Bart Simpson, commercial director, Delcam

Last December at Autodesk University (The Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada), when Autodesk CEO Carl Bass took a tour of the computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) booths, he was flanked by the executive team of Delcam — Glenn McMinn, president, Delcam North America; Clive Martell, CEO, Delcam; Steve Hobbs, development director, Delcam; and Bart Simpson, commercial director. It was a photo op that told what the legalities of mergers and acquisitions forbid them to discuss publicly — Delcam was about to become part of Autodesk.

Last November, Autodesk declared its intent to acquire Delcam, headquartered in Birmingham, UK. It would be the company’s second CAM technology purchase. The first was HSMWorks, acquired two years ago.

The acquisition of HSMWorks resulted in the development of Autodesk Inventor HSM, an integrated CAM package for Autodesk Inventor users. The product is a counterpart to HSMWorks for SolidWorks, an integrated package that works with Inventor’s rival. Later this year, Autodesk plans to offer its first cloud-augmented CAM product under subscription, branded Autodesk CAM 360.

This morning, Autodesk hosted a conference call to announce the completion of the Delcam acquisition.

While HSMWorks fulfills the need for an integrated CAM package, Delcam offers “not only classic CAM, milling, and turning, but also [customers in ] shoe and healthcare businesses,” observed Carl White, senior director, Autodesk manufacturing engineering products, during this morning’s conference call. “We think it’s a nice complement and it’s in a high growth market,” he added.

Delcam’s portfolio includes Delcam CRISPIN, a CAM package specifically developed for footwear design and production. Because of the Delcam for SolidWorks product, Delcam also has a robust following among SolidWorks software users.

According to the press announcement, “Delcam will operate as a wholly owned, independently operated subsidiary of Autodesk, with no significant changes planned for Delcam’s business.”

In post-acquisition operations, Delcam is expected to continue sales and distribution with its own channels. In this morning’s call, Delcam’s CEO Clive Martell said, “We know the vertical market very well, we’ll partner with Autodesk sales teams, but it’s important that we stick to our core competencies, to our existing customers, and we look to engage with our autodesk customers more.”

In a small market with a finite number of developers, Autodesk’s ownership of two leading brands, each with considerable footprint among those who use the competing CAD product SolidWorks, gives the company a tremendous advantage. That benefit may have made Delcam’s purchase price of £172.5 million (U.S. $286 Million) a worthwhile investment.

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.


  1. At this time while I hate the cloud I have to say that the most comprehensive and forward looking planning for the future by any of the major CAD/CAM outfits appears to be Autodesk. I see Carl Bass assembling his master plan for conquest and quite frankly if he will stop the cloud only obsession I think he will replace SolidWorks as mid range MCAD king in a few years and beat Siemens Solid Edge who apparently has no visceral desire to be the victor here in this contest.

    I would say that the stories about Bass designing and building things is probably not just PR manipulation but rather that he does it, he likes it and he gets it. I watch all this unfold with real interest. If he ends up buying Geometric to I think it may be game over for some companies.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Dave!

    To be clear, though, CAM 360 is not a cloud-only software, not a browser-based software. The collaboration and data storage components are the cloud, but the rest is still running from your local machine. The same with rented software like Inventor–It’s not running from a browser; it’s still running locally.

    That’s not to say Autodesk doesn’t have the technology to let you run a full-blown CAD product from the browser. (It has proven that concept with Project Twitch on Autodesk Labs, http://autodesk.blogs.com/between_the_lines/2009/09/project-twitch-run-many-autodesk-software-applications-over-the-web.html). However, that’s not how its design authoring packages are marketed and sold today.

  3. Richard Williams aka Corporal Willy

    What is scary about “Cloud Computing” is the fact that we have had a lot of severe winter storms this year and a lot of data lines were taken down by heavily laden branches filled with ice and snow. If your business data solution was all on the “Cloud” how would your business be able to operate for the time that you could not retrieve your data or do the heavy computing. Instead of “in house” you are dealing with “out house” which can leave you in the…. Scary but I convince one of my friends about that when she wanted to do all her “backups” on line instead of an external hard drive that she could simply unplug after storing her new data on it. I like certain aspects of doing “Cloud Computing” but it also has some definite drawbacks.

  4. Corporal Willy! I agree. Cloud-centric business models do depend on reliable internet connection. But over time I have a feeling business will develops protocols to keep certain critical files on local drives, while maintaining data that’s less frequently accessed online (like archived project folders with revision histories). Some software are trying to figure out ways to let you work both the Cached data when you’re offline.

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