SolidWorks World 2013: Review
Sunday morning, January 20th, was a beehive of activity as the SolidWorks partner companies set up their booths in the Partner Pavilion located in the lower level of the Dolphin Hotel at Disney World in Orlando. Everyone was preparing their booths and displays for the first wave of visitors to the Pavilion, which would be the Resellers of SolidWorks and its accoutrement products. The variety of associated products and applications to enhance the usefulness of SolidWorks was amazing. There were endless applications of engineering analysis, FEA, PDM, robotics, publication, computer accessories vendors, data management, user tools, and way too many more to mention, and of course, being a CAM guy, I noticed the many CAM systems that were available. There were give-away souvenirs, endless displays to watch, machines running, and people talking about business opportunities. Sometimes the crowds were thick and sometimes the aisles were almost empty.
At one end of the Pavilion hall, a Partner Theater was set up where select partners were scheduled to make special presentations to a gathered audience. On Tuesday afternoon, a special Press meeting with the CAM Partners was held so that the Press covering the SolidWorks World could briefly meet and hear from each of the CAM Partners. The messages from these approximately 10-12 CAM Partner representatives ranged from 1) large systems with broad CAM reach into many avenues of CAM applications for large enterprises to 2) focused, less expensive, simpler to use systems for the entrepreneurs and artisans, and 3) everything in between.
While on this SolidWorks World assignment, it dawned on me the this month of January 2013 was my 40th anniversary in the CAD CAM business and I reflected on the tremendous changes that had taken place in that industry over the years. In the ’70s, CAM system were actively striving to exceed the capabilities of programming systems like APT and Compact II. Now, it is a rare CAM system that cannot readily offer full 5-axis contour machining. In many ways the machine tool industry has driven the CAM systems to reach higher for greater and demanding functionality. And to complement all of that, advancements in user-interaction with more powerful computer systems and dynamic display technology has come together over the years to make CAM systems of all levels an incredible technology.
As I viewed all these CAM systems at the Partners Pavilion, I saw them not only as competitors in their industry, but as a whole they represented an incredible advancement to manufacturing and a significant factor in the improvement of the quality of life for mankind. It was very satisfying…keep up the good work!