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Benefits of switching to ST4 for Traditional/Ordered Users

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Some Solid Edge Users have questioned the benefit of switching to the newer versions of Solid Edge. They do not wish to use the new Synchronous Technology, therefore feel that there is no benefit to upgrading. Admittedly, in the last few releases, Siemens marketing has focused on the introduction of their new, and industry changing, Synchronous technology, primarily because it is revolutionary technology, which our competition simply doesn’t have. However, they have not forgotten or ignored the Solid Edge Users, who still need or prefer the traditional parametric approach to modeling. Below is a list of just the highlights of enhancements made to the ordered paradigm: 

  • New standard based templates
  • New interface base on Microsoft office 2007 interface
  • Show/Hide check box added to PathFinder.
  • Command Defaults Improvements
  • Command Finder Updates
  • Mouse Wheel Improved Input
  • Enhanced Middle Mouse Button Rotate
  • Fastener System Improvements
  • Frames Live Update on Drag (Global Undo)
  • Standard Parts Enhancements
  • An option was added to the curve Quickbar to create a closed Bspline curve
  • A new Hatch Style has been added called Radial
  • Unique behavior for TAB and ENTER within the same cell of the variable table. Made to work similarly to Excel
  • A Gage Table option, “Use Excel File”, has been added to the Material Table dialog
  • New sweep option added. Can now twist and scale a swept protrusion.
  • New suppress region control when patterning.
  • Improved cursor feedback – better graphic indicators
  • New sketch display option to deal with large sketches
  • New Polygon by Center command
  • New Rectangle by Center command
  • New Flat Pattern option for viewing deformed features
  • Enhanced flat pattern algorithm to flatten ruled surfaces from lofted flanges
  • New transparent option for PathFinder (Vista, Windows 7)
  • New Radial Mouse Menu made up of 16 customizable sections.
  • Added to ability to customize Command Ribbons
  • Overall customization improvements
  • Enhanced Solid Edge switch windows command to include previews
  • Solid Edge now has UI to control the application color scheme through the Solid Edge Options…Helpers tab
  •  Standard Parts has been moved to SQL Express 2008 allowing for improved performance and more options.
  • Closed Corner command now supports new corner treatment types
    • - New options include: 
    • - Circular with Offset – modification to existing treatment
    • - U-Shaped Cutout
    • - V-Shaped Cutout
    • - Square Cutout
    • - Miter
  • The ability to add tabs to the flattened model has been added.
  • New Etch Command has been added.
  • Parts that are currently open in Solid Edge can be easily added to an open assembly
  • Weld bead enhancements allowing for more successful results
  • Redesigned the display configurations. Allows for multiple configuration to be turned on simultaneously.
  • Item numbers for the Solid Edge BOM can now be defined in the assembly
  • Selection Performance Improvements
  • Improved selection filters
  • Assembly Relationship Enhancements
    • - Grounded Component Indicator
    • - Ground Relationship
    • - Tangent Relationship Flip option
    • - Edit Relationship Flip Option
    • - Relationship Command Processing
    • - Relationship Dimension Color
    • - Center Plane Relationship
    • - Range (Value Limits)
  • Key-point Processing Improvements
  • The “Round” feature has been added to the “Assembly Features” group
  • ERA – Flow Line Enhancements
  • Replace Part uses “Select Configuration” option
  • Auto scroll in PathFinder
  • Replace part can now use part with same name
  • Mass computation in Assembly (Qty Overrides)
  • IPA Shift+Click uses Assembly Coordsys planes as input
  • Simplified Assembly command processing
  • Assembly Pattern support pattern adjustable sub-assemblies
  • Weldment Assembly Icons
  • New dimension prefix on/off command
  • New ability to place dimension between draft views
  • New ability to add custom scale factors to the View Scale pulldown in Command Bar
  • New ability to see and change the scale of a block after it has been placed.
  •  Added to ability to control annotation break lines via a font scale
  • Added the Russian Standard (GOST) weld symbols
  • Added PMI Annotations option to the Drawing View Wizard when placing a PMI Model View
  • Detail views have been enhanced to give users more control over the detail envelope
  • Enhanced the Surface Finish Symbols not only to adhere to the ESKD standards, but also addresses other customer requests
  • Dimension enhancement allows you to specify a tolerance class for a dimension. When the dimension is placed on the geometry, it will automatically look up the tolerance values in the appropriate table for the size and measured class specified.
  • The edge condition symbol and UI has been updated to allow the selection of the direction of the edge (i.e. burr/undercut)
  • The Create 3D Tool has been enhanced to create PMI dimensions in the 3D Model from selected dimensions in the Draft file
  • Parts List – Just Under 250 Customer Requests Implemented
    • - Edit Item Numbers from Parts List, not just from balloons
    • - Combine Multiple Properties in Single Column
    • - Comments Columns – User defined text
    • - Split Parts List among Multiple Sheets
    • - Sort on Hidden Columns
    • - Manual Reorder Columns and Rows
    • - Resize Columns in Graphic Display
    • - Placement via cursor
    • - Title/Footer
    • - Assembly Structure – Exploded List
    • - Level Numbering – Also in Balloons
    • - Indent Each Level
    • - Deriving Item Number from Assembly
    • - Sort by Assembly Order
    • - Column Totals
    • - Frame Data
    • - Auto Balloon
    • - Table Titles
    • - Column Headers
    • - Headers Merging
    • - Header Rotate
    • - Cell Aspect Ratio
    • - Cell Formatting
    • - Overriding Disabled Cells
    • - Inserting User Defined Rows
    • - Convert Deleted Parts/Assemblies to User Defined Rows
    • - Display Control through Configuration
    • - Merge Vertical Cells with Same Value
    • - More…..
  •  When using the Drawing View Creation Wizard, use the “Custom” button to get to the Perspective Options
  • Added Model Edge Colors display options for drawing views
  • The Drawing View Creation Wizard now supports the placement of views based on an Assembly Zone
  • Bend Table/Callout enhancements
  • Improved Callout formatting
  • New Smart Measure command
  • The retrieve dimensions command now retrieves sketch dimensions and annotations from any assembly sketches (including PMI)
  • New Printing/Plotting process for printing multi-sheets
  • Angular Dimension to Center Marks
  • Enhanced Drawing View Caption control
  • Undo button is available if deleting the following:
    • - Drawing Views
    • - Parts Lists
    • - Bend Tables
  • Added a lock drawing view position command
  • Added support for both horizontal and vertical breaks in the same view
  • New ANSI ASME symbols and ISO equivalent symbols have been added to bring the standards up to date.
  • New JIS Weld Symbols
  • Overall improvements to Annotations
    • - Auto balloon – Fastener Systems –Stacked balloons
    • - Callout – Aspect Ratio
    • - Feature Control Frame enhancements
    • - Text Box enhancements
    • - Reattach Centerline and Center marks
  • Dimension control enhancements
  • Added Hole Callout to dimensioning
  • Added a 3D PDF Translator
  • Added Inventor Direct Translator
  • More…

These enhancements do not include all the improvements to the graphic display, or memory handling, for overall performance improvement. There have also been enhancements to the translators, and other add-on modules such as our Rendering and Xpresroute modules.

With all these improvements in the traditional parametric modeling paradigm, it should be obvious that Siemens continues to support and develop the “Ordered” modeling paradigm. For those Users who feel there is no benefit to upgrade, please feel free to contact us, so we can enlighten you on all the enhancements in the ordered paradigm. Our goal is to give you a powerful, easy to use, and reliable modeling experience, regardless of whether you model in the “Ordered” or “Synchronous” paradigm. We will continue to add enhancements to both paradigms in future releases.


ST4 System requirements

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Operating system requirements and information

Solid Edge ST4 has been certified to run on the following:

  • - Windows XP Professional operating system (32-bit or 64-bit) with Service Pack 3
  • - Windows Vista Business or Vista Enterprise operating system (32-bit or 64-bit) with Service Pack 2
  • - Windows 7 Enterprise, Ultimate or Professional (32-bit or 64-bit) with Service Pack 1
  • - Internet Explorer 9 (IE 6.0 meets minimum requirements)

                       Note:  Internet Explorer is not required to be the default browser.

Note:   The Alvira freeware anti-virus program on Windows platforms occasionally misidentifies some NX DLLs as contaminated with a virus. If you are using Alvira and NX on a Windows machine and encounter this problem, please use the Alvira option to exempt the files from scanning by Alvira.


Hardware system requirements

Solid Edge is not supported on Intel Itanium processors.

 Recommended system configuration

  • - 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • -Windows 7 operating system for optimal performance and user experience
  • -At least 2GB RAM
  • -True Color (32–bit) or 16 million colors (24–bit)
  • -Screen Resolution: 1280 x 1024 or higher, widescreen format
  • -3 GB disk space required for installation

 Minimum system configuration

  • - 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • -Any of the above operating systems
  • -At least 1GB RAM
  • -65K Colors
  • -Screen Resolution: 1280 x 1024 or higher
  • -3 GB disk space required for installation

Solid Edge stops certifying new releases against an operating system shortly after

Microsoft drops mainstream support for it. Microsoft dropped mainstream support for XP in April 2009. Solid Edge ST4 is the last version to install on Windows XP. For ST4, we will not address XP operating system related issues or provide XP-specific fixes. Solid Edge ST5 will not install on XP.

It is not recommended that you run Solid Edge on Server operating systems.

Solid Edge will not install on machines without Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher. Internet Explorer is not required to be the default browser.

Solid Edge is not supported on Intel Itanium processors.

The 64-bit version of Solid Edge requires Microsoft 64-bit Windows XP, 64-bit Windows Vista, or 64-bit Windows 7 operating system loaded on Intel EM64T or AMD64 processors. (More details are below under System Resource Requirements and Information.)

The 32-bit version of Solid Edge has been certified to run on 64-bit Windows XP, 64-bit Windows Vista, or 64-bit Windows 7 as a 32-bit application. Below are the known issues running on these operating systems. The workaround is to use the 32-bit Internet Explorer.

  • - The “Status” and “Project” tabs are not displayed on the File Properties dialog if activated from Windows Explorer.
  • - Solid Edge Web Parts do not display if running the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer. The user is prompted to install the .NET framework.


Windows 7 and Windows Vista Recommendations

 User Account Control (UAC)

The User Account Control (UAC) on Windows 7 and Windows Vista prevents the proper installation and removal of Solid Edge.

The Solid Edge installation performs best with UAC be set to off. If you plan to run Solid Edge with UAC on, you should install the Solid Edge application to a location where the user has write permissions. This location should be somewhere other than c:\Program Files.

To turn off UAC on Windows Vista, select Control Panel -> User Accounts ->User Accounts -> Turn User Account Control On or Off.

To turn off UAC on Windows 7, select Control Panel -> User Accounts -> Change User Account Control settings -> “Never notify”.

Windows Vista Aero

It is strongly recommended that you turn off Windows Vista Aero if you will be working with View and Markup or the Solid Edge Viewer. To turn off Windows Vista Aero, follow these steps:

  1.  Go to Control Panel.
  2.   If Control Panel Home is selected at the far left of the screen, then click Appearance and Personalization, click Personalization, and then click Window Color and Appearance.
  3.  If “Classic View” is selected at the far left of the screen, then click Personalization, and then click Window Color and Appearance.
  4.  If you see Window Color and Appearance at the top of the window, then you should have “Open classic appearance properties for more color options” at the bottom of the window. Click it. In the Appearance Settings window, change the color scheme from Windows Aero and click OK.
  5.  If you don’t see Window Color and Appearance, but see Appearance Settings, then check to make sure the Color scheme is not set to Windows Aero and click OK.

Note:   If you see the Appearance Settings dialog box instead of the Window Color and Appearance window, then the theme might not be set to Windows Vista, the color scheme might not be set to Windows Aero, or the computer might not meet the minimum hardware requirements for running Windows Aero.

Windows Vista Aero requires a DirectX 9–class graphics processor that supports the following:

  •  -WDDM driver
  • - Pixel Shader 2.0
  • - 32 bits per pixel
  • - 256 MB graphics memory


Display System Requirements and Information

Solid Edge will run on graphics drivers that support Windows XP or Windows Vista or Windows 7. Contact your graphics driver manufacturer to determine whether their graphics adapter/driver support these operating systems.

For optimal performance, it is recommended to use a professional graphics card that is designed for CAD applications. For information about cards used in testing Solid Edge and results, refer to

At least a 256MB graphic card is recommended when working with large assemblies or complex parts.

Note that running with extremely high screen resolution and color depth increases the memory requirements on the system and may result in apparent performance degradation. If experienced, reconfigure the display system to the recommended resolution and color depth for improved performance.

When running Solid Edge, if you experience an abnormally high abort rate, parts disappearing, or other graphic anomalies you may not be using the appropriate graphics driver. For more details, visit

Also setting Display Fonts to Large Fonts or Extra Large Fonts (larger than 96 DPI) may cause some Solid Edge user interface items to not display as intended. Recommendation to resolve these would be to use Normal Fonts (96 DPI).

A wide-screen ribbon layout has been added for Solid Edge. This new ribbon layout is optimal for horizontal screen resolutions set to 1920 or above. Solid Edge automatically detects your resolution and sets the ribbon layout to wide-screen starting at horizontal resolutions 1600 and above. You will see some group collapsing on the right side of the Ribbon on resolutions between 1600 and 1920.


System Resource Requirements and Information

Earlier versions of Solid Edge were enhanced to access the extended address space that is available on Windows. All running processes, including the Operating System process, share 4 GB of addressable memory available, regardless of the amount of physical RAM. Normally, the operating system reserves 2 GB of space and leaves 2 GB for applications. Running 32-bit operating systems with the /3GB switch added, reserves only 1 GB for the operating system, and leaves 3 GB for applications. This allows you to work with larger datasets without running out of addressable space.

On XP, you set the /3GB switch by editing the boot.ini file. You must have admin privileges to do so. Here is a sample boot.ini that contains a 3 GB switch.

 [boot loader]
[operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional”
/fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn /3GB

On Vista with administrator privileges, you can run the following command from the command line to enable /3GB switch:

 BCDEDIT /Set IncreaseUserVa 3072

 This command will tell you what options are part of the OSLOADER family:

 bcdedit /? types osloader

To reset the value, use:

 bcdedit /deletevalue IncreaseUserVa

With Solid Edge V18, we announced support for running our existing 32-bit Solid Edge application on Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition with Intel EM64T or AMD64 processors. This allowed Solid Edge customers to address 4 GB of physical memory and virtual memory. With Solid Edge V19, we developed a new 64-bit Solid Edge application, in addition to the existing 32-bit version. The 64-bit Solid Edge supports up to 128 GB of physical RAM and 16 terabytes of virtual memory, enabling applications to work with larger data sets. The 64-bit version of Solid Edge requires Microsoft 64-bit Windows XP operating system or 64-bit Vista operating system loaded on Intel EM64T or AMD64 processors. The 64-bit version of Solid Edge should only be used if you need more than 4 GB of physical memory because you are running out of memory today when creating very large assemblies or drawings. The 64-bit version of Solid Edge is available by request.

Page file size should be the maximum size possible. In general, the page file size should be at least twice the amount of memory in the machine, plus the size of files you will use.

To better manage the system memory resources while running Solid Edge, it is important to turn off the option to “Show window contents while dragging”. This prevents unnecessary allocation/deallocation of memory for displaying the window contents while dragging a window. To change this option, go to Control Panel ->Display.

Future Processor Support

Component software delivered with Solid Edge, such as Parasolid and D-Cubed, started phasing out processors not supporting Intel’s SSE2 (Streaming SIMD Extensions 2) instruction set. In 2009, these components will only support processors with SSE2.

SSE2 is one of the Intel SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) processor supplementary instruction sets first introduced by Intel with the initial version of the Pentium 4 in 2001. AMD added support for SSE2 with the introduction of their Opteron and Athlon 64 ranges of AMD64 64-bit CPUs in 2003.

Here is a list of common processors that do not support the SSE2 instruction set:

  • -AMD CPUs prior to Athlon 64
  • -Intel CPUs prior to Pentium 4

Starting with the ST2, Solid Edge only supports processors that include the SSE2 instruction set. The Solid Edge ST4 installation checks for the presence of such a processor. If this processor does not exist, ST4 will stop the install and display a meaningful error message.


Temp File Space

Solid Edge uses temp file space for saving files and for storing memory mapped display files. Using temp file space when saving files helps significantly reduce the size of the resulting file on the destination file system.

Users should ensure they have twice the size of the largest file being saved available as free temp file space prior to saving their files. Note, 2x the file size for an assembly should include the size of the assembly, plus the size of the subassemblies that are being used, plus the size of the part files.

Running SE will create files with .000, .001, etc. extensions. These are memory mapped files that are used in the display pathway. When an assembly or part file is opened, memory mapped files are created in the temp directory during display of the assembly/part. These files are cleaned up by Solid Edge when the process exits.

If the user is running short on temp space, they can optionally set an environment variable called JRENDER_TEMP and point it to any folder with sufficient space. If this variable is defined, Solid Edge will create memory mapped files in that folder.

Running SE will create a file named DCCACHE.CAC in the system temp folder. This file is a cache of the file icons displayed on the FILE OPEN/FILE SAVE/BROWSE dialogs.

When a Solid Edge file is opened, but Solid Edge cannot gain exclusive write access to that file, a message box is displayed stating, “The requested file is currently write locked, open as read-only”. If the user selects the copy button on this message dialog, the file will be copied to the temp folder using the naming convention tmp {filename}.par, tmp{filename}.psm, tmp{filename}.asm, tmp{filename}.dft.

It is good practice to periodically check the files in the temp folder when not running Solid Edge and delete any that might remain from an abnormal termination of Solid Edge.

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Improved Usability in Solid Edge ST3

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Improving the usability of Solid Edge always receives top priority and Solid Edge ST3 is no different. The Command Ribbon bar can now be customized, letting users define the placement of their most useful commands.


 A new customizable Radial menu gives quick access to commonly used commands.


The command bar has a horizontal format option that provides the look and feel of the famous SmartStep ribbon bar, which frees up space in PathFinder.


 The display for PathFinder can now be shown in transparent mode, freeing up the display for Windows 7 users.


Synchronous users now have quick access to the options in Live Rules with a new Heads-up display that appears transparently on screen whenever a synchronous edit is performed.


  Many other new capabilities also facilitate faster performance. Performance tests for part view manipulations can be up to 4x faster while assembly can be up to 10x faster.


CAM Express – the ideal CAM solution for Solid Edge or any other CAD package.

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

We are often asked to recommend a CAM solution for our Solid Edge customers. Although many CAM packages work extremely well with Solid Edge, we always recommend CAM Express. Why? Well there are several reasons for this recommendation. Some may argue that we only recommend this because Designfusion sales CAM Express. Truthfully, they would not be wrong. However, after evaluating several CAM packages, we chose to sell CAM Express because we believe that is the best CAM package on the market. The reasons for our choice and recommendation of the package are as follows:

1.    The depth and breadth of the capability of CAM Express

 CAM Express offers a broad range of in-depth NC programming capabilities that still exceed the capabilities provided by most of the CAM only software vendors.

 A key benefit is the breadth of capabilities being provided all in one CAM system. Machine shops buying other CAM systems may need multiple packages to address all of their needs. With CAM Express they can obtain a range of machine tool programming capabilities such as turning, prismatic milling and drilling , 3 axis milling, 5 axis milling and wire EDM all in one system.

 SIEMENS PLM Software is known as a leader in the CAM market place with powerful software for NC programming. CAM Express provides users with access to all of that power and capability in a system that is easy to implement, easy to learn and easy to use.

 The depth and power of CAM Express and the range of functions supported enables users and shop owners/ managers to get the most out of their new, more advanced machine tools.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • CAM Express has a wide range of functions in one system compared to most of the specialist CAM vendors – this can mean that a shop needs only one system and to deal with only one (or fewer) software vendors.
  •  The breadth and depth of the capability means that users of CAM Express can program most jobs in the software – there is always a way to get the job done in NX CAM
  •  This depth and power means that customers can get more from their investments in the latest machine tools – including mill-turn machines, 5 axis and high speed milling machines


2.    CAM Express helps maximize the value of your advanced machine tools.

 Many machine shops are responding to competitive pressures by investing in new, high productivity machines. The tooling industry has been transformed by the trend to high speed milling. Likewise, production shops are increasingly implementing multi-function turning centers and mill-turns to reduce setups and cycle times.

These machine tool investments rely on NC programming systems to achieve their best results. If a new turning center causes synch codes to be inserted by hand, the programming process slows down and cycle times may not be sufficiently reduced. If cutting patterns don’t provide constant chip loads, a new high speed mill may struggle with tool breakage.

Constant Chip Loading  

CAM Express delivers roughing cuts that maximize material removal without exceeding the specified chip load. The most advanced trochoidal cut patterns are applied to any geometry configuration, letting you push your cut parameters to the edge of the envelope. When the ins and outs of tool path patterns introduce corners, alleys, step over motion, etc., chip loads can spike, damaging tools with shock and heat loads. CAM Express uses a very flexible trochoidal approach that prevents these spikes and keeps your cutting forces steady. This is the way to get maximum productivity out of any machine: push the limits without exceeding them.

 Effective Semi-finishing

CAM Express applies a comprehensive set of technology to ensure that finish stock is predictable and consistent. Nothing causes problems with finish cuts like unexpected material, and CAM Express makes sure that your semi-finishing cuts leave the finish stock you expect. Z-level patterns ensure that large steps are not left behind by applying hybrid patterns, automatic cut levels, and steep area containment.

 The smoothest Z-level finishing

Z-level finishing in CAM Express maintains smooth contact with the part from top to bottom. Step downs ramp gradually down the part, combining the speed and smoothness of a Z-level cut with the constant contact, constant chip load of a spiral pattern.

Streamline operations fit toolpath to the part contours in a smooth, flowing manner that does depend on the underlying surface constructions. This cut method matches contours, whether open or bounded, minimizing lifts, reducing tool wear, and providing excellent surface finish.

 Automatic rest milling

Rest material machining is the application of a series of tools, from larger to smaller, to rough a part. Each tool in the series is asked to cut only what remains from the previous tool. CAM Express automatically tracks the rest material from one tool to the next, helping to program the tool sequence and keeping the dependent operations in synch with their previous operations.

 Integrated Milling and Turning

CAM Express offers a complete set of turning operations in the same environment as the complete milling operation set. Creating mill-turn operations is as easy as picking the appropriate coordinate system and programming the motion. In process workpiece models and program sequences handle the switch from milling to turning and back again easily and naturally.

Intuitive Synchronization

Multi-channel turning centers promise and provide the increased productivity that comes from attacking workpieces from several sides simultaneously. But how do you know if you have your program as efficient as possible? CAM Express provides synchronization tools that let you develop mutli-channel programs in an intuitive timeline environment. As you explore different approaches for optimizing your program, the total time and relationships between different moving parts is easily seen and simulated.

 G-code driven simulation

CAM Express simulates machine tool motion in a robust assembly environment, making it easy to see complex rotations or simultaneous motion graphically before asking the machine to do these advanced motions. Unlike most other systems, however, CAM Express uses the posted G- and M-codes to drive the machine simulation functions. This important distinction means that you see ALL of the machine motion, including any tool-change motion or go-home motion or any of the other moves that post processors often inject in to a part program as it prepared for a specific machine tool. When you simulate the internal tool paths from a different system, you might still have a surprise waiting for you at the machine, depending on what tricks the post has up its sleeve. This capability is absolutely essential for programming multi-function turning centers and mill-turns, as well as 5-axis equipment.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • As shops respond to the pressure cooker of competition, they also need to utilize state of the art CAM technology. It is an integral part of any technology upgrade.
  •  CAM Express is capable, proven CAM technology that supports the latest in high efficiency, high capability machines.


3.    Available as proven, reliable software from Siemens PLM, the #1 CAM vendor, with more than 25 years of success in the CAM market.

CAM Express is provided by Siemens PLM, a long established CAM vendor. In fact our capability in CAM pre-dates our CAD software with early developments being in and for the aerospace industry. NX CAM (formerly developed and marketed as the Unigraphics product) has been sold to many thousands of customers world-wide and in many industries.

The software is fully proven and in use with almost every size of machine shop from the smallest to the very biggest companies. With a large user base SIEMENS PLM is able to continue to invest in developing the software to maintain its competitive capability. Siemens PLM is a top rated vendor revenue according to CIMdata.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • Siemens PLM has provided CAM software solutions for a long time, and knows how to provide real productivity in real world situations.
  •  CAM Express benefits from the full weight of Siemens PLM expertise in CAM development.
  •  You are in the NC business for the long haul. So is Siemens PLM.


4.    Supplied with world class software support from Siemens PLM and Designfusion

 Siemens PLM does have the most extensive and effective customer support capability of any of the CAM vendors with a far larger resource of technical staff attached to our customer support hotlines than many vendors have. The systems in place to track and monitor customer issues and support calls are world-class. Other vendors leave all support to their resellers. Siemens PLM works with Designfusion to ensure that the customer has the best support available.

What does this mean for our customers?

  •  Not every CAM vendor has excellent support. Siemens PLM does.
  •  Designfusion customers have a direct support line to our technical staff as well as a direct line to the Siemens PLM support staff.


5.    Available as integrated packages with Siemens PLM CAD applications (NX and Solid Edge) providing full range CAD/CAM with market leading capability and value

 Siemens PLM has two of the most comprehensive CAD systems available. Most of the specialist CAM vendors try to provide basic modeling and drafting software but these don’t come close to the capabilities that USG can offer with either Solid Edge or NX CAD.

As a result, many shops will buy copies of additional CAD products in order to create or edit the 3D geometry that they need as a basis for their CAM applications. This often means that they have software from more than one vendor (CAD and CAM supplier separately). Siemens PLM supplies a complete solution to give the NC programmer the CAD tools he may need.

With integrated CAD and CAM, the maximum benefits of associativity can be realized. Change cycles are reduced, Communication is improved. Concurrency is achieved.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • NC Shops need capable CAD systems, with the highest level of associativity and integration available.
  •  SIEMENS PLM supplies CAM Express with either Solid Edge or with NX CAD
  •  Benefits include single vendor, packaged prices, and increased functional capabilities for concurrency and change accommodation.


6.    Packaged with a comprehensive foundation of core functions from post processor creation and editing to shop documentation output.


Competitive Advantages

 The CAM Express packages each has a wide range of functions built in as a base capability in each package – such as the Post Builder, base geometry creation and assemblies module, translators and tool-path verification. These functions include:

  • CAD Translators
  • Post Processor build and edit
  • Tool path verification
  • Geometry assembly
  • Stock shape creation
  • Boundary defining functions
  • Tool library interface
  • Operation navigator
  • Machining parameter library

 What does this mean for our customers?

  • NC Shops require all the supporting functional capabilities in order to operate efficiently and effectively.
  •  Siemens PLM includes these functions with every CAM Express product. There is no need to purchase add-on modules to perform these essential tasks.


7.    Pre-configured with industry best practices increasing user productivity, with selectable user environments to match key types of machining.

 Siemens PLM focuses the power of its CAM Express products on the NC programming approaches relevant to your industry. User selectable programming environments preconfigure the software and make it easy for the less experienced or new user to take advantage of the power of the CAM Express. The user only sees the options relevant for the type of work selected, such as prismatic (machinery) part programming. The system presents the functions needed and pre-sets key variables ready for use.

Of course, you can expand you view and usage of the programming system as needed to address different situations and requirements. The full breadth and flexibility remains available for use at all times. However, preconfigured software streamlines your processes and help focus your efforts on the programming tasks most typical for you.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • While breadth of capability is crucial, it is also important to deploy software quickly and easily.
  •  CAM Express provides ready software environments for mold and die machining, for 2 ½ Axis machining, and for mill-turn machining.
  •  Users learn and produce quickly.


8.    Easy to deploy and to use with on-line access to Siemens PLM’s post processor library and options for complete machine tool support kits.

 Siemens PLM provides direct access to a range of post processors via an on-line library that is hosted by the Siemens PLM Global Technical Access Center. This makes it easy for new customers or those adding machines to find and download posts directly into the CAM Express installations. This saves time and eliminates the cost of building a post processor for each machine. It makes it much faster to get up to speed.

Siemens PLM offers complete support kits for more advanced machines such as mill-turn machines. These kits include an advanced post processor (in most cases these are built using the NX Post Builder application), a 3D simulation model and a simulation driver – the simulation in CAM Express is driven from the G-code created from the post processor output. This is a clear advantage over most systems that drive their simulations from an internal representation of the tool-path – before the post processor stage.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • Post processors represent a critical deployment gate for any shop implementing NC software.
  •  Siemens PLM provides access to a library of posts that are easy to install and modify as needed for immediate use.
  •  This is in addition to the Post Builder tools that build and edit posts from scratch.
  •  Full kits are also available for certain complex machines, providing a turn-key solution for posting and machine simulation.


9.    Designed to deliver a low total cost of ownership

 CAM Express is industry leading CAM software at an affordable price. The range of capability provided in the packages is outstanding among other vendors. This is further magnified for the packages that include either Solid Edge or NX CAD with CAM Express. Yet the price is in line with industry expectations, very clearly a more-for-less proposition.

Additionally, costs over the life of the software are minimized. The ease of deployment of CAM Express, the reduced learning curve, and the ease of use all contribute to the low cost of ownership. Items such as the access to the GTAC Post Library also help reduce costs for the customer.

What does this mean for our customers?  

  • Cost is an issue, but value for investment is the real driver for machine shops.
  •  CAM Express provides outstanding value at an affordable cost.
  •  Long term savings in training and implementation further drive the value of CAM Express.


10.  The CAM Express software is part of a wide range of engineering software provided by Siemens PLM within its PLM Portfolio.

Siemens PLM provides more than just CAM and CAD software. The larger Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) portfolio includes the leading data management solutions, collaboration tools, advanced mold design and progressive die design application integrations, process planning and digital manufacturing tools.

Whatever your needs, as you scale up your CAM solution, Siemens PLM Software can provide leading applications and in-depth implementation experience.

What does this mean for our customers?  

  • While NC Programming is the foundation of CAM technology in most machine shops, competitive pressures will continue to drive more comprehensive implementations of PLM process integrations.
  •  Siemens PLM Software is the leader across the PLM spectrum, from data management to digital manufacturing.



 As you can imagine, a lot of thought went in to our decision to sell CAM Express. We truly believe that is the best CAM package for our customers. If you would like to learn more about CAM Express please contact us at


Did you know STEP/IGS files are now useful?

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

If you’re using Synchronous Technology, you can now treat STEP/IGS files as if you created them in Solid Edge. Previously, and in other CAD systems like Inventor and SolidWorks, you can’t do much with STEP/IGS files beyond the direct editing tools.

In my designer days I would open a STEP file from an outside vendor, need to make a change, but just remodeled it from the beginning because the design intent was different. The “smart” history tree the software created didn’t come close to the way I thought it should be. So I just started from the beginning and created the model so it would be useful for me. What a complete waste of time!! The model was there, but it was useless information for me!

But now, with ST, you can add 3D driving dimensions, move faces, rotate faces, add geometry, etc. And best part is Live Rules finding design intent, and maintaining it throughout the editing process.

When I learned this about ST, a light bulb turned on in my head and my jaw dropped…

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SolidEdge tip for the day

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

When you are working in an assembly and need to add components, nothing is more frustrating than having to navigate to the correct directory containing your components. However, after clicking on the Parts Library tab, a ctrl+period will take you to the directory containing the working assembly. Hopefully this saves you some hassle and time–I know it has for me.

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