Posts Tagged ‘Manufacturing Software’

Customizations and Upgrading Solid Edge

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
With the ST6 coming one thing is certain…changes are coming.  This next topic will discuss how to transition from ST4 to ST5 (and as well can be used for ST6 upgrades) in relation to the customizations in Solid Edge.
There are certain things that a CAD Administrator can set up for you and share amongst the masses.  If you do not have the luxury of a CAD Administrator, it is very worthwhile to have users share setups.  It would be best if there was only one person setting things up as this keeps everything to a standard.
Solid Edge can, quite easily, bring toolbar settings from version to version.  The toolbars can be re-used as it were.  Also to note is the fact that these customized toolbars can be deployed on a user specific basis as well as a base company template type setting.  For instance, a company standard toolbar customization could be deployed and the user would then be allowed to take it from there.  Every company has certain functions that vary from what SE sets up out of the box.  Companies vary as well.  Users vary even further.  It would be worthwhile to invest the time once to set up company templates and environment settings.  If you do it once, there would be years of savings moving forward.
The image below illustrates the settings you can set up and take with you from version to version.  Keyboard, Quick access, Ribbon, and Radial Menu options can all be set up.

Screenshot of "Customize" Menu

The next sessions we will discuss how to set up everything.  I always like to have the “Previous Window” (in Draft for this example).  These are the steps I would go through.  Open a draft file, although you can do this without opening a file.  Select the down arrow beside the QAT and go to “Customize the Ribbon”.
The following dialogue box opens:
Expand the “View” tab on the left and expand the “Home” tab on the right to look like the image below.
Have “Previous View” selected on the left and select “Window” from under the home tab on the right and then hit the “Add” button.  It should look like this:
Close the dialogue box and you should notice on your Home toolbar that the Previous View icon has been added.  You may be asked if you want to save this if you need to create a new theme or you could save it to an existing customization.
You can also right click and the following menu shows up allowing you to set the options for the new icon:
These settings are saved in the following locations in ST5:
Vista/Win 7:
C:\Users\”username”\AppData\Roaming\Unigraphics Solutions\Solid Edge\Version 105\Customization\
C:\Documents and Settings\”username”\Application Data\UnigraphicsSolutions\Solid Edge\Version 105\Customization\
Windows 7 shown below for reference:
These settings can be shared between different users and computers.  As you can see, each theme is in a different folder and each type of customization (QAT, Radial Menus, Ribbon, ect) is in a separate file.  Because it is external to the install directory of Solid Edge and is not in the registry these customizations traverse updates to the software version.



Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

A “Quicksheet” is a template of drawing views that are not linked to a model. You can then drag a model from the Library tab or from Windows Explorer onto the template, and the views populate with the model.  If you have standard views on a particular size of drawing, for example, you can have the Draft preconfigured to populate itself based on the model you place on the sheet.

You will to need to set up a Draft sheet (but do not use production drawing as the drafting information will be removed upon save) with your views and other items such as Parts Lists.

1. Go to the SE Application button

2. From the Application menu, choose the “Create Quicksheet Template” command.

3. Save the file to a location and give it a name that easily identifies it.  It is best to place this on a network area other users can get to if it is useful to share the Quicksheet.   It is also best to locate it in a similar area to where the company templates for SE reside.

* Almost all view properties, including general properties, text and color properties, and annotation properties, are maintained. However, some display properties, such as selected parts display, Show Fill Style, and Hidden Edge Style, are not maintained.

Now a Quicksheet template has been created, but how do we use it?

1. Open your Quicksheet template (either through Windows Explorer or if you set up your User Templates and placed the Quicksheets in that location hit New>Quicksheet> and select your Quicksheet).

2. Drag and drop your desired Part or Assy onto the sheet from Windows Explorer or through the Library tab in Solid Edge.

3. Solid Edge will place the geometry and will be ready for the next steps.

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Editing Part/SM Operations in Assembly

Monday, November 5th, 2012participate
In ST5 you can now perform edit operations, from the assembly environment, without first in-place-activating to enter the model directly.  Things you can do:
  • Locate, select and edit of ordered features
  • Edit synchronous procedural features
  • Delete synchronous face-sets and ordered features
  • Move face-sets (sync feature) in synchronous parts
Let’s take a look!
Firstly, ordered features are now selectable via the Face Priority select option. (remember hotkey combo is CTL + Spacebar)
Notice in the example below that “Protrusion 1” is available from the Quickpick options in assembly now.
Once selected, “Protrusion 1” has its options displayed for going directly into the features parameters.
Select whatever you would like to edit and SE will take you directly there.  Once complete, just close and return.  This will take you back to where you were in the assembly.
This saves time from previous versions by allowing you to go directly to what you want to modify and brings you back to the assembly reducing the number of mouse clicks.
Editing synchronous procedural features from the assembly level does not in-place-activate the user into the part.  Procedural features are things such as Patterns, Thin wall, Helix, Hem, Dimple, Louver, Drawn cutout, Bead, Gusset, and Etch.  These are editable directly in the assembly.
Using Face Select again, “Louver 1” is selected.
The handle for the procedural features shows up.  If selected we are presented with the following options.
Also, if we were to select the adjacent lover we would be presented with the following options:
Notice that the option to edit the pattern is there.  I know what the usual next question would be “How would I know how to edit the parent of the pattern?”.  Notice the option for “Louver 14”.  If you were to select it, you would be presented with the same options as previously mentioned.
We select “Pattern 1” and now we can modify the parameters that define the pattern.
Once selected, click on the PMI callout “Pattern 2 x 4” and we will get the following options:
Notice we have not left the Assembly environment.
One thing to note about this type of editing: Procedural Feature profile editing requires in-place-activating first.  Also, there is no access to the profile handle from within the assembly.
Happy Edging!
If you would like to learn more about “What’s New in ST5”, stay tuned for our new Update Training course.  For information related to training from Designfusion follow this link: ( conditions

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