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Wildfire 2.0 vs Solidworks


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I don't want to start any bashing here towards any software but I would like to get some information to gauge my perception.

My company and I have been using Pro/ENGINEER for about 10 plus years to design handheld plastic parts, small electronic assemblies and all of the associated process tools and fixtures. In all we have had about 14 engineers come and go using Pro/E. We recently hired a new engineer who claims to have Pro/E experience and a lot of Solidworks experience. Ever since we switched to Wildfire he has claimed to me and management that his productivity is severely limited. He is campaigning to change to Solidworks claiming it is a much better tool, more user friendly, less bugs, more Window like, etc. I know that he is going to have a hard sell to make such a radical move but what I want to understand is if he really is on the right track or is poorly informed.

We are using Wildfire 2.0 as our design tool and Intralink for our CAD vaulting, versioning tool. If he is correct and we will really see a dramatic productivity improvement with no loss in functionalityand management will spend the dollars then I will learn all I can about this new tool and work towards making it an effect tool at our company. On the other hand, if this is a total mistake I want to nip it in the bud and concentrate on getting him additional training on Wildfire.

Any enlightenment on the pros and cons of a Wildfire to Solidworks would be very helpful from people who may have looked at this or actually did the move.


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On the other hand, if this is a total mistake I want to nip it in the bud and concentrate on getting him additional training on Wildfire


This is simply the truth.



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Simply get a demo copy and have him demonstrate his assertions.

I'm not quite sure about "claims to have Pro/E experience". What's your take on it, or are you not a Pro/E user?

Is this a single seat outfit we're discussing?


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We actually have an interesting situation. We are part of a large pool of licenses (well over 50) of whichour location is allocated 5 or 6 licenses to use.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" />

I myself have been using Pro/E for about 12 years, used UG for about 4 years and Solid Edge for 1 year along with several 2D CAD packages.

I really don't anticipate that management is going to even entertain looking at other packages based on the expense and resources required to benchmark and convert from one system to another. We tend to be very tight with our expenses even when it looks like there could be cost savings down the line. My concern is more making sure that I feel that I am doing the right thing either trying to stop the other engineer's efforts or by actually supporting his efforts if indeed he is correct that Solidworks is a better software choice by saving us costs, improve efficiency and make better models.

If I were to change companies and their CAD system was UG, Solidworks or something else I know that although I would be prejudiced towards Pro/E I would learnto work whatever I had at my disposal so I don


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"We recently hired a new engineer who claims to have Pro/E experience and a lot of Solidworks experience."

Many users find itdificult to be proficient in more than one CAD system. Its hard enough to learn one, let alone having to switch gears and adopt the new paradigm for another. What sounds like is happening in your case is that your new user has only experience in Solidworks and either doesn't want to and/or simply can't learn to be productive in Pro/E. Seriously, is it that hard to see? This new guy must be one special engineer to make you want to ignore common sense and change several seats after 12 years. I would tell him you respect his opinion, but based on your past success with Pro/E,he should accept his job responsibilities or go someplace else.


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This is why I like this portal. There are so many different points of view; all with theirownwisdom. Hopefully there are some insights in my comments too.

From what I have seen there are typically two reasons companies change CAD systems. Either the existing system can't do the job or it takes so long to do it that theyare getting killed by their competitors. That is why sales guys askquestions like,"How's business?", "Whatdo you needto do that your current system can't?" and "How long does that task take you today?".

The number one impediment to change is cost. You alreadymentioned one of your doubts about change is based on cost. If you can sell the cost of changing, it is worth championing. So what is the cost of change?

Software and maintenance are the easiest costs to recognize. You have 5 to 6 licenses available to you now. It sounds like your company has standardized on Pro/ENGINEER, since your company has a pool of 50 licenses. I'm guessingyou get anice discount on maintenance. If you are lucky your maintenance is handled at a corporate level and isn't included in your department's annualbudget. This means you don't have to sell it to management every year.

If you change CAD systems you will have to purchase all new software. The CAD vendor probably won't discount the software or maintenace much for 6 seats. If Pro/ENGINEER is the current corporate standard,upper management won'tbe inclinedto pay the software or maintenancebill for you. It will come out of your budget. This is, of course, unless you sell the entire company on the switch.

Most of training and remodeling are typically hidden costs. You will have to retrain all your users (except the new guy). Your users will have to devote time to the training. Even if SolidWorks gives you the training for free itusually takes six months to a year to recover and start becoming more proficient. That is reguardless ofthenewly chosensystem and is actually affected moreby the remodeling effort thanthe training.

SolidWorks says they canreverse engineerPro/ENGINEER files. But if it is surfaced models, you won't like the results. Even if it is a block with a hole in it, itmay notmaintain your design intent. So you will get to remodel everything in the new CAD package. Essentially you have to rebuild your entire active database.

SolidWorks is a good tool. Many companies use it successfully. However, there are still many capabilities in Pro/ENGINEER that aren't inSolidWorks.Heneeds to prove to you first that SolidWorks can do everything you do today and does it in significantly less time. If he can prove to you a performance based ROI typically of three years or less (18 months or less preferable), then back him up. If the change will truely pay for itself and save the company money, you would both look like heros.

Keep in mind that management may look for other alternatives too. They may invest in additional training, consulting and/orthird party tools to speed up Pro/ENGINEER. This would be cheaper than changing CAD systems. They could also decide to investigate all CAD systems. Its a streach, butyoucould end up running something neither of you are familiar with, like CATIA because of some unanticipated data management or manufacturinglimitations with SolidWorks.

Wow, sorry for the novel. Hope this helps.


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We use Pro/E at our company design Molds. We bought a seat of SolidWorks a number of months ago to see how it is with our business, the only thing I like about it is it easy of use other than that the product just likes to crash.

We bought the full seat of 2005 and the cost saving was insignificant, after researching SolidWorks forums for years the crashing seems to be the biggest complaint along with bugs.

I really do like the SolidWorks product but it could never replace Pro/E for what we do.


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"...two reasons companies change CAD systems. Either the existing system can't do the job or it takes so long to do it that theyare getting killed by their competitors."

Clearly in this case its the latter. Or are you really suggesting that head to head, with equally proficient users, SW can accomplish tasks that Pro/E can't (not bloody likely)? Pro/E's cost for core package and maintenance are the same or very close to SW. Aside from the inconvience of those time-out issues awhile back, there aren't any bugs that will affect productivity enough for cost savings. Crunch, I'll save you months worth of work: keep Pro/E and next time hire somebody who either knows how to use it or is willing to learn for the good of the organization.


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Justsome clarification.

I was opening the field to all CAD products with that statement. These are thereasons used when displacing other systems (including SolidWorks)withPro/ENGINEER.

Yes, at list price the prices are nearly the same. However, when you own 50 seats, you can negotiate a heafty disount on maintenacefrom PTC. When you are only purchasing six seats and are considered a "new" account, there isn't nearly as much discounting from either vendor.

Sorry for the confusion.


New member
A little more clarification on the number of seats. We own 5 seats. We just combined them with several other divisions that use Pro/E to as you can guess, we can save on maintenance. If we changed systems it would only involve these 5 seats so you can see we are a small shop in that regard. But a good point is that we will lose any clout we currently enjoy as part of a 50 seat organization with a move to another platform.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" />

I appreciate the feedback I received. I honestly never believed that we will change software. Unless Solidworks or whatever other software out there can prove that they are perfect, no bugs, no crashes, have every single feature you may need, proven simplicity and always does what I want the way I want then each tool will have their own space in the CAD world. I have yet to find the perfect CAD tool that meets all of these criteria.

The other item of interest is the comments about surfacing and complex rounds, etc. Although this isn't our main area of concern it is something we do on a regular basis since we design plastic parts that fit in you hand and have to look nice.


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I worked ComputerVision CADDS III/IV/V for many years. When Pro/E was evaluated by my company, I rebelled because I had spent so much time learning and educating myself on ComputerVision. Change is something we all dislike, especially when it comes to something we do daily for a minimum of 8 hours. I understand an employee trained in another CAD systemvoicing concerns about the new CAD system. I think it is human nature. Training would be a big plus as well as 6 months to a year down the road for re-evaluation. What do the other Engineers/Designers think? I think I know the answer.


New member
Capt_Crunch said:
Ever since we switched to Wildfire he has claimed to me and management that his productivity is severely limited. He is campaigning to change to Solidworks claiming it is a much better tool, more user friendly, less bugs, more Window like, etc.

Simply put:
- More user friendly:SW (and I have used Pro/E since Release 7). But in all fairness, Pro/E does a lot more than SW. If you write a software that does 3 things, it is easy to make it easier to use than something that does 100 things. The simpler software gets very hard to use when you try to go outside that limited envelope. Same for SW.
- Less bugs: Pro/E no contest (I said less bugs not no bugs). I can easilycrash SW with very basic cases. Not the case with Pro/E.
- More Windows like: SW, no question about it. WF is getting more and more "windows-like" but the change has been slower than I hoped for.
- Better tool: Pro/E unless you have very limited requirements. But then, any software will work, why limit it to Pro/E and SW.

Since you are using pro/E for 12 years, you must have somebody who can evaluate how much this new guy knows. More training might be needed, but having the right attitude is amust. You cannot make somebody WANT to learn if he does not already.



New member
Well management sort of came around. After pointing out all of the issues brought up here and elsewhere they admitted that this was a ridiculous idea. One manager admitted that he let this go on for a while because he wanted to let this person spin their wheels a little before lowering the boom. Although I am happy with the final decision, I am unhappy to see management not take decisive action and allow a resource to be misdirected in this manner. I think that if this user continues to feel frustrated that he will be given the freedom to take additional training which is the direction I was pushing. I have offered many times to assist this person myself but I think he has a fear of unmasking his current lack of knowledge to me which I could care less about so outside training would be the best.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" />

I like what everyone said here and appreciated that no one bashed one software over another as that was never my intent. I have to agree with chf65 that Solidworks and SolidEdge are much more user friendly than Pro/E and that is based a lot on the complexity and capabilities that are in each software. If I wasn


New member
I just went through this in the Rant & Rave section on "Why Inventor Sucks"

Our company has purchased 4 seats of Inventor 10 - we currently use ACAD2006 for 2D, 10% of our 3D parts and assemblies are STUCK in Mechanical Desktop, and 80% of 3Dparts/assemblies are in Pro 2001 ----- we have Wild fire, but have not installed it.

(My opinion) - Who copied who? The Pro-E and Solidworks folks will tell you not to buy RE-Inventor, because they copied the benefits from each other. They did enhance the pictorial representation of screw threads....

As I said - we haven't gone to WF yet - because that would probably be a 3-day or 1 week upgrade training for everyone from PTC. Remember - 1 week training for basic - 1 week for detailing, 1-week for advance, 3-days for sheet metal, one week mechanica, 3-days large assembly.......... To be proficient andproductive at what Cost? How many weeks of lost time for training instead of releasing projects? Plus $ for each module. Why go PDM or Intralink --when Vault comes with Inventor?

One week of Solidworksor Inventor training and you can be as dangerous in part modeling and assemblies as some of the us Pro Dinosours.

As for handling older files and to what formats..... you will need to re-do all of your drawings ----- you will have a transfered 3D part/assemblies that won't be associated to a drawing anymore.

It almost depends on the final customers (end users)needs. If they use Inventor, UG, Pro, Solidworks, SolidEdge, Catia.......

If you cross over to the Inventor, SolidWorks...... forums you read their rant & rave. To me - I don't care what platform the design is in - as long as it's in 3D, and has parametric associativity. Just remember that it was us old(Autodesk)Mechanical Desktop users that got stuck!

Depends on your application

Also Recall ...

PTC has its own kernel ... Granite

Solid Edge (Unigraphics)has its own kernel ... Parasolids and is actually UGS's midrange CAD

SolidWorks(Dassault) leases the Parasolids license from UGS and is midrange CAD under Catia.

MTD uses the ACIS kernel and to my knowledge, Inventor uses a modified ACIS kernel which AutoCADpurchased the code from ACIS(Spatial) beforeSpatial was sold to Dassault. Inventor was created due to the arrival of Solid Works because MTD could not compete at that 3d level.

If anyone wants to elaborate ... feel free!


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I used Pro-E since release release 13 ----- I too played with Computer vision (Personal Designer.....wireframe) for Typewiters and printers from the past.

But what you guys forget is that Pro was in the $50k range and companies had to lease them. I've been with other companies that had 175 Pro-E seats, so I can imagine the costs of training, licenses, hardware.....investment - what's the payback if you switch now and the transfer of past and present models and assemblies?

So - if your new employee is like me (since the 90's), and live the headhunters dream candidate work 3 years min, 5 years max. then onto a new job then I can relate to your new guy.....yes I probably have the same 14 PTC certificates that came with user guides (classes that I took when business were slow prior to being laid-off). After the lay-off I took the Solidworks Essentials, Detailing, and Advanced to be marketable........2 weeks and 3 days and I'm as dangerous as some of the SW Guru's. Let's face it if you can use Pro - You can use anything else.

As I mentioned above reply - we use ACAD for 2D, and mostly Pro 2001 for 3D (with 4 seats of Inventor-growing), so if there is a 2D ACAD drawing, and I want to check for interference in some of our 3D assemblies --- would you model it from scratch, open it as a DXF and create a bunch of chainentities and create Protrusions (note ifthe chain is in the wrong order the sketch might not be closed, and will fail).....?

How about opening the ACAD file with SolidWorks, delete the extra views (ie: front and top), use the side view + right click - choose Contour Select and Extruded Boss/Base icon and give it a depth - save as iges or step file and open as a part and add it to my Pro-E assembly.

It's not whatyour new guy knows...... It's the tips and tricks that we all remember as Engineers. I think that it's very obvious that Pro-E must have been developed by Software Folks..... you can almost follow the codes...."how many times do you have to say Done, Done/Return to tell Pro YES we're really done :)"


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"Done, Done/Return to tell Pro YES we're really done" was part of work in pre-Wildfire versions, we are now waiting for version 3 of Wildfire!!!

"How about opening the ACAD file with SolidWorks, delete the extra views (ie: front and top), use the side view + right click - choose Contour Select and Extruded Boss/Base icon and give it a depth - save as iges or step file and open as a part and add it to my Pro-E assembly."
That scenario is also possible in wildfire; must be You missed some class on Pro/E training!!!

Did You seen Wildfire? Does it look like dinosaurus to You?


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vitadj -

If you READ Jan.9th post.... "As I said - we haven't gone to WF yet"

FYI- Went to PTC Waltham, Mass for Rel13


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vitadj -

Don't get me wrong I LOVE PRO-E! I've seen WF and it has EVOLVED a long way. Justnote --- the done, done/return, as well as rotating, zoom. pan with the Control button, does look like DINASOUR moves...... and it took PTC 3 years to change that - SolidWorks 2001 had the rotate, zoom, pan all along. Then RE-Inventor copied the benefits of both Pro and Solidworks.

I was just getting to how PTC WAS driven by Software Dinosours, and where Autodesk was totally driven by Mechanical Folks and Solidworks and Catia just had the right mix but lacked the sales and marketing folks. I like what I've seen of WF but we haven't converted yet......you would probably compare Pro 2001 to Wildfire as Windows2000 to Windows XP, that being said ---- a lot of us still have the confort zone of Pro 2001 (as far as stability - compared to 2000i and 2000i


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We are a ProE house, but due to high customer demand, we have just purchased 2 seats of SW. I had training on SW back in 99 and thought there were a lot of nice things, but a lot of terrible things as well. I'm still nervous about functionality when it comes to modeling complex surfaces in plastic. I hope the transition isn't"horse-to-donkey." I fully expect to be trying to use Pro mapkeys in SW and SW mapkeys in Pro. Jumping between two softwares, in my opinion, makes you less efficient in both...

GLEM20 - Moving to WF was minor, no training needed. Three items to look at immediately: curves by two projections, surface copying and flat surface creation. Other than that, piece of cake...Just load the software and let users play over lunch.