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Graebert Partners Advance Their Solutions
Graebert’s OEM partners were also in attendance at this year’s Annual Meeting. Like last year these included Dassault Systèmes (Solidworks), Onshape, and Corel. Other OEM’s included specific industry solutions talked about on the second day in Developer Workshops. Finally, JDraf Co. Ltd., one of the major OEM partners, is now officially Graebert Japan, as we just discussed on the previous page.
Dassault’s Andreas Kulik, who is director of Product Portfolio & Business Development for SolidWorks, led the OEM talks by reviewing the eight-year history they have with Graebert and what DraftSight means to his company. Kulik told the audience that DraftSight’s original mission was to address the millions of legacy 2D DWG CAD files. “But we found out,” he said, “that SolidWorks users actually [still] create 2D drawings.” (see image 04)
Dassault Systèmes has a massive DraftSight user base, now at 1.3 million users. Kulik stated that DraftSight is second in the CAD market only to AutoCAD with over 450,000 companies with deployed seats. Dassault is clearly Graebert’s largest OEM partner and Dassault’s mission with DraftSight is to develop it to its fullest potential as part of the Dassault 3DExperience. DraftSight 2017 will be available in early November and ships in three versions: DraftSight, DraftSight Professional, and DraftSight Enterprise.
DraftSight is a completely free product and is limited to 2D DWG CAD operations only. As a professional grade 2D CAD system, it is targeted as a drafting solution for AEC professionals (architects, engineers, contractors) as well as general designers, educators, and hobbyists. The solution runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. However, the macOS and Linux versions are technically labeled as beta.
DraftSight Professional, on the other hand, is available only for Windows and supports numerous features not available in the free version. Such features include the Dassault 3DExperience GEOVIA, Delmia, SolidWorks Electrical, PDM Connectors. PDF underlay and Microsoft DGN import are also not supported in the free version. DraftSight Enterprise Pack essentially comprises adding enterprise level tools to the mix such as a network licensing tool, deployment wizard, and technical support by telephone and email.
I asked Kulik why the Mac version of DraftSight continues to be in beta mode after years on the market. He simply said: “come see us at DraftSight Live in February,” implying that something affecting the Mac version (and presumably the Linux version) would be announced. Kulik told the audience at Graebert’s Annual Meeting that DraftSight has grown so large and is so strategic to the company that this year they will have a DraftSight Live event held within SolidWorks World 2017 itself.
Corel also announced its new CorelCAD 2017 product. Corel is a key major OEM partner for Graebert offering a targeted CAD solution that integrates into CorelDRAW and CorelDRAW Technical Suite. Corel sells a product called Lattice3D Studio CAD, an add-on for Technical Suite that enables the reading of 3D CAD assembly formats from leading MCAD solutions. The integrations between CorelDRAW and the CAD world are significant. CorelCAD is meant to serve two clear markets that play to Corel’s core strengths.
The first of these markets is access to legacy DWG CAD files (or even new ones) in markets that need to produce technical documents, such as enterprise manufacturing clients, using Corel’s well-regarded technical drawing apps. These CAD files can then be exported to native CorelDRAW or CorelDESIGNER (.cdr and .des) file formats—a unique feature of CorelCAD. For users in both enterprise and SMBs who use CorelDRAW and CorelDRAW Technical Suite for technical documents (eg: automobile or electronics user manuals) CorelCAD offers a unique advantage for both the technical documents department user and the engineer or technician who is designing, engineering, or creating the manufactured products that need to be documented.
Another market where Corel is seeing strength with CorelCAD is in AEC users in North America and Europe. Home builders, contractors, architects and engineers who have been DWG-based CAD systems for years have taken up CorelCAD, according to Corel Executive, Klaus Vossen. While the first market defined above is centered around Windows nearly exclusively (CorelDRAW is a Windows only app), Vossen told me in a discussion that the Mac version is very popular amongst its AEC users. CorelCAD will also be deploying CorelCAD for iOS at some point in the future, again because of the popularity of Apple’s iOS devices in AEC markets.
Lastly, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based, Onshape, spoke again this year but with a slightly different argument for their unique all-cloud MCAD platform. Once again Robert Minor gave the talk and spoke about how ‘Agile’ work methodology and the cloud is revolutionizing other disciplines. To Onshape it became a question of “why not product design?”
Onshape’s view is that traditional file-centric CAD and PDM don’t work for Agile. In today’s world speed and innovation are the key leverage drivers in business. Agile and the cloud solve these challenges. Minor put a slide with a quote from global business consulting firm, Aberdeen, stating that companies need to launch products faster than their rivals and they need to produce more innovative products. So how do companies meet those challenges at the design and engineering level?
Minor stated that the big blockers to meeting those challenges are the lack of collaboration and the inability to work effectively in teams. Citing SalesForce.com, Minor said today’s winners are the ones who can move quickly. You can’t move as quickly if you can’t move in true parallel. Traditional CAD is setup to work in serial fashion—you wait until others finish their work; you worry about where the latest version is (the single source of truth problem); you concern yourself about overwriting each other’s changes; and in the PDM world you have extra work with checkout, copy, check-in, syncing, and notifications.
Minor said with Onshape—which exist entirely in the cloud and is accessed through web browsers or dedicated iOS apps—there is never any waiting. Anyone can work on anything. It is impossible to overwrite each other’s changes (work); there are no checkouts, copies or check-ins needed. And entire teams of any size can work entirely in parallel.
Onshape isn’t a traditional OEM to for ARES Commander but rather the first OEM for ARES Kudo technology. Onshape Drawings uses ARES Kudo technology.
Other Comments About the Annual Meeting
This year’s event was held at the Bikini Berlin building, another fashionable area in Berlin near the central core close to Tiergarten and even closer to the Berlin Zoo. In fact, the so-called Monkey Bar, where we held some casual networking moments, overlooks the area in the zoo where the monkeys are, thus the name.
The Graebert Annual Event took place at Bikini Berlin, in City West near the Berlin core on the western edges of the Tiegarten. The mixed-use complex hosts fashion events with fashion retailing, hotel and restaurants with other business uses.
Wilfried explained to me that the large building was one of the first big redevelopments after World War II. It was a garments industry building. According to the website, the ‘Bikinihaus’ was the core structure of the complex, a narrow post-war modern complex designed by architects Paul Schwebes and Hans Schoszberger. It runs 200 meters in length and was effectively given the bikini name by the locals in the 1950’s due to the open-sided story framed by columns on the second floor. To the locals these columns, so placed, separated the building into upper and lower parts, hence a ‘two-piece’ architecture. It reminded Berliners of the bare midriff in a bikini, the daring swimwear fashion which had taken the world by storm in the mid 20th century.
Here we are in the ‘teens’ decade of the 21st century. A hundred years past the first phase of two world wars, Berlin today feels ‘naturally’ hip, energized, and most of all open. All good tones for the melody of innovation and to the right beat for start-up culture. Graebert is hardly a start-up, but it has that energy and sense of momentum and its partners sense tremendous opportunity still left in DWG.
(disclosure: Graebert paid for air travel, hotel, and most meals during the event.)