July 16, 2007
SolidWorks Changes Guard at CEO
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on MCADcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Last Thursday morning Dassault Systemes announced the appointment of Jeff Ray as CEO of SolidWorks. Previously chief operating officer (COO), Ray is replacing John McEleney. Ray will be responsible for making SolidWorks the industry standard in mainstream 3D CAD.

"Jeff brings a wealth of industry and management experience to his new role that will assure SolidWorks' successful performance in the next stage of its development," said Bernard Charles, president and CEO of Dassault Systemes. "John has done a fantastic job of transforming SolidWorks from an ambitious startup into a successful global organization with an unrivaled distribution channel through his unwavering commitment to customers, community, employees, and colleagues."

Ray joined SolidWorks in October 2003 as chief operating officer. He has been instrumental in improving global distribution performance and increasing revenue, profit, and global market share. His four years at SolidWorks extend his nearly 30-year record of building and transforming operations in international businesses. He has held senior executive positions at companies including Progress Software, Compuware and IBM.

Founded 14 years ago by Jon Hirschtick and under John McEleney's strong leadership since 2001, SolidWorks is a remarkable success story. Ten years after its acquisition by Dassault Systemes, SolidWorks' revenues have increased almost forty fold and over 680,000 users now benefit from SolidWorks' products.

McEleney is retiring to embrace new personal opportunities. He will remain closely linked to the company as a member of SolidWorks' board of directors and Dassault Systemes' global management team until the end of the year.

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

I’ve known John (affectionately known a “Johnny Mac”) for a number of years and have come to know and respect him quite well. From the beginning of his tenure at SolidWorks, and for someone at his executive level, I have always found him to be one of the most personable and approachable people in the MCAD industry. He always spoke his mind, but I never personally heard him speak badly of a competitor at any level, even in the heat of negative vibes coming at him personally or SolidWorks as a product and company.

Now I am sure that there will be speculation as to the reason and timing of Mr. McEleney’s stepping down at this time, but let me assure you (as he did me), it is his decision and his alone. He contacted me personally (as he also did with many of my peers) the day before the announcement was made public and said his reasons for moving on were strictly personal, and out of respect for him we’ll leave it at that.

John was better at handling three distinct groups that can be credited for the success SolidWorks enjoys today – customers, employees, and resellers – than just about anyone I’ve ever known. All three groups are vital, and no one can be regarded as more important than the others, and John was very good at balancing the three in what became known as the SolidWorks Community. This community really has no equal in the MCAD space and has served the company well in the eyes of many.

John was also a “product guy,” meaning he could really talk about what his products could and could not do, because he could actually run the products himself. Further testimony to his “product guy” status was the fact that he was a bonafide Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP). He took the test anonymously and relished that although he was CEO, he was also jus a regular SolidWorks guy, just like any customer. I contrast John’s attitude to a competitor’s top person, who said to me a number of years ago that they “wouldn’t dirty their hands with the product.” Therein lies one of the many differences between John McEleney and his brethren at several of the other MCAD companies.

I don’t know what the future holds for John, but I’m sure he’ll continue to be one of the best people any of us could hope to meet and associate with. Was he perfect? Well, no, but overall he was a good, down to earth person who helped get SolidWorks where it is today. I, along with all of the rest of the MCADCafe.com crew, wish John the best in all of his future endeavors. We’re sure he’ll continue to succeed at whatever he chooses to do. As for SolidWorks, it is now in the very capable hands of Jeff Ray, and we wish him the best, as well.

The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

hyperMILL Optimizes Five-Axis Machining
Carbon Fibre Technologies (CFT) is using hyperMILL CAM software to help it optimize complex five-axis machining cycles on a range of high performance DMG machining centers that are producing components and tooling. The company offers a full range of advanced composite design, engineering and manufacturing services, including concept development, detail design, structural analysis, pattern making and production. Carbon fiber composite is not easy to machine particularly when the components are complex and require five-axis machining techniques. To help CFT maximize the throughput of its four five-axis machines (all acquired since 2002), the company decided to evaluate the leading CAM vendors. Two and a half years ago CFT bought its first seat of hyperMILL. To date CFT has used its combination of hyperMILL and five-axis DMG technology to machine just about all of the component parts that make up the composite content of a modern racing car, mainly for Formula One. Patterns, manufactured from aluminum, tooling block or graphite, are also machined at CFT. CFT has invested heavily in the facilities needed to perform all stages of the carbon fiber component manufacturing processes, including large PC-controlled autoclaves and a pre-preg fabric cutter, which guarantees precision and repeatability of material quantities – essential to ensure minimum weight and variation in finished components.

Dialogic Deploys Dassault Systemes' ENOVIA
Dassault Systemes announced that Dialogic Corp., a provider of products and technologies for converged communications, recently selected Dassault's ENOVIA MatrixOne collaborative business process applications to implement a PLM solution across a variety of platforms and offices. From start to finish the initial deployment was completed within 90 days, enabling Dialogic to accelerate product development. Dialogic says it selected ENOVIA MatrixOne for its flexibility and out-of-the box PLM capabilities. It used ENOVIA MatrixOne to migrate its databases from a variety of legacy systems to maintain its position in the field of IP telephony and converged voice, data, and video. Dialogic plans to expand its ENOVIA MatrixOne installation as its needs evolve.

STAR-CCM+ V2.08: Cranking up the heat…
CD-adapco announced STAR-CCM+ V2.08, the latest version of its CFD package. Among many new features, STAR-CCM+ V2.08 also introduces a number of key enhancements to aid in simulating engineering problems that involve heat transfer between liquids, gases and solids. Engineers are typically only interested in fluid temperatures in as much as they influence the thermal loading of some nearby structure. Conjugate Heat Transfer (CHT) analysis allows engineers to account for conduction through solids and to calculate the resulting temperature distribution within them. Until now, the largest obstacle to performing CHT simulations of complex structures (such as internal combustion engines), has typically been encountered while trying to create a computational mesh that accurately represents both solid and coolant geometries. STAR-CCM+ V2.08 overcomes this obstacle, because it includes a robust meshing methodology that allows users to automatically generate meshes of both fluid and solid geometries. This approach ensures that a conformal mesh is maintained at solid-fluid interfaces, ensuring one-to-one connectivity between cells at either side of the boundary, and removes the need for mapping or interpolation between the physical domains. To facilitate accurate resolution of flow and thermal gradients close to the interface, boundary layer cells are automatically generated on the fluid side of the interface and, if required, on the solid side.

CD-adapco Releases STAR-CAD Series V4

CD-adapco announced STAR-CAD Series V4.12 , a range of CAD and PLM-embedded simulation environments for performing advanced CFD analyses. The new version of the STAR-CAD Series includes: STAR-CAT5 -CAAV5 Based software- for CATIA V5, STAR-Pro/E for Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire, STAR-NX for NX, and STAR-Works for SolidWorks. The STAR-CAD Series is specifically created to enable CFD analyses directly within a chosen CAD environment. Using the power of associativity, any design change made in response to results of a simulation, is reflected in the CFD solution. Maintaining a focus on matching customers’ expectations and responding to their requests, CD-adapco has ensured that the STAR-CAD Series are now also available on native Windows 64-bit platforms under Windows XP, allowing interaction with the 64-bit native versions of the CAD and PLM environments and providing users with the ability to run even larger models. The ModelChecker feature introduced in the previous release is improved with the addition of a synchronization mode that allows checking very large models in an efficient manner. As well as supporting the latest CAD and PLM versions, the STAR-CAD Series is powered by CD-adapco’s latest solver technology, STAR-CCM+ V2.08 .

CAD Data Exchange for NX 5 and Pro/E
Following the announcement of its new capability for reading data from the CATIA V5 FTA module, Datakit launched a PMI option for NX 5 and a new capability for reading Pro/ENGINEERT annotations. In addition to the NX 5 GDT menu, used for generating texts and symbols, a PMI menu contains all the functionalities for creating tolerancing and dimensioning data in NX 5 Modeling, including tools for dimensions, datum feature symbols, datum targets, feature control frames, annotations, and geometric tolerancing. Datakit’s solution recovers these entities encapsulated in the 3D model and supports layers, colours and visibility options. Datakit is also now offering a solution to users seeking a way to recover annotations from Pro/ENGINEER.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of MCADCafé  and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at Email Contact  or 408.850.9230.

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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

Review Article
  • October 09, 2008
    Reviewed by 'Stephen'
    I agree with your assessment of the SolidWorks situation. Mr. McEleney is to be credited for making a real contribution to mechanical engineering practice (by making the other CAD programs try to innovate again). And, I can't help but agree that a main reason for SolidWorks' success is that he is a product guy. And, it is no surprise whatsoever that the other CAD "vendors" have leaders that don't want to mess with the product. CAD and its cousins (such as CAM and CAE) are cool stuff. If someone is a manager at one of these vendors, and they don't sit right down and learn how to run the programs, then they are just beancounters. They will NEVER make the right decisions for the users (sometimes referred to as customers). And all those vendors will ever sell is software like Pro/Beans or UniBeans or CATbeans (Wall Street will get their beans, and the users will get the vapors that follow). I can't help thinking it is an end of an era.
    Come to think of it, are there any businesses left in America that are still in the hands of "product guys"? Maybe you can do an article on that...

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