November 08, 2010
PTC Introduces Creo Design Software
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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PTC unveiled Creo design software. Creo is being designed as a scalable suite of interoperable, open, and easy-to-use product design apps. The Creo vision and strategy, first introduced in June at the PTC/USER World Event as Project Lightning, recognizes that product development involves many different users with different needs at different points in the product lifecycle. Unlike solutions to date, Creo is designed to remedy lingering, unaddressed problems that have plagued CAD for decades.

“Creo is being specifically created to solve the big problems remaining in the mechanical CAD market: usability, interoperability, assembly management and technology lock-in,” said James E. Heppelmann, president and CEO, PTC. “By providing the right-size product design apps for each participant in a company's extended product development team, Creo will enable more people to participate earlier and more fully in the product development process, significantly expanding innovation capacity.”

“Historically companies have made significant investments in CAD applications that bind them into inflexible business processes and design practices dictated by the specific visual authoring or simulation application that they pick. PTC's game-changing vision to release a highly flexible CAD application in a new code base, while sticking to existing file formats under the Creo portfolio, is expected to rejuvenate the mature CAD market and open up a path for non-PTC CAD users to move easily on a flexible visual design platform,” says Sanjeev Pal, research manager, IDC.

Highlights of planned apps include:
  • AnyRole Apps

    • Will offer customers the right tool, for the right user at the right time, enabling everyone in the organization to participate in the product development process. The result: new ideas, creativity, and personal efficiency are unlocked.

  • AnyMode Modeling

    • Will provide the industry's only true multi-paradigm design platform, enabling users to design in 2D, 3D direct, or 3D parametric. Data created in any mode will be fully accessible and reusable in any other mode, allowing each user to work with their own or another user's data in their paradigm of choice. Additionally, Creo's AnyMode Modeling will let users seamlessly switch between modes without losing intelligence or design intent, unlocking teamwork efficiency.

  • AnyData Adoption

    • Will enable users to incorporate data from any CAD system and unlock multi-CAD design efficiency and value. Valuable information created throughout the product development process in the Creo product design apps will be able to be accessed and reused by others throughout the product development process. Further, Creo will enable reuse of data from legacy systems, reducing the typically high switching costs which drive technology lock-in.

  • AnyBOM Assembly

    • Will give teams the power and scalability needed to create, validate and reuse information for highly configurable products. Using BOM-driven assemblies and a tight integration with PTC's Windchill PLM software, customers will be able to unlock and realize unprecedented levels of efficiency and value across teams and the extended enterprise.

“We believe Creo could be significant and a positive advance in PTC's product offerings.” said Mike Galbraith, Global Engineering Systems & Services, Tyco Electronics. Creo could allow the teams involved in designing new products and bringing them to market...across different functions, different locations, etc... to productively use the same toolset throughout the product life-cycle process. We're looking forward to working with PTC and their other partners in shaping these new capabilities."

“Creo is being designed to allow product development organizations to do what they do best - innovate and develop great products free from the constraints imposed by the tools they depend on,” said Brian Shepherd, EVP Product Development, PTC. “Many customers are trapped by legacy tools and locked into technologies that may no longer meet their needs. High switching costs make it difficult to migrate to a new technology, application or vendor and retire old tools. “We expect Creo will eliminate the pressure to standardize on a single vendor or technology platform.”

Heppelmann concluded, “By leveraging a core set of technology assets unique to PTC, we are once again redefining a market plagued by seemingly insurmountable challenges.”

Existing Brands

PTC's current design software product families and associated modules, extensions and packages are being rebranded in alignment with the functional capabilities provided by each product.
  • Pro/ENGINEER becomes Creo Elements/Pro

  • CoCreate becomes Creo Elements/Direct

  • ProductView becomes Creo Elements/View

Data created in these applications will be fully upwards compatible with the Creo family of products.

PTC expects Creo1.0 to be available during mid-year 2011. The timing of any product release, and any features or functionality thereof, are subject to change at PTC's discretion.

To learn more about Creo, visit

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

We ventured to Boston for a day to witness a new technology (known for the past several months as Project Lightning) that PTC had been promising would influence the MCAD market for the next 20 years with its vision. Needless to say that's a pretty strong statement, and I'll admit I was more than just a little bit skeptical about the claim. However, my opinion changed to a much more positive one as the day progressed.

PTC's new CEO, Jim Heppelmann, kicked off the day's event with a question - “Is the CAD market mature and are all the problems associated with it solved? No,” he said. According to Heppelmann, some of the big problems that remain unsolved include interoperability, the fact that CAD products are still too difficult to learn and use, and the inability to switch between CAD and related products.

With AnyRoleApps Creo provides a special purpose-built app for industrial designers.

PTC hopes to address these and other CAD problems with the introduction of Creo (the Latin root word for “create”)- PTC's next generation suite of simple applications (or apps) for design, visualization, and collaboration. Creo is built from the elements of Pro/ENGINEER, CoCreate, and ProductView. It is intended to deliver a common user experience across the apps and leverages a common data model and a common PLM backbone based on Windchill. According to PTC, Creo is an enterprise CAD and PLM tool for what the company calls product configuration modeling. It promises to allow for better utilization of product data offering CAD for casual users, but will provide more than just visualization.

All of the apps that were discussed and shown on stage were later demonstrated “live” at the Technology Bar PTC had put together. Creo partners - Luxion, Simpoe, and Vistagy - also were on hand to demonstrate their software applications running inside the Creo interface. Since Creo is a so-called open system, I expect to see a lot of partners sign up for the program.

Creo provides a visualization and markup application for anyone in the design process.

PTC stressed that its current products, Pro/ENGINEER, CoCreate and ProductView, are not being discontinued, but are being renamed. Capabilities from these products are being further developed and will continue to live on as elements in future Creo releases. Current products including Pro/ENGINEER, CoCreate, and ProductView (which are being rebranded) will be upward compatible with Creo and will continue to be maintained in accordance with PTC's standard maintenance service terms and conditions.

Creo's AnyDataAdoption lets users incorporate data from any CAD system.

Creo 1.0 is expected to be available in mid-year 2011, and a beta version of the product is expected to be available in Spring 2011 (in English only). The pricing and packaging for Creo were not available at the event, but PTC said it might create an online app store (a la Apple) to sell the applications.

Incorporate 2D data in any 3D mode with Creo's AnyMode Modeling.

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-- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.


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