what do the users really want?

catia to solidworks

A few weeks back I mentioned how I was confused as to why a CATIA translator in SolidWorks did not make the Top Ten list at SolidWorks WORLD this year.  That one sentence began a firestorm of tweets about whether the translator was really a high priority among SolidWorks users.

First and foremost I need to mention that I live in West Michigan which is heavily entrenched in the auto industry.  With that being said, almost everywhere I go and everyone I talk to in the Midwest have mentioned the NEED for the ability of SolidWorks to handle CATIA files natively.  After all, both CAD programs are owned by parent company Dassault Systemes.

One of the first comments made on Twitter stated the my feedback and the user base I usually talk to might be skewed compared to the entire SolidWorks user base and I totally agree with the comment.  This may be the exact reason why it does not make it to the Top Ten list.

Still it leads to me think, what is the holdup of getting this translator incorporated into SolidWorks?  There are many tools inside SolidWorks that are industry specific, things like Mold tools.  So why should someone that has to constantly deal with CATIA files be forced to find workarounds in order to get their work done.

I personally know of a company that has a large number of SolidWorks licenses, however they also have a license of Autodesk Inventor for the sole reason of translating data.  I am guessing that this is probably not how Dassault Systemes wants there customers working.

So what is the holdup?  Is it pride?  Is it the possibility of making more money by releasing an additional add in down the road that customers are going to have to buy?  I don’t know the reasoning for it not being in the software already but I have to think that one of these is the deep rooted holdup.  When or if it does come I sure hope that it does not come at an additional cost if you have the Professional or Premium SolidWorks packages.

This post is not meant to pick on Dassault Systemes, SolidWorks, a development team, or a specific development person but is more to ask the question of why are we still waiting.  SolidWorks 2011 offers a wide range of translators for other popular CAD programs like Pro-E, Unigraphics, Inventor, Solid Edge, etc. but not CATIA yet.

Do you see the need?  Why do you think we are still waiting?

2 thoughts on “what do the users really want?

  1. Yes, this has been a major annoyance of mine for 9 years now. I felt really foolish a couple years ago when I was trying to sell a customer Logopress3 and also needed to sell him on the fact that he also needed to buy a seat of SolidWorks from a local SolidWorks VAR, and he asked me about translators. When he asked about the CATIA translator, or if there was one I should say, I had to tell him no. He laughed at me and said “Even my Autodesk Inventor has a CATIA translator. I couldn’t believe it! This was the first I’d learned of that. “You mean if I buy SolidWorks I’ll have to keep my seat of Inventor too and pay subscription on two different products?” Crazy. I don’t get it. As a side note, all of the CATIA imports into Inventor that I’ve ever done have produced exceptionally clean models for the most part. There are of course a number of add-on products for SolidWorks that you can buy to do a CATIA translation. That may be part of the reason for not having one in SolidWorks. I’m not saying it’s a good one, but it might be one of the reasons.

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