Author Topic: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers  (Read 44839 times)

Tom Mortensen

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An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« on: October 08, 2012, 09:38:40 PM »
First, I want to thank all of our end-users who have patiently waited for me to write this letter. In an effort to minimize unnecessary confusion, and out of an abundance of respect for everyone in the HSMWorks family – all of whom have been impacted by the acquisition, I wanted to make sure we had the best and most complete information available before making additional statements.

This letter is intended to address the list of questions that our existing end-users need answers to.

1. What is the future of HSMWorks and HSMXpress?

Both products were re-released as Autodesk HSMWorks 2012 and Autodesk HSMXpress 2012 on Monday, 1 October 2012, the same time the official announcement was made regarding Autodesk’s acquisition.

Both products were released with feature enhancements, new features, and bug fixes. Additionally, both products include support for SolidWorks 2013.

Anyone who currently owns HSMWorks and has valid maintenance will continue to receive updates of Autodesk HSMWorks through the duration of their maintenance (also referred to as subscription) period.

Existing end-users can purchase additional licenses of Autodesk HSMWorks 2012 or 2013 Add-in through their authorized reseller through 31 December 2012.

Sales of HSMWorks Standard, Assembly, and Professional, as well as Autodesk HSMWorks Standard, Assembly, and Professional (OEM product) licenses were ended effective 3 October 2012 when we were officially notified by Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.  that they were exercising their right to terminate our OEM Agreement.

Anyone purchasing new licenses of Autodesk HSMWorks 2012 or 2013 Add-in for SolidWorks will receive updates and support through the duration of their maintenance agreement.

Autodesk HSMWorks will continue to be updated and we will make sure those products are compatible with the latest version of SolidWorks.

Autodesk recognizes that Autodesk HSMWorks offers SolidWorks users the power, flexibility, and quality they expect in an integrated CAM solution and it is our intention to keep the Autodesk HSMWorks Add-in for SolidWorks current.

2. Has SolidWorks terminated our Certified Gold Partner and Certified CAM certifications?

Yes. Autodesk HSMWorks – the CAM solution for SolidWorks and Autodesk HSMXpress – the Free CAM solution may no longer be marketed as Certified Gold or Certified CAM products.

The certifications may have changed, but the products haven’t.

3. How can Autodesk continue to develop an integrated CAM system for SolidWorks when Autodesk isn’t a SolidWorks Gold Partner?

The SolidWorks Gold Product Certification is a based on a set of criteria created by SolidWorks to ensure that a product meats a certain minimum level of integration.

SolidWorks does not provide additional access lower level functionality as part of becoming a gold partner product. In fact any user with a license of SolidWorks has access to the exact same functionality that is used by HSMWorks. It is the same functionality you utilize if you have ever used the Macro functionality in SolidWorks to automate tasks.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.solidworks.com/sw/partners/certified_gold_product.htm

Anyone who wants to develop a product that runs as an Add-in for SolidWorks can do so using their standard API interface.

It is important for everyone to know that no functionality has been removed, restricted, or modified in the product as a result of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.’s decision to discontinue HSMWorks' and HSMXpress' Gold Product certification.

4. If you guys are busy integrating your technology across Autodesk’s portfolio of manufacturing software and cloud services, how will you have time to do anything meaningful for Autodesk HSMWorks?

Over the past five years, 80% of our development resources have been focused on developing the core toolpath technology. During that same period, 20% of our development resources were focused on maintaining the SolidWorks integration. Because the majority of our integration work is complete, even fewer resources are necessary to maintain the existing high level of integration users now experience. Of course, this only speaks to our existing resources.

We are actively hiring new developers to join our new CAM team at Autodesk. We also have unrestricted access to every development team within the company. If there is technology in the company that can help us make better CAM, we can utilize it. As developers we couldn’t be in a better position. Autodesk HSMWorks and all future products that include CAM will benefit.

5. Why would you improve a product that runs inside a competitive product?

Autodesk HSMWorks will continue to be developed, if for no other reason than to honor our commitments to existing maintenance customers.

Autodesk places a high value on interoperability. Allowing HSMWorks to live on, despite the fact that it requires a competitive product to be present to run, is not inconsistent with this position.

So, why would we keep enhancing a product that helps a competitor? We don’t do it to help anyone but our customers. The simple fact that people paid for us to update their software may not be the only reason we’ll do it, but it is certainly reason enough.

6. Why give away Autodesk HSMXpress, a product that in your own words helps sell SolidWorks?

The entire purpose of HSMXpress, and now Autodesk HSMXpress, was to provide designers, engineers, and CNC programmers a no-risk opportunity to experience the power and flexibility a truly integrated CAM solution has to offer. In fact, Autodesk HSMXpress is a free CAM solution exclusively for SolidWorks that other CAM companies charge thousands of dollars for.

For many SolidWorks users, Autodesk HSMXpress means they may never have to purchase a CAM solution. For others, we hope that their experience with Autodesk HSMXpress will be so positive that they will consider other solutions we have to offer, like Autodesk HSMWorks, when they are evaluating programming tools for more advanced machining projects.

We are happy that Autodesk decided early on that Autodesk HSMXpress would continue be free from ads and banners and would still be available at no charge.

7. Isn’t this really just a way for Autodesk to get people to switch to Inventor?

Autodesk HSMWorks only runs in SolidWorks. It doesn’t run in Autodesk Inventor.

Last week Autodesk made their commitment to the SolidWorks community clear when they released Autodesk HSMWorks and Autodesk HSMXpress 2012 R5 with support for SolidWorks 2013. And, in a few short weeks, Autodesk HSMWorks and Autodesk HSMXpress 2013 will be released.

8. How will customers get support?

Customers have always received support through their local reseller, the HSMWorks Forum, the HSMWorks Send Feedback system, and email. For most, this will continue uninterrupted. Users will always be able to access support through the HSMWorks Forum which is constantly monitored by our developers, resellers, and other end-users who all contribute to help customers. We are also hiring a full time post engineer and a full time support engineer to help support Autodesk HSMWorks and new Autodesk CAM products as they are introduced.

One thing is certain; our end-users can expect a continued commitment to the highest level of customer support. Our focus on support, whether it was our quick response times or our ability to solve customer problems through innovative features will not change.

9. Has our opinion of SolidWorks changed?

No.

It is impossible to find any SolidWorks partner over the past five years who has been as outspoken in support of SolidWorks as HSMWorks. We have long promoted the quality of the product, the platform, and the SolidWorks user community. We have acknowledged and promoted SolidWorks’ strong position in the CNC community. We have attended every SolidWorks World since Vegas in 2007, participated in as many SWUGN events as we could get invited to, and have the privilege of calling many SolidWorks users friends. The employees of SolidWorks are some of the most dedicated and professional group of individuals we have had the pleasure of working with.

Bottom line, we stand by every statement we have made about SolidWorks. Nothing that has transpired in the last week changes these facts. And nothing that we have said contradicts our decision to move forward with Autodesk.

10. Did we sell out?

Yes, we did.

We sold out because we were offered a unique opportunity to significantly influence the future of CAM – the very reason we started HSMWorks to begin with.

This was a unanimous decision by all employees and shareholders.

There were two key elements that factored into our decision.


1. The future of SolidWorks

Ever since news of V6 was first announced and speculation began to grow about the future of SolidWorks within Dassault Systèmes, we went through all available channels to get the best information we could regarding the direction of SolidWorks, V6, the SolidWorks Partner Program, and the SolidWorks OEM Program.

We reached out to people as recent as last month in an effort to get any information that might shed some light on the future direction of SolidWorks, the SolidWorks Partner program, or the SolidWorks OEM program. No one could tell us anything.

No company can or should be expected to base their future on such uncertainty.

2. The future of CAM

When Autodesk reached out to us they made it very clear that they were serious about CAM. They showed us their vision of the future and matched ours. The difference being, Autodesk has the resources to turn that vision into a reality.

It was clear to us that the future of CAM will come out of Autodesk.


We knew the decision would be difficult for some people to understand. Nonetheless, we couldn’t let that keep us from making the right decision. Time will be the final judge.

Autodesk HSMWorks remains the CAM solution for SolidWorks.

Sincerely,

Tom Mortensen
CEO, HSMWorks ApS
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 08:51:23 PM by Anthony Graves »

industrialrobotix

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 10:23:24 PM »
Much needed letter, and thanks for the information. 

Intriguing that the decision was partly or wholly made due to the uncertain future of Solidworks itself, rather than the desire to necessarily work with a different platform...  What, if any, potential is there that A/D could purchase S/W itself and re-brand it? 

Lonnie.Cady

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 01:49:13 AM »
Thank you. 
HSMWorks 2014 R3.37650
SolidWorks 2014 x64 SP4.0
Win 7 Pro SP1
nVidia Quadro K2000

JerryFlyGuy

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2012, 02:00:49 AM »
Seems unlikely to me, where would that put Inventor? Or are you thinking they would mesh the two together?  From where i sit,that seems like a whole lot of money for not much gain? ESP since the two pc's of software are so similar? I guess they 'might' undercut SW sales but buying SW old tech while SW comes out w/ the latest and greatest might not suite their best interest.  

I don't see dassault selling SW, they would lose a huge customer base or at least alienate them.

Who knows..

Greg Haisley

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2012, 01:48:46 PM »
Thank you Tom -
Greg Haisley
CamTool Inc.

Anybody can buy technology, but can they make it work?

Andrew Fulkert

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2012, 05:53:03 PM »
We knew all this a week ago.

Am I the only one reading between the lines?


JerryFlyGuy

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2012, 10:15:35 PM »
Andrew, lets not beat around the bush [as far as I'm concerned we've got enough of that already w/ the managment of HSMworks].. what do you read between the lines?

cygnus x1

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2012, 06:17:48 PM »

2. The future of CAM

When Autodesk reached out to us they made it very clear that they were serious about CAM. They showed us their vision of the future and matched ours. The difference being, Autodesk has the resources to turn that vision into a reality.

It was clear to us that the future of CAM will come out of Autodesk.


I for one would very much like to hear about this "vision of the future" and how "the future of CAM will come out of Autodesk."


C|

Robert Riley

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2012, 04:08:50 PM »
It sounds very much to me like HSM Works made a business decision period. Not all business decisions will be popular with their customers, it does sound like you are trying to make the transition as comfortable as possible and move forward,change is seldom easy. The only thing I can do as an HSM Express user is wait and see what Autodesks commitment to maintaining the functionality will be,as Diogenes said, all men tell the truth , but it by their actions that the truth is known, not their words. I am a Solidworks user and I have used Autocad in the past. I could not justify an Autocad purchase partly because of the lack of up front integrtion with CAM capabilities, seems like Autodesk saw the same thing and took the best business decision action they could to address that market loss quickly. Autodesk will either make this a success or have spent a great deal of money and accomplished little except alienating more exisitng/potential customers. I am neither advocating for or against the decision by HSM Works or Autodesk , but can understand it from a business perspective. The market, we,as end users will make that decision based on what Autodesk and HSMWorks does.   

hoser1

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2012, 04:44:06 PM »
I would hope that Autodesk would see the opportunity to bring HSMWorks to many CAD platforms using cloud technology.  It's so much better than what's out there in usability and repeatability, IMHO, they would be stupid not to push that to other CAD platforms, including their own, and not going away from Solidworks.

buzzkross

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 09:32:22 PM »
Let me start with an intro, my name is Buzz Kross.   I run MFG R&D at Autodesk.  I have 4 teams, CAD, DM/PLM, CAE, and CAM.    Carl White runs my CAM group and is responsible for HSMWorks as well as other tools for manufacturing professionals.  My intention with HSMWorks is to continue the effort to make it the world’s CAM software.  This includes the continuation of the SW based product.  We are working on other tools as well.  One item will be an Inventor version of the software.  In addition, we are working on some new, revolutionary, CAM tools that will help customers in an entirely new way.  I am adding staff to the HSMWorks dev team to build these new products, to strengthen our technology, and to improve quality.

As always, doing what you want is key to making a great product.  I’d like to propose a user group meeting in the next few months to discuss all of the above.  I don’t want to boil the ocean here, I just see a meeting between those of you that are interested and members of my product team.  Please let me know if you are interested and if you have a preference relative to location.

Thanks in Advance,
-buzz

JerryFlyGuy

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2012, 09:36:02 PM »
Buzz, I'm interested. However, I'd like some clarity on where AD is headed w/ HSMworks and what used to be OEM owners. As it stands right now we're going to get left holding the bag come the end of 2013. Do you see this changing or have a solution?

JFG

industrialrobotix

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2012, 12:28:37 AM »
Buzz,

Pleased to hear from someone inside.  I am in for talking about some concrete answers.  To give you an idea where we are at, we are about to pull the trigger and spend another $10k with one of your now direct competitors because we have not gotten any real answers yet beyond some general rhetoric and sales crap.  So, yes, count me in for some info, and we may just decide to stick with your product provided it continues to do what we paid for.

Carlmwhite

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2012, 02:21:33 AM »
Thanks for the comments.

We are working diligently on the products and now that we are through much of the integration process, the team has
turned their attention to putting the finishing touches on the release of the 2013 product which you should see in the coming weeks.

I am sure that you understand that the OEM relationship with Solidworks was unsustainable but we maintain our development relationship with them for the plug-in product and will continue to deliver the best integration possible. Tom continues to lead development team and is continuing to drive forward the development roadmap.

One of the major benefits of the way that Tom and team have structured the product is that any improvement made to the kernel functionality will benefit all the plug-ins that we support, be them SolidWorks or Inventor.

As Buzz mentioned we are interested in getting the users together, so that we can best understand your concerns as well as share our direction.

Carl

buzzkross

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Re: An Open Letter to HSMWorks Customers
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2012, 08:22:04 PM »
1.   My e-mail address is robert.kross@autodesk.com.   All of you are free to send me a private message on any subject, at any time.   I’ll answer ASAP.   Carl White’s e-mail is carl.white@autodesk.com, the same rules apply to Carl.   Both of us would welcome hearing from you and getting to know you.
2.   On the user meeting, both SW World, Autodesk University or some other time or location work for me.  I’ll let you pick.   I do want to be careful and respectful of the SW conference and will not overlap with their mtg.
3.   Many of you have asked for more assurances about the future of your software and our direction.  On the assurances front, I am well aware that only by my team continuing to deliver great software will you be reassured.   I guarantee we will deliver on that but I expect you to wait to judge.  I’d also point you to my history.  Moldflow, Algor, Blue Ridge are just a few of the example of similar acquisitions.  In all of these cases we continue to deliver compatibility with other software, including SW, PTC, Siemens, etc.  I did the same with Alias and others.  I will do the same here.
4.   In terms of our future, we have a very specific next gen product well thought out.  We don’t yet have specific plans for our next SW version or our Inventor version.  We are working on the plans for these now.   One reason I proposed a user group mtg is so we can plan this together.
5.   I am no salesman.  Like many of you, I am an ME.  I’ve worked on the design side and the MFG engineering side.  Early in my career, I was with GE.  I spent a considerable amount of my time in GE’s factory automation division.  With there I wrote custom post processors, worked on APT core, and developed other mfg solutions.   I have great empathy for the manufacturing side.