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?
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.
CEO, HSMWorks ApS