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Multi-CAD in Creo3: It's nice that PTC addresses issue, but reality it's a one way street.


Multi-CAD in Creo3: It's nice that PTC addresses issue, but reality it's a one way street.

Hi everyone:

After 20 years of using the software, I finally got a chance to go to PTCLive this year. Specifically, I went to see what PTC is offering and proposing for multi-CAD with their new UNITE technology which will release this year with Creo3 and later.

Like many companies, my environment is a multi-CAD environment. With that comes issues, particularly if you are sharing parts between systems. I am encouraged that PTC recognizes these challenges, and is developing tools to help us.

What UNITE does is allow Creo3 users the ability to:

  1. Import common 3D CAD formats - Solidworks, CATIA, NX, Inventor

  2. Open key 3D CAD formats: Soldiworks, NX and CATIA

  3. Automatically notify you and update in session new revisions of non-PTC Creo data within your assemblies

  4. Save modified non-PTC Creo data out back to the original CAD software

I didn't know how they were going to do it, but I was HOPING that we could open up a Solidworks model in Creo3, alter the model, then save it back to Solidworks. The reality is, that it does do that (not sure if it keeps the original SWorks model tree). But in actuality, it really doesn't provide you much value because once you modify theSolidworks model in Creo3, and save it, it automatically breaks the tie to thedrawing.

To be clear:

  1. You have an existing Solidworks part and drawing

  2. You open the Solidworks part in Creo3, and modify it

  3. You can save it back to a Solidworks part, but the original SWorks drawing is now an orphan, and is not linked to the Solidworks model.

After talking to a few PTC folks there at the show, really what their intention for all this is to have you import these other CAD software parts in Creo3, and let Creo3 own it. You would have to either recreate the drawing then from scratch in Creo(there is a PTC tool that helps .dxf drawings associate with models, not sure how easy that works). So, while I was hoping for an altruistic approach with PTC to truly allow bi-directionality between CAD systems, it looks like they want you to import all this stuff into their software, and chuck your other CAD systems.

What they did well:

  1. In Creo3, if you are creating an assembly, you can bring in and assemble a CAD model from another CAD system. If somebody updates the model in the other CAD systems, it automatically updates in your Creo3 assembly. That is, you don't have to IGES in dummy parts from another CAD system, and expect it to be an orphan of that revision anymore. This is very nice.

Anybody else living in a multi-CAD environment? How are you handling it?
- Randy Mees


(above my own opinion, and not my employers opinion)

This thread is inactive and closed by the PTC Community Management Team. If you would like to provide a reply and re-open this thread, please notify the moderator and reference the thread. You may also use "Start a topic" button to ask a new question. Please be sure to include what version of the PTC product you are using so another community member knowledgeable about your version may be able to assist.

Hi Randy,

I too have been watching the "UNITE" technology closely. The key point I was interested in with Creo 3 is that the model stays in the other CAD's format until you modify it with Creo. I'm interested in seeing if a sub-assembly changes if you modify one of its components in Creo 3. What happens if I modify that sub-assembly with the other CAD tool? Does that Creo-modified component have to be swapped out again for the other CAD tool's model to get the updated sub-assembly?

Speaking for personal preference, I wouldn't mind that my drawing associations get screwed up for the other CAD tool when the drawing model is modfied by Creo. If it's modified by Creo, then Creo becomes the master CAD document. I also expect that the drawing and model will lose associations once in Creo as well.

Ultimately, I really like the "UNITE" technology and agree with PTC's concept of only bringing the model into Creo on an as-needed bases. This allows me to bring all other (supported)CAD files "into the fold" and discourages the re-mastering of my models back to another CAD tool.

The only gripe (whine)I have is that Solidworks has a really cool featurerecognition tool and Creo doesn't. The Solidworks feature does screw up sometimes and give wacky results, but sometimes I would be just fine with that.

Joshua Houser

(have I talked to you about FIRST robotics yet?)

Pelco by Schneider Electric

Methods & Tools Sr. Engineer


  1. You are correct, the non-Creo CAD model stays in that original format. The minute you modify it with Creo, and you save it, it saves it as a Creo part. Now, if you had a Creo assy, and it originally had the non-Creo CAD in it, I'm pretty sure the minute you alter the non-Creo part and save it that the Creo assy automatically "replaces" the non-Creo CAD part with the newly modified and saved now Creo part.

  2. Regarding your key point: My guess if you imported a non-Creo CAD part into a Creo assy, then modified that non-Creo CAD part....... Creo "replaces" the non-Creo CAD with the newly changed Creo CAD part in the assy. So now the previous non-Creo subassy is outdated (it doesn't reflect the new changes). If now then in the other non-Creo CAD that original part is modified, then you would have to replace it in the Creo assy (but that part wouldn't reflect whatever changes you made to that part in Creo).

- Randy Mees


The views expressed in this post are my views, and are not representative of Edwards Lifesciences

Nothing new under the sun, folks....been tried before and logistically it has never worked. It's just a hugeloaded gun.Without the knowlegde of history, the same mistakes are bound to be repeated.

Anyone still subscribe to the KISS principle? Keep It Simple, Stupid. There is a reason peanut butter and pickles don't make a great sandwich combo. Can anyone see this as one more layer of complexity in the "data management" dark closet to be exploited within Windchill? With this added enhancement we now will have to keep track of where and at what save point the data from numerous systems is managed. Thiscreates yet another hurdle to betterer, fasterer, product to market PR we keep getting rammed in our faces.

Really???? Are companies that are required to manage Controlled Drawings really going to use a method that forces them to scrap that drawing if the model is saved in another system? Is this an actual productive utility? Think about the added level of data management that will have to be added on top of the cluster bleep we have now. And that will have to be Real Time too. Jimmy in Austin will need to know what Sanjay in Pune is doing 24/7/365.

Honestly, I really can see how an actual program like the Matrix could be created! I am glad I am in my Third Act and retirement is closer than ever. It's a Mad House!!!!

The usual drawback to this was that other software suppliers would roll out new, incompatible versions, meaning that your supply line of information was all stuck behind the speed at which PTC (or any company trying this; Sherpa for example) could cope, leaving everyone in the process years behind the release levels.

I'd rather have a means for saving PTC models with older version compatibility as an enhancement. Saves companies from having to roll the entire company all at once to a new version and trying to match when the really big, can't-be-disrupted project is in enough of lull to risk the move.

If PTC could round-trip the parts, that would be interesting, but one way conversion? Might be great for companies that are looking to consolidate on PTC and won't need to change the parts in the old apps anymore.


I attended the presentation where this was discussed by PTC. I asked about how they would keep this up-to-date as new revs of the other cad systems came out.

PTC is contracting with a third party to provide the software to do this. Sorry I don't remember the name of the company. There will be some lag, but they indicated it would be less than 6 months. Considering the adoption rate of large companies, that is likely reasonable.

David Haigh

David.... Ah, yes the age old "third party" method. How many years of that term have we heard and how many of those have actually been successful?

Honestly I cannot understand whyPTC (all of them it seems)still wants to open this can of worms. On the "hopes" that somewhere, somehow Company X is going to get themselves to a point in a project wheresomeone stands up andstates "Well boys, it seem we have the situation where we have saved 51% of our models fromTHEOTHERGUYS to Creo and, well hell, let's just save over the other 49% and call it a day." Is this really the true thinking here?

Call me old....but there are just somelines that should not be crossed...Ford should never have "used"Astin Martin's grille opening, peanut butter still does NOT go with pickles, say it

23-Emerald II

And you missed one thing that shouldn't be crossed...PTC and the INDEPENDENT PTC/User

20 sounds a bit young...

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