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Summary: Reasons To Change


Summary: Reasons To Change

Thanks, everybody, for spending the time to respond to my
question."urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

I appreciate the effort.

The overwhelming response was: Go for WF4. Very little in the way of
suggestions regarding Intralink.

Most of the responses were pointing out reasons why I, as a Pro/E user,
would want to change: I do! However, that may not convince the chap with the

Anyway, thanks again. Fascinating reading.

Original Question:

I have been asked to prepare a business case for changing from good old
Wildfire 2 to a later version.

I have downloaded and read all the PTC sales pitches for 3, 4 & 5. If all
the promised productivity gains had materialised over the years, I would now
be producing finished designs shortly before I started work on them!

I am interested to know what real-world advantages and disadvantages you
have experienced in the move from 2 to 3, 4 or 5.

Is it really worth the bother, considering that, when a change does not save
money, it costs money?

On a personal level, I would naturally prefer to be playing with the latest
and greatest, but it's not my money!

I am also looking for a similar justification to make the leap from
Intralink 3.3 to Intralink 9 or PDMLink.

I look forward to hearing from you.


In regard to the jump from Pro/INTRALINK 3.4 to Pro/INTRALINK or PDMLink
9.n, remember that Pro/INTRALINK 3.4 is end-of-life and past the extended
maintenance period. If something breaks on your installation of 3.4, you
will be on your own-no support from PTC. Granted, if it has been installed
and stable for quite some time, it is unlikely that something will break,
but stuff happens when you least expect it and at the most inopportune time.

If WF2 is doing all you want, then stick with it. We changed to WF3 to get
shaded views on the drawings and the really improved patterning of patterns.
If it is an increase of speed you're after, we got this by changing from
32bit to 64bit. We noticed a considerable increase in our modeling and large
assemblies with this change rather than the ProE upgrades.

Can't comment on the intralink thing as we have our own equally obnoxious

Lots of little enhancements, and although there is no one thing that is that
amazing, going from 2.0 to 4.0 probably makes sense (I don't have 5 yet
because we usually wait a while to make sure the release is stable). There
is not much in the learning curve and therefore little lost time going from
2.0 to 4.0 . However, I would think that at some point, 2.0 will no longer
work when you upgrade workstations or operating systems and you will be
forced to upgrade. The more releases that you skip, the greater the
learning curve and opportunity for lost productivity after the roll out.

If it were me, I would jump to 4.0, skip 5.0 and then jump to "Lightning"

If it were me, I wouldn't look at PTC promised productivity gains but see if
I can get a list of new...

We're on WF2 w/Intralink 3.3 and are gearing up to move to WF5 and PDMLink.
There's also a push here to move to SolidWorks. I have 5 installed and have
only played around with it a little, but what Bob states below is really
discouraging. The last thing I want to do is make a push for something that
decreases performance. Is the new drawing interface really that bad?

Whenever a software rev comes out, we hear mostly from the people who don't
like it, while people who are in favor generally keep quiet. I for one
would like to hear from any of you out there who are using the WF5 drawing
ribbon interface and who have gotten used to it, don't find it that bad,
find it faster, etc.

I am now use to the drawing ribbon interface, but it still slows me down and
I just don't curse at it as much.

I am also mixed with the new resolve mode in that it is convenient to
continue working and not be req'd to fix things or suppress features, but on
the other hand it can make a model look strange with some suppressed
features and some created after a failed feature(s). This has also made me
learn how to use the search function in trying to locate the failed features
in a large assembly.

There is some cool new functionality in WF5, but in my current job I have no

Note to PTC: This is a very powerful CAD program. The interface should not
be designed based on how a word processor is designed and used.

There are people who don't like the new WF5 Failure Resolve behavior?
Really? Because I LOVE it. As much as I've whined about the ribbon
nonsense, I think the failure resolve thing is genius. It is such an
improvement over the inscrutable old menu-driven version.

Many are the times I've made a change and regenerated everything, only to
have the "OH NO!!!" failure resolve window pop up and ruin my fun. Nine
times out of ten, my default behavior was just to "clip supp" or suppress
everything that failed so I could get back to my model. Now it's like Pro/E
does that for me, with big helpful red words to show me what needs to be
fixed, as well as what failed downstream.

There you go, some positive reinforcement from me for a change. The PTC
guys are used to being verbally abused around here, but on this one detail I
think they all deserve cookies and high-fives.

Questions like yours appear on a regular basis in the exploder, and the
answers this time upto now are really interesting. But an aspect that
mostly stays out of the discussion is that the tools (ProE, SW, Windchill,
...) your are using is one thing, the user training, support and commitment
are probably more important. Designers in close contact with a champion
user will rarely complain, organizations cultivating the concept of
continuous change will adopt easier and faster new developments.

For the record : we are on Wildfire 3 since December 2006, and we should
move to 5 somewhere 2011Q1 with about 60 users. We moved to Windchill 9.1
(from 😎 last august, with considerable success.

I have only been at Thales for a short time.

We have recently changed from W3 to W5 here in Australia and are using
Windchill PDM Link.

I'm a little surprised that Thales doesn't keep all it's divisions in line
with their Pro/E and data management systems. CAT certainly did.

From previous experience...W4 was a great improvement over W2 although the
stability of W2 was great.

The real expense comes with being forced to change your data management if
you are using Intralink. (I still love that system).

I am still new with W5 and struggle with the change in the drawing UI so
prefer W4 which was an easy and great step up form W2.

A hardy perennial this one. Are WF3 then 4 then 5 each better in a
justifiable way? Yes and no. If WF2 reasonably does everything you need to
do already then you may not see much benefit. If there are things in WF2
that take longer than you want then some of the changes in each of the
releases may be just what your were looking for. I would get the list of
enhancements that PTC produces for each version update (if that is not what
you already have) and look through those in succession to see if there is a
real advance for you.

We were dragged kicking and screaming from R2001 to WF2 and I posted at the
time that all our experienced users took a severe performance hit for months
until our muscle memory was retrained. Once at that point I was not keen to
go back. In any case many of our suppliers had already moved so for file
sharing there was not a lot of choice. In actuality we could do the
projects we do today with R2001 (but we wouldn't want to)

We skipped WF3 and jumped from WF2 to WF4 partly as a result of the previous
experience. We did have 2 days of WF2-WF4 update training and this was
helpful. WF4 definitely offered more for us than WF2. Key things for us
were better pattern handling (visual version that really supersedes pattern
tables for us) and better (read different) assembly handling. There would
have been other stuff too but now I struggle to remember without going back
through a lot of notes. One warning though is that one company had major
issues moving from WF3 to WF4 in there very large assemblies. We did not
have that issue so I suppose our assemblies are not so large.

A couple of months ago we moved to WF5 as this was the first time existing
users saw the demo and went "let's upgrade". There is some really nice
stuff in WF5 but I still have gripes.

The instant gripe for most users is the drawing interface is now MS ribbon
style (as for Office 2007). It works but it is yet another interface
change. We also see all geometry features (solids and surfs!) highlighting
when you mouse over or select a part in an assembly. This affects us as we
use Top Down Design with skeletons and copy/publish geom features. More of
a nuisance but something that got broke from WF4 to WF5. This effect is
even with the surfs layered off. We have an SPR on it but no positive
feedback and I am yet to post this large on here or the PlanetPTC forum.

But to be positive the better functionality in WF5 still makes it an
improvement for us.

* The extra RMB functionality in the tree is great. (Insert here and
Open generic are our top two).
* More and better sketcher functionality.
* File thumbnails
* Model properties handling. (actually the changes start in WF3 and
are for the better)
* Part and feature handling if missing/failed etc. This is a big
improvement in productivity but does come with risks that assemblies and
parts can be saves with failed missing/failed etc. Still think this is much
better for those who know what they are doing. You can config this off but
we don't.
* I think if stopping in the middle of a redefine of an earlier
feature the part not having to regenerate from that point was introduced in
WF4 but it sure is in WF5. This really saves time on complex models.
* Dynamic Edit is sort of like Edit definition but it is really a
graphical visualisation of dynamically dragging vertexes and the like. You
need to do a regen to accept the dynamic edit just as you do for standard
edit. I think this only works on features made in WF5.
* Draft checking is improved so now that areas without draft are
* New options for handling rounds as they pass through a mold split.
* Part replacement in assembly was improved in WF4 and is better again
in WF5.

As for actual productivity gain? I think impossible to measure and I sure
do not agree with "XXX% fewer mouse clicks" and "XX% faster"

The other thing that nobody mentioned is hardware. You need to make sure
your hardware can handle WF4 and that all machines run XP or higher (win
2000 no longer supported for WF4).

One of the enhancements, I neglected to mention, new in 4.0, that has saved
some time, is the sketcher diagnostics tools. Don't get thrown by the term
diagnostics, it is not some Model/CHECK kind of interface that you have to
set up, configure and run. It is simply as couple of check boxes that will
graphically show you if you have open ends and where they are, shades closed
areas for you, and highlights overlapping and intersecting entities.
Oddly, some of this functionality was available in much, older releases and
went away, but now it is back and improved.

Even with the small learning curve, if you go to 4.0, you won't be

One year ago we went from WF2 / Intralink 3.4 to WF4 / Intralink 9.1.

It was sort of a forced change. Our Intralink 3.4 server was 2 years past
the end of its maintenance contract. We had to get a new server and were
faced with the choice between migrating the data from Intralink 3.4 on the
old server to either Intralink 3.4 or Intralink 9.1 on the new server.

Since we were already investing in new hardware and paying an outside
contractor for migration services, we decided the incremental cost of going
to Intralink 9.1 was small. Plus, we recognized that there were new
capabilities that we could take advantage of. Also, our release scheme in
Pro/Intralink 3.x was not very good. We took the opportunity to redesign
our processes during the migration and have processes that work much
smoother, now. It also gave us an opportunity to clean up our Pro/E data
(i.e. models weren't filed in their correct locations, so they were hard to

Cool things about Wildfire 4:

* Sketcher diagnostic tools are awesome
* Global reference viewer actually makes sense
* UI for assembling components / replacing components is awesome
* Support for BOM balloons on flexible components
* Feature recognition tool (convert dumb solid provided by supplier /
customer into parametric model)

* Remove surface feature (helpful for finite element analyst, if he is
unable to defeature a poorly built model using "suppress")

* Suppress / resume features inside of a group
* Create merge / inheritance / cut-out from same tool - no longer
separate menu picks.
* More options for "holes"

Cool things about Intralink 9.1:

* Offline workspaces! If you're going to be working out of the
office, you don't have to export your models from Intralink, then re-import
them when you to back online. No more resolving conflicts. It just works!
* Portable workspaces! We use off-site contractors from time to time.
Portable workspaces have made the two-way data exchange so much easier.
Saved lots of time for both Intralink user and contractor.
* Having Intralink tied in to Pro/E improves many data management
tasks. For example, updating out-of-date models a snap. When you update
your workspace, it automatically prompts you, asking if you want your models
replaced in-session, too. Very cool.

There are lots of other changes / enhancements, but these are ones that we
have taken advantage of.

It's very hard to put dollars against these improvements, but feedback from
the users has been very positive. No one has said that they miss the old

I thought I would chime in here. I have had my exploder notices set to
vacation for ~2 years or so (haven't been on vacation that long :-)) to cut
down on email I get, but the issues we are having in WF5 made me come back
to the exploder/forums and search and see what other people are saying. We
have used both WF4 & WF5...just having switched to 5 about 3-4 weeks ago
after using 4 for quite a few months. Our take...I would DEFINITELY stay
with 4. WF4 was awesome.

While there are some nice enhancements with 5, the ribbon interface is
really slowing us down. Most posts seem to point to work-arounds for the
ribbon issue(s). If everybody is working around it, why is it there? I
wish we could go back to 4 but it is probably too late for us. I have to
say that this is the most negative feedback that I have ever had from an

As far as Intralink, we upgraded from 3.4 to 9.1 a few months ago. If you
are just using Intralink for vaulting/data storage and management, I would
stay with 3.X. We use windchill now and while it is very powerful, it is
more restrictive (admittedly on purpose) and probably overkill for simple
data management. We will be using it for change management and other things
that are above the capabilities of Intralink 3.X. We found Intralink 3.4
M011 to be very stable and we knew it inside and out and could make it
really work for us.

Can't comment on the ilink/pdmlink side of things as we have not had any pdm
system to date. We had ilink licences and now have pdmlink licences but had
not deployed these; still talking about it. We are small enough that we get
away with just using windows file management but there are many aspects that
could be improved.

Hardware. From what I can see this was not so much of an issue as it was in
the original R2001 to WF2 transition. I did find though that some of our
oldest equipment was still on Windows 2000 and that is not supported in WF4
and onwards. We still run XP and XP64 with no plan to change anytime soon.
Our hardware is all Dell:

* Most recent machines almost two years old

* five M6300 17" laptops with 4GB RAM most running XP64 but mine on XP
with 3GB switch (I work remote and had VPN issues with XP64)
* three T3400 desktops running XP64 with 4 or 8GB RAM and two with
FX3400 video

* Previous generation machines about five years old

* six Precision 380s with 2GB RAM running XP
* one M70 15.4" laptop running XP (my previous computer

All these are running docked into or have 24" screens (1920x1200) and run
WF5 M040 fine.

In my opinion WF5 is noticeably better to use than WF4 and that was easier
to use than WF2. Having said that we do smaller assemblies and parts (you
can see the type of stuff on our
unworkable for us; M040 had that problem fixed. There are still some bugs
but nothing that causes Pro...

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