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Reasons to Change


Reasons to Change

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.



Reasons to Change

If it were me, I wouldn't look at PTC promised productivity gains but
see if I can get a list of new features or enhanced features in each
version. Then you can see if anything listed would seem to make a
difference in your work.

For example, I like the new Vista/Win7 like file open dialog in WF4. I
didn't at first, but when I go back to WF3 (I'm flipping between the two
these days), I miss it. WF3 brought the assembly dialog to the
dashboard. WF5 brings big changes to resolve mode (ability to leave
features 'hanging' rather than resolving them immediately) but also
brings the much discussed 'ribbon' interface to drawing mode. If it
were me, I think a move to WF4 would be your best bet. Can't speak to
Windchill or Intralink.

Another thing to keep in mind is sticking with WF2 limits your
implementation of newer Windows versions. In order to get Windows 7
(which I really like better than XP), you need to at least get to WF3.

I do recall back when I was doing projects in WF2, WF3 and WF4, I was
lobbying hard for our lone hold out on WF2 to move for WF4.

If you're on maintenance (which I'm assuming you're not), download them
and evaluate them. Another thing to consider is PTC support, again not
an issue if you're maintenance isn't current, but WF2 is no longer
getting updates and I suspect WF3 may be as well. If not, I doubt it
will be supported for long.

Doug Schaefer
Doug Schaefer | Engineering Manager
Crow Works

Reasons to Change

Honestly, in my opinion, the primary reason for upgrading is continued support from PTC. I don't feel support for pro/e is as important as support for Intralink. Your company has a lot of money tied up in files that are kept in Intralink. If you have a major issue with Intralink and you are too many versions back, they don't support you formally. Obviously, if you have a major crash, they will probably unofficially help you, but it's not necessarily a guarantee.

Years ago, I worked for a company that dropped PTC maintenance to save money. We were going along just fine and then started have odd errors pop up in Intralink. The only support we had was the user forums. In the case of data management, user forums can help, but they really can't fix your database for you. I was very thankful when they re-established support and we got things all running smoothly with a script PTC sent us to fix the database then a migration to more recently released software.

Strictly my opinion,
Stephen Williams
Pro/E Version 15/16 (Circa 1995/1996)

Reasons to Change

Just my $0.02,

Except for specific improvements to features unique to your situation, I
would suggest going from WF2 only to WF4 for now because:

1) No ribbon interface for Drawing mode. (WF5)

2) Improvements to ISDX

3) No printing preference changes (WF5)

4) Manufacturing updates, helical machining, window finishing, etc...

(WF5 changes the menus in manufacturing hiding quite a lot of the older
dialogs, and really pushing you towards the Process Manager)

5) Manikin is supported in WF4

6) Feature recognition is supported in WF4

7) IDD is improved in WF4

8) File drag and drop into Pro-E mostly OK by WF4

Good thing about WF5:

* Manufacturing .mfg files are now .asm files. One less thing to
(Don't know how this impacts I-Link, Windchill, etc...)

* WF5 allows for Windows Explorer-like thumbnail images in the
file|open dialog
(I can't seem to find a way to make this the default, though)

This is based on my personal use of pro-e from rev19 up to and including
WF5, with the following options: ISDX, TDO, BMO, etc... I don't use
Interlink / Windchill.

I also remember cabling option changes, but I don't remember if that was
changed in WF4 or WF5.

I don't use sheet metal, and cannot comment on changes / improvements.

BTW, if possible use Windows XP64.

After running the latest OCUS benchmarks: Win7-64/WF5, Win7-64/WF4, are
both slower than WinXP-64/WF4, in my testing. Win7 (for us) has
problems thumbnailing .pdf files in Windows Explorer, among other

I agree that reading the marketing hype is no way to make a decision...

Good luck,

Christopher F. Gosnell

FPD Company

124 Hidden Valley Road

McMurray, PA 15317

Reasons to Change


We have recently switched all users from WF4 to WF5. I would have to say that overall, WF5 makes my every move slower and more cumbersome. Here are some examples:

1. Our users pretty much all agree that there is significantly more eye movement now.
2. I actually feel more fatigue at the end of the day than in past releases.
3. It seems like the user interface is still not thought through properly (has it ever been?).
4. Ribbon interface for drawing mode definitely is slower than previous releases.
5. There are now "tabs" across the bottom of the screen to switch between sheets. Reordering of sheets does not reorder tabs.
6. Work flow paradigm for drawing mode has changed. Now you need to activate a view before you can edit its contents.
7. Mixed reviews for the new failure resolve mode (1/2 like it and 1/2 don't)
8. There is still no menu mapper for WF5. Desperately required.
9. Creating and editing Simplified Reps. has changed significantly. It's harder to understand now.
10. Luckily, there is a option to get back old failure resolve mode dialog and old Simp. Reps. dialog.
11. Default colors have changed, yet again. Harder on the eyes now.
12. File import translators for IGES, STEP still do not work as well as Solidworks does or Autodesk Inventor (works the best).

There are a few bright spots though...
1. Import data doctor seems to work better.
2. Support for additional file import types.
3. The rounds routine seems to handle transitions MUCH better.

For all Pro/E WF releases, I believe WF3 is best, followed by WF4 and most definitely last is WF5.

Bob Schwerdlin
Design Engineer,
Dukane Corp. - IAS division.

Reasons to Change

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?


Reasons to Change

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.


Lyle Beidler
178 Muddy Creek Church Rd
Denver PA 17517
Fax 717-336-0514
<">mailto:-> -

Reasons to Change

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.

Mark A. Peterson
Sr Design Engineer
Igloo Products Corp.

Reasons to Change

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.


Reasons to Change

Hi John,

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

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 8) last august, with considerable success.

Regards, Hugo.