The Future of HSMWorks for SolidWorks


The acquisition of HSMWorks by Autodesk, Inc. obviously created some uncertainty about the future of an HSMWorks for SolidWorks product. We have been relieved since to get many direct and unambiguous commitments, from the highest levels at Autodesk, on continuing to offer and update HSMWorks for SolidWorks. I am glad to report that everyone else I have been in contact with at Autodesk has echoed and amplified this commitment.

Last week I attended Autodesk University (think: Autodesk's version of SolidWorks World). The event started off with a keynote by Jeff Kowalski, Chief Technology Officer at Autodesk stating, "At Autodesk we are tool makers. We make tools for you guys -the ones who are imagining, designing and creating a better world." This statement was profound because it reflects a big shift underway at Autodesk and how the HSMWorks acquisition is a major part of this change.

Jeff went on to explain the full meaning of this statement and how it respresents a fundamental shift in the thinking at Autodesk; from being a maker of proprietary tools to being a provider of more open tools that anyone can use; regardless of which CAD platform they use. This reinforces recent public statements and reflects a change that users have long been asking for.

In private discussions with various managers I learned that CAM is supported by an entire team that falls into one of three categories: CAM Kernal, SolidWorks Integration and Autodesk Product Integration. Almost all development resources go into the CAM Kernal because it is used across all the CAM products; present and future. The original HSMWorks team forms the core group working on the SolidWorks integration and will continue to do so.

One of the most interesting points made was the importance of HSMWorks and the HSMWorks user community to the development of all Autodesk CAM products. HSMWorks is an established product with a very strong and loyal base of users. Virtually everything added to the SolidWorks version will, at some point, be made available to the rest of the products.

There will also be no functionality added to an Inventor version (when it becomes available) that will not exist in the SolidWorks version. In other words, both products will be on parity. Autodesk doesn't want either group to feel short-changed. Again, this reinforces the philosophy of creating CAM tools for users regardless which design platform they choose.

One thing for sure; Autodesk is bringing resources to the development team that HSMWorks, as a small company, could have only dreamed about. Given that, if anything, this acquisition accelerates development and assures the future of HSMWorks at a time when the consolidation of the CAM industry is just beginning. In short, I am convinced now more than ever that the future for HSMWorks and our customers is bright- very bright indeed.

Al Whatmough

  • Tags: HSMWorks Basics, HSMXpress, News

Categories: HSM Tips and Tricks

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