Direct CAD News & Views from Kubotek USA

We dropped the price of Kubotek Validation Tool. Here's why:

Posted by John Agoglia on Thu, Feb 11, 2016

We introduced new list pricing for several of our products recently, including Kubotek Validation Tool. That in and of itself isn't really blog-worthy. However, the reasons behind why we did so might be.  Read on...

Superior technology shouldn't have to cost you more.

Many of our Kubotek Validation Tool customers come to us because they need to meet the Boeing D6-51991 Quality Assurance Standard for Digital Product Definition (DPD). 

As part of this quality specification, Boeing suppliers need software to validate their CAD data against the OEM issued master file. A validation report is processed to assure that no changes have been introduced to a file at any point during the manufacturing process. The biggest fear is that a random, unintentional change could negatively affect product quality. The validation report provides traceability.

There are two technology types available that can do this validation.  One is a points-based system, wherein random points are placed throughout a CAD model.  The same point pattern is applied to the master file. If any of the points don't match, it's flagged as a difference. That works if the points are placed in the correct location. There is, however, still a risk that a point will not be located on a section of geometry that is, in fact, different. 

The other type of validation software, Kubotek Validation Tool, uses geometric pattern recognition technology that mathematically compares two CAD models, regardless of file type. This sort of comparison ensures that two models are geometrically identical and is far more accurate due to the mathematical calculations that run the software. You can't cheat the math.

Most people would assume a more accurate software should be more expensive, that if you want the better product, you have to pay more. But that logic doesn't sit well with us. Why should manufacturers have to choose between quality and price? That's one reason we lowered the price of Kubotek Validation Tool - so manufacturers could get the better product at a better price.

Superior technology and a lower price also satisfies finicky purchasing agents

Providing justification to your purchasing agent is easier when the better product is competitively priced. By lowering the list price of Kubotek Validation Tool, we are making the RFP process less painful.

A lower price makes it less cost prohibitive to be in compliance.

Even though CAD Validation software is just one check-box that needs to be checked in order to pass the Boeing D6 audit, it's a requirement that must be in place to pass the audit and achieve OEM approval.

In essence, that kind of creates a cornered market. Customers have little choice but to buy a software tool and avoid an audit failure if they want to be a Boeing supplier.

Sure, we could have jacked up the price, but that would be wrong and not at all the way Kubotek works. I refer back to my point above. By lowering the prices on our end, we want to make it easier for suppliers to meet their compliance requirements.

Lowering the cost of one of the audit elements may make it more affordable for a smaller organization to compete.

We know that companies come in all shapes and sizes. We work with many smaller businesses on a daily basis. Their size is by no means indicative of their know-how and ability to deliver quality products. 

Meeting quality requirements for a D6 audit already requires a number of elements. And yes, we know validation software is only a small part of that. But we don't think it's fair that many smaller companies choose not to compete for contracts simply because they can't afford a pivotal piece of the puzzle that would allow them to play in the Boeing arena. 

Reducing the cost of one of the audit elements may make it more affordable for a smaller organization to compete and win business.

Lower costs mean better quality for everyone.

With all the talk about Boeing D6 standards (and other aerospace OEM's that are beginning to adopt this type of quality requirement), we tend to lose sight of the real value of CAD validation.

CAD validation software can certainly be used by organizations for internal audit purposes. Organizations that need to be 100% confident in their design elements, for both their internal and external customers, will find that a product like Kubotek Validation Tool in their design check process will ensure the highest level of product quality.  

When it needs to be perfect, it needs to be validated. And when it needs to be validated, why not make it affordable. In the end, better quality products shouldn't have to mean inflated prices. Prices that I would assume would be raised to cover the cost of assuring that quality. 

I seem to have brought my thoughts around full circle, haven't I? 

Now it's your turn. Do you have any thoughts or knowledge you care to share? Post them in the comments section!



Topics: CAD Validation

Defense wins Championships (and more business)

Posted by John Agoglia on Wed, Feb 10, 2016

Congratulations to the Denver Broncos Super Bowl win! And congrats to the Super Bowl 50 MVP, Von Miller.

Are you surprised I would say that, seeing that I live and work in New England? You shouldn't be. I'm not a native New Englander. Therefore, I am not a die-hard Patriots fan. I could never achieve that level of...obsession? I don't even know what to call it, honestly.

Yes, I cheer for the Patriots from time to time (depending on the match-up). I root against them just as much, though.

But the thing you need to know about me is, I was born in Massillon, Ohio. Massillon is right next door to Canton, Ohio and the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I'm pretty sure football is in my DNA. Where I grew up, high schools big and small, districts rich and poor, follow football religiously. It's a Friday Night Lights sort of life.

So, when I watch football games, I'm very keen to not only who is winning or losing, but also to who is making good plays and who is not. I'm not by any means the most knowledgeable about the sport, but I love to watch and I can recognize a heck of a lot on the field.

I love to watch a good defense. Linebackers are probably my favorite players on the field. Why? Because I think they are smart, fast, capable of working with nearly any play formation and prepared to take advantage of any offensive slip. 

Which isn't unlike KeyCreator Direct CAD software.

  1.  KeyCreator Direct CAD is smart. Kubotek’s unique face logic and feature recognition technology allows users to extract all the necessary information about a design model on the fly, regardless of who or what created it.  There is not such thing as dumb or unusable geometry in KeyCreator's world.  It can work with anything 3D model thrown its way...
  2. ...and work with it quickly. There is no time wasted trying to recreate a model from scratch. No history-tree means no wasted hours just trying to fix a file just so you can get to a usable geometry. 
  3. KeyCreator is capabable of working with whatever your business need is, such as verifying a model prior to manufacture, or prepping for NC operations or FEA Analysis. KeyCreator quickly lets you get to the job at hand. Or, if you need to work on some conceptual designs, nothing is easier than Direct CAD technology that lets you "virtually sculpt" your design without having to first worry about the order of construction steps. 

And one of the biggest advantage to KeyCreator as a great defensive weapon? It allows you to be ready to take advantage of your competitor's offensive slips.

Potential clients often give your competitors a chance to run with the ball, but your competitors often fumble the hand-off.

Think about the time your competitors waste just trying to get a job bid submitted because they can't work with the customer-supplied part file. Your competitor will spend hours working on a file (often recreating the entire file from scratch), just so they can review and interrogate a file before they ever submit a bid. (Keep in mind, they haven't even won the bid yet, so these are effectively wasted man-hours.)

So, not only will KeyCreator let you get your bid in faster, you can also use the numerous querying tools to analyze a model, exposing vulnerabilities in the design, things that your competitor might not get to quickly enough.

For instance, if a customer over-built a design, you could easily suggest ways to save on material costs.  Likewise, if would-be customers designed a part that isn't quite manufacturable, you'll be the hero that gives them value-added insight to make their design a quality product. All during the bidding process, which makes you an MVV (Most Valuable Vendor).

And then, once you've won a bid and start on a project, your lead-time will be greatly reduced because you don't have to add in so much "engineering" time needed to fix their supplied geometry. With KeyCreator, you receive their file, any file, and run with it, from kick-off to end-zone.

You'll always have competition. You'll always have the potential to be under-bid. But if you want to win more business, you need solid defense (like KeyCreator). And defense wins championships. Just ask the Denver Broncos.



Topics: CAD, Direct CAD

Questions for the New Kid on the Block

Posted by John Agoglia on Tue, Feb 02, 2016

This morning, I read a promotional email from the new CAD kids on the block, Onshape.

I usually scan through these types of emails quickly and then move on. This time, however, I actually paid attention. And as I'm reading the information, I found myself asking some questions.

But first, I want to congratulate Onshape for releasing their product. It seems like they did it overnight, but that's just because my sense of time is totally off. Jon Hirschtick (of PTC and Solidworks fortune and fame) has assembled a great team of knowledgeable experts. And it's great they are looking at ways to make design and manufacturing more effective and productive. That's why we're all here, right?

But anyway, back to my story. I found that I had a lot of legitimate questions bouncing around in this noggin of mine. So I wrote them down.

Question 1.

I find this one pretty ironic.  And quite honestly, it's my biggest concern.

If Onshape provides full cloud based modeling on a web browser, what happens if you have poor internet connection? 

The irony in my questions lies in this:  as I'm trying to view their informational video, my internet connection was so poor that the video actually cut-out. I had choppy audio and no visual other than fuzzy lines on a black screen.  No joke.

And since I'm assuming CAD files and modeling are on par with 2 minute marketing videos, how do you cope with poor connection speeds? Do you just have to work at excruciatingly slow speeds? 

Or what happens if your internet connection just suddenly drops?  Do you lose your work?  Or do you only lose the work completed after the last auto-save. (Their video explained that they are constantly saving your work as you go.  I assume this is an auto-save feature, so that's what I'm calling it.)

Internet speeds vary widely across the country (and sometimes across the office). My biggest concern with using a cloud-based modeler is speed and connectivity.

Question 2.

The Onshape information I received says you can " without worrying about overwriting someone else’s work." But can you simply break someone else's work? While you're both working on it? At the same time. I'm imagining rebuilding errors the likes that history-based CAD users experience.

Question 3.

Another huge pet-peeve of mine. I spend a lot of time crafting something. Mulling it over. And when I finally figure out what I want to do and then..."Sorry, your session has timed out due to inactivity." And so you go through the log in process again. Argh. And there goes your great idea. Just curious. Will your sessions ever time out due to inactivity?

Question 4.

I've received two emails from Onshape with the following subjects: Are you frustrated with Desktop CAD and Frustrated with CAD file incompatibility? 

Please explain what you mean by frustrated. Frustrated how and with what exactly? 

And how does Onshape address CAD file incompatibility? I assume you mean that will go away once EVERYONE uses Onshape? Because other than having your entire design team, vendors and customers using the same product, I don't see how Onshape addresses the issues of a multi-CAD environment. I see it as just another CAD tool. Maybe even something similar to Adobe Acrobat.

I know your website says everyone can share your files with anyone, who can then freely view/edit the file, or download it to another format. I'm also reading this to mean everyone has to become proficient with your program to make this scenario work, right?

Question 5.

Onshape mentions over and over how it improved processes over "traditional CAD." I dig that. But maybe I'm reading between the lines. Is Onshape really just cloud-based traditional CAD?  Or history-based CAD with some streamlined features and a different naming scheme? 

With all the new technologies and know-how available today, I hope it's more than just the same old stuff re-purposed and put on the cloud. With the fire power the Onshape team seems to have, that's what I would expect.

Question 6.

If your subscription runs out, do you lose access to your old files? Where do they go? If all your files are stored in the cloud, how do you access them off-line? Or do you? I assume you can save them locally, but you won't be able to do anything to them unless you're connected. Or have files saved-off as another format so you can edit them on a different software.  I'm thinking there are still going to be people and places that just don't have access to the cloud for a variety of reasons.

My two cents.

Onshape is a full cloud based system. They should be able update their product on a frequent basis. Being able to deliver product updates periodically can be very helpful. In my experience, it can often be maddening, too.

I use cloud based systems every day (I can name 4 of them, at least), and I'm used to having new features being introduced suddenly that just totally screw up my productivity. Sometimes things get moved, sometimes features go away completely.

Deep down, I know they are trying to fix things and make them better. However, they just totally screwed my process. It can be frustrating and frankly breeds mixed feelings about the products' companies. Some days I hate them. Other days I love them.

I also know that using cloud-based programs comes with the risk of outages, slowness, madness, etc with the reward of being able to access data from anywhere, on any device. Like I said, I use several cloud-based applications and I use them often. So, perhaps some of my questions to the New Kid come out of my experience and wish-list of what cloud software could/shouldn't do.

If anyone else has received emails from Onshape, or read any articles about them, did you think the same things?

PS. Given the time, I'm sure I could really dig deep into Onshape information or sign up to get access to their product. But I need to get a few more things done first...

Topics: CAD, CAD Software