How does Tyco Electronics spell direct modeling power? SpaceClaim, that’s how. Over a year ago, Tyco decided their Pro/E users needed some direct modeling capability. Some simple designs were just taking too long in Pro/E. Could direct modeling be the answer?

Well, after an in-depth productivity analysis, an equally in-depth feature comparison and ROI study of SpaceClaim against competing products, they decided on SpaceClaim over Pro/E’s sister product Co-create, Keycreator and the like. While the seat count isn’t being revealed at this time, the deployment has gone out to more that 3500 people on a floating license set-up. How did it prompt PTC to shake things up with Creo? Here’s my take.

PTC changes direction

Loosing an account the size of Tyco is, well, not good. Tyco is a huge Pro/E house and to be clear, they still use Pro/E or rather, Creo Elements/Pro. However, up until PTC announced Creo’s launch for the Summer of 2011, and the name change of CoCreate to Creo Elements/Direct, they had nothing to convince a large company like Tyco that their direct modeling was (going to be) any good. CoCreate was largely a customer account purchase. Some direct modeling features saw their way into Windchill Wildfire 5.0, but not to the extent of a direct modeler dedicated to that modeling practice.

Tyco’s search for a conceptual modeling option actually started over a year ago with Tyco going through an extremely thorough process of vetting the available programs. They decided on SpaceClaim in early Spring 2010. That decision did not make PTC happy. In early June 2010 is when you heard about “Project Lightening” – PTC’s plan to reinvigorate the CAD and PLM industry. You know the rest of the story with PTC announcing Creo which will have a technology named AnyMode Modeling to allow just what was missing in Pro/E or CoCreate.

The Tyco/SpaceClaim announcement will hit the wires tomorrow, along with the release of the company’s 7th release, SpaceClaim 2011. Be watching for more on that with new features in surfacing, sheet metal and speed.

Geoff Hedges of PTC post a response to this post on the Creo site, It’s Not Over Until the Fat Lady Sings. In it Geoff posts a comment from Tyco’s Mike Galbraith from the Creo launch in October, Geoff responds,

…it’s no secret that PTC and Tyco Electronics are working closely together, to make sure we understand their precise needs across all aspects of product development, and so that the company has the clearest possible view of where our Creo vision, strategy, and roadmap will take us – and our customers.

As I stated above, Tyco still uses Pro/E. No doubt PTC will continue to do everything they can to work with them in moving them to Creo this summer. That may not bode well for SpaceClaim, or perhaps another round of comparisons will show differently. Either way, it’s interesting to see how this is shaping up. What’s increasingly evident is that the major CAD vendors view SpaceClaim as competition instead of a program to supplement the design process. Yeah, pretty obvious, especially since SpaceClaim’s position in the industry and focus on direct modeling has pushed it to the forefront of a shifting modeling paradigm others are racing to integrate. That’s right, I said paradigm.

More on SpaceClaim [Wikipedia]


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.