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Check it Out: PTC’s Project Lightning

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

Check it Out: PTC's Project Lightning

PTC really has the MCAD blab-a-lot-zzi buzzing with conjecture about its upcoming – October 28 — Project Lightning announcement. And goodness knows, I would never jump into the braying with my brilliant albeit patently ignorant guesses. So, I’ll rip off a quote from Deelip Menezes, one of the truly brilliant guys in the business. After he got something of a sneak preview, he had this to say: “PTC’s Project Lightning is going to be one big heck of a deal.”

OK, so well now. That’s pretty good. Still, what do we know? Well, we know that Project Lightning is a vision and strategy “to redefine the mechanical CAD market.” We know that PTC says that Project Lightning will solve and make “the big frustrations with the current CAD world … be a thing of the past.” By that they mean  ongoing headaches like ease-of-use, interoperability, and assembly management will be in the history books.

We also know that PTC recognizes that different people need different types of CAD — 2D, direct modeling, parametric modeling – for different job functions. This is how companies end up standardizing on a highly complex CAD system to the frustration of their occasional CAD user and to the detriment of their bottom line. As well, PTC recognizes that PLM can be a bear or a godsend depending on what you do with assembly modeling for a living, so Project Lightning addresses this as well.

Finally, we know that PTC is being coy about what Project Lightning is, and having some fun with it.  The latter is not a guess, although the words “PTC” and “having fun” are not the (unwarranted) stereotype many have of the company. I’ve been there a lot. PTC is not as button-downed as people say.

A web page PTC created on Project Lightning provides an example of fun they’re having. You can get the page from the link over there. Smack in the middle is a two-question survey that my contact at PTC says has already been taken by “thousands” of people. Suffice to say, the second question proves my point about having fun with it.

After you take PTC’s survey, take a minute to watch the videos on the right. Brian Shepherd’s in particular is, ahem, “en-lightning.” (Sorry, Jim Heppelmann. Your video is good. Well worth a view. But Brian’s hit my spot.) One thing really resonated: Project Lightning is not Pro/ENGINEER stuffed  with every design philosophy and gewgaw like some flying car that is neither a good car or airplane, he says. That would have been the type of solution your local school board came up with. So, Project Lightning is not that. This is good.

After you’re done with the survey and videos, click the link between the videos to access PTC’s Project Lighting vision and strategy statement (two-page PDF). Then, you can formulate your own ideas about Project Lightning yourself.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

Check Out Project Lightning

About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.