Shall I rise to the Flamebait,? (Guru?!? BTW, I enjoyed the image, but lets keep the discussion on track.) Allas, I am vain and weak. Maybe I can bring some clarity to the issue.
No one here is asking that MDT continues to be supported indefinately. I'm kind of surprised that one person mentioned there were users who didn't know it was going away untill recently. I think he was implying that autodesk fumbled some communication issues. I can't say I saw those since even as a newcommer it was obvious to me that MDT would not be around forever. But I do understand his point that future & continued licensing of MDT under the subscription is more than a little confusing.
The topic I see this thread focusing on is the abiltiy to open old data files. Give me an old word document made in windows 3.1, I'm willing to bet I could open it and save it as something new.
Unlike your anolgy to gaming platforms (although the DOS one is closer to being on target), Autodesk is serving many industries which have a product life cycles which are very long. I think that gives them some obligation to continue allowing old data files to be opened, viewed, and ideally converted. Even if you disagree on that point, can we keep the discussion on this particular topic?
I know conversion is an option, but it has two problems 1) Initial time/Labor 2) risk. No conversion goes perfectly and since no one has the time to check every file in a meaningful way, you're not going to find out untill it's too late.
I don't have any strong oppinions on how they accomplish this in the future, but I would like to see it supported. MDT 2009 as a software package is only relevant as Autodesk's chosen tool for conversions. I'm sure autodesk has chosen to do it this way for many good reasons, but now if they stop distributing it key functionality that should be in Inventor will stop working. I would like to see this functionallity continued, even if it meant all save or editing functionality inside future "flavors" of MDT 2009 are disabled.
Yes, but... if you had converted over to Inventor back in 2007, you would only have to convert your MDT drawings prior to that and you'd think in a half-dozen years, you'd be caught up by now. The very fact that hundreds of other companies had already done this is proof of that concept. Everybody knew years ago that MDT was going away. But Autodesk kept bringing it back over and over to subside the complaints. At some point, you gotta turn over the etch-a-sketch and shake it and start fresh. Yet despite this, there will still be those who retire at 65 and only have Social Security to look forward to because they never saved for retirement. Oh, I will some day...
To be honest a lot of the fault of conversion over the last couple years does not fall on the users as much as it does management ignoring the warnings of change. To my previous note about users being informed of MDT going away, some managers feel that it will be the next guy's problem to convert the engineering team since they may be close to retirement or have not fully understood the consequences of waiting so long. In the end, they never even told their team and lived in a bubble of churning out work.
When it comes down to their production in their staff, don't remodel it in Inventor, do it in MDT as a quick change and keep churning out the drawings and prints for production. What should have happened was when a quick change is ordered, perform a translation to Inventor and rework the print with some extra lead time. In short order that would have solved a lot of these issues the users now have to face due to some shortsightedness on someone else's part. Truly they are the ones that should have been held accountable on this. The end users engineer/designer is now feeling the pinch more.
If you have not thought about it already, all users of MDT should start a conversion path of some kind..like yesterday and by time you have all this caught up you could probably uninstall MDT in 2-3 years, you just can't add anymore seats that were not under subscription or on a Standalone non sub license. Maybe hire an intern and have them convert files on an MDT machine for two months while they are getting up to speed on the company and design procedures.
Thanks for your contribution, I understand where you are comming from, but I suspect the industries your referring to are different than ours. I'm relatively new at my company (2010) but the company was moving to inventor before I got here. We're a small business who custom builds our own machines for production. Since I've been here all new stuff has been in inventor. When we needed the solids for design or improvement, they are imported. We're essentially doing what you're talking about, but bottom line, we're not done. And if we do it this way, we won't be for a long time. There are just parts of a machine that don't need attention very often, but we want the data available.
We also don't sell these machines because what we do is so specialized, so the payback for spending lots of time perfecting and maintaining the files and documents is less than for a company that is maintaining files for parts they mass produce and sell. Once something is made, we really don't want to mess with it. These files ARE our documentation, Not just our development & deisgn process.
To do the conversions your talking about would be a very large expense for us. Adding a person to do the job is a 50% increase to the department size disregarding all the work it takes from management (me) to find and incorporate a new person into the system. I know lots of companies have found ways to deal with the issue, but we're not them.
Autodesk has continued to "support" (make available) MDT because of customers "complaints". I do appreciate that, but in my mind the complaints are valid and they're not my hero for doing what they should do. (Even MS has that period where were not improving anymore but they'll do bug fixes since we know company's can't get rid of it overnight.) I want "support" to open old files in new software, that's the best way for us to keep moving forward without sinking a lot of money into it.
We build and improve incrementally. There will be new machines, but I want to know that the data I'm making now will also continue to be supported for the next 20 years without the software I'm using breaking my links and systems. I love that technology is improving. I understand it comes with the cost of starting fresh sometimes, but what I ask from the company's I'm tying my business to is that they continue to support the old data. Even microsoft has had to bow to this again and again. Look how many compatability layers are in support for old software. I can still run some doss stuff as well. You try to tell a company that they have to rewrite this $30,000 or that $200,000 custom software because you won't support the DLL's from the OS it rely's on anymore. Yeah, eventually it will need to be replaced, but not on a 5 or year development cycle.
Why does windows have to support DOS (in some flavor) even in newer OS's? Because I've got a machine with a programmable controller in it that's 20 years old, and to interface with that controller I have to use that companies 18 year old software on my 5 year old computer. I can't rewrite it if I wanted and legacy hardware is tough to get. So as soon as I can, I'll get that controller replaced, but don't expect me to do it every 5, 10, or (hopefully) even 15 years. If it's getting the Job done, I want all the life I can get. The more money I spend on maintenence, the less I have to move my own tech cycles forward.
I think the correlary for Autodesk is letting us open old files. Not change, build, and devlop. But open, because I have machines that need my attention and I don't want to get bit in the rear because the conversion didn't work out right.
In the end we'll deal and I'm working up a strategy, but it's a frustration from a comany we've consistently supported and continue to support. May technolgy march forward, and may companies be reliable to support the legacy issues they create (for as long as possible) as they move forward.
I agree, very well said. As someone who has to do some managment myself, your analysis seems right on.
As a manager, I do know how many different things can come flying at you from quality, to safety, HR, efficiency, legalm environmental, political..... So while I may not agree with their decision not to begin using newer software, I can understand.
I think the design and devolpment has to stay near the cutting edge to do well in many industries, and moving your software platforms forward is an important part of that. Also, if you're not doing your designs in newer (and trustworthy) platforms, your may shorten your own poducts life. At the pace things go, however, legacy issues crop up faster and faster. Supporting legacy issues is the otherway to extend the life and I want both. Sometimes, there's just no need to replace mature products.
Sometimes, ants are too G*D* busy just trying to survive. But I suppose all ants should aspire to having perfect foresight, endless resources... and humility.
It's like the old classic elementary story about the ant and the grasshopper. The ant spent all summer long gathering food for the winter because he knew it was coming and the grasshopper did nothing. In the end, the ant was prepared, had shelter and food to last the winter, and the grasshopper froze and starved. These stories are meant to teach a lesson. Don't be the grasshopper.
Oh, one thing I do have a little issue with: Turning a 5 minute quick change into a "little lead time" (30 minute exercise) times 100 quick changes isn't a cheap way of doing this. I'm not (yet) the expert at conversions, but I haven't seen our drawings convert well, so often have to be redone. 30mins could even be generous. I'll be doing more research as I deal with this. (It's the drawings that are killer.... I'll have to work on that more. For now I'm playing with the idea of a prints -> PDF, Solids(dwg) -> solids(.ipt'/.iam's) but it's getting off topic.) When you've got 10 engineers, dedicating a guy to getting the conversion figured out isn't a big deal. When you have two....
I'm probably "one of those managers" that you refer to, however, we do end up converting a number of things as we go. Why spend an extra 25 minutes converting a part that will eventually be replaced. Just let me see what the old one was like (open MDT files) and have that 30 minutes for the new design. I think it's a fair request and expectation. It's all the stuff that will fall between the cracks that's a danger.
I think your replies are coming off as condescending on this matter. You might intend for that to be or it might be unintentional, but it seems clear that you're either unfamiliar with the economic realities of smaller manufacturers or are dismissing them to support your view.
Certainly Autodesk has given warning on this matter. But there are small companies that will simply never have the resources to convert their files in the ideal manner, even if the deadline had stretched another 10 years.
Had Autodesk taken a different course of action and made a MDT viewer as ihiengdept suggested, that might have been all that was needed. But that is not the case, and so the people who work for companies that find themselves in a fix, need to concentrate on finding a solution, rather than blaming Autodesk for the nature of the situation.
Simply put, it is what it is. And no amount of finger pointing in either direction is going to solve the situation.
I don't find myself needing MDT, but have worked through these issues in the past when switching software packages for CAD systems, MRP systems, etc.
To all that are still in this situation:
If you find yourself about to loose access to MDT, but know that you're never going to be able to convert legacy files, then consider printing hard copies, or PDFs of these files. Contract an employee, hire an intern, bring someone in from the shop floor, etc.
Years ago I worked for an outfit that had a bunch of drawings done in some generic 2D CAD package that became defunct. I was asked to redraw these files in AutoCAD (not import them) in order to get things changed over. It proved to be very valuable in learning the company product line, in an in depth way that would have taken years to understand otherwise. It also allowed me to dig into LISP and VBA and begin automating much of the work for the same but different designs.
Look for these opportunities for yourself (if they exist), and if they don't, just ensure that you have some record of the past designs and do the best you can. But don't let the smugness of those who aren't in your shoes get in your way.
Let's get the conversation back on track and answer the original question: "how to proceed?"
I hope this helps.
Best of luck to you in all of your Inventor pursuits,
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