GrabCAD chooses Parasolid for Workbench collaboration

GrabCAD CEO Hardi Meybaum makes appearance at Solid Edge University to unveil licensing deal for Parasolid to power collaboration in Workbench. 

SolidEdge model in GrabCAD
A Solid Edge model can be accessed and explored online in GrabCAD. (Source: Siemens PLM)

GrabCAD is an online tool that has quickly captured a strong base of CAD users. It has grown from a loyal base of about 1,000 users in 2010 to 1.28 million by the Spring of 2014. With free tools for uploading and downloading 3D models, GrabCAD has become a gathering place for designers, engineers,  modelers, and all kinds of 3D enthusiasts. The company has put relationships at the center of its business model and as a result it has significant partnerships with entrenched CAD companies including Autodesk, SolidWorks, Siemens PLM and rendering companies Lagoa, and Luxion. At Solid Edge University, the company announced their licensing deal with Siemens for Parasolid to enable interrogation of models via GrabCAD’s Workbench.

Workbench is GrabCAD’s tool for collaboration and it has free elements and subscriptions. Users can upload models from any major CAD product and share them to any device. Files can be downloaded and worked on. Customers with subscriptions can lock designs while they work on them, share with any number of people, and maintain a number of projects. GrabCAD’s Hardi Meybaum, who confesses to being a Solid Edge user in his youth, says GrabCAD enables a distributed engineering department.

In the official PR from Siemens and GrabCAD Jon Stevenson, Vice President of Technology, GrabCAD contributes this: “Parasolid has shown strong performance independent of operating systems and presentation frameworks, making it an ideal solution for cloud-based applications like ours.”

Parasolid of course opens up access to more than just Siemens PLM products. Other licensees of Parasolid include Nemetschek/Vectorworks, SolidWorks,  most of the major analysis companies (Ansys, Abaqus, Altair, Moldflow, MSC), and major CAM companies including Autodesk’s newly acquired Delcam.

There have been several interesting Parasolid announcements including the news that Onshape licensed D-Cubed and Parasolid for its yet-to-be announced product. The company formerly known as Belmont Technologies has been built from a dream team of former SolidWorks founders and engineers as well as experts in the data center, and streaming media.

Racing to beat Onshape to the punch, Lagoa has announced its plans for a cloud based MCAD modeler based on Parasolid. Also, Altair has  extended its use of Parasolid to align its solidThinking and HyperWorks product lines.

The importance for GrabCAD is that the Parasolid support means that products based on Parasolid can be more easily added to the workflow and that list of products is growing.