PTC Creo 3.0 – What is Unite Technology?

PTC breaks down barriers within multi-cad environments with its latest release of Creo software.

PTC breaks down barriers within multi-cad environments with its latest release of Creo software.  PTC’s Creo 3.0 includes one of the most amazing innovations in MCAD since Siemens Synchronous Technology.

I bring it up as a comparison for two reasons.  First, Siemens showcases Synchronous Technology as a method to deal with dumb geometry (aka imported solids) and therefore bridge the troubled waters of multi-cad environments.  Second, Siemens has a unique connection between Solid Edge and NX in terms of utilizing each other’s files.

What is Unite Technology?

Unite Technology in PTC Creo 3.0 enables CAD data of varying formats to be used directly in PTC applications.  In other words, I can create a Creo assembly and insert a SOLIDWORKS, NX, or CATIA part or subassembly directly into my design.  No translation is required.  No new business object (aka file) is created.  And no additional software is installed.  Assembly relationships can be created between non-Creo and Creo elements. In-context features can be created as well.  If the SOLIDWORKS, NX, or CATIA object is modified in its originating application, those updates get propagated into the Creo assembly almost as if they were native to Creo.  Granted, there is some voodoo magic going behind the scenes that makes Unite Technology unique, but it is transparent to the user.

Open vs. Import

Another highlight to improve collaboration and consolidation of tools within a multi-cad environment is that PTC Creo 3.0 includes import tools for most varieties of CAD file formats.  Creo can import the native geometry without having to use a neutral file format like STEP or Parasolid – no longer asking your partner to export a file for you.  The key for the user is understanding what happens behind the scenes to know whether they are opening or importing a file.

Many CAD tools have dropped the import menu click and embedded the functionality into their Open command.  Don’t be confused by this, as there is a clear distinction within Creo.  When importing a file, a new business object is created in the native Creo file format.  When opening a file, a new business object is not created and the original file format is used.

To compare to NX and Solid Edge, the closest technology I’m aware of, both still translate the file format into its native format via Parasolid.  Therefore, only compatible versions of NX and Solid Edge – versions running the same release of Parasolid – can use each other’s “native” data.  And even then, I put native in quotes because a new business object is created.  The only benefit that the NX/Solid Edge relationship has is that updates can be propagated without having to perform another import (translation) and replacement of the file within an assembly model.

Why does this matter?

Besides the cost of additional file management, the time spent on conversion, the likelihood of conversion errors, and the ability to modify geometry, Creo 3.0 is not able to Open all file types.  But, by M010, Creo 3.0 will be able to Import common CAD formats and by M030 it will be able to Save As competitive 3D CAD formats.  This bidirectional ability typically costs extra for translators with competing software, but comes included with Creo 3.0.  


PTC Creo 3.0 is taking a unique approach to solving the consolidation and collaboration issues of a multi-cad environment.  While I don’t think it will be a deciding factor for other CAD users to migrate to Creo, it definitely is a nice addition to the Creo family of products and will make existing Creo users much more productive and efficient.  The legacy Pro/E and Wildfire users who have been sitting on the fence with Creo have a definitive reason to upgrade.

I learned this information by attending PTC Live Global 2014 which PTC paid for. But I didn’t get anything out of it besides blisters on my feet from doing a lot of walking around Boston.  Images taken from presentations given during the event.