Celebrating 30 years of CAD/CAM leadership

For the past 30 years, Cimatron has been a byword for CAD/CAM innovation and achievement.

Cimatron's 30th birthday offers an opportunity to reflect on the company's accomplishments over the years and the role it has played – and continues to play – as an outstanding leader in the CAD/CAM field.

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The 1970s and 1980s were a time of significant transformation in the world of manufacturing: A radically new concept was beginning to make its mark on the industry – computer aided design and manufacturing, with tool shops rapidly transitioning away from the traditional drafting board that had been a mainstay of the production process for generations.

It was into this world that MicroCAD – the forerunner of the Cimatron Group – made its grand entry in 1982. Harnessing the new technology, MicroCAD released software products Multicadd and Multicam in 1984. While most other CAD/CAM systems of the time were running on expensive mainframe computers, the MicroCAD software was designed for the more cost-effective computer workstations used by small- to medium-sized tool shops.

Over the next decade, Cimatron (the name was changed in 1987) evolved into an international operation with customers from across all parts of the globe benefiting from its software.

Time and again, tool shops were asking themselves the question: How can we keep abreast of CAD/CAM developments in order to remain competitive in the fast paced environment of manufacturing? Cimatron positioned itself to respond to this challenge by adopting the role of an industry leader, spearheading technological advancements in the field. Its customers would thereby be able to machine with the confidence of knowing that, not only would they be keeping pace with the latest developments, but often they would be ahead of the competition in this regard. In 1990, for example, Cimatron revolutionized the field with its world first integrated CAD/CAM software – Cimatron IT. An overnight success, Cimatron IT offered a level of highly efficient, streamlined production that had never been seen in the industry. Cimatron IT also featured the world’s first electrode solution.

Throughout the 1990s, Cimatron continued to grow by leaps and bounds. By 1992 it had over 4,000 installations of its software. In 1996 it went public, trading on the NASDAQ as CIMT. By 1998 its software had over 10,000 installations.

In 1999 Cimatron launched its product for Windows, CimatronE, which, to this day, remains one of the company’s premier CAD/CAM offerings. It features an integrated solution for mold, tool and die makers, as well as manufacturers of discrete parts, providing full associativity across the manufacturing process, from quoting through to design and delivery. Its capabilities include mold design, electrode design, die design, 2.5 to 5-Axis NC programming and 5-Axis discrete part production. Additional functionality for the software is regularly added by Cimatron’s R&D and QA divisions, maximizing the range of tools available both for design and programming, while ensuring continued ease of use and high quality results. Several of CimatronE’s features have been world firsts, including the world’s first application for micromilling, and the NC SuperBox, the world’s first background toolpath acceleration device.

In 2008, Cimatron acquired Gibbs & Associates, whose GibbsCAM software is the leading solution for mill-turn and multi-task machining (MTM). The acquisition served to broaden the scope of Cimatron’s operations, with its customers now able to access all the software solutions needed for any aspect of the manufacturing process.

GibbsCAM supports the full range of metal cutting machine tools, from basic milling and turning centers to rotary tables, 3- and 5-Axis simultaneous milling machines, complex MTM machine tools, and Wire-EDM devices.

Today there are over 40,000 installations using Cimatron products across over 40 countries spanning six continents. There are Cimatron offices in North America (the USA), South America (Brazil), Europe (Germany and Italy), and Asia (China, India, South Korea and Israel), as well as licensed independent providers of Cimatron software throughout many countries that provide localized sales, marketing and support services.

While 2012 marks 30 years of operation for the company, Cimatron isn’t resting on its laurels. It continues to invest in its operations to ensure that it remains a CAD/CAM industry leader for the next 30 years and well beyond.