alex_b

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2 years, 243 days
Maplesoft
Technical Marketing Manager

Social Networks and Content at Maplesoft.com

With a career spanning supply chain operations and designing IT systems infrastructure, Alex has returned to his "mech eng roots" and is now Technical Marketing Manager at Maplesoft, providing useful resource material for the Professional Markets product team, and staying up to date with the ever-changing use of math and engineering software tools in automation and design.

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Time is running out for users of Mathcad® 15 worksheets.
Engineers who need to retain their historical Mathcad project files are faced with a looming deadline to move the content to another file format.

The good news is that Mathcad 15 users can turn to Maple Flow as an effective replacement design calculation tool. Maple Flow is an advanced calculation tool with a free-form layout that makes it easy for engineers to brainstorm, develop, and document their project designs.

Maplesoft now has an efficient migration solution for moving critical Mathcad content to Maple Flow worksheets. This gives engineers a path to safeguard their critical reference designs, mathematical analyses, and engineering test results.

Why are engineers moving from Mathcad 15?
In 2025, some changes are expected that will severely restrict access to Mathcad 15 software. Here’s some background:

  • PTC announced that Mathcad 15 is end-of-sale effective December 2021, restricting license activations for new users.
  • Those existing Mathcad 15 customers who bought multiyear license extensions will see them expire by December 2025. After that, those with subscription licenses will not be able to open the app, and will not be able to access their historic design documents.
  • One of the significant issues engineers are encountering is that the new version of the software is not directly compatible with their historical Mathcad documents. PTC no longer has the right to distribute software versions with a third-party component, and has opted to use a different symbolic calculation engine in Mathcad Prime® that cannot read and edit the legacy files.
  • Another issue is that the Mathcad 15 software does not support Windows 11, so is typically run on Windows 10, a platform that Microsoft will not be supporting after October 2025.
  • Without a reliable way to keep accessing their project work in the Mathcad 15 format, engineers are looking for an alternative design worksheet platform.

As a result, engineers with large repositories of these design files now face converting all the worksheets to a new format or risk losing access to valuable design reports, and the possible regulatory consequences.

Maple Flow as a replacement for Mathcad 15
Engineers who want a long-term stable environment for their critical project work can change their design workflow to use Maple Flow for everyday calculation tasks.

The advanced math features and formatting options in Maple Flow make it a good fit for creating (and updating) design documentation and hand calculations, where engineers combine mathematical equations and variables that change regularly, and show the results in a report.

Maple Flow has a short learning curve, and the range of example templates in the Application Center and the customized training all help users quickly get up to speed with Maple Flow commands and formatting features.

How can I migrate Mathcad 15 content to Maple Flow?
Maplesoft has created a series of migration strategies for users of Mathcad software to transition to Maple Flow for ongoing calculation needs or to meet compliance requirements.

For engineers with a handful of worksheets, or where the calculations only span a few pages, it is relatively quick to reenter the calculations directly in Maple Flow. Some steps will need to be updated to the equivalent Maple Flow function, and there is also the opportunity to use features that are not available in Mathcad 15 (or its successor Mathcad Prime), such as advanced signal processing tools, thermodynamic data, and functionality for the analysis of linear systems.

For engineering firms with large repositories of legacy Mathcad 15 files, Maplesoft has developed a convenient path to migrate batches of content into Maple Flow. Maplesoft Engineering Services guide customers through the migration process and apply an efficient Migration Assistant to move the equations, variable definitions, units, layout, and other supported features from Mathcad 15 worksheets to Maple Flow. The content is mapped to the equivalent Maple Flow functionality, so that calculations can be run and developed further. This allows project worksheets and templates to be recreated with the least investment in time.

This image shows a calculation section before and after batch migration into Maple Flow format:

Ongoing support from Maplesoft

Maple Flow was first launched in 2021 and was developed to give engineers a single tool that can perform mathematical analysis and present results in a professional-looking format. There is built-in support for natural mathematical notation and tracking units, and the development roadmap continues to follow a user-focused approach, so new usability enhancements are regular and relevant.

The current release of Maple Flow gives engineers a path to avoid losing legacy calculations and designs previously stuck in Mathcad 15 worksheets and reuse the content for ongoing project work.

If you would like assistance from Maplesoft with migrating large repositories of design worksheets, please contact Maplesoft Sales.

[This is a contributed article by Alex Beilby, Technical Marketing Mgr, Maplesoft]

Here's a podcast that covers a few topics that get discussed on MaplePrimes.
 

We all like finding the right tool for the job. In the Sep 2021 episode of the Engineering Matters Podcast “#127 – Tools for Thinking” you can discover how far engineers have come in their quest for better tools.

It features contributions from several members of the Maplesoft team as they discuss how the user experience shapes the adoption of engineering software tools.

The hosts have fun describing some early calculation hacks - from early Sumerian farmers using their fingers as tally counters, to the paper calculus notebooks of the 1850s used by historical engineering figures like Isambard Kingdom Brunel. What starts as a necessity gets improved over time to save them mental effort – all driven by the way users interact with the tool.

This episode gives a behind-the-scenes look at some of the decisions that shaped the engineering product that is now Maple Flow from its roots in Maple. Maplesoft CEO Laurent Bernardin describes the spark of innovation in the late 1970s, when two professors at the University of Waterloo developed Maple. “The two professors got together, realising that there was a need in math education for a tool to help with calculations and setting out to create that tool. And Maple was born quickly, was adopted across universities around the globe.”

As engineers typically work in ways far removed from the regular academic setting, Product Manager Samir Khan weighs in on the shift that comes from a different user base: “Different tools have different design intents,” says Khan. “Some tools are designed for programmers such as code development environments, like Visual Studio. Some environments are aimed at mathematicians, people who need precise control over the mathematical structure of their equations, and some environments are designed for engineers who simply want to throw down a few equations on a virtual whiteboard and manipulate them and get results.”

The conversation also touches on the design of the GUI itself. Margaret Hinchcliffe, Maple’s Senior GUI Developer expresses the importance of smoothing the user experience - drilling down and taking “the typical tasks that people want to do the most, and make those the most immediate. So really focusing on how many keystrokes do they need to do this task?”.

Ironically the idea of the paper notebook still has features that are desirable. Khan muses on the idea that Maplesoft has “taken the first step with having a virtual whiteboard, but Maple Flow still relies on keyboard and mouse input”. He offers suggestions for what may be next in the industry: “It’d be interesting to see if we can take advantage of modern advances in deep learning and AI to imitate what humans are doing and interpreting handwritten mathematics.”

You can listen to the entire podcast (~30 min) here: https://engineeringmatters.reby.media/2021/09/30/the-evolution-of-tools-for-thinking/

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