Winner, Name that Ware November 2020

The Ware for November 2020 was from a Cimlinc (originally Cadlinc) “turnkey system in mechanical CAD/CAM applications” (see page 268). Here is an excerpt of a market analysis report from the Computer History Museum:

Cimlinc’s competitive advantages include a good working knowledge of the manufacturing process, a wide library of machine tool post processors, and aggressive pricing. The Company has long-time ties to metalworking industries and sells its products primarily to discrete parts manufacturing companies that need to automate their factory processes. Cimlinc emphasizes factory floor links and interfaces to data from other CAD vendors rather than mechanical design and analysis.

The Company manufactures its own line of 68020-based computers; Cimlinc’s aim is to make its workstation appear indistinguishable from Sun and Apollo workstations. Although Cimlinc is able to offer a low-cost workstation today, continuing with this approach would require that the Company maintain parity with developments in computer hardware technology—a near impossibility for a small company [200 employees].

They sold at least 1600 units of purpose-built workstations similar to the one shown, at a list price of $20,995 in 1986 ($49,515 in 2020), and the systems required a maintenance contract of $335/month ($790 in 2020).

In some ways, we’ve made a lot of progress since then; but in other ways, we’re right back where we started — returning to purpose-built mainframes packed full of graphics accelerators listing at $199,000, costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month for rental access, but branded as “cloud computing” so we don’t all roll our eyes and sigh “OK boomer” about the business model.

There were some fairly close-ish guesses, but none quite close enough that I’d call a winner for this month. Thanks for playing!

Leave a Reply