Innovation: Past, Present, and Future (part one)

By Katarina

Innovation. It is constantly happening. Someone, somewhere, is getting better. A word driven by power, ambition, and a willingness to succeed. But what does it mean? And why is it so important?

Innovation and passion go hand in hand. Innovation does not focus on money. It is not selfish and it is not temporary. Innovation is the desire to become better, so that you can then bring your change to the world, and make it a better, more efficient place. Ideas make the world go round, and to innovate is to bring those ideas to life.

Fire, the printing press, the compass and the electric light bulb, are all the result of a thought someone once had who believed that we could be better, that we could be more. We could be faster, brighter, warmer, and healthier. We could be connected.

While you are out there getting better, so are we.


From Unigraphics, to EDS, to Siemens, the product that is now known as “NX” has continuously lead the industry. Let’s see how we got to where we are today…

1963: United Computing was founded by John Wright. UNIAPT was the first product released by United Computing. It was a minicomputer based version of Automatic Programmed Tool, or APT. The groundbreaking technology was released in 1969.

1973: United purchased the ADAM code from MCS. The ADAM software became ported to an early sixteen bit mini-computer, known as the General Automation SPC-16. It had Tektronix display and also an added menu-driven user interface. This was implemented as a single-user system, which was then named UNI-GRAPHICS.

Of all the major CAD systems shown at the 1973 SME CAD/ CAM II show in Detroit, Michigan, Unigraphics is the only one still being marketed today.

1976: United was acquired by McDonnell Douglas and operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of McAuto.

1991: EDS acquired the commercial computer services business from McDonell Douglas. In early 1996 they went on to release a fully compatible version of Unigraphics running on Microsoft Windows NT.

2001: It was announced that EDS intended to take UGS private, and was also going to purchase all of the assets of the Structural Dynamics Research Corp., or SDRC. SDRC is one of the most respected CAD/CAE/CAM/PDM companies in the industry. EDS wanted to build a new business unit around the two of these organizations. It would continue to be known as UGS and would be operated as an EDS subsidiary.


2002: EDS PLM Solutions released Unigraphics NX. This was the first release of the “New Generation” version of Unigraphics.

2007: EDS sold UGS PLM Solutions to Siemens AG.

2018: Siemens PLM continues to advance and grow this long heritage of NX. While we come from humble beginnings, we are proud to have innovated NX into the next generation with NX 12. Although so much has changed, some things remain the same. NX continues to build on its legacy of best-in-class customer deployment readiness and data preservation, while remaining the industry choice all these years. 

For the full history, please visit the virtual museum on PLM Worlds website

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at