Video clips, and DXF and DWG files, can be viewed and sizes taken from the drawing by clicking on a feature, while exported attributes from drawings can be used to create multiple operations, thus automating the planning time study of common parts. When a design change is made, the time study (and hence price) changes in unison, by running ESTIM in the background of a CAD workstation. Attributes can be compiled from any third-party package using the Excel spreadsheet format.

ESTIM now uses Microsoft SQL, Oracle MySQL or Vesta Cloud database technology in place of Borland Paradox. This change enables users to share part data over a local network or globally, thus allowing a salesman to have direct contact with planning data using a handheld device at customer premises.

The software has many ways of interfacing with other applications: it can export the manufacturing routing to MRP ERP; produce a bill of materials for purchasing; and combine multiple part orders. Furthermore, prices of bought-out products and commodities can be imported and updated, while customer details held on another system can be transferred, and part routings from other obsolete planning systems imported to populate the routings.

Data is a key issue with ESTIM as the company says its characteristics are unique. However, most of the engineering fundamentals are supplied with the system and, for a limited time, CES is offering to populate a new user’s plant and customer data free of charge to facilitate using ESTIM on two parts when an order is placed for ESTIM.

ESTIM licences can be bought online from the CES website. The monthly subscription covers support via email, telephone and remote desktop. Software is delivered as a download and updates are automatic for current licence holders. Cloud hosting is available, with price on application.

Licences can be purchased as single user or as enterprise on a monthly, web-based or lifetime basis, using a USB dongle. A single user application is attractively priced to encourage smaller companies to adopt ESTIM, and it is feasible to only pay for the months required.

Existing users with dongles can upgrade free of charge and for a limited time. CES will migrate its existing Paradox database free of charge.