SolidWorks is a popular CAD tool utilized by more than 3 Million users across the globe. Its powerful 3D modeling and design documentation capabilities, along with the focus on ease-of-use is what makes this tool the first choice of every design engineer. To further augment the capabilities of this tool, there are partner products that offer a range of tools and applications that help manufacturers and engineers to bring innovative, quality products to market more efficiently and cost-effectively.
[Image Source: SolidWorks]
Here are the 5 most productive partner products that are worth the investment. If you are willing to take your SolidWorks based product designs to the next level, these add-ons are a must.
PASCAM WoodWorks improves the design, modeling and manufacturing processes in the woodworking sector. This productivity tool is extremely helpful to manufacturers of cabinets and joiners, shopfitters and manufacturers of sheet metal products like doors and windows, bathroom and kitchen manufacturers and yacht builders. The tool efficiently leverages the configuration capability of SolidWorks. It allows you to quickly develop manufacturing-ready designs of products with different variants. The PASCAM design logic enables easy generation of model assemblies. Users can quickly resize the model or cabinet assembly by simply modifying external dimensions.
It especially consists of user databases for parts, hardware, edge material, woodworking joint and materials. In addition, there are customizable templates to create new or modify existing part models. The ability to develop manufacturing-ready 3D models thus allow extracting order processing and manufacturing information directly from the finished 3D product model. WoodWorks from PASCAM as such helps in enhancing the efficiency and minimizing the possibility of input errors.
DriveWorks Pro is an efficient CPQ (Configure-Price-Quote) tool that essentially helps manufacturers of built-to-order or custom products to automate repetitive design tasks and shorten the overall development schedule. While DriveWorksXpress comes free with every SolidWorks seat, it is the Pro version that enables companies to implement enterprise-wide automation to help engineers, sales teams, distributors as well as end customers. DriveWorks utilizes powerful rules engine to integrate design logic, features, names, documents and other product data and generate different variants of the same product automatically.
It provides an interface to design custom forms which can be filled up by end customers or sales teams both online or offline. Once the data is obtained from the forms, the tool automatically generates 3D models, manufacturing drawings and other documentation. It thus eliminates manual intervention for each custom order. Manufacturers utilizing this tool have demonstrated 70-80% increase in productivity across the product development processes.
MoldWorks seamlessly integrates with SolidWorks modeling capabilities to quickly create mold tools for the plastic and die industry. The tool makes it easy to create mold plates and components along with detailing slots and holes in mold plates. The mold library helps the engineers to reduce design time and thus increase the productivity. However, the tool is more than just a library of 3D solid models of molds. It is essentially a complete design environment based on Computer Aided Mold Design (CAMD) technology. It not only helps in building the mold base but also creates a detailed mold tool, modifies components and plates, checks collisions and generates output in terms of BOM and CNC data.
Smap3D Plant Design is an add-on for SolidWorks that offers complete plant design solution. The software integrates P&ID, 3D piping and isometrics and it is possible to automatically process complete systems such as structural and piping design directly in the SolidWorks environment. It essentially converts SolidWorks into a high-performance 3D plant engineering solution. Using 2D as a reference, the tool automatically creates the matching pipeline paths according to logical criteria with proper fittings. It also enables automatic creation of isometric drawings by utilizing the 3D pipeline information. The tool's deep integration with SolidWorks modeling capabilities helps generate BOMs directly from the model or through the isometrics. Plant design engineers can thus expect 30-50% time saving with this intuitive partner product.
CAMWorks from Geometric is a CAM programming solution. It is extremely helpful in automating the creation of CNC toolpaths for the part designed in SolidWorks. This tool is best suited to improve machining productivity and reduce manufacturing costs. This is made possible by eliminating the tedious CAM system rework with updates in the design. With automatic feature recognition, it essentially eliminates the time required for complex programming. Also, the tool uses TechDBTM (Technology Database) to define machining operations to automatically generate accurate toolpaths. The true model associativity as such enables manufacturers to successfully implement high-speed machining strategies and bring products to market faster.
What other SolidWorks partner products do you think are worth the investment?
About the author
Kashyap Vyas is an Engineer at Hi-Tech CADD Services and holds a Master’s degree in Thermal Engineering with several research papers to his credit. He covers CAD and CAE topics for the engineering industry. His contributions are primarily focused on encouraging manufacturers and suppliers to adopt virtual product development tools to build efficient products with reduced time-to-market.