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Thinking outside the box “101” with SolidWorks

Article by Dan Gamsby created/updated August 5, 2011

So your company has just made a great investment in one of the premier CAD design tools in the industry, SolidWorks. What is the next step?
In many cases, giving a designer a new design tool is just not enough to increase their productivity. We find that engineering departments need help transitioning from their current CAD package to SolidWorks; whether it be installation and setup of the software, creating proper CAD standards, or integrating with existing business processes.

Can your company’s existing hardware even run SolidWorks?

It’s important to have proper hardware in place, to ensure great productivity from your design team. If they do not have the tools necessary to do their job effectively, they cannot be productive. A highly computer intensive application like SolidWorks, requires plenty of computing power. 3D CAD applications are of the most powerful pieces of software that can be run on a PC. The software cannot spread its wings effectively running on old, out of date hardware. We have created a FAQ dedicated to answering these questions; check it out at the link below:

http://www.javelin-tech.com/main/support/solidworks_2011_hardware_faq.htm

This is something Javelin assists our customers with all the time. Did you know we provide services to visit your site and do an on-site audit of all your existing hardware, to make sure you are set to go for your transition from SolidWorks? Read on…

It’s all about standards…

Creating new templates for use in SolidWorks, as well as title blocks that match standards in what was used in the old design package, is critical for capturing product information. It’s this information that must be correctly communicated to Engineering, Purchasing, and Manufacturing to ensure business success in the design of your product. SolidWorks, as well as Javelin, have created processes and tools to help companies achieve proper standards management, right out of the gate with your new software.

What do I do with all these existing parts libraries? Help!

One of the most challenging and time consuming processes that can happen when switching to a new CAD software, is getting all the existing part libraries from the old system into the new system, as well as utilizing SolidWorks to read and manage those custom libraries. The sheer volume of the library, the designer’s experience with the product and their available time make it a challenge to move forward.

There are options available through Javelin and our partners to help make this transition much less painful. Our professional services folks and Javelin can help setup shared folders, organize shared libraries, and set up SolidWorks specific libraries such as Toolbox (nuts, bolts, fasteners, etc.),bend standards, and weldment stock material libraries. We also have certified partners that can take your existing CAD drawings, etc. and convert them to a SolidWorks standards part library. I think we all understand that there is nothing more important than an engineer’s time. Their time is best spent on product development and design, not worrying about libraries.

We had a BOM…it was the bomb…we want to keep it!

Using SolidWorks to collect custom property (metadata) information such as vendor information, part information, manufacturer information, etc. and capturing in a properly formatting engineering BOM is critical in transferring data between different software packages in your company, such as document management systems (ex. SolidWorks Entperirse PDM) and existing/future ERP or CRM systems.

Our team can help setup SolidWorks BOM’s taking into account the way the company used to do things, and what they need to do moving forward to utilize the data being collected. There are many tools built into SolidWorks to help manage BOM’s, and standardize them across your engineering team.

The bigger picture…

Many people do not realize that SolidWorks can create a very nice bridge between existing business systems, and help to streamline not just the engineering design process, but overall business process as well. Metadata information collected in SolidWorks, can be obtained from existing ERP systems with the help of Javelin tools such as Property Links, and populated directly into the SolidWorks model. This ensures the right information is being gathered, standards are being met, and time spent entering information is decreased. With a SolidWorks Enterprise PDM document management system, this metadata (in BOM format) can be transferred into a company’s ERP, CRM or other business system once an approval from Engineering is made.

Imagine a world where sales, purchasing, manufacturing, etc. don’t have to constantly ask engineering for information, only for them to get a paper copy they need to re-enter into the business system. This can lead to mistakes and missteps. Javelin’s goal? Use an original source for the information, design with that information, and transfer that information back to the business system. Again, it’s all about standards.

I love what I am reading, how do I contact you?!

As always, you can contact me directly at dan.gamsby@javelin-tech.com, or by phone at 1-877-219-6757 x258. I would be happy to discuss in more detail how our team can help you achieve a higher level of productivity for your company.

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Dan Gamsby

Dan Gamsbys is currently Executive Producer of Javelin Reality, with 14 years experience in the CAD software industry. Dan's experience ranges from products with Autodesk (AutoCAD, Inventor, etc) to products with SolidWorks. Dan has extensive experience in the IT field, and is an avid sports, and computer hobbiest.

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