Real-time Design Monitoring with SOLIDWORKS Sensors

Article by TriMech Solutions, LLC updated January 18, 2023


SOLIDWORKS Sensors can be used to monitor properties of a Part or Assembly to ensure your model conforms to necessary design requirements as you work. After creating a Sensor, SOLIDWORKS will notify you if a certain parameter or property deviates from the specified acceptable value or range.

In this example, we have a model that weighs 183.5 grams, and we have a design requirement that the part cannot exceed 190 grams. I will walk through the process of creating a Sensor with an Alert. Then, I’ll make a change to the model to demonstrate how the Sensor Notification works.

How to Create a Sensor

  1. Right-click the Sensors folder in the FeatureManager Design Tree, and select “Add Sensor” (If you do not see the Sensors folder, go to Tools > Options > FeatureManager > Hide/Show Tree Items > Sensors: Show)

    Add sensor option

    Add sensor option

  2. Select the Sensor Type. For my example I will select Mass Properties. Other Sensor Types include Simulation Data, Costing Data, Dimension, and Measurement. For Assemblies, Proximity and Interference Sensors can also be created.

    mass properties window

    Mass properties window

  3. Select the Property to monitor. For my example, I will select Mass.

    properties type

    Properties type

  4. For “Entities to Monitor”, I selected the body. In the PropertyManager, the current Value of the mass (183.5 g) is reported.
    Entities to monitor
  5. Check the box for “Alert”. From there, I will set up the notification for our design constraint. I’ll have the Sensor notify me if the value (of the mass) is greater than 190.
    solidworks Sensors alert box
  6. Click the green check to accept this Sensor. This sensor (“Mass1”) can be viewed in the Sensor folder of the FeatureManager Design Tree.
    sensor found in sensor folder of design tree

Triggering a Sensor Notification

sensor warning message

Sensor warning message

After the sensor is set up, I can continue to work on my model. I may need to edit existing dimensions or add new features. For our example, I have attempted to increase the overall length of the base feature from 150mm to 160mm. This change causes the mass of the model to increase from 183.5g to 194.2g. After the model is rebuilt, a Warning message appears both as a pop-up, and as a yellow icon next to the Sensor in the FeatureManager Design Tree. The Warning notifies me that the mass of the model is greater than 190 grams, as seen below.

Using Multiple Sensors

SOLIDWORKS Sensors can monitor a variety of properties and parameters including measured distances, existing dimensions, mass properties, simulation results, and costing data. If you have multiple design constraints in mind, you can create multiple sensors and quickly review them all at once, as shown below.

review multiple sensors

Review multiple sensors

SOLIDWORKS Sensors in Assemblies

In addition to the Sensor Types that are available for Parts, Assembly Sensors can also check for Interference and Proximity between components. In the screenshot below, the yellow Head component is interfering with the grey Swivel component. The Interference Sensor has notified me that there is an interference between those components.

assembly sensors check for interference

Assembly sensors check for interference

In my experience, the Sensors feature in SOLIDWORKS is a somewhat “hidden gem” – even though it’s not all that hidden! Next time you are editing or creating a model, consider utilizing SOLIDWORKS Sensors to monitor your design constraints and give you real-time feedback.

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TriMech Solutions, LLC

TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. Javelin became a subsidiary of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.