SOLIDWORKS Inspection is a great tool for anyone who needs to create inspection documents. Both SOLIDWORKS Inspection Standard and Professional give you two options for how you want to work. In this article, we will take a look at what is new in SOLIDWORKS Inspection 2023.
First, an add-in version allows SOLIDWORKS users to create inspection documents from inside SOLIDWORKS itself. When the add-in is enabled, a new tab is added to the Command Manager, along with a new flyout in the Tools menu, giving you easy access to all the tools you need.
Second, a standalone application allows anyone to create inspection documents, whether they’re SOLIDWORKS users or not. The standalone has an easy-to-use interface with a shallow learning curve for those already familiar with common Windows applications.
Significant improvements have been made to both the add-in and standalone versions of SOLIDWORKS Inspection 2023. Let’s take a quick look at what they are.
SOLIDWORKS Inspection Add-In
You can now define the balloon numbering sequence in multi-sheet drawings with the Balloon Sequence tool. You can also specify which sheets to balloon, rather than ballooning all of them. And if you balloon sheets separately, now you can export PDF and Excel reports separately too. Continuing the theme of working with multiple documents, FAI reports can now export characteristics to multiple Excel spreadsheets.
There are two tabs in the SOLIDWORKS Inspection Manager’s Characteristics section, the Characteristic Table and Characteristic Tree. If you select an item in either of them, the related entity will be highlighted in the graphics area.
SOLIDWORKS Inspection Standalone
The user interface has been redesigned. The redesign provides two distinct improvements over previous versions. First, the icons are now consistent with those in SOLIDWORKS, so users of both applications will have an easier time finding the tools they’re looking for. Second, there’s now better support for high-resolution displays with high pixel density so icons will scale properly and be easier to read.
The improvements I’m most excited about, however, involve the characteristic extraction tools. In previous versions the Document tab offered us the Smart Extract tool and a collection of Optical Character Recognition, or OCR Extraction tools. Smart Extract was useful for extracting properties from CAD files. However, it was unable to extract information from PDF files. For that we had to rely on the OCR Extraction tools, capturing properties one at a time.
In the 2023 release the Smart Extract tool has been replaced with the Auto Extract tool, and the OCR Extraction section has been replaced with the Manual Extract tool. The Manual Extract tool still has the same six options nested under the flyout, but it’s been streamlined to speed up the process.
The Auto Extract tool offers a huge advantage over the old Smart Extract tool. It can automatically apply balloons to characteristics in CAD models, drawings, and PDF files. Yes, you read that right. Unlike Smart Extract, Auto Extract works on PDF files! A machine learning technique has been employed to make this possible.
Of course, no automatic tool is perfect, and results will vary based on the quality of the input. It does not support notes or weld symbols. At least not yet. So, use due diligence and check all the extracted characteristics for accuracy, just like always. And enjoy all the time you’ll save not having to gather each and every characteristic one-by-one.
For more information about these improvements, see the online What’s New documentation –SOLIDWORKS Inspection – 2023 – What’s New in SOLIDWORKS
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