The cloud is very much a commodity these days. For years, we have been using the cloud to store files that are safe from local penetration (like fires, water damage, theft, etc.), take up less space (rather than piles and piles of paper) and are easier to find (using a simple search command rather than routing through a filing cabinet). However, it is important to understand that the cloud is so much more than just a glorified external hard drive. Now, project teams can immerse themselves in cloud-based tools and applications, not just for storage, but for creation. Just like the cloud offers many benefits over a traditional file storage process, the cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE® Platform by Dassault Systèmes offers a true start-to-finish design experience that anyone can leverage to be more efficient. You just need to know how to use the software to fit your role in the project.
The cloud for Design Teams
Many companies today operate in a very disconnected way. When a project starts, does everyone that needs to be involved know about the project? When changes happen, do all the stakeholders know in a timely manner (if at all)? Often, key members in organizations aren’t aware of what is going on elsewhere until costly issues are found. In the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, everyone can participate in the entire process.
On this cloud-based platform, teams can improve the product development cycle in all its stages. The different communication applications allow all groups to be connected and analyze and integrate data from multiple internal and external sources. Since all files, communications and notes are kept on the cloud, any changes that are made (or being made in a checked-out version) can be seen in real time by anyone on the team without the need for special software. All the files are kept on the same platform which can read all the same file types. This makes the entire project more accessible in a central online location and improves communication between different departments.
What Is a "Role" on the Platform?
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is designed to meet different users' needs, which is easily achieved with multiple tools and applications available for everyone on the team. In fact, there is so much available that the complete list can be somewhat overwhelming. Not to mention, if you bought all the tools in a software suite for every member of a project team (especially if they did not need all of them) the cost would be ridiculous. So in order to break down all the power in this cloud-based platform into more customizable chunks, the tools and apps are grouped into smaller buckets called “roles.” Depending on your job in a specific project, you would select one or more “roles” that have the best tools and apps for what you need to do.
Another way to think of a role is as a “key” to access specific applications in the platform. Remember, many of these apps don’t require any local installation because they are cloud-based, so it’s not like a traditional software key that allows you to download something to your local computer. You can run these apps anywhere on any device, without having to worry about things like prerequisites and operating systems. As long as the programs are within your role (or roles) assigned to your online profile, you can access them.
At TriMech, we have different packages that include various roles available to meet any team’s needs.
3DEXPERIENCE Packages From TriMech
When first looking at all the options available in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, including the individual roles and their groups of apps, it can be hard to know where to start. I know when I first was introduced to the platform, my first question was, “Which of these roles apply to me?” At TriMech, we have different packages that include various roles broken out by popular and common job types to make this much simpler to navigate for just about any project team.
Each project involves a set of individuals that want or need to know the latest project details and contribute to, or approve, certain steps in the process. Employees, suppliers and customers can all have access to a project within the platform to improve overall collaboration. With our 3DEXPERIENCE Base Package, these users will have access to all of the tools and applications needed for communication, file sharing and connectivity from many devices. Users will also be able to view and comment on design and CAD files within the platform without having to download any special software or have any design software experience. All permissions can be tailored for each user's individual needs and access.
Let’s start with the product manager, who is typically responsible for due dates and deliverables. Within our 3DEXPERIENCE Product Manager Package, all the design aspects are stored in one place so the product manager will have access to all the design details and information. Team members can assign tasks, tag other users in their team and see exactly where a project is in its timeline with the built-in scheduler engine. Additionally, the cloud-based Product Manager package lets the user break up large projects into smaller, more manageable projects to enhance teamwork.
Product designers are constantly working within different tools to design and develop a product. They work with complex geometries that require attention to detail and subdivision modeling. I can tell you how difficult it is to generate a complex shape that is water-tight that will then be developed into a usable solid. The roles within our Product Designer Package will allow users to create and manage complex shapes with tools not available in SOLIDWORKS seats. 3D Sculptor, a browser-based 3D application, is a subdivision modeling solution that helps designers build and design faster and easier than other traditional parametric tools. With 3D Component Designer, the designer can have one holistic model connected to SOLIDWORKS visible across all product development disciplines. Because the applications within these roles run on the platform on a browser, designs can be completed in Mac or PC. With the roles available in the Product Designer package, the user works with primitives and can very easily push/ pull complex shapes in moments.
Design engineers typically are responsible for the supervision of manufacturing processes and product designers. Our Design Engineer Package includes roles such as 3D Component Designer, with which the user can store SOLIDWORKS models in the cloud and provide and control accesses. It also includes virtual navigation for an easy understanding of where components are being used. With 3D Sculptor, the engineer can make changes to the shape at any point in the development cycle, eliminating the need to re-model as the changes disseminate to the parts, assemblies, drawings, mold tooling and CAM data automatically. The design engineer can model parametrically with the xDesign application, but also perform life cycle operations and utilize a much richer way to design with a tool called Design Guidance. No longer does the modeler have to define the precise shape to ‘optimize’ the model- now, you can start with just an idea and the software will generate the optimized shape.
The analyst’s job is to communicate to the rest of the team where designs may break down. There are many ways that an analyst can integrate with the platform. The roles within our Analyst Package include more tools than SOLIDWORKS. Thanks to Structural Professional Engineer (SPE) more materials and scenarios are available. This application allows the analyst to use SOLIDWORKS Simulation to transfer geometries into the platform with a simple click and share those insights within the community. By having access to all the design data in the platform, the analyst can see the status and state of every project. With roles such as Simulation Collaborator (SEI), the analyst can access a library of simulation methods to find and monitor simulation studies.
We created packages within the 3DEXPERIENCE platform built to be configured based on your job responsibilities. The platform can integrate your team within a single environment and improve overall communication. With smarter apps and processes that support your design teams, the upper limit that once capped our design freedoms is getting smashed- let’s go design!