SOLIDWORKS, DriveWorks

How to Leverage Industry 4.0: CPQ and Design Automation

By Devin Martin on December 27, 2021

And with the push of a button, you’ve just ordered a car. In today’s fast-paced industry 4.0 world, we expect to quickly find a product that fits our exact needs. Nearly gone are the days we find ourselves saying “I guess I could make that work.” Our need for a customized product has become the global standard. CPQ and Design Automation tools are being adopted and used by nearly every industry to provide anyone with flexible product options, allow visualization of custom options, quickly send quotes, and ultimately send a truly custom design into production faster than ever before.

Customization – Born from Configuration

The digital revolution brought on many great inventions and advancements, including the world wide web. In just a short amount of time, this ever-growing network of servers has grown to become one of the most widely used tools today. As our ability to provide information grew, so did the need to simplify the vast list of products, menu items, and services that could be provided.

Online configurators were born. Websites with overwhelming amounts of products and solutions have become simple and elegant digital libraries where customers can choose specific options to filter down to exactly the right product needed. A catalog of thousands of similar products can now be defined as a single product with just 5 “options” that can be selected in any combination to transport someone to the exact item required. 

Design Automation Online OrderingWith today’s ability to share information and allow anyone to configure a product so easily, widespread customization of any product has become almost expected. We live in an age where nearly anything can be customized to fit our needs. Custom clothing tailor-made from a scan through an app on your cell phone, custom cars with every option you could want, ordered right from your laptop, and don’t forget to place your fast-food order in the app ahead of time so it can be ready when you drive up.

We are surrounded by the ability to “customize,” and it is amazing! Or at least it’s amazing from a consumer standpoint. With custom comes a whole new set of challenges for engineers and manufacturers. The greatest challenge is how can we offer a product with near-limitless options and still offer a reasonable turnaround time through engineering and production. This is why automation has become one of the largest megatrends in Industry 4.0.

>> Why You Should Care About Industry 4.0

Automation – Expanding Everywhere

One of the largest Industry 4.0 trends so far is automation on all fronts. Looking back at the graph of technical automation potential, we see that nearly two-thirds of occupations have at least 30% of their activities that are automatable or could benefit from some form of automation.Share of Industry Roles in Automation

This is huge when it comes to productivity and expansion. CNC and robotics automate manufacturing and assemblies. Bar code scanners and computers track and automate inventory. ERP solutions like DELMIAWorks can even help keep sales and manufacturing moving together in harmony, and DriveWorks Pro can automate CAD data and manufacturing documents on the fly.

>> DELMIAWorks: ERP Born on the Shop Floor

Automating CAD

CAD automation is one of the easiest ways to not only keep up with increasing custom product demand, but eliminate repetitive work completely. By automating CAD, engineering and manufacturing lead time can be cut down by as much as 95%. Automatically sending emails with generated documents and approval drawings attached in minutes, not days, allows for quick customer feedback on uniquely customized products. Once approved you can create BOMs, cut lists CAM data, and supporting documents for manufacturing instantly with the push of a button..

                  SOLIDWORKS CAD Automation     DriveWorks Pro Order Specific Sales Documents

DriveWorks Pro software is used by companies of all industries to automate redundant engineering tasks. It automates the creation of order-specific sales documents and SOLIDWORKS manufacturing data. DriveWorks Pro works by leveraging existing SOLIDWORKS models allowing for the native control of dimensions, features, custom properties, advanced feature parameters, component instances and file formats. There is even the ability to dynamically replace components within an assembly, or even automatically build an entire assembly from scratch based on order parameters.

>> What is DriveWorks and How Does it Work?

DriveWorks Pro Control of Dimensions and Features

A Modular Solution to Automation

DriveWorks Pro SolutionsDriveWorks Pro gives you a competitive edge and turns mass customization into a cost-effective business strategy. While SOLIDWORKS design automation is certainly at the core of DriveWorks functionality, it is also a full-blown CPQ solution as well. With DriveWorks CPQ, customers can implement a web-facing configurator with live updating and realistic 3D previews of configured products, instantly email custom quotes and approval drawings, automate SOLIDWORKS engineering CAD models, and create CAM data with a single product. This allows complete control over automation from sales through manufacturing.

DriveWorks Pro Modules

>> CPQ and Design Automation with DriveWorks

A New Reality

In a world where increasingly, customized products are becoming an expectation, and shipping times longer than 2 days seem to take forever, DriveWorks CPQ and Design automation has the power to transform businesses.

Imagine a day when a customer can go to your website, configure a product to fit their exact needs, and in a matter of minutes have completely custom 3D models, drawings, and manufacturing documentation ready to be sent to the shop floor with little to no engineering resources needed.

That day could be closer than you might think. You can use DriveWorks to set up a front-end web configurator tool to enable sales teams, distributors and customers to configure products in 3D on any device anywhere. Seamlessly pass data between DriveWorks and other company systems including ERP, MRP and CRM. Reduce manual data entry to cut down costly errors. Automatically create custom-branded quotations, covering letters, delivery notes, BOMs and more.

Who says offering custom products means things must be difficult and complex?

Learn how to take advantage of DriveWorks design automation and how to create your own CPQ solution for a more streamlined custom quoting process in our on-demand introductory webinar "Get to Know DriveWorks."