The future of design on the cloud was a big focus of 3DEXPERIENCE World 2022. When you have traditional desktop SOLIDWORKS this seems a long way off and difficult to achieve. It is easier than it appears, and we will describe below how to take the first steps in connecting SOLIDWORKS Desktop with the cloud using the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.
The first step is getting the tools you need to connect your existing SOLIDWORKS license to the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. The tools needed are Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS, along with the two base pieces of Collaborative Business and Industry Innovator. These tools allow you to access the platform, create a safe and secure storage area for your files that only users you allow can access, and finally connect your SOLIDWORKS to save your data into that cloud storage location. Let's look at each of these tools individually.
Collaborative Business Innovator
First is Collaborative Business Innovator. This is the doorway into the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, and like each title states, the core is collaboration. This tool allows us to create communities that act like a digital project book. We can use these to store project specs, design reviews, ideation sessions, things that we’d typically store in a binder or folder on our computer. The benefit is that it is live and dynamic, so the entire design team can comment, add information and discuss what is there. It isn’t just a snapshot in time but a real-time look into a project. It also allows sharing of information with outside parties that need to participate in the design process. Whether it is red-lined prints or data files, we can make sure all outside vendors, suppliers or customers have access to the information that they need.
Collaborative Industry Innovator
Next is Collaborative Industry Innovator. This tool allows for the creation of a secure storage area for the design files on the cloud. Not just the CAD data, but any design data can be put in the cloud, locked behind secured access requiring users to be granted access and log in to see the data. Once in, the data is the core of this tool. Since the data is on the cloud, a web browser is all that is needed to interact with any design file. Users can raise issues and concerns that are visible to the team and tracked. Tools to measure and markup are available as well. You can track what is happening with tasks assigned to users, and securely release the data when it is ready for production. All the SOLIDWORKS data can be made available to anyone in the organization who has access to a web browser.
Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS
The last tool needed is Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS. This tool allows you to connect your existing seat of SOLIDWORKS to the secure cloud storage area. The big benefit here is that your SOLIDWORKS doesn’t have to change. If you’re within two versions of the currently released version of SOLIDWORKS you are ready to connect your seat to the cloud. This allows you to not only store your files on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, but also allows you to interact with the platform right from within the SOLIDWORKS Task Pane. Parts, assemblies, drawings, tasks, collaboration are all available without leaving SOLIDWORKS. Since the SOLIDWORKS isn’t changing, you can still work offline and then upload the files to the cloud when a connection is available. Revision, lifecycle, changes are all built in and available as well and ready to go the first time you log in.
More ways to learn the tools
Now that we understand what the tools are, let's also look at some things that can be helpful to get started. At TriMech, we have training classes that can help you get going. First is our 3DEXPERIENCE Platform Administration class. This sounds complicated, but it is simply a few hours a day for three days to review how to set up the platform, add users and create a secure storage area for the data. We will also provide some tools to help you organize your data once it is there.
We also have a Using the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform class. This class will go over how to use the platform with SOLIDWORKS. We will show how parts, assemblies and drawings are all handled in the Platform and some helpful tools to get going.
Finally, we have our Client Care Visits. These are periodic check-in with our solutions team that you can set up to make sure everything is working as efficiently as possible and maybe look at some other tools that can help in the process.
While it may seem daunting at first to get your existing seat of SOLIDWORKS connected to the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, it is just a few simple tools that allow you to get started. We at TriMech are here to guide you along the way and provide the knowledge to help you get up and running.
Check out our 3DEXPERIENCE Courses led by certified instructors.