You may have been seeing a compass icon in SOLIDWORKS videos, web pages and even in some of your design applications and wondering what it is or what it’s there for. Well, that compass represents the central navigation of the 3DEXPERIENCE “business experience” platform. In this blog, we are going to explore what that means and how SOLIDWORKS users can benefit from knowing how to use it.
What is the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform?
In a nutshell, this platform was created by Dassault Systemes (the parent company of SOLIDWORKS) to tie together all the different aspects of the engineering process and engineering business into one connected space where it is much easier for teams to collaborate on projects. It employs a single, easy-to-use interface that houses different software applications for 3D design, analysis and simulation so team members are all in the same main software environment looking at all the same data and all the same files. Depending on how your business is structured and where it’s located, this connected platform can be applied on-premise or online.
At its core, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a collection of cloud-based applications. Just like with a smart phone, there are different applications, included by default or that you can add, which allow you to access certain functionality from your web browser. That means nothing to install or download on your computer or tablet.
What Does the Compass Mean?
The “compass” is really a menu icon that groups all the different available online apps into four categories: 3D Modeling, Social & Collaborative, Simulation and Information Intelligence.
Within the platform, you can access all apps by clicking on the different quadrants of the compass icon at any time. You can and even customize a dashboard-space with tabs and widgets that showcase the information that is most important to your team and the project.
How Does This Help Me as a SOLIDWORKS User?
The platform is very powerful and you may not need to use all the tools that it can provide. Below are some practical uses for someone who is new to the platform.
Access Web-Based Design Tools – There are several cloud-based design applications, like SOLIDWORKS xDesign that you can use through your web browser or even a mobile device like a tablet. Since they are cloud-based, you are not limited to a single computer and have the option to design and edit files from multiple devices in multiple locations.
Shared File Library – Search the same set of files as everyone else on your team. All files are at the latest version and access/permissions can be customized. You can connect to this shared library directly via the task pane in your desktop version of SOLIDWORKS, accessing all your design information without leaving the SOLIDWORKS interface.
Direct Access to Manufacturers – Once a design is finished, you can use the “Marketplace Make” application within the platform to access a network of manufacturers in order to get your design created. The platform allows you to connect and get quotes from a variety of different suppliers that can be sorted by process, timeline and estimated cost.
The SOLIDWORKS team did a really good job of walking through some of these practical applications during the launch of SOLIDWORKS 2019. You can see the entire segment in the video below.