“What we’ve found over the past 5 or so years, is that the problems most companies face today are not related to usage of the SOLIDWORKS software anymore—most of their problems are data management and distribution problems.”
-Chad Garrish, Co-founder and EVP of Converge
Creation of CAD Data
We’ve got some really good news for the greater SOLIDWORKS CAD community: through the educational opportunities available at thousands of global universities and the amazing outreach of the SOLIDWORKS User Group Network, and many other outlets, SOLIDWORKS is being used and integrated into businesses at a very high level. Having a working knowledge of SOLIDWORKS is nearly required for your résumé if design and engineering are involved in a given job description. However, we’ve still got a long way to go until every aspect of the design workflow is optimized for every SOLIDWORKS user. That will always be our goal at Converge, but we know it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
Creating data in SOLIDWORKS is easy to latch onto since it’s familiar and everyone is relatively comfortable with sketches, extrudes, cuts, etc. So we won’t delve too deeply into common issues of data creation. Instead, this blog series will focus a bit on Data Management, but more focus will be given to the notion of Data Distribution throughout this series.
Management of CAD Data
Once your CAD users are all leveraging the design tools to their fullest and creating a lot of rich data, the next step along the way becomes managing that data and all the complex references inherent to CAD data (both SOLIDWORKS file references, and external document references). This is one of our passions here at Converge. We’ve helped countless organizations manage their CAD data, mostly through use of the SOLIDWORKS PDM tools, and of course EpiGrid’s Cloud-hosted architecture that truly enables collaboration through either SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or Professional.
Distribution of CAD Data
The final piece that closes the loop is the distribution of data to all stake-holders. There is the marketing team that uses photo-realistic renders of CAD models, the purchasing team that needs to know what off-the-shelf parts and other materials to order, the QC team who is responsible for validating quality, the list goes on… All of these people need access to their own pieces of data, but it all originates from CAD. What happens when changes are made to the CAD model? Will those changes get communicated before it’s too late?
In this blog series, we will explore some of our most commonly deployed solutions for issues that appear in the data management and data distribution phases of the design/MFG cycle. Please stay tuned for part two next week, and we would love to hear about your specific data management/distribution headaches.