Alignex Blog

An Important Technical Advisory on Updating SOLIDWORKS EPDM

The purpose of this technical advisory is to educate companies on the proper process for upgrading SOLIDWORKS Enterprise Product Data Management (EPDM) in an environment which includes both CAD and PDM. Since this process typically only happens once a year, customers often ask for a reminder on the process and the order of the updates.  The  PDM system must be upgraded prior to or at the same time as the CAD software. This is true for SOLIDWORKS EPDM or any SOLIDWORKS PDM Solution Partner.  The only exception is Workgroup PDM which is upgraded as part of SOLIDWORKS.

We will describe this process as it pertains to a basic SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM update and cover different things to consider before, during and after the update process.

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Step Up From SimulationXpress for Advanced Design Insights

Many SOLIDWORKS users have discovered SimulationXpress to be a very easy-to-use, first-pass analysis tool to test their products and quickly generate reports to document results. While SimulationXpress can certainly help us understand the effects of forces and pressures on individual parts, there are many cases where a more advanced SOLIDWORKS Simulation package will allow us to gain better insight into the design. This can often help us make important design decisions that improve quality, increase performance, and reduce costs.

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How to Reduce Your Design Cycle with DriveWorksXpress

Would you consider your line of products to be the same, but different? Have you ever found yourself creating copies of your SOLIDWORKS parts and assemblies just to have them as starting points for new designs? Then you may be missing out on a tool that could cut your design cycle by a significant amount of time! I am of course referring to DriveWorksXpressa design automation tool that is free with every license of SOLIDWORKS.

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Integrate Your CAD and CAM with SolidCAM Xpress

Program Your CNC’s Right Inside SOLIDWORKS

SolidCam Xpress can be the program that launches you into CAM. With it SOLIDWORKS users can get a completely integrated, 2.5D machining and 3 axis surface machining tool at a very affordable price.

It is great for those who have been interested in taking the next step in leveraging their CAD designs to develop the tooling data in an automated process. It will also allow those who have other, non-integrated CAM solutions to test out the benefits of SolidCAM with SOLIDWORKS at a lower cost. With a no-penalty upgrade path, SolidCAM Xpress becomes the perfect starting point to build from as your CAM knowledge or needs evolve.

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More Efficient Product Development with Rules-Based Design Automation

In today’s competitive landscape our customers are faced with many challenges that affect the organization's profit margin. Some of those challenges include increased engineering and manufacturing costs, pressures to offer customization of standard products and bottlenecks in engineering. The old adage of "throwing more bodies" at a project is just not feasible anymore.

We often talk about how to get your products to market faster than your competition. At Alignex, we have many tools to help with your product development process for new product development. A topic I want to introduce to you today is design automation. In a past SOLIDWORKS poll, 65% of responders said that a majority of their designs are based on previous designs.

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Attending a SOLIDWORKS User Group Meeting

The power of a user group is evident once you attend. With a room full of engineers and designers who all use the same program, there’s a great chance of discovering a new technique, feature or process that elevate a design. A few of us from Alignex attended the Sioux Falls meeting to join the discussion which ranged from new features of SOLIDWORKS 2015 to facts about the larger SOLIDWORKS community.

User groups are a great place to learn more about SOLIDWORKS and engineering in general. There are also lots of video resources as well as offerings in schools and colleges. Here are a few interesting stats about the community of SOLIDWORKS learners:

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Kooima Engineer Wins SOLIDWORKS Model Mania Contest

Would the fastest designer in the room please stand?

For 16 years, the fastest designers have been standing up to accept prizes at the SOLIDWORKS World convention. Every year there is a competition called Model Mania. In this contest designers are given a drawing of a part never before seen. They then have to create a model of this part, run through a redesign of the part and finally perform a simulation analyzing the forces applied. The rules are laid out, but the technique is not.

We recently talked with Nick Vande Waerdt, the contest winner this year from Kooima, a company we are quite familiar with. Nick is a design engineer and started down the design path right out of college. He has a natural draw toward engineering and modeling and also has experience with this competition.

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Product Data Management (PDM): What, Who, Why, When?

I meet with at least one or two customers a week in regard to Product Data Management. Each customer has unique goals or challenges important to them, but some of the recurring topics I hear on a weekly basis include:

  • Control - Engineering information is time consuming to manage (interrelationships, large data sets, etc.)
  • Productivity - Finding the right information quickly.
  • Error Elimination - Reducing manufacturing waste, working on the latest revision.
  • Enterprise Connectivity - Sharing information with other business systems (ERP/MRP).
  • Collaboration - Communicating information to suppliers/customers.
  • Certification - Assisting with standardizing processes (FDA/ISO/FAA/TQM).
  • Compliance - Helping ensure data security (ITAR, etc.).

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Saving and Exporting in SOLIDWORKS 2015

While some saving and exporting options in SOLIDWORKS are pretty straightforward, others can be confusing at first. In this post, we take a look at the different options in SOLIDWORKS 2015 including Saving, Exporting, and Pack and Go and how they affect our workflow.

Save Options

There are five different options for saving in SOLIDWORKS, including the Pack and Go option. It may seem like a lot, but they can actually save you time once you learn which option is most suitable for your needs.

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Optimize Your Hardware for SOLIDWORKS 2015

Since the release of SOLIDWORKS 2015, there have been a lot of questions surrounding hardware requirements, optimal RAM, video cards and more. To ensure you are always working with a SOLIDWORKS supported and optimized system use these tips from the Alignex technical staff. Though these recommendations are a good starting point for spec’ing out a SOLIDWORKS machine, it is always a good idea to conduct your own hardware/software tests before purchasing any workstation, computer hardware, or video card for SOLIDWORKS.

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