Alignex Blog

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.).


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.


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.


From Start to Finish: Creating An Assembly Document

The applications of SOLIDWORKS Composer range from assembly and manufacturing instructions to product marketing and the space in-between. Attendees at a recent Alignex Discovery Training event explored the product’s capabilities in a “test drive” environment that combined learning and experience. The event took us from start to finish of an assembly document in Composer.


Virtually Testing a Jumping Drone Part with Linear Static Analysis

SOLIDWORKS Simulation provides easy-to-use design validation tools that allow you to test your product and make important decisions to improve quality and performance early in the product development process. Full integration with the SOLIDWORKS environment means that you won’t waste time with redundant data transfer tasks. There is no need to export your SOLIDWORKS model when you want to run a study in SOLIDWORKS Simulation! With this CAD-embedded technology, design engineers can quickly and easily perform virtual testing before ever building the first prototype. 

SOLIDWORKS Simulation comes in 3 different packages: Standard, Professional, and Premium. Additionally, there are basic simulation capabilities included in SOLIDWORKS Premium. In this article, we will focus on linear static analysis which is available in all of the packages listed above. Linear static analysis allows us to apply static loads to a part or assembly and calculate the resulting stress, strain, displacement, reaction forces, and other parameters that will allow us to improve the quality and performance of our design. The model we will be analyzing is the wheel assembly for the Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo.


How to Find and Back up Custom Data in SOLIDWORKS

Backing up design files can save many hours in the event of a change. In the case of a SOLIDWORKS version update for instance, these files can be overwritten and with them hours of design time. For companies with network drives and servers, some of this may already be taken care of. But more likely to be over-looked are the file document customizations. These are the files like our drawing and part templates or sheet formats and bend tables. Where are these stored and how do we back them up?

Common customized files include sheet formats, templates, design library items and of course toolbox data. Some of these may be stored on a shared drive or PDM system like SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM (EPDM) but if not, the following listed locations should be checked. Watch the video below on our YouTube Channel or follow these steps. 


Simulating the Injection Mold Stages of a Jumping Drone Part

SOLIDWORKS Plastics is the missing link for a truly collaborative product development strategy. You don‘t have to be an expert to use SOLIDWORKS Plastics, it is used in the product development process by Design Engineers, Mold Makers and Plastics Injection Manufacturers. 

The analysis tools of SOLIDWORKS Plastics allow you to simulate the Fill, Pack, Warp and Cooling stages on manufacturing a part. Let's take a look at these tools in action on a wheel spokes hub from a Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo.


How to Upgrade to a Newer Version of SOLIDWORKS

With the latest buzz about new versions of SOLIDWORKS, it’s easy to get confused about some of the basics when it comes to upgrading to a newer version of SOLIDWORKS. For instance, technically "upgrading SOLIDWORKS" refers to moving major versions like 2014 to 2015, while "updating SOLIDWORKS" refers to service pack changes.

To avoid any possible interference between major versions, we recommend uninstalling the current version completely. Then you can install a fresh cut of the new version. Keep in mind that a back-up of any current customizations or options is a must as these could be overwritten. With that mind, let's get started.


Will MBD Change Manufacturing Forever?

SolidWorks MBD will be released during Q1 of 2015 – more than likely during the SolidWorks World Conference which takes place in Phoenix from February 8 – 11.

SolidWorks Model Based Definition is an integrated drawing-less manufacturing solution for SolidWorks. It helps companies define, organize, and publish 3D Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI), including 3D model data in industry-standard file formats. Unlike traditional 2D drawings, SolidWorks MBD guides the manufacturing process directly in 3D, which streamlines production, cuts cycle time, reduces errors, and helps compliance with industry standards.


Recent SOLIDWORKS 2015 Event Inspires Nebraska Users

Few things seem to mesh better than a conference for engineers and designers hosted at an air and space museum. Enter SAS, the Strategic Air and Space museum near Omaha, NE. Recently we hosted an event there that brought together people from a multitude of industries to unveil the new features of Dassault’s latest SOLIDWORKS release. Covering everything from weldment and sheet metal updates to some brand new pattern features, we sought to gauge some of the response from all of the well experienced users. So here it is:



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