With SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect technology, SOLIDWORKS Simulation users can now analyze parts and assemblies created in other CAD systems including PTC Creo, Autodesk Inventor, Siemens SolidEdge or NX, and Dassault Systemes CATIA. 3D Interconnect allows you to insert proprietary CAD data directly into a SOLIDWORKS assembly without converting it to a SOLIDWORKS file.
It also maintains an associative link to the original file so if changes are made in the authoring CAD system, those changes are reflected in SOLIDWORKS and all downstream features created in SOLIDWORKS are maintained. This simplifies the analysis workflow in a multi-CAD environment and eliminates the need to clean up translation errors, fix broken references, or set up new studies every time a revision happens.
Let’s look at an example to see how this works.
Here we have a SOLIDWORKS assembly containing a Creo part file that we received from a contractor who is in charge of designing the gripper fingers. Notice the green arrow on the component in the feature tree which tells us this is referencing a native Creo PRT file.
We’ve set up a static load simulation to calculate the stress, displacement, and safety factor.
Our design requirement dictates that we must have a minimum safety factor of 1.5. After running the analysis, we can see the stress in the fingers is too high so we need to ask our contractor to make some changes to the original design.
Alright, we just received the revised Creo part, so now it’s time to re-run the simulation.
The symbol in the SOLIDWORKS feature tree is our indication that the referenced part geometry has changed, and with one click we can update the model to reflect those changes.
SOLIDWORKS preserves all the mates and relations in the assembly. There are no rebuild errors, and nothing for us to repair. The simulation parameters also remain unchanged. This is extremely helpful as it reduces time wasted from having to create a new study and redefine all the materials, fixtures, and loads. All we have to do is re-mesh for the new geometry. Now, let’s run the study again and check the results. Success! Our new part meets the safety factor requirement and is ready for final design review.
As you can see, SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect empowers you to analyze product designs that contain parts and assemblies from a variety of CAD sources. With a streamlined workflow and the flexibility to make changes throughout the development process, design validation in a multi-CAD environment has never been easier with SOLIDWORKS Simulation.
Written by Sean Stiehm
Sean Stiehm is a Product Specialist at Alignex, Inc. His days are spent showing businesses how they can leverage SOLIDWORKS ancillary tools to streamline specific processes, get products to market faster and reduce costs associated with product development, prototyping & manufacturing. When not working, you're most likely to find him flying his sUAS or wandering a trout stream somewhere in the driftless region.