Rule Efficiency in Design Automation

One of the biggest complaints about design automation is performance. Companies are outraged that the tool runs for a whole hour to complete a process that used to take four to six weeks. Despite the obvious lack of perspective here, it is a design automation best practice to consider performance and optimize rules wherever possible. Several sources of performance degradation can be avoided with a little foresight.  Continue Reading

Swapping Models in SolidWorks

Design Automation is very powerful when creating unique “same as, but” models for new jobs. But in many cases, people are doing configure-to-order (CTO) just as much as they are doing engineer-to-order (ETO). Configure-to-order means utilizing standard components and using the automation to determine the logic for which component, or which size of a component, to put in an assembly. Configuring an automated design sounds simpler, and in many ways it is, but there are a few things to note and some design automation best practices to follow when planning to swap models in SolidWorks.  Continue Reading

SolidWorks Assembly Mates for Design Automation

When creating your SolidWorks assembly master models and preparing them for automation, a lot of decisions need to be made in developing the best mating schemes. One important consideration in this development is the creation of the relations between components. The design intent in your models can be established by parameters that are driven by your automation tool, or by relations within SolidWorks.  Let’s dig into this a bit deeper to uncover some an important design automation best practice related to SolidWorks mating.  Continue Reading

DriveWorks Service Packs Released

DriveWorks recently published service packs for its DriveWorks 6 and DriveWorks 7 platforms, one for each major version (DW6 SP8 and DW7 SP4).  With the release of these service packs, the transition from DriveWorks 6 to DriveWorks 7 as the platform-of-focus becomes increasingly clear.  There are no major enhancements in DriveWorks 6 Service Pack 8 as DriveWorks spends “the vast majority of [their] development effort” on DriveWorks 7.  Continue Reading

Organizing CAD Models for Design Automation

The purpose of a design automation system is to control different aspects, or parameters, of your CAD models. These could be dimensions, features, component instances, and more. Creating a truly powerful and profitable automation requires a good number of parameters. Keeping track of these parameters can get tricky, so some CAD model organization techniques are in order.  Continue Reading

DriveWorks UI Tips and Tricks

Your typical DriveWorks user interface (UI) is, unfortunately, pretty boring.  Administrators will occasionally throw in a logo, but other than that, the UI remains a jumble of controls or a collection of columns.  With some advance planning and experience, more can be done with UIs to increase the effectiveness of the tool.  For instance, using VISIBLE rules to control the appearance of controls or parts of forms can allow for simplified and advanced versions of DriveWorks UIs.  Here are a number of other tips and tricks related to the DriveWorks user interface.  Continue Reading

Design Automation Myth

“Design automation tools are just configurators for finished 3D models and 2D drawings.”  Wow, if only we could get the Mythbusters to take a look at that one.  Nothing would explode, but that myth would certainly be busted.  Design automation goes far beyond the simple configurable design, and automation need not wait until a design is completed and fully documented to be valuable.  Continue Reading