SolidWorks:HEARD! - Episode 471 - GrabCAD Workbench for SolidWorks

GrabCAD Workbench for SolidWorks:

This podcast covers the updates and new add-in for SolidWorks for the evolving GrabCAD engineering platform.  Every year when I come back to revisit what GrabCAD is up to I am amazing to their expanding offerings to the engineering community.  Topics covered:

An overview of GrabCAD Workbench

- The GCWB web UI

- Overview of the SolidWorks Add-In

- Use cases and workflow from within SolidWorks

- SolidWorks format support and integration with GrabCAD web service

- Overview of pricing plans and capabilities

- Overall thoughts.

The first time I mentioned GrabCAD on this show it was July 3rd, 2011 when they broke onto the scene with an engineering community and 3D CAD sharing site.  Since then we have kept an eye on their evolution over the years and last year they introduced their Workbench product which was a shift in their previous offerings.

Workbench was focused to tackle sharing and collaborating on private 3D data and provide browser-based viewing (WebGL), markup, measure and comment threads around design teams and their data.  A year ago I covered the newly launched Workbench and at that time it was primarily a web service, requiring upload of data via the web and somewhat disconnecting the CAD authoring tool from the collaboration service.

As Workbench began to get traction, they launched GrabCAD Toolbox which is a listing of partners they work with through add-ins, and other cloud service connections like with Lagoa.  With the launch of their SolidWorks add-in, GrabCAD has narrowed the barrier between desktop and cloud, allowing Workbench to become an in-process tool as well.  Versioning, file locking and auto sync with upload/download support give light PDM to any SolidWorks user.  I'm excited to see what else the folks at GradCAD will do next!  ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 330 - Workgroup to Enterprise Migration

Workgroup to Enterprise Migration:

This podcast covers the options and migration questions that typically come up for those looking to move from SolidWorks Workgroup PDM to Enterprise PDM.  There are tools available to assist with migration from Workgroup which can ease the pain of a platform update.  Topics covered:

- Quick overview of the major reasons many decide to migrate

- SolidWorks Workgroup migration tool

- Other migration options available when moving to EPDM

- Migration aftermath - steps to take

- How EPDM's add-in framework can come to the rescue

- History versus "day-forward" approach

Although I use all the SolidWorks products, since 2001 I have been using Conisio, which is today known as SolidWorks Enterprise PDM.  In 2006 when SW purchased Conisio and made it a major branch of their product line, I have spent a lot of time talking with companies about processes and document management options.

Workgroup PDM, included in 2 of the 3 SolidWorks bundles, is not extensively used among SolidWorks customers but there are enough out there that are looking to increase the involvement of their PDM tool in product design.  Although many will move from Windows file management techniques to EPDM, those that adopted WPDM as a local tool are faced with a few questions when considering the move to Enterprise.

SolidWorks offers a few tools to assist in the migration of data that resides in another PDM product, however many times these tools will get you there if you decide to use EPDM in the same exact manor.  I encourage companies to first setup EPDM in the most ideal configuration and then plan the migration path to meet those goals.  Garbage in, garbage out so why not draw a line in the sand and take the opprotunity to do it right and build migration paths to get to the "ideal" PDM environment. ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 299 - 2011 What's New - Flow Simulation

2011 What's New - Flow Simulation:

This podcast covers the What's New in SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2011 which is outlined in the help.  Since Flow Simulation is no longer part of the standard What's New PDF in SolidWorks, this is a compiled version of what I could find.  Topics covered:

General Enhancements:

- Animate and interaction in UI

- Animation and display of multiple plots (cut, surface, iso, trajectories...)

- Save monitor UI layout

- Particle Study PropertyManager & wizard

- Point parameters & goal plots PropertyManagers

- Updated UI dialogs for decimal places and related screens

Electronics Module:

- Additional Materials

- Additions Input Data options

- Expanded supplier fan data

HVAC Module:

- Additional materials for buildings

- Advanced radiation modeling (absorbtion)

- New comfort parameters (PMV, PPD, ADPI, CRE, LAQI, etc..)

This covers the features outlined in the Flow Simulation 2011 help that have been changed in the product line since the previous release.  

The goal of this series is to provide a portable, audio version of the 2011 What's New so users can have a quick way to evaluate the features that have been changed/added/removed in SolidWorks' product line.  We all fall victim to the "ruts" of using SolidWorks and knowing what's to come brings awareness early.

I will be releasing an additional show a week as well as the usual monthly Tech News shows (up to 3 a week) in order to cover the entire What's New PDF in September before FCS (First Customer Ship). Between the podcast, blog and other posts around the web, there will be no shortage of SolidWorks 2011 content to come! ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 275 - Vuuch V1

Vuuch V1:

This podcast covers the web-based collaboration platform called Vuuch that debuted about a year and a half ago and has grown quite a bit over the past 6 months.  Topics covered:

- Vuuch general overview

- New web portal interface and features

- Vuuch client portfolio

- Use cases

- Parallel technologies

- Overall impressions

I have covered Vuuch on two separate occasions on this show, one as a topic (Episode 213) and one as a round table discussion (Episode 221) with Chris Williams, CEO of Vuuch.  Almost exactly one year ago I explained the services as this:

"Vuuch is a cloud based web application that offers group based treaded discussions, similar to a forum but can offer associated CAD and Excel based discussions with attachment uploading.  I would say that it is Twitter or Facebook meets Engineering & CAD. By using email as the notification mechanism, Vuuch keeps the discussion central to the topic and in sync with the cloud for unlimited accessibility to all associated participants. I think this is a fantastic service to bring design teams closer and much more in tune with what is going on in the overall process." 

Although in V1 there are more features than I mention above, the overall idea is the same. Collaboration tools are growing in importance in product development and the Internet is the best framework to solve this problem.

I would like to see development efforts in future versions of Vuuch be focused on updating the web experience from the early 2000's to something more current & dynamic.  With the launch of tools like Google Wave, real-time collaboration and extensibility are folded into a web browser by way of HTML5 and other AJAX technologies.  Vuuch, as it stands today, looks and feels very dated and slow.  I understand fit and finish come after scope and infrastructure but I can hope, right? ~Lou

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