I recently read an article by a CAD vendor highlighting the main reasons it is hard to switch from one CAD system to another and how they can overcome these. The number one issue they gave was Legacy Data:
“As of now, there is still no automatic way to translate files from one major CAD system into another and have the feature history come through intact. Translating software will create accurate copies of your legacy files with the correct dimensions, but all the parametric feature history, the steps that detail WHY your part was designed how it was, will not translate over.”
So what was the solutions? One option was to outsource the job of re-creating all of your files to your new CAD system so that edits can be made. This was discounted as too expensive and so their suggested option was:
“A better option is to convert only current projects, in house. The files needed to complete the today’s work are always a small subset of all the files you have built up over 10+ years of using your old CAD system. And using current projects to get engineers familiar with a new system takes advantage of the engineers already being familiar with the project, which generic training files don’t have.”
Both of these options would require a certain amount of time and/or money. So is there another way?
Solid Edge has the answer with Synchronous Technology. The “Design Intent” is built into the model and not the features, as other CAD vendors would have you believe. A model can be built in any number of ways and is likely to be created differently by different users. No method is right or wrong provided the model is the correct size, fit and function and, of course, it can be easily edited when changes are needed to improve design.
Solid Edge has migration wizards, for it’s three main competitors, that allow you to convert all of you legacy data in one hit. Like all other CAD systems the resultant model will become a featureless body feature. However, this poses no problem to Solid Edge, as models can still be modified using Synchronous Technology, immediately giving a great return on investment (ROI). A further time saver is that you don’t need to understand the design method used before edits can be made. Various studies have shown that synchronous technology can often make changes to an imported model (or an existing feature based design) faster than it can be done in its originating CAD software, offering a stronger ROI.
So what is the second major issue in switching CAD systems? According to the article, it is re-training users. From 20 years of training users, I have noticed that most existing 3D CAD users may struggle a little on day one of training (breaking habits learnt on their old system), but by the end of the course, on day 3, they will be pushing their previous limits. I have also noticed that many younger people coming into the CAD industry have a natural affinity with synchronous technology. So, in reality, most users can be proficient enough with Solid Edge within a couple of weeks, utilising the strengths of Solid Edge, and will be more productive than before.
So what other benefits can be gained from switching to Solid Edge? Siemens, who own Solid Edge, also own many complimentary products, such as Femap for advanced FEA, Teamcenter for PDM and NX for high end CAD modelling, many of which leverage the Parasolid and D-Cubed constraint solver, which are also part of the Siemens family. This tight integration between products gives users confidence that their solution can grow when and if the need arises.
If you think that your current system is holding you back, why not consider having a look at Solid Edge by registering for a 45 trial:
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