Make sure you explore the new DriveWorksXpress feature inside of SOLIDWORKS 2008. This is a cut down version of the Design Automation software DriveWorks. This tool allows you to capture knowledge and rules from your design and engineer-to-order. For a quick simple example, let’s say our company makes tables that come in any size. That table consists of four leg components, a table top, and two support beams. A customer requires a table with a different height and width. First we need to think about how we are going to store and track these model changes. Is this going to be a new configuration of the assembly using new configurations of the parts? Or are we going to make a new assembly with new parts, and if so, how do we name these new parts? Once we figure out the logistics, we need to make the changes – change the table width, change the support beams width and change the height of the legs. This doesn’t seem too complicated at first, but as we get requested for different tables over and over again, making these changes becomes tedious, and we spend our time modify designs instead of developing new ones.
With DriveWorksXpress (found under the Tools menu in SolidWorks), we can model our table once, capture dimensions and features from it, build rules about these dimensions and features. Then anytime we want a new table, we fill out a simple form with our table requirements and DriveWorksXpress does the rest! It will make all the necessary changes to our models as well as establish a naming convention to help store and track our models. Check it out – it might save you a lot of time.