Exploring the Integration between Composer and SOLIDWORKS

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Exploring the Integration between Composer and SOLIDWORKS

In a blog I wrote a couple weeks ago (https://www.cati.com/blog/2017/11/solidworks-composer-makes-2d-and-3d-technical-communication-easy-and-up-to-date/), I discussed the benefits of using SOLIDWORKS Composer and what it can help you accomplish.  In this blog today, I am going to discuss some of the ways that SOLIDWORKS Composer interacts with SOLIDWORKS CAD.

There are two ways to get the CAD files into Composer from SOLIDWORKS.  The fastest way is to just do a Save As from SOLIDWORKS, and choose an .smg file.  This is super fast and is ready to open in Composer.   The other way is inside of Composer to do a File—Open on the native SOLIDWORKS file(s), which runs a translation in the background.   I have found that this method takes longer to translate/open the files however…     Both of these methods will give you the full assembly tree and have the option of transferring over any custom properties from the cad files.

One of the great benefits mentioned in my first Composer blog was the associativity between SOLIDWORKS CAD and SOLIDWORKS Composer.   Any changes you make to the SOLIDWORKS models can be pushed through Composer to update all of the content for your product documentation!  This is the reason we say that you can start doing the documentation much earlier in the design process.  You don’t have to wait till all the CAD design is completely finished because if there are changes you will get them in Composer and can update accordingly.

Here’s how it works…

SOLIDWORKS Composer sits in between SOLIDWORKS and your final product documentation.  When a change happens in the SOLIDWORKS CAD package the user of SOLIDWORKS Composer would be notified (either automatically with PDM or manually with an email) that there has been a change.  The SOLIDWORKS CAD user could save out a new .smg file of the entire assembly and make that file accessible to the Composer user, OR the Composer user can invoke the update of an individual part or sub-assy from the Composer assembly tree.  Any geometry that has been modified will update, and any parts/assemblies that have been removed or added will also be updated accordingly.

Then it is the Composer user’s job to go thru and verify if everything still looks fine, or if any of the Composer content needs to be revised.   After the necessary changes have been made in Composer so that everything is clear and easy to understand once again, the content is simply republished and any documents that refer to this content (manuals created in word processing software, pdfs, etc.) will update as well.  This update works on 2D images all the way to 3D interactive content and animations that have been created with SOLDWORKS Composer!

Fantastic associativity between the two products and amazing time savings for the companies that use them!

Randy Simmons

Computer Aided Technology