Connecting your desktop SOLIDWORKS to your 3DExperience platform cloud is super easy thanks to the 3DExperience PLM Services Connector. This connector is an add in to desktop SOLIDWORKS just like Toolbox, Routing or any other add in.
How do you get it?
If you already have the 3D Creator (xDesign) role or the 3D Sculptor (xShape) role assigned to you, then as of the end of April (with the 2021x release of the 3DExperience platform), you ALSO have access to the connector! It just needs to be installed.
However, you might just be a “pure” SOLIDWORKS user who is not using any of the “on the cloud” design products (xDesign or xShape). You can STILL get your desktop SOLIDWORKS connected to the 3DExperience cloud by being assigned the role of “Collaborative Designer For SOLIDWORKS”.
This role can be purchased and added to your platform just like any of the other roles. As said above, this role is NOT necessary for anyone with the 3D Creator (xDesign) or 3D Sculptor (xShape) role. They already have access to the connector.
To get the connector installed you open up the “compass” and look for the SOLIDWORKS icon in your available apps.
If you don’t see a SOLIDWORKS icon, you will need to contact your 3DExperience Platform administrator and have them enable it for you.
After the connector is installed, you can launch SOLIDWORKS from that same icon under the compass and the 3DExperience PLM Services add in will be enabled.
How do you use it?
Inside of SOLIDWORKS you access the 3DExperience PLM Services connector by clicking on this icon on your task-pane tabs (right hand side of the screen).
This tool will give you access to powerful search capabilities of all your data on the 3DExperience cloud, and an easy way to get files back and forth from SOLIDWORKS to/from the cloud. When you have a part or assembly open in SOLIDWORKS, the names of the files will be listed in the task pane window and a “status” icon will show you if your local file doesn’t yet exist on the cloud, is newer than, is older than, or equal to the version on the cloud.
Right clicking on a file will let you save it up to the cloud and several other PLM commands.
When you perform a SEARCH using the box at the top of the task pane window, you have access to all of the same search tools that you would when on the web based platform dashboard page, including tags to filter your search results.
Right Clicking on a file will give you the ability to OPEN the file (in SOLIDWORKS) or open it with one of the other 3DExperience apps and also the ability to see all of a file’s related objects (references).
You can also just grab a file from here and drag and drop it right into an existing SW assembly! When doing these actions, the file will be downloaded to your local working PLM directory (specified when you install the connector). This is a great feature of the PLM system because you won’t be “working across the internet” (or network). You’ll be working on the file locally the entire time! The only time there is internet traffic is if you are pulling a file down or pushing a file up.
Will the files stay “connected”?
Another great feature of accessing the files through the PLM Services Connector is SOLIDWORKS will use the embedded 3D Interconnect functionality to open the file(s) with a “live link” to the version on the cloud.
The green arrow on the part icon in the feature tree shows us this.
Now you can “continue” to work on the model in SOLIDWORKS to add features to shelling, adding extrusions or cuts, create a mold for, etc. using any of the tools you want. These downstream features will be added to the tree below the imported model.
If the file is ever changed in a cloud application (xDesign or xShape) the status icon in the task pane window will let you know.
Then just a simple right click will let you “reload from server” to get the latest version and have it updated in your SOLIDWORKS session!
If you have done any additional modeling in SOLIDWORKS to the file those downstream features will remain and update as needed.
That’s how easy it is to connect your desktop SOLIDWORKS to the 3DExperience cloud and work with files back and forth between xShape, xDesign, and SOLIDWORKS!
Want more information on all the available cloud applications on the 3DExperience Platform? Visit our 3DEXPERIENCE Solutions page.
Sr. Application Engineer, Emerging Products
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.