How Does SOLIDWORKS Communicate Data on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

By Wayne White on

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive environment that lets you create parts in 3D CAD, test your design in real-world conditions, collaborate with teammates and store your files without worrying about overwriting, then the  3DEXPERIENCE platform might be what you’re looking for. This article explains how 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS communicates data with Simulation, Sheet Metal and Visualize on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to better enhance your working environment.

1-3dx-compassTo start, a few clear indicators that you’re in the 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS environment is to first look in the top left corner of the screen and see if it says SOLIDWORKS Connected. There is a Vault in the main tab and this is where you push data up to the cloud. A few things to point out right away on the platform is that data management is built-in. A tendency is to have a drafting, or design tool that is used in-house, but there isn’t a formal way to store data coming from CAD. That is not the case here. Data management is built right into the 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS environment. You can conveniently check-in, check out parts in the vault. In this article, I’m going to focus on this sewing machine and specifically the needle presser sub-assembly; all within 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Premium.

Motion Analysis

3-motion-analysisLet’s start with Motion Analysis in 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Premium. When playing the motion of the assembly in the timeline, you’re going to see transference of rotation plus translation. You can activate the exploded view feature as well as saving the motion into an MP4 video format along with a myriad of other formats that you can export to.

Sheet Metal

Within the needle presser, I want to look at a part. The first thing to do is go to the 3DEXPERIENCE compass and make sure the file is locked. If a file is not locked, you can only view the file. If it is locked, changes can be made. In this sheet metal instance after applying the flatten feature, you can export to a DXF or a DWG file for a laser cutter or a water jet. All within the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.



Another built-in tool in 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Premium that will be a differentiator for a design solution right out of the box is SOLIDWORKS Simulation. What I’m going to do on a sheet metal part within the sewing machine assembly is apply a static FEA on it. In this case, I will create a first pass FEA analysis. I can also apply a myriad of materials. To do that, I will go into the material database and expand SOLIDWORKS materials. You can see that there’s an array of steel, aluminum, copper, etc. When selecting a material, you will see the critical data that’s going to be used in the equations to solve for deformation, stress, strain, etc. You can also create your own materials as well. I will now apply boundary conditions for a first iteration. One thing to note, there will be multiple iterations, and hopefully, your iterations converge. That’s how you know that you’re doing the right thing. With this part here, I’m going to apply a fixed geometry, and what this will do is take the face that is selected and lock all six degrees of freedom. I’m telling SOLIDWORKS Simulation to fix it in three-dimensional space. We’re going to apply external loads such as boundary conditions, torque, pressure, gravity, etc. You can also apply temperature dependencies as well.

Here, I’ll apply a force that’s going to be normal to a particular face. I’ll change the unit to pounds and apply 50 lbs. of force.5-sim-force-applied

For a first pass FEA event, boundary condition and force might be all that we need. I will tell 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Premium to go ahead and run that analysis. This will only take a matter of moments to get results. From here, you will find stress results, displacement results and animation of the plot(s).

Note that this is going to be a dramatized version of deformation. It’s not actually deforming this much, as it’s usually blown up a magnitude of about 100X. You can see the actual magnitude in the scale. There are several things that I can do from here. If there are areas that I want to look out for, I can probe those areas. I can also export the findings to any spreadsheet editor.


If you’ve been using SOLIDWORKS for several years, these are all things that you are probably well used to. The big difference here is, of course, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform connection. So, if I have ownership of the file and want to save this backup to the cloud, I can do that. And that will make the file available for other users in my 3DEXPERIENCE platform. 


SOLIDWORKS Visualize is available in the Pro and Premium versions. Visualize Pro is a tool that visualizes the model so you can quickly see what your model looks like when applying different appearances, looks and textures. There are also multiple cameras that can be set up. The cool thing with Visualize Pro is that you can have many cameras. You can also create a different configuration.

          8-sewing -machine-red                 7-sewing-machine-green

Let’s say we want a red sewing machine. In Visualize, it’s very easy to create different states. In the red sewing configuration, I can drag and drop a red appearance and repeat that workflow to get the color that we are going for. Now you have two different states; red and green. You can imagine if we have additional configurations that we can immediately push out as a batch process.

A few big ticket items that I want to point your attention to when it comes to 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Premium is that SOLIDWORKS Premium has data management built-in, as well as, check in and check out, revision management and many other features that you probably are familiar with on the desktop side of SOLIDWORKS.

At the root of all of this is the same old SOLIDWORKS, right? You saw the motion analysis, a simulation event, and sheet metal where I could export a DXF or DWG. It’s the same SOLIDWORKS that you’ve been working with all along. We analyzed with integrated simulation, and if you’re brand new to the SOLIDWORKS ecosystem, you’ll see how powerful that is. You don’t have to kick out the CAD model, reimport to another FEA tool where you may have translational issues. It’s all in the same application. And lastly, we visualized the CAD model with SOLIDWORKS Visualize.

Learn more about the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and how it can help transform your business.