SOLIDWORKS is a premier design tool chosen by many to create intricate products. Designers use SOLIDWORKS to make assemblies – those assemblies require the use of mates to build relationships between parts and subassemblies. In several situations, it is beneficial to have tools to read that same structure or in other cases, edit and author structure. In the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, there are several options to view, create or modify product structure.
At the core of this article is a simple comparison of viewing versus editing structure.
Let’s start with viewing product structure in the Platform. The two Roles required are Collaborative Business Innovator and Collaborative Industry Innovator. With these Roles, users can read product structure with the Product Explorer app. This app includes a nice combination of tabular data and graphical view of the product. You can easily see the structure and interact with its graphical bodies. This is purely reading the structure that was generated in CAD, there is no editing here. Seen below is a simple structure of an assembly along with a viewer. You can export to a comma separated value from this app; exporting to a CSV file would allow for editing in Microsoft Excel.
The big benefit here is viewing the structure and its CAD geometry. Once designers push the CAD up to the Cloud, anyone with the two Roles (Collaborative Business and Industry Innovator) can easily view the structure on any web-connected device.
3D Product Architecture Role
There is also the 3D Product Architecture role. The functionality gained with this extra role is editing of the structure. In fact, the apps included in this Role will look a lot like Product Structure Explore above, but now it is called Product Structure Editor. The major difference here is editing ability. The role includes Product Structure Editor app and an ability to view the graphical product along with annotations. You can modify the CAD model with simple translations and also edit the structure. This is beneficial when ideating new product ideas that are based on existing data sets. This role very much is about architecting structure.
Seen below is the similar tabular presence left and graphical view on right. Further abilities include creation of new parts, physical products, and lifecycle operations.
Seen below is a focused view on the tabular view. The traditional lifecycle operations come into view, where you can create new revisions, change lifecycle status (In Work/Released, etc.), compare and other functions typically done inside the CAD tool.
Seen below is the ability to do simple modifications of the geometry in the web browser, further showing the architecting nature of the role. It should be noted these are simple edits, we are not creating geometry so much as ideating a similar product from an existing one.
Product Release Engineer Role
Last, we review the Product Release Engineer Role. This role includes the Engineering Release widget. It is very intuitive to work with existing structure and edit it using Engineering Release. You can work with several authoring CAD applications or create a brand-new structure as well. With the vision of 3DEXPERIENCE to provide a unified set of tools, this streamlines communication between designers and those conducting the release of designs. This is intended at the end of the release cycle. You can easily work with structure of many components and achieve release quickly by adding non-CAD objects to the structure (those items that would be redundant to model- glue/packaging etc.), but also controlling the lifecycle status of the dependent objects quickly.
As shown below, adding products or drawings can happen from a predefined template- additionally, modifying the metadata can be done directly in the app as well.
Seen below is the ability to execute the lifecycle operations, set Enterprise Item Number and release the structure.
No matter your need to work with product structure, you are covered with built-in tools (Collaborative Business Innovator and Collaborative Industry Innovator) or the additional capabilities of 3D Product Architect and Product Release Engineer.