Repetitive tasks in SolidWorks have you down? Do you find yourself making the same design multiple times with small differences in features, size, and properties? DriveWorks is a unique design automation software that may be able to help! The best part about DriveWorks is that if you are already using SolidWorks the most basic version, Xpress is already built in. DriveWorks allows you to quickly and easily create and configure custom designs, using captured model or assembly information, desired logic, and user-defined parameters. With the click of a button, this program will automatically generate assemblies, models, and drawings for the desired configuration. To get a better understanding of where and how DriveWorks can be utilized, here are the basic procedural steps in setting up a program:
1.) Capture Driven Elements: These are the variables you intend to drive the program with. At the core, this will include Dimensions, Features, Custom Properties and continue to expand with each DriveWorks product.
2.) Create A Form: This is your user interface with the program. This tells the user what parameters they can control and collects the desired input from the user.
3.) Apply Rules: This is where the logic of the program is defined; rather, the parameters from the user are tied together with the elements captured from SolidWorks.
4.) Execute Program: This is where the program automates the modeling and drawing process using the inputs from the user and the rules you defined with the click of a button.
Figure 1: DriveWorks Interface
There are three options for DriveWorks that can be utilized with SolidWorks: Xpress, Solo, and Pro. While Xpress is already included in every license SolidWorks; Solo and Pro are the proceeding add-ons that cost $3,900 and $9,000, with customizable module options, correspondingly. Both Solo and Pro expand the capabilities of Xpress in terms of the extent of capturable elements, form customization, and I/O control. Pro takes it even further with an entire management and configuration system that can be geared towards both web and customer interface along with other company systems.
People often compare the capabilities of design tables with respect to DriveWorks. While design tables are very useful for certain applications DriveWorks excels when considering file size, ease of use, scalability, and automated capabilities. With DriveWorks new files are generated for each configuration as opposed to multiple configurations contained within one file. DriveWorks can also control parts, assemblies, and drawings without the need to update each design table or file individually. Using a DriveWorks form provides an easier and more efficient way for anyone (regardless of knowledge within SolidWorks) to configure files, and the rule-driven elements better link the desired configuration to implement all the changes to each assembly, part, and drawing.
Here at Perception Engineering we have experimented with projects using Xpress and are always looking for ways to utilize the capabilities of DriveWorks in providing a viable solution to our customers. The ability to configure and generate models rapidly and without requiring a user skillset in SolidWorks is a unique tool we can offer and provide.