You are on page 1of 12

White Paper

A SolidWorks Guide to
An Efficient Design Team
This guide is designed to help you lay out a road map
to create an efficient design team using SolidWorks
3D CAD Software and add-in products.
If you are a CAD Manager, a Designer, or an Engineer
looking for advice on implementation or improvements
to your SolidWorks system then this guide is for YOU.

Copyright 2009 Javelin Technologies Inc. | 1-877-21-WORKS (96757) | sales@javelin-tech.com


Javelin is Canada's leading provider of SolidWorks software and services for Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Our SolidWorks solutions
combined with our comprehensive training and mentoring programs, high level customer service, and over 10 years of industry
experience; will help your team get your products to market faster.

GuidetoanEfficientDesignTeam

JavelinTechnologies

TableofContents
Introduction.................................................................................................................................................................................................3
Step1:Hardwareandinstallationwithaplantomaintain.........................................................................................................................3
Step2:Options,ToolbarsandAddins........................................................................................................................................................3
Options...................................................................................................................................................................................................3
Toolbars..................................................................................................................................................................................................4
Addins....................................................................................................................................................................................................4
Sharingcustomization.............................................................................................................................................................................4
Step3:Chooseyourcustomproperties......................................................................................................................................................4
Step4:Standardizetemplatesandtitleblocks............................................................................................................................................5
Step5:Setupsharedlibraries......................................................................................................................................................................6
DesignLibrary.........................................................................................................................................................................................6
SolidWorksToolbox................................................................................................................................................................................7
Step6:SetupJavelinsupport......................................................................................................................................................................7
Step7:Makeaplanforskilllevelimprovement..........................................................................................................................................7
Step8:Createastandardizedfolderstructure............................................................................................................................................8
Step9:Makearevisionmanagementplan.................................................................................................................................................8
Step10:Planforcollaboration....................................................................................................................................................................8
Step11:Defineyourprocesses...................................................................................................................................................................9
Step12:Automaterepetitivetasks...........................................................................................................................................................10
AdministrativeTasks.............................................................................................................................................................................10
DesignTasks..........................................................................................................................................................................................10
SalesTasks............................................................................................................................................................................................11
Step13:Integratewithotherengineeringdepartments...........................................................................................................................11
ElectricalEngineering............................................................................................................................................................................11
ManufacturingProgramming................................................................................................................................................................11
Step14:Adoptcontinuousimprovementmentality.................................................................................................................................11
Appendix....................................................................................................................................................................................................12
DriveWorks...........................................................................................................................................................................................12
PropertyLinksXpress.............................................................................................................................................................................12
SolidWorks............................................................................................................................................................................................12
SolidWorkseDrawings..........................................................................................................................................................................12
SolidWorksEnterprisePDM..................................................................................................................................................................12
ZukenE3.WireWorks...........................................................................................................................................................................12

Page2of12

GuidetoanEfficientDesignTeam

JavelinTechnologies

Introduction
Thisguideisintendedtohelpcompanieslayoutaroadmaptocreateanefficientdesignteam.Itisnotmeant
to be all inclusive but instead is designed to point you in the right direction throughout an implementation
process.Itcanalsohelpyougetbackontrackifyoufeelthereisroomforimprovementwithhowtheteamis
running.

Step1:Hardwareandinstallationwithaplantomaintain
InordertomakethebestuseofSolidWorksandrelatedproducts,itisimportanttohavetherightcomputer
hardware.Sincetherecommendedhardwarespecificationsvaryyearoveryear,itisimportanttorefertothe
SolidWorks website when purchasing a new computer. SolidWorks has published a comprehensive webpage
thatwillguideyouinselectingacertifiedvideocard,downloadtheappropriatedriversaswellashelpyouselect
preconfiguredDelldesktopsandmobileworkstations:
http://www.solidworks.com/sw/support/videocardtesting.html
With appropriate hardware in place, it is also important to have a plan for installation. It is a strong
recommendationbyourservicesteamtocreateandmaintainanadministrationimageforengineeringgroups
withgreaterthan10computers.Thebestwaytoinstalloffofoneoftheseadministrativeimagesiswithabatch
filethatissetupspecifictoyournetwork.Javelinserviceshashelpedmanyclientscreateandmaintaintheseso
thatallSolidWorksrelatedproductsareinstalledwithasingleclickandeveryoneontheteamhastheoptionto
remainsynchedonthesameservicepack.

Step2:Options,ToolbarsandAddins
With a clean installation of SolidWorks it is important to take a moment to customize it to your company
preferences andsharearecommendedsetupwith theentire team.Alittle bitoftimeinvestedhere canbe
returned very quickly because designers may otherwise never discover settings or toolbars that have the
potentialtosavethemalotoftime.
Options
There are numerous options that manipulate how SolidWorks behaves. There are a few that our technical
supportteamrecommendsonaregularbasisifacustomerislookingtoboostsomeperformanceandkeepin
controlofthebehavior.Belowareafewoptionsthatarerecommendedforeverysystem;however,itisworth
theinvestmentintimetohaveathoroughreadthroughalloftheoptions.

Page3of12

GuidetoanEfficientDesignTeam

JavelinTechnologies

Toolbars
Customizingtoolbarseffectivelycanhavealargeimpactonadesignersproductivity.Similartosystemoptions,
it is recommended to go through them thoroughly and add tools that will likely be used for your design
techniques and remove tools that will rarely be used. A commonly missed toolbar is the Shortcut bar. By
defaultthisdynamictoolbarcanbeaccessedbyhittingSonthekeyboard.Itspurposeistogiveadesigner
their most common tools for sketching, modeling, assembly and drawing right where the mouse is without
navigating to a fixed toolbar. It of course can also be customized and even mapped to different keys. If a
designerhasaspacepilotorafourthbuttonontheirmouse,thistoolbarshouldbeoneofthefirstthingsthatit
controls.
Addins
TherearenumerousaddinsforSolidWorksthatwillextendonthefunctionality.Ifthereareaddinsthatare
commonlyusedsuchasSolidWorksToolboxorSolidWorkseDrawingsitwouldberecommendedtoallowthem
toloadonstartup,butothersshouldonlybeactivatedwhenrequired.
Sharingcustomization
WiththetimeinvestedincustomizingtheseSolidWorkssettingsaswellasfollowingsomeofthenextstepson
templatesandlibraries,itisimportanttosharethesesettingsonallcomputers.Agoodwaytodothisiswith
the Copy settings wizard. Once this tool is used to save the settings, they can be opened from other
computers or simply used as a backup in case settings have gone corrupt and are causing problems. The
settingsfilecanalsobeincorporatedintoanadministrativeimageinstallofSolidWorks,sothatthesesettings
getcarriedovertoallfutureinstallsoftheproduct.

Step3:Chooseyourcustomproperties
Custom properties are textual fields associated with files. The purpose of them is to fill in title blocks
automatically,populatebillofmaterialsandtofindandorganizefilesmoreeasily.Determiningwhichcustom
propertiesyoushoulduseisrelativelysimple.Simplydecidewhatisimportanttoshowonthetitleblockorin
thebillofmaterialsandthenconsiderifthereisanythingelsethatwillhelpwithfindingfiles.Therearesome
cases as well where extra custom properties are added for special cases like linking effectively with an ERP
system.
One of the more challenging issues that companies have is getting designers to fill in the properties in a
standardizedway.EnterprisePDM,whichisSolidWorksmainstreamdocumentmanagementproduct,canhelp
Page4of12

GuidetoanEfficientDesignTeam

JavelinTechnologies

quiteabitinthisareabecauseitisexcellentatdrivinginformationautomaticallyintofileswithoutanyeffort.
AnothertoolthatJavelinhasdevelopedtohelpwiththissituationisPropertyLinks.Thistoolhelpsdevelopdrop
downlistsfordesignerstoselectfrominastandardizedwayandcanevenpullinformationfromanERPsystem
or other company database. There is a free version of this tool that offers many advantages over the native
SolidWorksmethods,availablehere:http://www.javelintech.com/propertylinksxpress

Step4:Standardizetemplatesandtitleblocks
Template files can give a designer a head start on each file when designing. For parts and assemblies, the
document properties are the most important part to review (i.e. Units and standards) and in some cases
predefined material can be created. (i.e. If many parts were made out of some stock material). The most
important template however is a drawing template because it will include a title block that can be setup to
automaticallypopulatewithyourselectedcustomproperties.Creatingadrawingtemplatecanbedoneeasily
byfollowingthesesteps:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Openadrawingwhichisclosetowhatyouarelookingfor
Addaviewofapartwithallofyourcustompropertiesalreadyadded
Editthesheetformatlayer(rightmouseclickonpaper>Editsheetformat)
Manipulatethelinesusingregularsketchtools
AddormanipulatecustompropertiesusingtheNotetool(seebelow)

6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

EditTitleBlockintherightclickmenuandselectwhichpropertiesshouldbeeditable(seeabove)
EditSheettoexitoutofthetitleblockediting
Reviewthedocumentpropertiestoensuretheycoincidewithcompanystandards(ie.ANSIorISO)
SelectSaveAsfromthefilemenuandchooseDrawingTemplate
Ifdesired,theSheetformatlayercanbesavedseparatelywhichallowsadesignertoswitchbordersin
middrawing.ThiscanbedonebyselectingSaveSheetFormatunderthefiledropdownmenu.

Page5of12

GuidetoanEfficientDesignTeam

JavelinTechnologies

Step5:Setupsharedlibraries
Usingsharedlibrariesnotonlymakessurethateveryoneisusingthesamecompanystandards,itcanalsomake
a designer more efficient because they can leverage the work another designer has done more effectively.
Common shared libraries and folder paths can be accessed through the system options. (See below) It is
important to review each of these paths and determine if its important to point all designers to the same
location.IfthesharedcontentshouldberevisionmanagedorappearinbillofmaterialsthenEnterprisePDM
shouldbeconsideredasalocation.Ifnot,thenasimplenetworkfoldershouldbesetup.

DesignLibrary
Thedesignlibraryislocatedin the taskpaneandisanidealspottosharefiles.Addingfolderstothedesign
librarycanbedonefromthelibraryitselfbyselectingthe
icon.Manyusersdonotrealizehowgreatit
canbeforsharingalotofothercontentaswell.Commoncontentthatisoverlookedislistedbelow:

Drawingnotes
Blocks
Weldandothersymbols
Tables

Page6of12

GuidetoanEfficientDesignTeam

JavelinTechnologies

SolidWorksToolbox
SolidWorksToolboxistheSolidWorkslibraryfornuts,boltsandotherfasteners.Thefoldercontents(bydefault
inC:\SolidWorksData)shouldbemovedtothenetworkorinsideoftheSolidWorksEnterprisePDMvaultfor
bettercontrolandcollaboration.Oncethere,itisimportanttopointeveryonetothatlocationandalsotorun
throughthetoolboxsetupwizardtosetupallofthepreferencesforeveryonetoshare.(Seebelow)Itcanbe
accessedthroughthesystemoptionsorunderthetoolboxdropdownmenu.(Note:Toolboxmustbeselected
undertheAddinsareaforconfiguringitanduse)

Step6:SetupJavelinsupport
It is important to be aware of the Javelin support contact information and
encourage users to use it if they run into difficulty. The most convenient
method of making the contact information available is to install Javelins
SolidProfessor addin. This will list the contact details and other useful
informationinthetaskpane(Seeright)ofSolidWorksandwillalsoencourage
userstocontinuouslyimprovetheirskillsbyprovidingthemwithshorttraining
videos.Theinstallationandaportionofthetrainingcontentarefreeandcan
bedownloadedfromthelinkbelow:
http://www.javelintech.com/solidprofessor

Step7:Makeaplanforskilllevelimprovement
Propertrainingcannotonlymakeanenormousdifferenceforproductivitybut
canalsoleadtofilesthatareinfinitelyeasiertochangeandleverageforfuture
projects.Ifyouareunsureofthegeneralskillleveloftheteam,agoodwayto
evaluateitiswiththeSolidProfessorassessment:www.javelintech.com/assessment
Javelin has also helped many clients evaluate their current design process to ensure the team is using best
practicesandisawareofsomeofourautomationmethods.Oncethesituationhasbeenproperlyassessed,itis
importanttolayoutaplanthatwillmoveskillleveltotheoptimallevelandwillalsomaintainthatskilllevelas
thesoftwareevolves.(Note:makesuretotakeadvantageofJavelinscomplimentaryupdatetrainingforevery
newrelease)
Page7of12

GuidetoanEfficientDesignTeam

JavelinTechnologies

Step8:Createastandardizedfolderstructure
It is important to think about how you should organize your files into folders. Investing the time upfront to
determinehowtoorganizeyourfolderseffectivelywillbereturnedwitheasewhennumerousemployeesare
workinginastandardizedway.Herearesomeoftheconsiderationswhendetermininganappropriatefolder
structureforyourbusiness:

Areyouproductbasedorprojectbased
Howmanyprojectsorproductsaredesignedayear(ifthenumberisover50thenyoushouldconsider
puttingtheminasubfolderforeachyear)
ArerevisionsgoingtobemanagedinfoldersorautomatedwithEnterprisePDM
Areotherdepartmentsgoingtobeviewingorcontributinginformation
Aretherecertainfilesthatneedmoresecureaccessrights

OnceafolderstructurehasbeendetermineditisbesttocreateatemplateinEnterprisePDMthatwillcreateit
automatically based on information captured by a user with the appropriate rights. This way you can
automaticallydriveitintoofficedocumentsanddrawingtitleblocks.

Step9:Makearevisionmanagementplan
Regardlessofthefrequencyatwhichchangesoccur,itisextremelyimportanttohaveadocumentedplanfor
howrevisionsarecapturedandspecificallywhentheyshouldtakeplace.Withoutthisplan,designerswillwaste
valuabletimerenamingfilesandfixingbrokenreferencesanditmaybeextremelydifficulttorollbacktoearlier
revisions in a predictable way. Even more importantly, some revisions may accidentally not be captured and
remodelingworkmaybeneededtorestoreapreviousstate.
Without a PDM system you may want to try using the Pack and Go functionality in SolidWorks to take
snapshotsoftheassemblyandassociateddrawings.Ifthisisthedesiredtechnique,itwillstillbeimportantto
clearlydefinewhentitleblocksaremanuallychangedtoreflectanewrevision.WithEnterprisePDMitismuch
easier to define when revisions occur (i.e. When it has already been approved for manufacturing, then any
changesneedtobecapturedasanofficialrevision)andupdatetitleblocksautomatically.Italsohastheability
toreliablyrevisefilesindividuallyinsteadofasanentirepackage.
MakingaplanandstickingwithitisthemostimportantaspectofISOcertification.Thisiswhyautomatingthe
revisioncontrolcanhavesuchalargeimpactontheefforttoobtainandmaintaincertificationssuchasthese.

Step10:Planforcollaboration
Fordesignerstoworktogetheronaprojectthefilesneedtobecentralizedinanorganizedway.Workingoffof
anetworkdrivemaysolvesomecommonproblemsbutisfarfromperfect.Themostcommoncomplaintfor
workingoffofanetworkdriveistheopenandsaveperformancebutitalsocommonlyleadstooverwrittenfiles
and broken references. The recommended way of having engineers work together effectively is Enterprise
PDM. With its checkin and checkout functionality, it has the ability to coordinate any size of engineering
departmentandbecauseitseamlesslyworksfromalocalcacheoffiles,performanceisnevercompromised.

Page8of12

GuidetoanEfficientDesignTeam

JavelinTechnologies

One other challenge that many companies are facing is collaboration outside of their walls. Enterprise PDM
becomesanessentialtoolinsituationswheremultiplebuildingsneedtoworktogetherbecauseitoffersoutof
theboxfilereplicationbetweensites.(Seebelow)Italsoofferstheabilitytoworkdirectlyoutofawebportal
which eliminates the confusion of emailing files or posting to FTP sites for the purpose of collaborating with
suppliersorclients.

Step11:Defineyourprocesses
Every company has some form of processes that makes it run. The most common process that design
departmentsimplementisanapprovalprocess.Tomakeadesigndepartmentrunefficientlyitisalsoimportant
toevaluatewhattakesplaceonadailyorweeklybasisandshouldthereforealsohaveanassociatedprocess.
By implementing processes, design teams work together systematically and can therefore obtain goals
efficiently.Hereisalistofcommonprocessesthatdesigndepartmentshavemappedout:

Approvalprocess

Changeorrevisionprocess

Deliveryofdrawingpackagetoclientorshopfloorprocess

Salesprocess(forcompaniesthatinvolveengineeringinsalesactivity)

Purchasingprocess

Designprocess(i.e.Datareuse,templates,useofspecificfunctionalitylikeSolidWorksWeldments)

Billofmaterialsapprovalprocess

This is another key area where Enterprise PDM is helping companies out. By centrally coordinating and
enforcingmostoftheseprocesses,companiesfindthattheyarereliablyfollowedwhilesavingtimeandeffort.
Ifyouhaveacompanyflowchartmadeup,itcaneasilybegraphicallyrecreatedinthesystem.(Seebelow)

Page9of12

GuidetoanEfficientDesignTeam

JavelinTechnologies

Step12:Automaterepetitivetasks
Nowthatyouhaveprocessesdefined,itisimportanttoidentifyandautomaterepetitivetasksthatarepartof
that process. The most common tasks that companies automate are administrative ones like printing or
producing PDFs, but depending on your product, there might be an opportunity to automate a portion or
perhapstheentiredesignprocess.Ifyouareanengineertoordertypecompanyandtwodesignersassigned
withthesamedesignparametersshouldtheoreticallyproduceidenticaldesigns(becausetheyarefollowingthe
same design rules), then there is a good chance that these rules can be mapped directly into DriveWorks to
control SolidWorks to output the same design in a matter of minutes. Here is a list of some common time
consumingtasksthatJavelinishelpingcompaniesautomate:
AdministrativeTasks
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Exportingdrawingsasotherformatswhenapprovedformanufacturing(i.e.PDF,DWG,DXF,eDrawing)
Printingentiredrawingpackagesandsendingfilestotheappropriateprinterbasedonsheetsize
ExportingBOMforimportintoanERPorMRPsystem
Fillingintitleblockswithapprovername,dateandupdatingrevisionnumbers
Informingdesignersorotheremployeeswhenafileneedstheirattention
Creatingprojectfolderstructuresandcommonprojectfiles(i.e.Projectplan,quotes,assemblies,etc)

DesignTasks
1.
2.
3.
4.

Changingdimensionswithoutknowledgeofhowthemodelsweredesigned
Replacingcomponentsbasedonselectedoptions
Suppressingandunsuppressingcommonfeaturesbasedonrulesaboutthedesignandoptionsselected
Producingupdateddrawingpackageswithproperlyscaledviews

Page10of12

GuidetoanEfficientDesignTeam

JavelinTechnologies

SalesTasks
1. Producingquotesbasedonrulesaboutthedesignoutput(i.e.Massofmaterials,numberofcuts,etc.)
2. ProducingcustomerdeliverablessuchasphotorenderingsoreDrawingsofdesignproposal
3. Bypassingengineeringalltogetherforcompletelyautomateddesigns

Step13:Integratewithotherengineeringdepartments
Now that the mechanical engineering group is working efficiently, there is still room for engineering wide
improvements by integrating with other departments. The top departments that are usually integrated with
MechanicalEngineeringareElectricalEngineeringandManufacturingProgramming.
ElectricalEngineering
Dependingonthetypeofelectricalengineeringthatyoudo,therecommendedsolutionmayvary.Forsmaller
electronicsandcircuitboarddesign,itisimportanttounderstandthefullcapabilitiesofCircuitWorkswhichis
integrated with SolidWorks Premium. For doing logical schematics for wiring and cable harnesses (as well as
most other aspects of electrical engineering) it is important to understand the electrical design product that
JavelinworkswithcalledZukenE3WireWorks.Notonlydoesitoffermanyadvantagestoelectricalengineers,
italsointegrateswithSolidWorksRoutingforcablesizingandEnterprisePDMforaunifiedbillofmaterials.
ManufacturingProgramming
Many companies will take this step much earlier because it has the potential to reap high rewards, but it is
important to leverage your 3D models as best you can for CNC code generation. Javelin has some
recommendationsbutitcanchangealotdependingonyourneedssoitisbesttotalkwithus.

Step14:Adoptcontinuousimprovementmentality
Nowthatyouvegonethroughthisguideandarehopefullyimplementingsomeoftherecommendations,you
areonthepathtohavinganefficientdesignteam.Astechnologyevolves,businessgoalschangeandmarkets
openuporclose,itisimportanttoreflectbackonthisguideortalkwithsomeonefromJavelinperiodicallyto
seeifthereisopportunityforfurtherefficiencygains.Belowisourcontactinformation:

Phone:187721WORKS(96757)
Salesemail:sales@javelintech.com
Supportemail:support@javelintech.com
Web:www.javelintech.com
GuideAuthor:eric.vanessen@javelintech.com

Page11of12

GuidetoanEfficientDesignTeam

JavelinTechnologies

Appendix
Listedbelowismoreinformationabouttheproductsfeaturedinthiswhitepaper:
DriveWorks
DriveWorksisaSolidWorksAddinproductthatallowsyoutocaptureandreusetherulesneededtospecify,
design, manufacture and EngineertoOrder. With DriveWorks you can automate repetitive tasks and
automaticallygeneratedesignandmanufacturingoutputsrequiredtocreatenewandvariantproducts.Youwill
savetimeandbeabletospecifytheproductswhilstmaintainingyourengineeringcontrols.
http://www.javelintech.com/main/products/driveworks_design_automation.htm
PropertyLinksXpress
PropertyLinksXpress is a FREE SolidWorks addin product, created by Javelin, that allows the easy and
consistent input of custom file properties into SolidWorks documents. Integrated with the SolidWorks
PropertyManager,simplytypeorselectvaluesfrompredefinedliststoaddcustompropertiestomodels.
http://www.javelintech.com/propertylinksxpress
SolidWorks
Straightforward 3D CAD software, offering unmatched 3D design capabilities, performance, and easeofuse.
Evaluatemoredesignalternatives,reduceerrors,andenhanceproductquality.Create3Dmodelsfromexisting
2Ddatawiththebestavailabletransitiontools.Enjoyunmatcheddesigncommunicationcapabilities.
http://www.javelintech.com/solidworks
SolidWorkseDrawings
SolidWorkseDrawingsisanidealtoolforanyonethatneedstosharedataandcollaboratewiththeirextended
design team. SolidWorks eDrawings eliminates the communication barriers that designers and engineers deal
with daily. SolidWorks eDrawings gives you and your extended design team the tools necessary to visualize,
interpretandcollaboratewith2Dand3Dproductdesigndata.
http://www.javelintech.com/main/products/solidworks_edrawings_professional.htm
SolidWorksEnterprisePDM
SolidWorks Enterprise PDM is a product data management (PDM) software solution based on proven
technologythatcanbedeployedinafractionofthetimerequiredforotherenterprisePDMsystems.Helping
organizations to manage and share product data more effectively and automate workflow to allow better
collaboration from engineering to the shop floor, resulting in better products, lower costs, and faster time to
market.
http://www.javelintech.com/pdm
ZukenE3.WireWorks
E.WireWorks is a Windows-based, modular, scalable and easy-to-learn system for electrical design of
wiring, harnesses, and cable assemblies. Its modules include Schematic (for circuit diagrams), Cable
(for advanced electrical design), Panel (for cabinet and panel design), and Formboard (for wiring
harness nail board drawings).
http://www.javelintech.com/main/products/e3wireworks.htm
Page12of12