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Design Automation goes Mainstream

When SolidWorks Corp first approached us to incorporate DriveWorksXpress into core SolidWorks for their 2008 release, we were obviously pleased. We have spent a long time preaching the good word for Design Automation, always believing it to be a mainstream market.

The problem in getting there, I believe, has been in the words.

Have a look at our partner category for SolidWorks (Knowledge Based Engineering). I have to admit that we didnt take too much notice of the category back in 2002; it seemed like a good idea at the time although now I understand how it held us back.

Knowledge Based Engineering sounds hard. It sounds like the type of activity that you need to be really really smart to do, and have a lot of time to do. It sounds like it will run complex algorithms to work out the size and shape of an aircraft wing based on flight time, weight, aerodynamics and material analysis. It sounds as though it will run for 10 days and come up with a series of answers that require interpolation rather than arriving at a perfect solution.

Thats not what DriveWorks does, at all. DriveWorks does Design Automation. Design Automation is where you already know the outcome; you are just too busy to do it. Yes it will calculate sizes, select features and requirements so that you dont have to, and yes it will create new files in all the right places, create rescaled drawings, documents and send data throughout your company. These are all tasks that you could do yourselves, and have been doing for a long time. Design Automation through DriveWorks just does it a whole lot quicker and more accurately. It also allows others in the company to fill out the forms, and create all of that data.

You will also see from the partner listing that there are now 8 companies in our category. A sure sign that it is a mature market. Another sign is the research that SolidWorks commissioned before talking to us about DriveWorksXpress. The research showed 2 things.

  1. 65% of engineers say that 50% or more of their products are based on variations on a theme.
  2. Requests for custom products are on the increase, while requests for standard products are decreasing.

The final indicator of mainstream applicability comes from other CAD vendors. Autodesk bought Engineering Intent a while back, Dassault bought KTI (ICAD), PTC are partnering with RuleStream, Unigraphics have Knowledge Fusion and of course SolidWorks now have DriveWorksXpress in their core product.

Long may the design automation revolution continue!