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Video: Q&A with Ian Yates

As DriveWorks 16 SP2 was released last week, Mike Loftus, Technical Specialist at DriveWorks caught up with our longest serving member of the team, Ian Yates to get his opinion on how DriveWorks has changed as a product and as a company, our vast technical documentation, the great enhancements made in DriveWorks 16 and using DriveWorks alongside SOLIDWORKS.

DriveWorks 16 SP2

This service pack continues our DriveWorks journey from creating the first automated rules-based SOLIDWORKS designs to full company integration and web technology, pushing the boundaries even further with DriveWorks 16. 16 SP2 contains great new features, functions and enhancements. Lots of tools for working smart and creating spectacular configurators.

To explain some of these and also to gain his opinion on how DriveWorks has changed with design, manufacturing and company trends over the years, I have asked long-term team member and part of the DriveWorks foundations, Ian Yates for his thoughts.

Firstly, Ian, how much do you feel DriveWorks has changed both as a company and as a product over the years?

“Taking a look around at all the premises at our headquarters that we now have, along with the departments and members of staff, that is a huge change from the small office we operated out of when we first moved here.”

“The company has grown extensively.”
“When I joined DriveWorks back in 2001, I went out on the road with resellers showing demos of DriveWorks.”

“We now have lots of customers who have a diverse range of products, our customers come from many different countries and we provide support to the resellers we have worldwide. They are now technically equipped with lots of resources that we have provided.”

“Our staff and company structure mean we can exceed expectations and provide for change.”

“Our product has changed massively too. Becoming a SOLIDWORKS Gold partner and DriveWorksXpress being included with SOLIDWORKS gave designers and engineers a glimpse of how repetitive tasks could be automated, an important consideration for design intent.”

“Designing our own rules engine in DriveWorks 6 gave us much more possibilities which has extended to the full multi-purpose configurator that DriveWorks Pro has become.”

“I think that DriveWorks Solo filled a gap so we now have a product for every Design and Manufacturing company which is completely scalable as companies want to do more.”

You provide documentation to support customers and resellers. Our own staff use the same resources for internal training.

This must be something you are proud of?

“Yes. Glen always wanted good online help files as part of our commitment to helping others to help themselves.”

“We have adapted our help files over time as web and browser technology has improved. Our system now is well organised, it has to be, we link our help files to so many other resources such as tips and tricks, what’s new blogs, videos and webinars etc.”

“I can work on our help files offline then automatically update online as new functionality goes live. All nice and slick and up-to-date and yes it provides internal training too”

You trained me in DriveWorks way back in 2002 and I have used it in industry and as a SOLIDWORKS trainer. To me, DriveWorks 16 is packed full of tools to cater for so many departments found in every company, everyone can make their mark on the design of a fantastic configurator.

A big leap forward would you say?

“Yes absolutely.”

“DriveWorks 16 lets everyone make good use of the latest web technology, data integration, security, super creative forms and has further enhanced our 3D capabilities which look fantastic and continue to be developed through some new goodies in our service packs.”

“We have redesigned some of the interfaces for workflow, our spec macros are easier to understand which makes them easier to change and troubleshoot.”

“This massively aids our CPQ capabilities and everything is tested using our internal Mass Gen project which includes testing with versions of SOLIDWORKS.”

What changes have you seen in DriveWorks to support the ever-changing Design and Manufacturing techniques specifically for SOLIDWORKS users?

“Starting with DriveWorks 14 we started to introduce Model Generation Tasks which means that as DriveWorks is generating a model, it can now get SOLIDWORKS to do stuff too as the model is created. This might be creating a view and rendering the model in that view. Creating new custom properties and adding to Bills of Materials. Auto ballooning, deleting dangling dimensions or even mating components in an assembly. These tasks have now extended to creating CAM data including GCode, MBD Data in 3D PDFs as well as integrating with SOLIDWORKS PDM Pro.”

“A lot of our new functionality allows the creation and movement of data to create Bills of Materials by various means for different departmental needs. Add that to the ability to integrate with live data, such as current steel prices etc, shows how aware we are of current design and manufacturing methods and also industry standards.”