SolidWorks or ProE?

Hello group, this topic may have been posted before but my firm is looking to either get SolidWorks or ProE to do our design work.

Our main work is machine design which consist of 1000 parts or more.

Can anyone give any advice on which would be the best for us?

Thanks in advance


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Don't get too bogged down in the software capabilities - there are plusses and minus in both camps which you could [and people do] argue the toss about forever - the capabilities of your team are more significant on how quickly and efficiently the job gets done. The bigger picture is whats going to really get you going later on when you've spent the money and are committed - oncosts, support, bug fixes, training, cost of additional modules, etc.

They should be up for leaving a setup with you for a month or so for you to play with - what ever you do, don't believe the hype. The Solidworks team in particular are very well rehearsed and slick when it comes to demo's and sales pitches.

Talk to customers from both sides who are a couple of years down the road about those things and you soon realise that how the assembly is managed or how you produce a set of drawings is not going to be your biggest nightmare.


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Sean Kerslake

A few years ago I worked on SolidWorks 2001 and ProE 2001 at the same time, converting an assembly that I had done in SW as a trial-run into ProE (we picked Pro).

One thing that I noticed was that, running on the same hardware, ProE had a definite performance advantage as more and more parts were brought into session. This was by no means as large an assy as yours will be - it had perhaps 200 components. Even just spinning the model in Pro was 2 or 3 times faster. Regen of the assembly drawing was also an order of magnitude faster.

While these are certainly not scientific or quantified observations, I distinctly remember being taken aback at how the two different systems handled complex assemblies.

Of course these observations are now ancient history. But SW is still wedded to the Parasolids kernel so I don't see how they are really able to gain any significant performance increase without a drastic rewrite, which would likely make migration of older parts problematic. Also, SW was aware of the problem - witness their introduction of 'lightweight' parts at about that time, whose functionality was specifically to address SW's shortcomings in that area.

Another consideration is downstream processes. Do you manufacture your

1000 item assemblies or farm them out? If you do them yourself you are going to need a lot of third-party applications, such as CAM. This is where ProE really shines (so does UG NX2, by the way). We're an OEM and generate all of our NC code directly from the original model, which virtually guarantees accuracy and makes engineering change and revision control part and parcel of toolpath creation (if you're using PDM such as Windchill or Intralink). Once you start creating IGES files of your parts or bring them outside of your PDM system to do manufacturing, you break that relationship between design and the shop floor.

I think that if you do kind of one-off designs that have no lifecycle to maintain, then Solidworks or Solid Edge are fine products for you - affordable, easy to learn, lots of third-party apps, slick in execution. If, however, you 'own' your designs and are responsible for turning them into reality and supporting them for years, a full-featured system (ProE, NX2, Catia) is going to serve you much better in the long term. SW or SE will look good for the first 6 or 12 months, but you will only start to see the real shortcomings of so-called 'mainstream' CAD when you've already started burying yourself.


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OlidWorks and Pro/E are not in the same class, Pro/E is a high end software SW a more midrange . Pro/E is complete , including surfacing and complex surfacing packages with SW you're stuck in simple shape and very basic surfaces. If you need any plastic design with some style surfacing capability then SW is not what you're looking for, you might take a look at the big step brother(sister) CATIA. For nits and bolts SW is just fine and also Pro/E will perform great also. The learning curve is way shorter for SW compared with Pro/E , took me one week to get pretty good at it coming from 8 years of Pro/E.

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Pro Designer

Pro/ENGINEER. Have used both, there is no comparison.

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