A long request for help - changing CAD tools

*****BEWARE - This is a long drawn out request for help***********
I recently started a new job where they use IDEAS as the CAD tool of
choice. Although they have this powerful tool, they do not use the 3D modeling aspect of it. They claim that it was not needed. So what they have is a lot of drawings with no model behind it. Some of the engineers are just starting to get into the modeling portion but there is no real library of part or assemblies that have been completed. I do not think the engineers really have a good sense of how to model with the tool since they have been repeatedly told to not use their AutoCAD software.
Because many of our customers (95%) use Catia, we have a few licenses on hand to read in their files into IDEAS and create DXF files. They really do not have a good handle on 3D IGES, STEP or Parasolid files.
So, I have been told that since I am new and "bring fresh new ideas" I can make some suggestions as to how to go forward. My first suggestion is to go start looking for a mid-range modeler since the designs can easily be done in that type of tool. I am going to suggest SolidWorks for several reasons:
A) I'm biased to this tool
B) Ramp up time
C) Opportunity to package it with PDMworks, since they have no PDM system at this time
D) Price vs. Catia or IDEAS - To that point, does anyone know what a seat of IDEAS costs? This would be a bare bones version, with modeling and drafting capabilities and maybe some FEA. I know the first thing going to be asked is $$$$$?????
E) Most of customers have Catia and from what I have read in some other threads Dassault has a translator ImpactXoft (sp?) that works well between these two packages.
F) Many of the vendors we have already use SolidWorks and working with them would be much easier.
G) Finding experienced IDEAS CAD users in this area is not easy. They seem to gather around the Michigan (automotive) and Washington State (airplane) design centers. The company I am working for is a supplier to the airplane industry.
H) It reads directly into another tool that we use extensively called Lectra. This would help out tremendously.
I really do not want to debate the pros and cons of SolidWorks vs. other tools. What I would like to have is some help in putting together some type of presentation to show the head of engineering to convince him to even look at making a change.
Any ideas where to start on this?
Anybody have the opportunity to make a presentation to change culture at there place of employment?
Any help would be appreciated
Rich D.
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Rich D wrote:

....
Analysis Points to Recognize & Learn About:
1. You are in aircraft industry and that sets a major trend with CNC jobs being near universal. 2. Suppliers use Catia & SolidWorks...Unigraphics 3. Customer uses Catia... 4. Virtually all CNC processes including Rapid Prototyping today need 3D solids to be in existance to create the CNC toolpaths easily, so if speed counts... 5. Assessing assembly design viability and clearances in 2D leads to lots of errors, and LOTS of time, compared to 3D solids. 6. Stress and flow analysis built in to SolidWorks (or as high-end add-ins) can lead to better design decisions before the design is committed to first parts. 7. Collaboration both internally and then external to your company is far easier with 3D solids. 8. Non-CAD literate managers, sales, and manufacturing people can make excellent use of 3D solids review using eDrawings without any real training. 9. Bills of Material are a lot easier inside of a 3D CAD assembly. 10. Eliminating just a few mistakes in 3D, can save large sums of $s, if not even a customer. 11. Sheet metal is a heck of a lot easier in 3D...& less prone to errors. 12. PDM will pay dividends.
But...it takes comittment to do the training & implement it all. Hiring a SolidWorks Cert. Professional might make a lot of sense.
Bo
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Bo: Thx for the input and I agree with you on the points mentioned. I replied with ******preceding my comments.
Thx Again
Rich
*********BoC wrote******** Analysis Points to Recognize & Learn About:

******* Understood and agree.

******** I can use that as a selling point. UG is not really used by our vendors much.

********Correct
*********They never have sent 3D solid information to the vendor. The usually sent a drawings only and maybe some DXF files. Don't ask........

*********I think they are staing to realize this themselves.

can lead to better design decisions before the design is committed to first parts. ********** Correct, and already mentioned to them.

********** Correct, and already mentioned to them.

********** Correct, and already mentioned to them.

**********Since we ned to have BOMs and drawings tree assemblies created this will help.

********** Also gets the job done quicker because you are not checking your drawings for every single little dimension. The 3D solid has much of the information embedded.

***********They were using an archaic method to lay out the sheetmetal patterns sent to the supplier. I almost fainted when shown what they do.

***********Definitely. Presently there is no way to tie all the work together besides have many eyes checking.

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are you sure about H)?
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According to Lectra's website and informational brochure located at the link below this is true.
http://www.lectra.com/binaries/designconcept_techtex_industrial_fabrics_pdf_tcm27-56638.pdf
Additonal information is given about the the translator with CATIA is located here
http://www.lectra.com/en/industrial_fabrics/options/designconcept_industrialfabrics_3d_catia_v5_translator.html
Rich
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OK I see that import of native SW files is listed on p5 of the PDF.
Looking at the optional Catia translator info though I think the file extensions are different. SW handles Catia as .cgr in/out - dumb parts for viewing...
BTW sorry if I underestimated your enterprise in your last post - I thought you had a one off issue you wanted a soln for - we do our best to be helpful here :o)
Next time I pass the local company I will drop in a copy of the Lectra PDF. They could sure use something like this...
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Here in the Toronto area, there are many companies that design and sell parts to the auto industry. They are all fored to use I-deas, Catia, and UG by their clients. Most of them around here also use SolidWorks for internal drawings. One of the reasons I believe, is that SolidWorks shares data with other CAD systems so well. When we were looking, we found many CnC shops and protoype shops we dealt with were using SolidWorks for this same reason. Brad
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Rich, I would recommend that you call your local UGS rep. Since Ideas is a UGS product, you could probably get an upgrade deal on either NX or Solid Edge. Both products have some ability to read in Ideas data. Lectra will also read Solid Edge native files, and if you need to continue with your 2D workflow for some reason, Solid Edge's 2D environment is very good. It will also read/write Catia model files.
Ken

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I-Deas is being merged with Unigraphics NX, and there has been good interoperability between the two systems for a number of releases. With the latest releases, this has been taken virtually to its conclusion with the ability to fully migrate I-Deas data to NX, with all associations between parts/assemblies/drawings fully in tact.
This may not be of great interest to you if your company does not have much 3D data. However, what may be of interest is that there is free license transfer from I-Deas to NX, so that might be a good route to go down.
Before you ditch I-Deas, here's a few other points to note:-
- it comes with data management built in - it can't be used without it. The standard offering is TDM (Team Data Manager) which gives full check in/out + revision control + concurrent engineering for all I-Deas data, but not files from other apps. It's bullet proof. The alternative is TeamCenter Engineering, which is an Oracle or SQL based system, that has modules for anything you can think of, and can handle any sort of data and even multiple CAD systems. TCEng is also the PDM system for NX.
- I-Deas has some of the best (if not THE best) analysis tools you can buy, not just counting those that you can buy as add-ons for a CAD system. Many companies buy these tools to use with other CAD systems.
- Solidworks doesn't have data management and as I'm finding out in my new job, it's a complete pain in the ass without it!! Sure you can get the very basic PDM-works, or other 3rd party apps, but I know of companies that have had many problems wih these.
- I-Deas has first-rate 2D draughting capabilities, and although I've been a 3D convert for the last 15 years, there are many times when you need a 2D drawing. SolidWorks does not have much capability here, so you're stuck with learning/using DWG Editor as well.
The price of I-Deas varies greatly, depending on what you buy. There is a bundle called Artisan which has all the main part modelling tools (exceptions are advanced surfacing), all the assembly tools, draughting & data management. It costs around 4000 in the UK. It can rise quite steeply if you want to add other modules.
Hope this helps, John Harland

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John:
The points you mentioned are good but here are my viepoints on the matter
#1 - I-Deas is being merged with Unigraphics NX - Again, the company uses the tool in the same way that most people use AutoCAD. Their is very little in the way of models. Quite often I see people create the model and export it out as a DXF file so that it is "easier" to work with. They then throw away the model. I am not really concerned about loosing data in IDEAS.
#2 Data Managment - I have seen PDMWorks in use before and have not had a problem with it. IDEAS does have a strong data management system but it only handles IDEAS files. I would want to put all electronic data in this system and use it as a central repository for documentation.
#3 - I-DEAS has some of the best (if not THE best) analysis tools you can buy - If they used this tool, that would be a good argument. But, A) they really do not use it, and B) I could get the Cosmos in SolidWorks Office Professional package . I can find users out of college who have more exposure to this mush easier than the Nastran FEA package in IDEAS.
#4 - Solidworks doesn't have data management - As mentioned, I would look prefer to go after the SolidWorks Office Professional package, which includes PDMWorks built in.
#5 - I-Deas has first-rate 2D draughting capabilities - Now here is a point that I agree with you on. Because there are so much 2D drafting (sorry, I spell it the way of the Colonies) Solidworks may cause some heartache with the people trying to make quick 2D representation. If I can get the 2D drawings out of the equation, I probably can avoid this problem.
BTW, I just found out that resellers who represent UGS have been poking around where I work a couple of months ago trying to sell solidEdge. they pretty much had the same arguments I have outlined. Since they were from the outside, they were not received to well. they were given about an hour to explain their point. I was at another job at that time so I did hear their pitch. I know that they will probably be coming back very soon making another go at it. If I was here when they came around the first time, I would have agreed with them, begrudgingly.
Anyway, thanks for the feedback. Your points helped
Rich
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