Ok I know I am opening a can of worms here but I looking for a good place to
find a comparison of Cad packages. I would like to find non biased info on
Solidworks, UG, PROE, Catia and even the infamous VX and any other that are
in the same class. Our assemblies are large 3000 to 6000 components Art to
part type lots of curvy stuff.
looking for about 25 + seats FEA, Thermal, Flow , Structural Freq, PDM
system Pluggin to a unknown MRP system looking for a solution there to.
We currently have 14 seats of SW 05 sp2. PDMworks Cosmos
We design Aircraft mounted EO sensor packages with allot of curved shapes
Mass properties are extremely important due to having a balanced system
collaboration is a important consideration with outside vendors
I have been lurking in this group for 2 plus years and see stuff about ProE
but mostly VX and from what I have seen posted I have a bad taste in my
mouth on that one
Start by seeking out the products built by manufacturers that exhibit the
"Highly capable, innovative, and enthusiastic team with common goals and
values. The values held and the expectations for all team members are:
- Mutual respect and trust
- Pride in our Products
- Ethics, Honesty, Integrity, and Initiative
Our goal is to be a responsive, respected, value-adding team member for
client programs and we are committed to this success. "
If this looks familiar, it should. It's from your own web site and is the
reason your company is excellent and successful.
Everything else is just mechanics and therefore easy to evaluate with a
My own 2c here would be to get CATIA and not to fool around with the
First of all when considering SW I would most definitely point you
toward keeping CAD and CAE tools separate. I don't have a problem with
SW producing the "swoopy" shapes needed for aircraft or most anything
else. Salvador, Eaton, Wilson and others have gotten extremely good
results out of SW in that area. I have to ask how large your
assemblies may get.
In the area of interoperability with imported geometry you will
probably have some concerns. SW just doesn't go the whole 100 yards in
this area. But there are addins or better, standalone packages from
places like Capvidia that can do an outstanding job of getting you past
I mentioned in the beginning standalone CAE tools. I am not a big fan
of integrated tools. Documentation of models is one big issue I have.
If you know FEA you know that the results are good for the geometry
used at the time of analysis. It is all too easy to change the model
after an FEA run and lose the geometry. For that reason I prefer
products like DesignStar, Cosmos/M, NEiWorks and NE Nastran. When you
do the analysis you also get a file (either text or binary) that
contains the geometry you analyzed. It can be archived will little
change of inadvertent changes. In addition, standalones don't tie up a
seat of SW while running. I have used all the products I have just
listed. Also, standalone may give you economies of networking fewer
You can't beat Nastran for modal analysis and if you go with NE/Nastran
you can do structural, thermal and they even have a flow package,
though I haven't used it. NE/Nastran uses the FEMAP preprocessor which
is a bit antiquated, but very capable.
In addition for CFD I use CFDesigner. I have also used FloWorks, but I
prefer CFDesigner and own a seat.
You will find nothing that is unbiased. It is up to you to identify a few
systems to look at, and probably narrow it down to a list of 3 or 4 to
actually benchmark with a comprehensive example of your product performing a
complete workflow from concept to retirement of your designs, and I'm not
talking about getting eval copies. I'm talking about creating a script that
contains both a portion that the vendor recieves in advance of the
benchmark, and a part that the vendor recieves as they are performing the
benchmark. It will take some time and effort, but making the wrong decision
can cost much more in the long run.
It is built on the Catia V5 kernel. It's native files are Catia V5.
Price is a little higher than SolidWorks but with their specials it may
be the same. 3000 to 6000 components should be a breeze for the Catia
V5 kernel but check with impactxoft directly of course.
Both Intel and Catia (Dassault)are owners of impactxoft.
They have a free 30 day
Best of luck!
This would be the bad taste I was talking about
As a matter of fact I have downloaded VX Jon but with all the crap you post
here it has already clouded my judgment you by far are the worst salesman
and are hurting VX's sale more than your are helping keep up the good work
Thanks all for the useful information it will help us in deciding on or next
cad package Catia and UGNX are what we are leaning toward at the moment and
I will also be looking at impactxoft
If Pro-e wildfire now has an interface that doen't need such a steep
learning/re-learning curve as before, PLUS is faster and MORE stable
than solidworks and the advanced surfaces package IS included (as per
recent deal offers) ... it really would give me all I ever want in
solidworks, for about the same price & maintanence.
Pro-e wins out over other similar alternatives that are (maybe) higher
up the CAD ladder (VX ??, ImpactSoft) because it has a wide user and
VAR base, an active user community, so native file exchange (with
history/feature tree) wouldn't be a problem, and there would be people
to discuss it with.
I wonder if Paul S would chip in here ?? (as he uses both SWKS &
pro-E ... both 'in-anger' !)
Otherwise i have so much learning time and experience invested in
Solidworks - a move to another CAD package would have to be well
worthwhile......Pity solidworks is so fixed on new 'funky' features to
attract new users and less on stability, and more professional
Recent discussion with my VAR indicated that the unhappiness with
Featureitis has resulted in CEO McEleney saying publicly that core
issues must be fixed up first.
I am assuming that users have hammered long and hard enough to where
someone's head started hurting back at SWks corporate office.
Thus I am hoping to see some serious fixes coming down the pike.
I didn't think it was hard to pick up at all. Certainly as easy as Acad /
The ISDX deal has expired (Pro/Surface isn't anything to laugh at, tho'),
currently is Mechanica Stress and Thermal, next will be ...?
The rest is subjective.
It will be interesting to see where SW decides to go. Pro/E has plunged
into the mid-range market in a big way, Autodesk has decided to forego CAD
and is trying to create a Leggo Assembler market, Solid Edge going for the
mid to high end, everyone is working on the 2D Acad legacy holdouts, 64 bit
will allow really large assembly work without going to Unix platforms
(won't help those where the performance sucks), ... Interesting times
Learning time invested in SW is invalidated about every two releases
because of the incessant reorganization of the interface. So you aren't
losing as much. I think one advantage of the old Pro/E "unfriendly"
interface was that once learned, you didn't have to relearn it every
If you don't believe me, add up the pages in the 2004 and 2005 What's
New. Then realize that those are just overviews and that many new pages
would have to be digested just to use all the new "interface" features.
Ah! The "development" shell game. Make new toolbutton icons, shuffle the
interface, add a new feature and some new bugs. (Ad$k magic show, tainted
the whole market.)
That's a little "iffy" as long as WF's UI is being developed. There is a
difference in that you aren't dangling waiting for the next "carrot"
feature, release to release. The biggest difference, I think, is that you
just have to experience the growing pains associated with revamping an
interface to mature, solid foundations vs. trying to develop the
foundations, patch the cracks in the walls, add rooms, ...
I ran UG back at v16 and it still leaves a bad taste - I'm a product
designer who takes breaks from cad work as the projects progress and
need different inputs (eg trips to far east, etc.) ... with UG there
was just so much non-intuitive stuff to take in that I had to
're-learn' it everytime after a break. Catia looks good tho' grown up
BUT .... the Bottom line with both these for me is the cost (incl
maintenence is just too high for my v small biz) . I still also think
they are aimed at the full time CAD user - they have to be really, to
justify their costs - and hence intuitivenes for casual users is well
down the list of priorities ....... but hey, I'd love to be
contradicted on this.
Maybe after all solidworks is the best of a bad bunch and what I want
(intuitive interface, coupled with professional strength power and
stability) will be around sometime in 2012 ;-)