I know this question has been asked before but I'm unable to locate the thread. I'm looking for insights to the strengths and weakness of CoCreate versus Solidworks. CoCreate's "dynamic" modeler seems to be very flexible, but along with that flexibility must come trade offs. I haven't see anything that suggests it has a good 2D drawing packages. Your thoughts and opinions welcomed.
I spent the past 6 months convincing the president of our company that Solidworks was the way to go as an upgrade path from Mechanical Desktop. At the last minute he ask me to run it past the engineering group at corporate in France. They are the largest rough terrain forklift manufacturers in the world and we are a small 150 employee division here in the states of them. They give our proposal a cursory look and say "No, you should go with Cocreate". End of story, we now own 6 seats of SolidDesigner. The nearest sales office to us (we are in central Texas) is Colorado and the nearest user group is 3 states away. I would be curious what others have to say, we are just getting started.
It's been seven or eight years since I've used SolidDesigner (now OneSpace Designer, or something like that), but I'll give it a shot.
A dynamic modeler and a history-based modeler are very different and play to different strengths. Simple examples illustrate the differences best. In a history-based modeler, to move a boss, you need to find the feature in the feature tree and change whatever sets its location. In a dynamic modeler, you select all of the faces and move it. If you're doing families of similar parts, the first is great. If you're working on an imported part, the second is great. For people who like to think ahead and plan things out thoroughly, the first seems more appropriate. For people who would rather try something out quickly and cut and try till they get the result they like, the second may feel better.
We design plastic parts that have hundreds of features. Sometimes it's hard for me to remember how and why I built features the way I did, and I can imagine it would be really difficult for someone coming in to the part cold. A dynamic modeler would be great in that situation. On the other hand, most plastic parts get made by shelling a basic shape. With a history-based modeler, I can go back and change the original shape, then watch the shell and all of the other features rebuild. (Granted, often with a "tree of blood"!) With a dynamic modeler, it could be very hard to pull the right faces into the new shape, depending on how the shape changes.
Some of the engineers I know who have switched from SolidDesigner to Pro/E or SolidWorks have been really happy with the change. Others live with the new software, but wish they could go back.
As far as 2D goes, back in the old days, SolidDesigner was a solid modeler with links to ME-10, a 2D drafting package. When I quit using it the links were getting quite strong. ME-10 itself was a nice 2D system and had a really strong market share in Europe. My memories are fading, but I'm pretty sure it beat the pants off of SolidWorks for drafting. I had to use AutoCAD LT a bit in my last years with HP, and I couldn't stand it, compared to ME-10, but maybe that was just because of the familiarity factor.
Jerry Steiger Tripod Data Systems "take the garbage out, dear"
You have listed one of the great strengths of UG or NX as they now call it. You can treat a model as a dumb solid or as history based. It has the capability to do both and also treat some dumb geometry as if it had it's roots in feature based modeling.
We have used SolidWorks since 1999. We have been working with a client that uses One Space Solid Designer for the past 30 months. 2 years ago, I had 2 weeks of training in O.S.D.
Jerry Steiger's post accurately describes the differences between the two applications. From my point of view, I find OSD very difficult to understand and use. It just seems cumbersome and many more mouse clicks are required to get a task completed. OSD seems to have difficulty exporting .step and .iges files accurately.
We have used CoCreate ME10 (now OneSpace Drafting) and SolidDesigner (now OneSpace Modeling) since 1991 when CoCreate was HP's Mechanical Design Division. ME10/OSD is a superb drafting product, and SolidDesigner/OSM is an attractive dynamic modeling product. As others have accurately noted, models created using OSM can be easily changed without any consideration of how the model was constructed (there is no history tree).
Two years ago we reassessed our design tools and chose to migrate to SolidWorks for essentially two reasons. First, we found SolidWorks had more, better-integrated features for a similar price. Second, CoCreate's presence is not as strong in North America as in Europe and Asia. This limited our ability to attract designers with CoCreate experience.
My office used to use CoCreate exclusively and have migrated to SolidWorks for a variety of reasons...most of which boil down to dynamic VS history-based modelling. A couple of points I'd like to offer:
SolidWorks *can* handle solids 'dynamically'. The addition of the 'delete and patch', 'replace face' and 'move face' commands goes a long way to bridging the divide between the two methodolgies. If the history bothers you on a particular part, you can always export then import a parasolids file.
SolidDesigner is VERY stable. It locked up periodically, but you were able to kill the offending process without taking down the entire program. For instance, if I'm trying to do a complex fillet and it hangs for hours on the operation, I can kill the fillet command from the DOS prompt, save my work in SolidDesigner, and restart it. Very rarely did it ever crash catastrophically (something I can't exactly say for SolidWorks).
I don't have any experience with it, but I understand that CoCreate has added some parametric tools to their modeller. They *might* make SolidDesigner behave more like a history-based modeller...but I just don't know.
The applicability of CoCreate's dynamic modeler to your business depends on the type of product you build and your engineering process. History based systems shine when 1) the same engineer owns the design throughout its lifecycle and 2) if families of parts are an important consideration. History based systems preserve "design intent" which is good, provided design intent doesn't change and is communicated. Dynamic modeling systems, on the other hand, are better in environments where designs tend to be one-off, where collaboration among engineers means many people will be working on the same product design, and where vast change is anticipated but the NATURE of the change cannot be anticipated.
Long time since I've used CoCreate but 2D drawing used to be a real strength (in the days when SldWks 2D was considerably more of a dog even than it is now).
I agree entirely with SFB's take on the respective merits of the underlying philosophies.
Taking a more in-depth look at the points he makes: Dynamic modelling reminds me of route-finding on back country roads in an SUV with multiple large scale maps and a compass, always making simple choices based on the destination of the moment, no grand plan. History-based modelling is more like taking to the freeways in a low-slung Grand Tourer, using a small scale map which only shows the major arterial routes. You will of course need to plan the entire trip in advance: this is easy when the whole trip can be seen on one map, and the options are laid out starkly; harder to do in the first example where the same destination is five sheets away from the starting point. Given a Perfect World, method 2 is always going to get you there faster and in better shape, using less gas, but in the real world you may find yourself having to go half way back to Chicago, if, in the last sector of a trip to St Louis, you discover that, right now, where you really need to be is Nashville, or you still want St Louis but the freeways have got jammed. Or maybe an officious state trooper gets under your radar screen and puts a crimp in your high performance. Forgive me if these are bad examples, but I hope you get the idea.
The freeway jam analogy reminds me that the history modeller combines high performance with high demands, like a freeway running near to maximum capacity. Consequently (AOTBE) it will throw more obstacles in your way -- moves which should work, instead bug out in this particular situation, with this service pack, etc. A dynamic modeller is lower performance in terms of 'built-in intelligence', hence there are lower demands in terms of overhead, inter-dependent program routines, yadda yadda. This makes it a lot less vulnerable to bugs, just as country roads are less prone to immobilising you irretrievably, especially in a proper 4WD. The dynamic modeller just puts metal on here and takes it away there, with little regard for, or vulnerability to, the finer points of how it got there in the first place, just as a 4WD lets you move from point A to point B with little regard for the small topological details of the terrain, whether the traffic information systems are working, or whether you made the right call twenty-eight miles earlier.