We are now evaluating various 3D packages, inventor, pro-e, can anyone point
me in the direction of a good honest review of these packages for comparison
as the investment is considerable and we want to make the right choice?
Try searching this group for a discusssion on "Should I buy Solidworks"
There is some really interesting stuff in this thread covering
There are quite a few older discussions, too, which were very valuable
from people who use both SolidWorks and other 3D CAD systems.
There are a couple primary issues in today's integrated "Strategic
Supplier" type of relationships which are becoming more common over
time, which severely impact engineering.
1. What CAD system does your customer use, if he is another
manufacturer or requires 3D CAD for documentation or control?
2. What CAD system do your primary vendors & sub-contractors use?
3. How many parts are in your largest assemblies?
4. Do you have to run the company to the tightest ISO specs for
document control (PDM systems), like in the Aircraft or medical
5. Is your company willing to pay a VAR or consultant to help you
integrate and train employees and implement the various things needed
to get up to speed without making mistakes which may cost hundreds or
thousands of hours of frustration and lost time later, if you do it
"alone" and pick the wrong path.
6. What CAD system are you moving from and are you going to have to
convert key legacy data or ALL legacy data to the new system to make
best use of existing designs?
All these questions need to be seriously answered as to how they will
affect what you do regardless of which CAD package?
A little suggested reading.
The Chasm Companion by Paul Wieffels
The Innovator's Solution by Clayton Christensen
Seeing What's Next by Clayton Christensen
Competitve Strategy and Competitive Advantage by Michael Porter
Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore
The Gorilla Game by Moore
These CAD programs are pretty much the same for most users. You might
have a specific need that one of the chimps addresses.
Why would anyone buy 3D from the 2D company? Their 3D isn't even stand-alone
but bundled with their flagship Acad. Where's John Walker when we need him?
I had a look at your company's website to get a feel for what it is you
want to do with SW. Now a few questions:
1. What CAD system are you currently using?
2. Do you have any kind of ERP system or PDM system already in place?
3. How many thousand parts do your machines currently have?
4. What CAD system do your engineer's and draughtsmen have the most
5. How many seats of CAD will you need?
6. Do you construct most of the parts in house or purchase most of your
I will say that I have worked in two places that make assemblies
similar to yours and that used SW. SW was quite capable of doing the
work, but the human factor did come into play and had much more to do
with any problems that cropped up. The moral is, whichever system you
eventually get, you will have to get everybody up to speed together and
quickly. There are ways to do that with SW as I suppose there are with
other systems. You will want to evaluate your VARs expertise and real
world experience as much as the CAD.