3DEXPERIENCE is an efficient and user-friendly way of managing all of your CAD related data. In the webinar on the 22nd of February, 2022 – Anders Wentzel and Christoffer Stokkebor gave a comprehensive overview over the advantages and functions users can benefit from on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
This webinar paved the way for an excellent Q&A session. The questions so good that we decided to gather 20 of them in this article. So that you too can reap the benefits of data management on cloud.
Benefits of 3DEXPERIENCE
Before we dive into the Q&A, we would like to talk a little bit about the benefits of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, and how it will benefit you and your business.
If you are currently using PDM, you might wonder what the differences between 3DEXPERIENCE and PDM are. In terms of Product Data Management, regular PDM is still superior when it comes to customizable workflows and automation. It is still “only” a Product Data Management tool, whereas the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is an entire ecosystem for the whole of the company, not just its files.
Everyone, from the designer and engineer to the machinist in the workshop, and the manager in the office can benefit from this system and its collaborative potential.
If we look at it from an engineer’s point of view, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform offers the following:
- Cloud based: It is no longer necessary to have a working VPN tunnel to the company when working from home or on the road. You just log on to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform from any available device with an internet connection, and you are ready to go.
- Communities: By creating communities through the Collaborative Business Innovator role you are practically removing the need for communication via email. You can create communities based on projects, and then invite only the relevant stakeholders so that communication about a specific project remains in one place.
- Dashboards: Using these allows you to customize the way you present data. Build your dashboard according to your own preferences and review your files and data exactly the way you like it.
- Tasks: The 3DEXPERIENCE platform allows you to create and assign tasks to yourself and your colleagues through the Project Planner and directly through the Collaborative Industry Innovator role. These tasks can be accessed from SOLIDWORKS, enabling you to attach specific files and work on them.
- Search Engine: It is no longer necessary to set up complex search cards. In 3DEXPERIENCE you can easily find what you are looking for by setting up parameters or filters – you can, among other things, search for specific attributes (properties), date of creation, author or just the file name.
As with regular PDM you lock (check out) files to avoid other users interfering with your work, move your files through a workflow (known as maturity state), and revise components when there is a change in design.
- Properties and Attributes
- Compatibility and Performance
- Files, Bookmarks, and Data Transfer
Properties and Attributes
- Can you set up data cards like in PDM, and set properties to be inherited from a project?
In 3DEXPERIENCE the Properties/Attributes menu is what we will call the Data Card. With the Classification Management Role, it is possible to create specific sets of Properties/Attributes which then are applied to specific files. It is also possible to create drop-down lists using these properties.
2. Can you update properties through a workflow, thus perform auto update on drawings?
The workflows are currently not as customizable as with regular PDM; therefore, it is not possible to update them automatically at this point in time. Every CAD file uses the same workflow, and documents use another.
Compatibility and Performance
3. Can you automate generation of both PDF and DXF when a drawing is released?
You can automate generation of PDF and STEP files. Automated generation of DXF files is not yet available on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
4. Is it possible to use 3DEXPERIENCE with SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic and 3D?
These roles does not integrate with SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematics and 3D, so at least for the moment being, it is not possible to reuse data and settings from your SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematics and 3D installation.
5. How well does 3DEXPERIENCE function with really large assemblies?
There have been examples of the platform handling assemblies with up to 10,000 parts. The actual performance largely depends on the PC, the internet connection, and computing power when working with SOLIDWORKS files.
6. How does the 3DEXPERIENCE platform function with highly configurable products 150% BOMs and different BOM contexts?
There are strong tools on the platform to make Configurable products with the 150% BOM structure. You can access these through the Product Manager role and the Model Definition app.
7. Can you use CustomTools on the platform?
No, CustomTools is not supported by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. You can still use CustomTools in collaboration with SOLIDWORKS, however, there is no direct link between CustomTools and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
8. When do you hit the limit in large assemblies? In EPDM we are currently reaching the limit around 100 parts.
100 parts seems like a low limit, and something could be wrong here. You can always reach out to our support team through a ticket. As mentioned before, there are examples of the platform handling 10,000 parts in an assembly. We have not been able to find a limit, if such a limit exists.
9. Is it possible to export XML BOMs or similar to other systems?
You can export CSV files, but not XML BOMs through the role Product Release Engineer.
10. Is there any functionality for ECR/ECO processes?
Yes, ECR is possible through the Collaborative Industry Innovator role with the feature “Change Action”. To create ECOs, the Change Manager role can be used.
11. How does this PDM system work together with Microsoft 365?
You can manage your Office files – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project and Outlook – from your desktop using a plugin via the 3DEXPERIENCE app “Collaboration for Microsoft”.
12. Is work with configuration fully supported in 3DEXPERIENCE?
Yes, configurations are fully supported in 3DEXPERIENCE.
13. What are the benefits with 3DEXPERIENCE versus Pro.file from Procad?
These are hard to compare side-by-side, as Pro.file seems to be a PDM plugin for Autodesk.
14. Can the platform handle JPEGs, Excel documents, Notes and so on, to ensure everything is in one place?
Yes, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can handle a lot of different file types.
Files, Bookmarks, and Data Transfer
15. Where are files stored? I’m thinking region etc. and is it only in the SOLIDWORKS Cloud, or can you host your own backend? Also, how about backup to external sites?
The files you upload are stored on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform in the Collaborative Spaces, there is, however, no simultaneous local back up. You can lock the files and keep a local copy in your cache folder, then work offline and make changes and upload the files again when you are satisfied. Bear in mind that the files you store and work on locally will not automatically be updated in the Collaborative Space, as locking the file and storing it locally severs the link between 3DEXPERIENCE and the file.
16. You mentioned some programs need on-premise install. How does data transfer work in these cases?
The installed apps (like the Design with SOLIDWORKS app) are creating a link between 3DEXPERIENCE and your computer, or a desktop application. This link is either activated automatically when needed, or when you set an action between for example SOLIDWORKS and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform in motion. The installed applications connected to software like SOLIDWORKS, or Microsoft 365 of course still needs the “original” version of the software installed.
17. What effort does it take to change from traditional PDM to 3DEXPERIENCE?
It really depends on how much “legacy data” you want to bring on to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Uploading large amounts of “legacy data” can be quite tricky. At the moment, all the uploading of data has to be handled from the same user on the same computer. Also, any Custom Properties on existing files needs to be set as Configurations Specific Properties instead. A variety of different tools are available to aid in this process, but it still requires a fair amount of manual work and planning.
18. Can you auto assign bookmarks or project custom properties to all files in a workspace?
Bookmarks cannot be assigned automatically at this time. Custom properties can be assigned automatically by setting up a mandatory attribute with a default value, or by using a SOLIDWORKS template. With the Classification Management role, it is possible to create specific sets of Properties/Attributes which are applied to specific files. Please see our article Locate your files in seconds by tagging them with bookmarks in the cloud, to learn more about bookmarks and tagging of files.
19. Is 3DEXPERIENCE included in the SOLIDWORKS Premium license?
No, 3DEXPERIENCE is not included in the SOLIDWORKS Premium license by default.
20. Is 3DEXPERIENCE going to replace SOLIDWORKS PDM?
This question is quite complex, and needs to be adressed by Dassault Systèmes.