Design Automation

In today’s competitive, global manufacturing environment, small manufacturers need to take advantage of every opportunity. Offering customized products and services is a great competitive differentiator, but it requires being able to turn around proposals quickly, and then design and manufacture efficiently.

To succeed at custom manufacturing you must tap into the in-house expertise that has accumulated over the years. Parametric CAD systems hold the engineering secrets, but making that information useful in a competitive bid situation can be difficult. Razorleaf recommends the use of DriveWorks, a leading design automation tool designed to be used with SolidWorks. Design automation works with the engineering data in the 3D model, using it to prepare reports, manufacturing diagrams, and to provide custom bids.

Why Design Automation?

Each new sales inquiry puts pressure on valuable engineering resources to create proposal documents, approval drawings, and best-guess costing quickly. And there is no guarantee the inquiry will become an order. The process takes time away from the vital work of re-engineering existing designs, updating drawings and models, and detail checking. Design automation software can turn many of these tasks into automated procedures, giving engineering staff more time to innovate, increase design throughput, and win more business.

The DriveWorks Product Line

DriveWorks is used in Engineer-to-Order and Configure-to-Order situations, often by persons outside the engineering group, including potential customers. It comes in three versions offering progressively more functionality. DriveWorksXpress is for basic design automation; it ships with every copy of SolidWorks. DriveWorksSolo is an add-in to SolidWorks, offering a more complex user interface, wider control over SolidWorks models and drawings, support for tabular data lookup, and the ability to generate documents from templates.

DriveWorksPro is an enterprise version, offering permission-based team collaboration and workflow processes. It can be used by both SolidWorks and non-SolidWorks users simultaneously. It adds support for SolidWorks macros and DriveWorks API extensions. DriveWorksPro can generate output documents for Microsoft Word and Excel, and in XML format. It can send email notifications with attachments. It can also link to external sources including ERP and PLM systems to retrieve, validate, or push information. It can also work with SolidWorks Enterprise PDM and other components including DriveWorks AutoPilot Server and DriveWorks Live Server for increased enterprise and web-based access.

Automate a Step At a Time

New users can ease their way into DriveWorks, automating your non-value-added activities a step at a time. Start in engineering, by adding design rules to drive 3D CAD models, create detailed drawings, and generate BOMs for manufacturing.

Next, automate the sales workflow. Create a standardized set of product options, automated quotations, and cover letters. Customer requirements can be dealt with faster, operational overhead is reduced, and customer service improves.

The next step is to distribute DriveWorks through the company website as an online sales configurator. Sales teams, distributors, dealers, and customers can configure and order customized products at will. Connect the DriveWorks system to your ERP, MRP, and CRM systems, extending the power of design automation into the sales and operations side of your business. You can create a complete infrastructure for costing, pricing, and scheduling, taking advantage of the data in these formerly separated systems.

Fast Installation

DriveWorks is known for its ease of setup and use. No programming skills are required. Assemble a set of 3D models, add design rules, and assign forms and templates. Now you have a set of interrelated tools that can be used over and over, on the desktop, on mobile, or inside your CAD system.

Razorleaf and DriveWorks

Razorleaf was the first Certified Enterprise Solution Partner for DriveWorks. Since 2006 Razorleaf has helped clients of all sizes deploy and use DriveWorks to automate and configure product lines. These manufacturers now offer their customers faster responses to inquiries, and they have a fully integrated engineering-to-sales workflow.

Specific services that Razorleaf provides for DriveWorks clients include:

  • Project and change management
  • Implementation and deployment
  • Configuration and administration
  • Technical support
  • Development and programming
  • Customization, automation, and scripting
  • Training
  • Process analysis, methodologies, and best practices consulting

The Evolution of Design

Design practices evolve through years of experience; sharing this knowledge efficiently is often difficult. By using DriveWorks to capture and reuse the knowledge of your engineering team, manufacturers can automate design processes and reduce errors created by manual transfer of information. The straightforward logic used in DriveWorks makes it easy to capture and reuse all design, manufacturing and cost estimation knowledge in the company, to truly automate your ability to generate new business.

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