We have recently added Solidworks to our suite of design software, in order to meet BIM Level 2 technological requirements.
During the past ten years we have developed our own in-house database software, CableTrack, which has automated the production of all of our Electrical AutoCAD drawings, cable markers, core identifiers, label schedules etc., and managed the drawing/document revision system. With the addition of Solidworks we can now add 3D detail relevant to our Electrical installations, such as Cable Tray/Ladder, Isolators and Junction Boxes on the overall project model produced by the Tier 1 contractor.
Since adding a Mechanical division to our organisation, we have increased the level of off-site manufacture and will be developing this further in 2015 with Solidworks.
Solidworks really comes into its own with our Mechanical designs; the advantages include:
Reduced drawing time
Compared to previous 2D drawing packages used, generating pipework drawings is much faster using Solidworks.
Rather than having to draw multiple views of the same pipe, one 3D drawing is used to then generate any view that may be required.
In fact, thanks to the pipework routing tool, not much drawing is required at all. Once a start point and end point is selected, the software automatically generates the pipeline. This can then easily be tweaked to suit any exact requirements.
Access to thousands of parts
An increasing number of suppliers are making their products available to download & use within Solidworks. This includes fittings, valves, pumps and a whole host of other items that we use on a regular basis. Therefore the material properties can easily be identified, including dimensions, weights, finish and so on.
The Solidworks Simulation feature enables us to perform stress analysis within the software. This is particularly useful when loading calcs are required for pipe supports, brackets and bridges.
Automatic generation of other useful documents
Material takeoffs and cutting lists are automatically generated, and can be inserted into a drawing at the touch of a button. This will save huge amounts of time both in the office and in the works.
Attributes such as fabrication time and item cost can be assigned to an item. This will become invaluable in terms of tracking the progress of a project.