So when exactly SolidWorks took the lead in ID CAD work?

I used Solid Works shortly about about 9 years ago then again in 03’. I have always used Rhino and I started out using Alias in school which at the time seemed to be the “it” program along with Pre/E. My guess is SW began to gain ground in the early to mid '00’s! Was it it’s flashy packaging graphics and/or interface that helped. Did it make Pro/E aquire the whacky word “Wildfire” to appear more hip? What happened?

I’m not sure, but where I go to school they teach Solidworks and Alias. Even as a student in the last two years, I’ve seen lots of nice interface improvements in Solidworks. Alias’ interface has some nice ideas, but the execution could be SO much better, especially for a program that expensive…

The data Ive seen states solidworks is used by tooling and vendors and proe still leads with major manufactures in number of seats. I think its close to double. One company I did training for in MA had their vendor trying to get the manufacture upgrade to solidworks. It made me think of the babysitter trying to tell the parents where to shove it.

Solidworks is not even modular. With Pro/ENGINEER you can upgrade to more sophisticated utilities. If you do compare the two tools it would be largely unfair to compare the 100+ modules to the one module of solidworks.

The designers on this forum barly tap into fifteen percent of the power of solidworks so too hear designers try to compare the two is silly.

But snce thats what designers do is make the best comparisons as possible usually by visuals alone. It is safe to say that one could compare the interface of solidworks to the Interface of the base package of Pro/ENGINEER. The icons are relatively the same. (I like to make fun of some of those icon choices as well. Functionality wise… both tools can draw a curve on surface and force tangency constraints using curve on surface (Alias can’t even do that) and i would say i prefer how solidowrks does it in this corner pocket. However thats not comparing to Pro/ENGINEER
s ISDX. ISDX is so bad ass that if you see that power you would say to yourself… “well I never seen that before” or “ive never seen anyone run proe like that”. Soldiworks experts say that to me about solidoworks.

Pro/ENGINEER compares more closely to that of Catia and Catia lacks so much as well but at least you can bolt on more functionality but that is a different comparison. With solidworks your bolt on functionality is limited to Cosmos and thats about it. But solidworks is a mid range modeler for that reason.

Oh… and its easy to use. i hear that but i don’t see it. I learned Solidworks second to Pro/ENGINEER So I understand that I am biased but … At least I know both tools well enough to make dispel ideals and issues… and its cool to be able to drag icons around the screen… and stack them up and such. But the functionality that is missing is difficult to explain… solidowkrs uses don’t even have a concept of. For example. Try to explain to someone the concept of a microwave oven to someone who has not seen a microwave oven and they are liable to say,
“I don’t need that… I have a stove” We understand only in hind site that that is some functionality I would like to utilize.

Intent manager is a prime example. in solidworks (when constraining a sketch) you actually have to use the dimension tool to dimension in order to constrain. We had to do that back in 1998 with Pro/ENGINEER too but that is so slow. And don’t even think of converting a solid cut into a surface or into a protrusion. Cant do that in solidworks. we got that functionality in 2002. i could go on… and show the three or four things i actually like about solidworks over proe. Like a curve in a sketch can with the drag of a mouse flip concavity… but there are so many other poor issues that when i bring up many users on this board al least will not understand why one would have an issue like that… I could compile a list but it would be better to show. Maybe I should make a video spoof like the ‘you suck at photoshop videos’ D*md those are funny.

I found that in the end that to model a tide bottle (done in solidworks by the way) is relatively the same in solidworks as is in pro engineer. About the same features. The same mouse clicks (except proe can substitute middle mouse click for exiting many things that solidworks makes you go clean across the screen to exit) and in solidworks you have to use the dimensions tools to actually dimension everything in a sketch if you want to constrain everything. And that leads into a technique i teach for proving form to industrial designers. Search ISDX in youtube and you will start to understand.


In my opinion solid works lacks in one place significantly. And that is to make the typical 20 modifications required after the initial model is created. And that will remain a ‘in my opinion’ until you stop over with a model and let me show you what I mean.

You should be curious after all know solidworks surfacing tools better than most and In training (and making comparisons) I offer workflow and technique solutions that transcend the tools we choose.

By the way … Motorola stooped teaching Pro/ENGINEER to industrial designers because they could not keep them afterwards. They were worth so much more money that they left to work elseware.

I use it because it was easy to learn. Period.

Did the tutorials on a plane to HK in 2001. End of story.

I use Solidworks too. It is being taught here at school and after just one semester with no prior modeling experience I’m able to do some complicated stuff and have it 3D printed.
It is intuitive and easy. As from what I have heard. Pro/E isn’t.

Maybe that is why someone would need somebody like Design-Engine to teach you?
I don’t know…

I am just ‘geten you guys’ all riled up. All in good fun.

What we should do is make a live stage in conjuction with ISDA or something. Have an audiance of solidworks users let me give them a demonstration and a discussion after with more demonstrations. Pick proe apart some… live. Maybe Ill run both software programs on two projectors and answer questions. We could call it “completely exposed” I garantee the solidworks users out there would learn more about solidworks and more about Pro/E. I would imagine the event would be positive and constructive. Ill talk to Mike Carrow from the Chicago chapter to put it together.

I have an old seat of solidworks so we might have to get a solidworks var in on it.

Is that a good idea or bad idea? You imagine people would turn out for that kind of an event? We did something like that in Chicago back in 2003 or so. It was a solidworks, rhino, alias, proe shootout where four power users each modeled the same scott wilson ACCO Swingline stapler. Heald at SRAM, that got a hudge turnout.

Sounds like it could be interesting. Not just to see which modeler excels in which area but probably for people to see new ways to do things. You’d want to make sure the contestants were real hotshots at their programs.

Maybe dress up the occasion like it’s a boxing match between them.

Speaking of market share, how many (and what kind) of industries seem to like UGS/Siemens NX? I had a chance to poke around with it on someone’s computer, the workflow seemed similar to CATIA with modules/toolsets selected from a main menu, all different ways to work on the same model or different parts of it. And almost as pretty as solidworks, too. But of all the popular modelers this one has about the least info out there about it:
Results 1 - 10 of about 8,190,000 for solidworks. (0.15 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 3,120,000 for pro/engineer. (0.32 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 457,000 for nx6. (0.07 seconds) :neutral_face:

As a SW user since 97Plus, it is simple. They started to design for designers. Around 2000 they began a wave of improvements for Surface modeling in SW. Each step was better than the last. By 03 or 04 it was a vast difference. Then they focused on making the surfaces more stable (it was not). Now, you have a dimension driven CAD program that designers and engineers can be happy with. Oh, it is also a good price for what it is. That always helps with sales.

One more point, their written information and tutorials are top level. Well written and logical…great help menu. This adds to making it easy to learn.

I guess I should leave this alone since i don’t seam to be making any friends but here it goes…

I started using Solidworks in 1994 for the first time… Just a few hours. That was about the time PC was introduced to major manufactures competing with UNIX workstations. Every year or so i would try three or four fundamental functions within tool. In 1998 I did my first real project. It was a surgical table with not much complexity other than assembly constraints and it was quite easy to learn. Those weekends I would push the surfacing to check for four part boundaries… Then you could only do the rail tool… until the 2007 sw release rolls around’ Now it can actually do the boundary blend functions of a typical four part boundary. Until then everything seemed a work around in solidworks and I add that anyone who took that tool seriously back in the day did so out of … I need a softer word other than ignorance here… Admitting it has come a long ways since 1993 That 2007 release made me the most happy. Some of my id friends have been SW fans back before the turn of the century. And if you liked that tool then you had to be missing something in terms of skill level and plan of attack or did not it complex… The solidworks tool was far too basic back then too and too boot the tool still has all of my basic complaints as back then. But the interface was so much better. Ahha yea. The interface issue. That is a hard one for designers especially to get past. If it looks good it mush be good right? PTC started updating their interface in 2001 (probably due to competition from Soldiworks) and I have to admit that the icon tools look remarkably alike. Maybe they both copy from the same interface manifesto from Microsoft?

Then I think to myself that maybe i am putting too much weight on the boundary blend functions and others put too much weight on the beauty of icons? I still get frustrated at how SW clumps a curve feature into a group when creating a feature… and i could make a huge list of deficiencies for both tools and have on other boards.

I did a big push in 2007 and designed a one week surfacing course. No one purchased or hardly inquired so we never purchased soldiworks. I inquired and had a license from the product line manager for writing articles on it.

Who uses solidworks… I can name only a few major manufactures who use only Solidworks. Some companies have both I guess but the companies that have both (I teach at those companies so I see the bickering first hand) fight and argue, Some even publish documents to backup falsehoods.

Rubbermaid: both but have quite a bit more Pro/E than Solidworks
Rayovac SW based (flashlights and assessors)
Garmin is Soldworks based
Trek SW based with Alias
Ford UG based and I think ford only have 50 seats of Pro/E
Motorola is Pro/E based with over 200 seats of Pro/E but lets their iders use what ever they want
Harley is largely Pro/E based but I know they own a few seats of solidworks.
Caterpillar is Pro/E based with over 2000 seats of Pro/E but their iders use Alias which causes problems with Engineering staff. Industrial designers who know Pro/ENGINEER at Cat are extremely valuable and contractors are in huge demand. I know of one alias ID’er just laid off.
I define major manufacture simply as a manufacture that we might have heard of.
SRAM uses Pro/ENGINEER exclusively with 25+ seats of Pro/ENGINEER
MABE one of the largest Mexican manufactures uses Pro/E exclusively.
Toyota uses Pro/E exclusively with over 1000 seats of Pro/E
Yamaha in the states uses Pro/E exclusively with 10+ seats of Pro/E
Polaris uses both SW in small pockets… but is dominant Pro/E with over 100 seats of Pro/ENGINEER
Frieghtliner has over 300+ seats of Pro/ENGINEER
Volvo has over 400 seats of Pro/ENGINEER
Dell 50+ seats of Pro/ENGINEER … dell used to use UNIX workstations and Pro/ENGINEER before 1994 FYI
CASE 400+ seats of Pro/ENGINEER
John Deere 1500+ seats of Pro/ENGINEER
Cannondale 25 +seats of Pro/ENGINEER… they use solidworks but not to turn into for work.
Knoll 25+ seats of Pro/ENGINEER
Herman Miller 50+ seats of Pro/ENGINEER
KI 40+ seats of Pro/ENGINEER
Alsteel 200 seats of Pro/ENGINEER
steelcase 200+ seats of Pro/ENGINEER although their designers are free to use what ever software they like.
Fisher-Price 50+ seats of Pro/ENGINEER and their designers are free to use what ever they like
Matel same as fisher-price above


I could name 50 defense contractors all with over 200 seats of Pro/ENGINEER from General Dynamics, Orbital, ATK, General Atomics Predator drones, Oceaneering (makes helmets for dolphins BTW), Texas Instruments (they make probably less than 4 percent of their earnings from calculators) TI makes missiles the original drone.

Sorry Taco Bell only owns two seats of Pro/ENGINEER *you pass by their office on HWY 5 Irvine CA

Can anyone name major manufactures that base their engineering upon solidworks? ID? Mom&Pop shops, ID firms, and tooling vendors don’t count.

I see a lot of the medical start up companies in MN get into Solidworks with their venture capital monies… Vendors like it even though it causes problems with their customers and confused buyers at their customers.

None of the military ‘defense contractors’ use Solidworks maybe because its assembly functions cripple above 600 components. On a typical a satellite system it is common to go above 2600 components on an assembly. Even the solidworks advocates at Orbital will smile and say well… solidworks inst known for large assembly management. But we are designers here making bottles and ergonomic products so I guess I am getting out of scope some. But the military sector makes up a large proton of the economy and can’t be ignored. There alone pushes the solidworks numbers much lower on the who sells more scale. Northrup for some reason went to Catia and the day they did they lost millions in contracts since. I’m still not sure why they made that choice and it all happen when Northrup purchased scaled composites who make Carbon Fiber tooling for almost everyone in the world. Branson is ironman FYI branson owned Scaled Composites and their house is a big Catia house. So when Northup purchased Scale Composites it was no surprise that the entire company went to Catia. Two just came to Chicago for Pro/E training from Northrup recently so I guess their plans for migration may take some time.

The minute you let a company go both ways is the minute years in hours gets wasted importing. One strength of Pro/ENGINEER is it’s ability to work well between all the components. For example, your tooling vendor using Pro/ENGINEER can seamlessly make updates to the tool path when changes are made. If you allow purchasing to choose a vendor who is cheaper and thy use solidworks then those changes are less seamless requiring an export and an import and time is lost. Which is funny because the tooling vendors that love solidworks always try to get their manufacture to go to solidworks which happens so often. That is like letting you baby sitter tell the parents how to raise the children.

Just like yesteryear design firms would use both MAC and PC it seams a design firm needs to use both SW and Pro/E …

Just trying to dispel those solidworks and proe falsehoods. The question was “so when did solidworks take over” And I simply disagree that Pro/ENGINEER much more widely used than other tools. Is solidworks even second?

As someone who works in the Aerospace/Defense industry, I have seats of both Pro|E and SolidWorks. Much of our work dates from the cold war, and Pro|E can’t be replaced because of our record keeping requirements. SO, what do we do?

New product development (through prints) in SolidWorks. Then have someone build Pro|E models and drawings from scratch to the SW drawings. Pro|E has proven (to me and others) far too cumbersome for iterative design work. Despite 50/50 tool time split, I’m far more efficient (2-3x) in SW, with maybe $1500 in training dollars spent (versus $15-20k spent on my Pro|E education). Seeing as my (everyone’s) time is valuable, getting design and development work done quickly is far more cost effective than using Pro|E. I can’t tell you how much money really easy to fix problems with Pro|E (like sketch dimensions that don’t stay locked when the sketch is exited/re-entered) has cost over the years. PTC are largely unreceptive to these and other usability/efficiency complaints despite our large number of seats- I’ve been in Needham and been told so in no uncertain terms.

Your comments about Pro|E’s large assembly management are very valid, but for the small-moderately sized assemblies that most (non-heavy) industries deal in, it’s a non-issue, and close to the top of SW’s list of things to improve. I’m not saying that SW is perfect, and I’m not a huge fan of their new interface (it is growing on me), but they’re clearly listening to feedback and moving in the right direction.

The lost productivity cost of using Pro|E makes the package itself look cheap, especially for anyone who isn’t a dedicated designer/draftsperson. If PTC can get some decent interface designers (and get their developers to listen to them) and ditch their attachment to UNIX, they might stand a chance of attracting new customers, rather than relying on those who are already tied to the package for legacy reasons. As it stands, I see them following the GM model of ignoring the market and claiming that the customer is wrong- not that their product could use improvement. They’re making it altogether too easy for their competition, and it won’t end well for PTC.

Pro/E kills Solidworks in terms of overall capabilities. I’ve seen Bart’s demo. The one phrase you’ll hear over and over is “You can’t do that in Solidworks”.

Saying Solidworks is easier to learn is like saying its easier to be a fry cook than a brain surgeon. I want functionallity, not pretty interfaces. Pro/E isn’t perfect, but it improves every year, and its way more advanced.

“Saying Solidworks is easier to learn is like saying its easier to be a fry cook than a brain surgeon.”


Very true. But all I’m designing today is fried eggs, so why would I call a brain surgeon to cook my breakfast. [To continue the metaphor.]

Of course the tool should fit the job. If I start designing satellites for the military I would consider Pro/E. But for now it’s plastic products for the consumer market and Solidworks is doing a fine job.

Are we going to debate Mac vs. Windows next?

I am genuinely curious/interested in a list of manufactures (that we might have heard of) that use Solidworks as a primary Engineering tool. I will dig thru some old posts to make a look at who actually uses Solidworks as a primary tool.

model off… And maybe I personally would be a bad choice for a model off. If I know both so well then we could not test the ease of learning part… or maybe I am only a part of the model off? And from what i am hearing from the posters here… since one package has been deemed easier to learn than another (understand I still disagree) that maybe there would lie the test.

48tofly… Design engine did a test when WF was first released. It was a Red Bull, PTC, Steelcase HP sponsored event where we got 6 designers who had no idea what was going on… and conducted a 48 hour aggressive learning environment. The designers pared up into three teams of two, learned Pro/E wildfire and produced two designs each. I think Chris Daisy was one of the designers … hell i think Chris’ team won. Anyway that was a group that did not know wildfire at all… some did not know proe at all and were forced under stress of competition forced to produce. Which is what I am personally interested in. How to maximize ones inner ability to learn quickly.

I genuinely try to have a good attitude… this week I have been learning Rhino on my own and am overly frustrated. I hope you guys don’t think that tool is easy to learn… I am still struggling to make tangent with four party boundaries… But then i only have a couple hours on Rhino to back myself up I am not using our rhino instructor either but I do have questions for her.

I never debated MAC vs PC … I just pointed out to both that current at that time industry used UNIX. At that early 90’s time frame both MAC and PC’s were too slow and that a real design firm of the early 90’s had all three. Then even Dell used Unix work stations. Most mac users had never heard of a Unix machine. Companies like Brooks Stevens had all three. Motorola had all three sometimes all on one desk. :slight_smile:

“Very true. But all I’m designing today is fried eggs, so why would I call a brain surgeon to cook my breakfast. [To continue the metaphor.]”

That’s funny. Sometimes I think fried eggs would be more lucrative that what I’m working on right now! :slight_smile:

Seriously though if you saw some of the insane stuff Bart can make Pro/E do the argument would be over.

More companies that use Pro/ENGINEER
-NASCAR uses both but Pro/E is primary
-Knorr Bremse
-KTM Sport Motorcycle
-Kwang Yang/Kymco Lear Corporation
-Leyland Trucks
-Magna
-Magneti Marelli
-MAN
-Mando
-Maserati
-Michelin
-Mitsubishi
-Paccar
-Penske Racing
-Piaggio
-Pirelli
-Polaris
-Porsche
-Robert Bosch
-Scania
-Schaeffler
-Seat
-Skoda Auto
-Suzuki
-Tata Motors
-Behr
-BMW
-Brembo
-Bridgestone/Firestone
-Continental
-Cooper Standard Automotive
-Daihatsu Motor Co
-Daimler
-Dallara Automobili
-Dana Corporation
-Delphi
-Dong Feng
-Ducati
-Faurecia
-FAW
-Federal Modul
-Ferrari
-Fiat Auto
-Getrag
-GKN Driveline
-Goodyear
-Harley-Davidson
-Harman Becker
-Hino Motors
-Hoerbiger
-Honda Motor Co
-Hyundai
-IVECO
-Kawasaki

I’m beginning to hate SW myself. But, I’ve already started that thread. I’ve used Pro/E very little, and from what I’ve seen, it is nice. I just haven’t gotten too deep into it.

Asking this SW question, is like asking why Adobe is the powerhouse they are. My answer is marketing. SW/Dassault have done an excellent job marketing themselves to designers, architects, etc and Pro/E has been relegated to the engineering side of things. Design=Engine’s list of companies using Pro/E is impressive, and many of them do creative work. But, they are the big companies. Its the small firms that SW goes after, too and thats where you build numbers in terms of seats. For every 10 seats at a major manufacturer you could have 40-50 (total) in smaller firms doing similar work.

I’m not claiming SW to be better than anything else, I’m just saying its simply their effective marketing strategies that’s gotten them this far. Heck, they got Richard Branson to do the keynote address at SW World this year…

Oh, and as I wrote that last post, I was in the middle of submitting yet another enhancement request to SolidWorks, to improve on something it can’t do yet.

NASA, IBM, and I imagine Lenovo use ProEngineer. (Frog Design too, but it’s not really a manufacturer)

I know that NASA’s industrial designers use MAYA, SolidWorks, and ProE… but all the major product development is done in ProE, so working in the engineer’s software lets them interface more easily

myself, I was trained to use ProEngineer right out of school and have gotten pretty good at it over the years. Most jobs I’ve had have valued the fact that I could develop solid industrial designs with it, and it also it seems like a lot of the bigger companies prefer not to use SolidWorks for whatever reason.

This spring I taught a SolidWorks class, so I’d have a reason to learn it - it seemed like a good inexpensive alternative and Id be a little more versatile. I found the visualization part of SW08 very impressive, as well as the ease in making quick illustrations, drawings, and spot checking designs with sections, etc. Overall, it seemed a lot like ProE. I did find myself a little frustrated with the limitations of the surfacing though. I found ProE created much more robust shapes and I could control them better, though it might be though my inexperience with SW… maybe after a few more projects in it I’ll know the workarounds

you should do the software shoot-off, I’d like to see it…

Bart,
Maybe you could pick a product with challenging surfaces and the Solidworks users here could post a video, and you could do the same for ProE. I doubt we would have widely divergent methods, but it could be interesting to compare and contrast. Maybe two rounds of modeling showing the model edits. I am afraid that even this might be challenging as you might have widely disparate methods in both software that might skew the results. Perhaps 2-3 users showing how they might approach the same problem??

If you hung around while I was modelling, you would more than likely hear me muttering " I hate Solidworks" I dont think that Solidworks is really built for a power user. Its built for the beginner to medium duty modeler. I think that is why it is so popular. You hear of Alias and ProE jockeys, but not so much for Solidworks. I think that this is attractive to a lot of firms because it means that you are not dependent on a few experts, but you can get more people involved.

i would say that most of the people in my office are not harcore CAD users, but they use Solidworks just fine. I think that it is just powerful enough, and just easy enough.

If Solidworks were a console it would be the Wii, and ProE would be the PS3 . Well maybe the performance is not as disparate but the Wii on paper is an underpowered device. The PS3 gamers I know look down their noses at the Wii, but the Wii is the more popular of the two because of its one killer app, the interface and the game-play that the interface affords.

Though Solidworks is comparatively under-powered, Solidworks buyers might be more concerned about getting as many of the team to deliver good results as opposed to Class-A results from trained experts.
Like the casual gamer, there is a market for the casual CAD user. Dassault seems to be capturing that market pretty well. IDers probably fit that profile pretty well. We dont pump CAD all the time, and when we jump on the seat we should not have to do much to remember how to model a concept.

Nope. SW got to where it is now because it was the first real native Windows 3D CAD application. In 1997 if you wanted to work in 3D you could either spend $10k for a Unix workstation, and another $10k-20k for a seat of UG, Catia, or Pro/E, plus another $5k in training to get your head around the interface (Pro/E had a particularly disastrous interface back then, and somehow Catia managed to be even worse). Or you could buy a PC from Dell and a $3k SW license and be in business. And the interface made sense, so you could pick it up and start making parts from day 1. Unless you were doing huge assemblies or very complicated surfaces (i.e., unless your name was Boeing or General Motors), SW had everything you needed. Plus there were a ton of add in modules from various partners.

This was a huge change in the paradigm that is easy to forget now, but a little over a decade ago, 3D CAD was out of reach of everyone but huge companies. SW saw that first, and everybody else has been trying to catch up in that market since.