Which SOLIDWORKS CAD Package Is Best for You?

Which SOLIDWORKS CAD Package Is Best for You?

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Good things always come in threes. Ever since the invention of fast food we have been conditioned to think of everything in terms of three – small, medium and large or good, better and best. Which is why it only makes sense that this concept would extend into the SOLIDWORKS product family.

So, Which SOLIDWORKS CAD Package?

SOLIDWORKS CAD is offered in three configurations: Standard, Professional and Premium. Each package is stocked with all kinds of different capabilities which can make it confusing. You may find yourself asking the following questions:

1. What is in each SOLIDWORKS package?

2. Am I getting the most out of my SOLIDWORKS software?

3. Do I have the right SOLIDWORKS package for my needs?

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Let’s take a look at each package and what it includes so you can have a better understanding and determine which is the right package for you.



SOLIDWORKS Standard Package

SOLIDWORKS Standard is designed for the casual user who needs the core capabilities of parts, assemblies and drawings, including surfacing, sheet metal, weldments and mold tools. In addition, SOLIDWORKS Standard includes 3D Interconnect, a feature that allows you to incorporate CAD files from other systems into your designs without translation. When the origination CAD file changes, everything is always up to date in SOLIDWORKS. SOLIDWORKS Standard also has the FeatureWorks add-in for doing parametric feature recognition on dumb solids so you don’t have to start over from scratch.

SOLIDWORKS Professional Package

SOLIDWORKS Professional includes everything in SOLIDWORKS Standard but adds several productivity boosters intended for the everyday user who needs to do their job faster and more efficiently. Starting with SOLIDWORKS Toolbox – a built in library of over a million standard components that can be dropped into your assemblies. SOLIDWORKS Professional also includes two photo rendering apps: PhotoView 360 and SOLIDWORKS Visualize. SOLIDWORKS Costing is another application included in the professional package. With SOLIDWORKS Costing you can consider cost estimates for various design alternatives before prototyping. And finally, the Task Scheduler is included in Professional, used for automating common tasks like file conversions and batch printing.

SOLIDWORKS Premium Package

SOLIDWORKS Premium includes all of the previously mentioned tools but also adds in specialty tools for the power user, such as Simulation so you can test your parts and assemblies for stress, deformation and factor of safety under static loads. Kinematic and Dynamic motion simulation helps you visualize range of motion, calculate velocity, acceleration and reaction forces so you can size motors and other components before physical testing. Included at your fingertips is SOLIDWORKS Routing which provides libraries and intelligent automation for piping, tubing, duct work and electrical wiring – tasks that are otherwise time consuming and error prone. 3D Interconnect is enhanced in SOLIDWORKS Premium so you can open native CATIA files without the need for an additional translator.

How to Access Your SOLIDWORKS License Features

Now that you have had a quick tour of the highlights from each package, let’s talk about how to access these capabilities. It’s simple, just go to Tools>Add-ins. As soon as you request a Professional or Premium add-in a SOLIDWORKS license manager keeps track of everything and floats the license if one is available. You can enable an add-in just for your current work session or check the box in the Start Up column to reserve and add-in for the duration of the project. When you are done using an add-in, just un-check the box to make that license available for another user.

Just like fast food – good things come in threes. Although choosing your SOLIDWORKS package isn’t quite as easy as choosing small, medium or large, we do hope you have a better understanding of how these packages stack up so you can choose the right tools to do your job. Contact Hawk Ridge Systems to assist with choosing the right package for your needs.

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Andy Rammer

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