SolidWorks Improves Design Sharing Via Web

By Doug Bartholomew The barriers to sharing computer-based designs continue to fall. The latest blow was struck Oct. 9 by computer-aided-design software firm SolidWorks Corp., which began offering eDrawings Professional. The new package enables designers to communicate, review, and mark up designs by e-mail, without all users having to purchase the software. SolidWorks' eDrawings Professional allows engineers and designers to create compressed electronic drawings and e-mail them to anyone. The files' relatively small size speeds their delivery, eliminating the need for sending of paper drawings via fax, mail or overnight package. "There is inherently a lot of back and forth in the design review process," says Patrick Crooks, engineering technician with Canadian Tool & Die, a manufacturer of welded cylinders. "I don't know how many times I've had to circle something on a drawing and fax it back to customers." Crooks adds that the fax process to obtain customer approval on design of a hydraulic cylinder can take a couple of days and many phone conversations. "Because eDrawings Professional allows our customers to view measurements on the screen and make changes to the file, we've been able to cut the design review time down to a day, or even hours," Crooks says. "When you're talking about time to market, that's a significant reduction." Adds Robert McDonald, product manager for eDrawings at SolidWorks in Concord, Mass., "We've accelerated the process so that once an eDrawing arrives for review, the recipient can immediately begin editing it without having to download anything."

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