CAD collaboration in SOLIDWORKS 2016

If you've used a computer program created in the past few years – whether a word document creation tool, email client or even a piece of CAD software – then chances are you've noticed the impetus on collaboration. More than at any point in the past, the computer tools we use today are designed to make it easy to work together.

With the release of SOLIDWORKS 2016, there are now fewer roadblocks when it's necessary to work with different teams on a project.

New ways to collaborate

For all who use SOLIDWORKS, from weekend enthusiasts to experienced professionals, there's always going to be a time when it's necessary to work with other individuals.

While other forms of software have had it relatively easy when it comes to implementing collaborative features, it can be quite difficult with CAD software. This is a graphically intense platform, which makes sharing and editing projects over the internet a challenge. This isn't to mention the issues that manifest when collaborating over different devices.

With the release of this new version, eDrawings supports easy collaboration as well as communication throughout the development of a model or product. What's more, users can navigate between documents with multiple view tabs, and view exploded states with animated viewing.

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In addition, a feature called Treehouse allows users to easily plan the structure of a product across an entire design team. In effect, this function allows users to map out the design of a product comprehensively before proceeding. It's certainly a far cry from prior versions of the software, when it would be a time sink to relay different versions of a model to all parties involved.

An interface that supports working together

We've talked about it before, but this release of SOLIDWORKS also places emphasis on user interface enhancements. While many are designed with the aim of reducing mouse travel, there are also significant revisions to the way users collaborate.

Whether it's new manipulation tools to showcase a model or component descriptions to pick up where someone else left off, it's easier to work together and design a model through to completion as part of a team. 

Effective visualisation tools

Think about the difficulties inherent in showing a stakeholder a model for review – CAD software has always been relatively uncooperative. SOLIDWORKS 2016 brings enhancements designed to overhaul the review process, by allowing users to put together photo-realistic representations of their models, and detailed animations to showcase the functionality of a particular component.

It's certainly one of the more notable features of this release of SOLIDWORKS, and one likely to be appreciated by a substantial number of users. Now, there should be fewer difficulties when it comes time to showcase how a product works or what it looks like.

SOLIDWORKS continues to evolve with each new release, thanks in large part to the demands of a rapidly evolving industry. What's more, the engaged and growing user base also continues to influence the features and changes, year after year. There's no doubt that this version of the software is the most capable yet, and certainly the easiest to use.

Whether it's hobbyists working together on a weekend modelling project, or a team within an organisation developing a part for a new wind turbine, the collaboration features here cannot be ignored.

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