Designing Machines in a Web Browser

Mechanical design through to production is being done in the cloud: Every. Single. Day.

However, there is a perception out there that cloud design isn’t quite ready. The narrative is that maybe the cloud is suitable for startups and hobbyists but perhaps not good for production. That may be the case with some cloud offerings, but reality begs to differ where 3DEXPERIENCE® Works is concerned.

Not only can you go from concept to production in a browser, but you also can access your designs 24/7/365 from any device such as a tablet, your home PC or Chromebook, or a smartphone. That’s a whole new level of flexibility. Plus, the barriers to working together as a team are practically eliminated—regardless of location.

Let’s take a closer look at the challenges of building complex parts and assemblies and then consider some of the tools that can enable you to build production-ready designs on the cloud.

Industrial Machinery

Industrial equipment manufacturers face distinctive design and development challenges when building conveyor systems, industrial robots, construction equipment, and other large-assembly projects. Electromechanical systems are becoming increasingly complex. Assemblies, often large and multifaceted, can slow CAD development and increase the likelihood of problems with interference and collisions, among other difficulties. And, because engineered-to-order systems are common, every project requires a brand-new design from scratch.

Below are listed just a few solutions in the 3DEXPERIENCE Works portfolio that can help you begin facing some of the challenges found in industrial machine design.

3D Creator

The design and engineering solutions on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform offer a single modeling environment for parts and assemblies that allow you to focus on design and not how you organize your files. Get ready to say goodbye to extensive (and sometimes painful) upfront design planning about the best way to structure my assemblies. The single modeling environment allows you to jump in and design right off the bat since making changes later has little or no consequences.

There are no parts, assemblies, or sub-assemblies in a single modeling environment to worry about anymore. Everything starts as a “physical product” that can be a part or an assembly. You can create sketches and then turn those into 3D features—or jump straight to 3D with the Parametric Primitives. You can also bring other physical products into the single modeling environment and mate them into place, just as you would expect in an assembly environment.

On top of that, you can form new sub-assemblies, and if you change your mind, you can dissolve them. What about those features and sketches? Well, they can be selected and turned into their own physical product. Better still, you can dissolve a part back into a series of features.

For example, when creating features, you can determine when it makes sense for all the features to be a part. Then, create another group of features, decide when it is a part, and group the two parts into a subassembly.

And, if you change your mind, you can dissolve that sub-assembly and go back to having just the parts and add more features if you wish.

3D Structure Creator

Structure systems are a crucial part of many design projects. However, designing structure systems is challenging, whether you’re designing a fabricated structure with bolted connections, a welded structure, a machine frame, furniture, or anything in between.

Typically, to design a structure system, CAD users first need to sketch a profile and extrude or sweep it to create each member. Next comes trimming all the places where the members intersect using cut extrude. And finally, when the design is complete, the cut list for manufacturing needs to be manually created.

3D Structure Creator provides tools to automate the design of manufacturing-ready structures. The solution enables you to: create structure members based on any sketch entities, model edges, or curves; select structure section profiles from a library of standard types and sizes or creating your own; efficiently perform trim operations at corners and endpoints to create precise (and manufacturable) designs; design with unique structure members by creating custom structure section profiles based on a common profile shape or user-defined 2D sketch; automatically add plates, gussets, and end caps; add detail to structure designs by adding cutouts to structure members; speed design to manufacturing with automated cut lists.

3D Motion Creator

3D Motion Creator enables you to validate mechanical designs at an early, conceptual stage, preventing potential downstream design or manufacturing issues.

Because 3D Motion Creator is so easy to use, you can rapidly evaluate what-if design scenarios and significantly increase efficiency in decision making—across the board—by directly evaluating design change impacts on mechanical system behavior.

3D Motion Creator provides easy-to-use functionality for kinematic and dynamic analysis of any mechanism in a browser-based environment. Directly prepare a motion simulation for kinematic analysis based on existing 3D designs by selecting products, parts, or engineering connections (mates).

Working with a kinematics player, you can quickly analyze the kinematic system behavior. After running an analysis, you can review results with animation or 2D plots. Enhance the simulation with drivers, forces, torques, and 3D contacts or add dynamic modeling elements, such as a helical spring, to create a dynamic motion simulation.


Much of the DNA that millions of users worldwide know and love from SOLIDWORKS® desktop is built into 3DEXPERIENCE Works solutions. The action bar is similar to the Command Manager in SOLIDWORKS. All your contextual menus are there—again, just like SOLIDWORKS—because 3DEXPERIENCE Works design and engineering solutions know what menus that you need to see next to continue your design based on what you select.

When connected and managing design data on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, everyone on your team works from a single version of the product in the same environment. Collaboration is fast and the design data is automatically managed on the platform, so both people and data remain in sync.

To learn more about 3DEXPERIENCE Works design and engineering solutions and how you can build production-ready parts and assemblies, contact your local reseller.



Mark Rushton

Mark Rushton is a Product Portfolio Manager for SOLIDWORKS and has been involved with 3D CAD and 3D Printing for over 15 years in several capacities from research to consulting for the likes of Rolls Royce, GE, JCB and Dyson. When not playing with 3D printers or other tech, he is most likely out snowboarding, wake boarding or mountain biking.