Q + A: What Does Prototype to Production Look Like in 2022?

At SOLIDWORKS®, we’ve long understood that 3D CAD is just part of your product development cycle. Before the serious, manufacturing-ready design comes the prototypes, and after that ready-to-roll design comes production, end use, and so many other things within product lifecycle.

With 3DEXPERIENCE® Works, we are accommodating the full spectrum of what you need to do to develop your products in today’s distributed world in more ways than ever before—both with SOLIDWORKS and beyond.


In this episode of SOLIDWORKS LIVE we welcome back Marc McCauley and Jesse Hahne, founders of Center for Advanced Design. Those familiar with SOLIDWORKS LIVE and 3DEXPERIENCE World will remember many appearances from this dynamic duo over the years. Marc and Jesse are back to teach real-world product development lessons learned as they launched LID Boss, their new product company.

We explore the technical story of the LID Boss, a touchless lid dispenser, as well as the foundational concept behind the product itself. The design, Jesse admits, was the easy part. The path to manufacturing and the path to market were more significant challenges. And with this episode, we explore how the solutions inside 3DEXPERIENCE Works are more than ready to help at each step on these paths.

Industry Process Consultant, Mike Sande, provides a simple and practical explanation of 3DEXPERIENCE Works and how it elevates the entire product development process. He lays the groundwork for the episode: How can we utilize modern tools to take our SOLIDWORKS designs and make them into real, successful products that we take to market, like the LID Boss?

From here we cover a lot of ground. We start with organization. If we have a dispersed product design team, like LID Boss did, how would we set ourselves up to work efficiently with everyone working from a different location? The 3DEXPERIENCE platform becomes the conduit for connecting people and the product development data, along with additional functionality that encompasses every aspect of product development. Apps like Collaborative Tasks, which are super simple in their implementation, help with all design and non-design-related work tracking.

Industry Process Consultant, Mark Peterson, continues the conversation by showing the one-time setup of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, so that it can accommodate and automate your preferences for data handling. You can use the same browser-based area to quickly set up engineering standards, revisioning or part number schemes, and more, without bothering your designers and engineers. Mark also covers several other areas, including license management, file sharing, and saving design data—including legacy data—to the platform.

But of course, we also include the design phase. SOLIDWORKS is a central part of this sample workflow with LID Boss and 3DEXPERIENCE Works solutions. Mark and Jesse help show how you can validate and change prototype models into production-ready files.

We demonstrate the process with both 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS (SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD with optional built-in cloud storage) and 3D Creator’s xDesign, a browser-based 3D modeler you can use with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD models or on its own.

You’ll see that just like in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD you’ve used for years now, we can use tools like Draft Analysis within 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS to ensure our designs can be removed from their eventual molds.

On a similar note, we can also conduct motion analyses, as SOLIDWORKS Motion is included in 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Premium. This makes it easy for teams like LID Boss to analyze important kinematics such as separating lids so they dispense properly. Building a device that has the dexterity to consistently replicate what thumbs and fingers can do (separate one lid from the neighboring lid) is a significant challenge worth validating. Mark also discusses built-in cloud functionality available on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, such as saving files and revision management, that is available to users if they choose to leverage it.

On the manufacturing side, Marc and Jesse talk about their practice of designing their own fixtures to speed up the process, which Marc says can save up to six months on the product development schedule versus outsourcing fixture design.

Jesse Sprague also shows how fixture design can be done with the xDesign app (which is also part of 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Offers).

If you’re thinking, “Why use xDesign within a package like the 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Offers if you already have SOLIDWORKS inside it?” Jesse Sprague has your answer as he presents a great use case and discusses how you can reference your cloud-stored SOLIDWORKS files from anywhere to fixture model without the need to have a Windows-installed machine next to you. Instead, you can access your models from a mobile device, tablet, MacBook, or any other browser-based device.

We also discuss challenges associated with material restrictions involved with packaging. In Marc and Jesse’s case, they learned that, due to customer requirements, Styrofoam could not be used with LID Boss. As we learn in this episode, this led to alternative solutions needing to be explored. Marc and Jesse also share the battery of tests that ultimately led to their packaging receiving a 5-star rating from their vendor!

Michael Steeves demonstrates how 3DEXPERIENCE Works Simulation tools can help predict the effects of practical scenarios, such as a package being dropped. Michael also notes that the 3DEXPERIENCE platform updates a model even if material types are changed in SOLIDWORKS designs without any changes or adaptations necessary in the study itself. It just updates!

Further, Michael points out that you can run your simulations on the cloud, freeing up local computers for other work. Simulations can also run faster on the cloud with high performance computing. In addition, advanced meshing, contact analysis, material behavior modeling, and more is also available in the 3DEXPERIENCE portfolio of simulations tools.

We end by discussing the design release and how 3DEXPERIENCE Works can provide a unified view of a product structure by leveraging the Product Release Engineer role. Steve Fick explored how a company like LID Boss could intelligently catalog parts by manufacturing type, vendor, lead time, and more. You can even specify suitable replacement or alternate parts when/where needed.

For a full look at all the LID Boss video examples of how 3DEXPERIENCE Works can help product development companies go from prototype to production more efficiently, check out lidboss.solidworks.com today!

Learn More

If you want to learn more about the complete portfolio of 3DEXPERIENCE Works solutions, go to https://www.solidworks.com/3dexperience-works. And please be sure to subscribe to our SOLIDWORKS YouTube channel for more live stream content and check out live.solidworks.com for more information on previous and upcoming streams!


Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.