From Product to Experience with the Platform

Did you catch the design domain session at 3DEXPERIENCE World? If not, you’re in luck as I’m going to share some of the highlights from that session in this blog. If you did attend you may have heard SOLIDWORKS CEO Manish Kumar talk about two flavors of SOLIDWORKS, including SOLIDWORKS with the Platform and SOLIDWORKS on the Platform.

SOLIDWORKS with the Platform is my main domain so you might have also caught me on the main stage for the design domain session breaking down what that means and chatting with customers about their experience with the cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

First off, let me explain the difference between “with” and “on” the platform. “SOLIDWORKS with the Platform” refers to the cloud-connected solutions that enable you to connect your data to 3DEXPERIENCE platform so you can leverage its collaboration and data management capabilities. These solutions include 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS and Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS available as roles in the 3DEXPERIENCE Works portfolio. “SOLIDWORKS on the Platform” refers to the fully browser-based solutions in the SOLIDWORKS Cloud Offer, such as 3D Creator. You can get the most value out of your data and enhance your skillset with all the above, but today I’m going to focus on the features in 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS as shared on the main stage at World.

I was honored to talk to our customers right after Manish and Bruce Holway, roles portfolio engineering director, SOLIDWORKS had just covered SOLIDWORKS with the Platform and SOLIDWORKS on the Platform, in addition to other updates. Be sure to stick around until the end as I’ll preview a new and exciting offering for 2D drafting as well!

Learning about the latest offerings is always exciting, but it’s even more exciting to hear how our customers are using the solutions.

Sam Melo of Coite and Hews, Kevin Hopkins of Square Robot and Salih Alani of Dassault Systèmes.


Square Robot, an early adopter of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform designs, builds and operates autonomous robots that are submerged into operational fuel storage tanks to identify corrosion and integrity issues.

I spoke with Kevin Hopkins, lead mechanical engineer, Square Robot who oversees the design and construction of the robots, and manages the team of mechanical designers.

The team uses SOLIDWORKS and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform extensively to design and manage their models, which consist of four to five thousand components!

What’s that experience like? Kevin said, “time-consuming!”

To help Kevin and others deal with large data sets, let me weigh in on some of the latest time-saving features.

For starters, 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS includes a feature called Asynchronous Save, which lets you save your large design data to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the fly, while you continue to design as the save happens in the background, so you’re not held up.

You can also easily track the status of the save progress in your MySession pane and address any issues that surface as you see fit or continue to design in SOLIDWORKS. You’ll receive a report after the save to take care of any issues, such as trailing spaces in your model name, at a later time. (Check out my blog to learn more.)

Asynchronous Save is ideal for saving large data sets as it enables you to continue to design while you save to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.


I’m confident to say that saving to the platform is almost as fast as saving to your local PDM system.

Speaking of PDM. I asked Sam Melo, mechanical engineer, Coit and Hewes, who also joined Kevin and I on stage, to weigh in on the company’s experience using SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS PDM, and their move to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Just to backtrack Coit and Hewes is an aftermarket manufacturer of plastic and rubber consumables used in nut harvesting equipment, including nut rakes. Fun facts: they are located in Modesto, Cali., right in the middle of where 90% of the world’s nuts are grown. The company started in 2009 after the founders worked 30 plus years for other companies in the nut harvesting business, and they started making and selling nut rakes out of their homes as a side business.

Coit and Hewes is one of our newest customers that adopted the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, so I wanted to know what motivated them to move from SOLIDWORKS PDM to the platform.

Sam explained that with their previous setup, the company was having frequent connection issues to their hosted server because it was getting old so they needed to upgrade the server at a significant cost or invest in a cloud solution that would set them up for future growth and advancement.

They chose the ladder, and Sam said, “The benefit of being able to connect to our data from anywhere, anytime or on any device sounded like it would be a huge boost in productivity for us. When we heard that you had a new migration service available to move our PDM data to the cloud on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, it was the perfect timing for us.”

Coit and Hewes worked with their local reseller, Hawk Ridge Systems, who helped them do the data migration. After testing a few scenarios, they did the final migration in just a few days. Sam said overall it was a smooth process.

Hawk Ridge Systems used a new tool we offer called the 3DEXPERIENCE Transition Assistant that enables moving files from SOLIDWORKS PDM and the revision level, meta data, workflow states and more.

I’m certainly looking forward to hearing more on Coit and Hewes’ journey with the platform in the future.

The 3DEXPERIENCE Transition Assistant helps customers securely bring their data from SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.


Now back to sharing more on the latest features in 3DEXPEREINCE SOLIDWORKS, and Kevin from Square Robot, who’s been around the block with the 3DEXPEREINCE platform for a while now.

I was curious and also wanted to show off the new Share and Markup capabilities on how Kevin’s team gets feedback from internal and external collaborators during the design phase.

I’m sure most of you can relate, Kevin said they typically rely heavily on screen sharing and email exchanges. And then they spend a lot of time going over changes and explaining it to people on the shop floor.

He was excited to learn about Share and Markup, introduced last year, which enables you to share your 3D designs with ANYONE directly from SOLIDWORKS and get instant feedback on the fly.

This enables your colleagues and partners to view, markup and comment on your designs directly from their mobile devices, without the need to install any software, all within a browser.

Overall, this makes working together easier and helps accelerate your product development process. The best part is that as a designer you don’t even have to leave SOLIDWORKS!

See my blog for step by step instructions on how easy it is to use the Share and Markup capabilities here.

Another great feature is the ability to save a representation of a model that stays linked to the physical product but doesn’t have a unique item number on the platform, so you can clearly identify what is what. With the Configuration Manager you can create configurations of your model, which can be either a “Physical Product” or a “Representation.” Stay tuned as my colleague Priyanka has a more in depth blog on this coming soon!

With the Configuration Manager you can create configurations of your model, which can be either a “Physical Product” or a “Representation.”


Before I run off, I promised a preview of an upcoming solution announced at World. For many of you, 2D Drafting is a big part of the design process, whether it’s the final deliverable drawing or just a rough layout sketch. Currently we offer DraftSight Desktop and 3DEXPERIENCE DraftSight (which connects to the platform), both ideal tools for anyone who needs fast easy 2D drawing.

But we all know that with any project sometimes things go awry, especially when you’re out in the field working on stuff. Plans change, things break and suddenly your perfect drawing isn’t so perfect anymore.

To meet this challenge, I’m thrilled to tell you about the upcoming launch of DraftSight Creator, a brand new browser-based tool for 2D drafting.

It’s going to make drawing and creating plans a whole lot easier. With DraftSight Creator Design teams can now work on DWG drawings from any connected device, no matter where they are.

Say goodbye to being stuck in the office or lugging around heavy laptops.

Coming soon! With DraftSight Creator you’ll be able to work on your DWG drawings on the field or from anywhere on any connected device.


I hope you are excited about what I just shared and what’s to come! That was just a glimpse of insight from our amazing customers and features in 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS and some of the future solutions. Learn more in this blog on the latest update of 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS and stay tuned to the SOLIDWORKS blog and learn about more 3DEXPERIENCE Works solutions available to you now at:

If you missed this year’s design domain general session, I previewed above you can catch it here in the video below!

And sorry, no I didn’t have a dance off. Manish teased me as I entered the stage and those of you who know me know I like to cut a rug and am a pool shark so up for either challenge, by the way.


Salih Alani

Salih Alani

Salih Alani joined SOLIDWORKS in 2013. He held SOLIDWORKS technical support position focused on core SOLIDWORKS, DraftSight, licensing (Online Licensing), and Lead Technical Support of 3D CONTENTCENTRAL, Technical Support Account Manager for Enterprise Subscription Services (ESS) customer account and lead organizer for VAR Performance Tuning Workshop in Dassault Systèmes Waltham before he joined the SOLIDWORKS Product Management Team in 2020. He is now focused on 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS cloud roles along with collaboration on the 3DEPERIENCE Platform. Salih Alani is Graduate of the University of Technology, Iraq - Baghdad with BS in Mechanical Engineering, graduate of Northeastern University with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in mechanics and design.