SOLIDWORKS is an Industry leading CAD program for Consumer Goods Product Development
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
January 25, 2019

SOLIDWORKS is an Industry leading CAD program for Consumer Goods Product Development

Score 7 out of 10
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Overall Satisfaction with SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS is used in two main avenues. First, we use SOLIDWORKS for rapid prototyping. Typically a model is designed and modeled within 3 hours or less and then sent to the Fab Lab where it is either 3D printed or carved on a CNC machine. These prototyping models are useful for user feedback and other validation tests. The turnaround is quick, so the models are not always 100% accurate...and sometimes key components of the product are left out if the area of focus is testing another part.

The second avenue of use would be the real product development in which the model is prepared for full-fledge manufacturing. The manufacture ready models could be used for injection molded parts, laser jet parts, CNC'd parts, a few other types of manufacturing, or a combination of them. These types of models typically take a day to a few weeks and are sometimes passed between designer and engineer. Depending on the project, it may be necessary to utilize some of SolidWorks internal simulation tools, which help ensure that the product is ready for manufacturing without any foreseeable problems.
  • SOLIDWORKS is definitely leading the way in the simulation realm (stress test, draft, etc). The simulations give a lot more detail compared to other CAD programs that I've used in the past.
  • SOLIDWORKS is an evolution of one of the longest standing CAD products on the market. The huge knowledge base and user base is a huge plus when it comes to advanced modeling issues and concerns.
  • SOLIDWORKS is intuitive enough that "new" employees can pick it up in a fairly short amount of training....especially to grasp the key concepts and be able to inspect or look at already produced models.
  • SOLIDWORKS as a whole has been utilizing modern cloud technologies to allow users to run more simulations and get more done while data and processing are done behind the scenes. Something that is extremely important when it comes to machine bandwidth and the ability to get a lot done at once.
  • I wish SOLIDWORKS would start an overall of the UI. It's familiar...but it's old and clunky. I use Fusion 360 for personal use and love the modern look and intuitiveness that it brings along with it.
  • Native image rendering is not good. Have to use a third-party program such as KeyShot.
  • Very ergonomic or organic shapes can be hard to produce. There is no "sculpt" environment as offered in Fusion 360.
  • I'm not familiar with the ROI (specific numbers) at my employer. However, SOLIDWORKS is utilized by a number of people and it would be hard to get the amount of work done with a different program...especially in relation to the speed of use (large files that SOLIDWORKS can handle and others can't).
SOLIDWORKS has been around much longer than Fusion 360...and in many realms they aren't even comparable. Fusion 360 is great for small product development projects... but really can't handle large files like SOLIDWORKS can. SOLIDWORKS overall has better and more simulation tools that are a key to successful product development...especially mitigating risk and lowering overall production cost. One thing that is also often overlooked is the vast user base that SOLIDWORKS has. Many manufacturing facilities have in-house engineers that are versed in SOLIDWORKS (and not these other programs). This makes solving issues a breeze, as they're understanding of what's actually going on.
Overall, SOLIDWORKS is a powerhouse of tools that can be used for product development and engineering products. It's familiar, reliable, and can tackle just about any project within the consumer goods industry. If you're looking to develop packaging, physical goods, furniture, etc... then SOLIDWORKS is really the industry standard. If you're looking to do architectural or other civil-engineering related projects then you'll want to check out some other products (probably Autodesk products). You'll also find SOLIDWORKS has limitation when it comes to soft-consumer goods...including clothing and footwear. If you're looking to do soft goods then I would suggest finding a software package that is specific to your needs.