This has been a long time coming since, Dassault Systèms acquisition of SolidWorks in 1997. Back then there were discussions on how SolidWorks, Catia V5 and Enovia would work together.

Most infamous was at SolidWorks World 2010 where then SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray said ‘Let’s kill SolidWorks the way SolidWorks has killed some other companies’. In general this was not received well but in an interview with Deelip, Jeff was able to elaborate that a new project team was being created ‘We were basically going to spin you out. You are a startup and your job is to kill SolidWorks. Go start a business that uses the technologies available today that solves the customer’s problems.’ Now 23 years after the acquisition and 10 years after ‘killing SolidWorks’ we can see how this has evolved to the 3DExperience taking the place of Enovia as the brain of the platform and SolidWorks and Catia being apps within that ecosystem. From SolidWorks 2020 you are now able to launch any app on the 3DExperience platform. It’s rather surreal to see that you can even launch Catia‘s many apps.

To me SolidWorks stands out not only for being the newcomer but keeping it’s original red logo. From the 3DExperience webpage you are also able to launch a variety of apps which now includes SolidWorks.

How this integration will play out is still unknown, at least to me. Of course the integration will get stronger with time but how that evolves will be very interesting. My prediction is that SolidWorks PDM will be phased out to 3DExperience, because one of it’s many tricks is CAD aware PDM making SolidWorksPDM redundant. Conversely, SolidWorks’s GUI has always been my preferred choice among CAD or FEA programs. I have seen this influence in Catia on the 3DExperience platform. I actually believe Catia on the platform looks more like SolidWorks than Catia! Unfortunately, to date the model manipulation (rotation, pan and zoom) has stuck with Catia’s paradigm over SolidWorks’. I would love to see Abaqus/CAE‘s option to choose the navigation style as a 3DExperince preference across all apps on the platform. After these two but possibly slower will be the changing from the Parasolid kernel (Siemens) to Catia‘s Convergence Geometric Modeler (Dassault Systèms) for SolidWorks. This has been an uphill battle from the beginning but would open up many possibilities for interoperability with not just the Catia apps but also all of Simulia including Abaqus, XFlow and the other brands. Jon Hirschtick, the founder of SolidWorks cites that ‘Traditional CAD was never built for this new model of distributed design – we know because we’re the ones who built it.‘ because of this and other reasons he founded OnShape. The 3DExperience is Dassault’s rebuilding of not just CAD but how products are designed, analyzed, built and managed.

I can image a workflow where a project plan is laid out in Enovia. A layout assembly is created in Catia. Most parts are designed in SolidWorks. Some parts are designed in one of Catia‘s surfacing apps for class ‘A’ surfaces. Other parts are light weighted with generative design. This data could then be analyzed with Simulia’s designer and expert roles for simulation all without the need to leave the platform or export/import data. I personally am looking forward to a seamless collaborative environment on the 3DExperience Platform with both Catia and SolidWorks in it.

Please feel free to reach out to me to learn more about the 3DExperience Platform and it’s many integrated apps. Thank you.

Rob Stupplebeen