Dassault’s Digital Transformation!
Bye, Bye Solidworks?

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Today the Major CAD Vendors are
Trying to Mold the User for Their Benefit!

I have been in 3D CAD for 37 years and in manual engineering for 17 years. I have been in the business of selling PC based 3D CAD for 32 years. There are few with my level of experience and knowledge in the 3D CAD world.

I probably became aware of Ralph Grabowski in 1987 when I started TECH-NET selling PC based 3D CADKEY. He was involved with the AutoCAD based CADalyst Magazine from 1985. There are very few with his overall knowledge of the industry. He was focused on AutoCAD and electronic drawings in those days. He has published the weekly upFront.eZine e-newsletter for last 28 years.

His articles are very informative covering all aspects of CAD!

I have been working with Catia since 1986. I sold CADKEY to virtually every Boeing Supplier to work with Catia 2/3/4 and today with 5. I have been competing with Solidworks since the beginning with CADKEY, IronCAD,  ZW3D, Pro/e, Solid Edge and SpaceClaim. There are very few that have had as much experience working with Catia and Solidworks. I even tried to sell Solidworks in the early 2000's.

The 1980's - 3D CAD - The Beginning

Using Multiple 3D CAD Systems

Here are a few articles of my experiences working with both packages over the years.

Direct Editing Relief For Solidworks and Catia 5

Talking to Catia!! and other Popular 3D CAD Packages

IRONCAD/INOVATE = Catia 4.5 - The Catia incompatibility Solution

This is an incredible article by Ralph Grabowski!

Dassault Really, Really Doesn't Want You Using Solidworks Anymore

Solidworks has reached the end of its product life cycle. The enhancements are not worth keeping the annual maintenance up to date. AutoDesk, PTC and Siemens have seen the writing on the wall and are offering subscription only options, locking their users engineering data or intellectual property under their control forever.

I also reference Ralph’s opinion on subscriptions in this article.

You are Not Stuck with Autodesk or PTC Subscriptions!

Something that Ralph missed in the article is Dassault's products, the Solidworks Product Designer and Solidworks Industrial Designer. Both based on the Catia CGM modeling kernel and are no more compatible with Solidworks proper than IronCAD, ZW3D or any other package. The price? $2988.00 per year.

It was funny the biggest selling point on what was released as "Solidworks Conceputual" was the single model environment, it has seemed to completely disappear from the marketing materials.

Welcome aboard Solidworks: Updated!

Welcome aboard Solidworks Rewritten!

It is a very difficult product to find on the website!


Also, the popularity of Solidworks was not because it was a productive package but that it was a relatively inexpensive PC based Pro/e clone that had no copy protection for 11 years. Of course, it is now billed as part of the 3DExperience. The level of complexity of the 3DExperience rivals Autodesk Suite of products!

The Two CAD Programs that Set the Path to 3D MCAD Chaos!

No more Solidworks World?

USA: Why Dassault Systemes is Changing Solidworks World

“The annual Event for 3D design has been renamed and from 2020 the 3D-Experience World will take over to address a wider range of potential users of 3D technology. CEO Gian Paolo Bassi explains the reasons why Dassault Systèmes took this decision.”

Ralph has some great points.

He follows it up with some Readers Responses to the article

Readers Respond: Dassault and Solidworks

I can tell you right now Catia 5, 6 or the 3DExperience Catia R2019X is a poor replacement for Solidworks. To me both are design kludges based on the dated Pro/e (Creo) design paradigm introduced in 1988 as compared to the much more productive IronCAD and ZW3D

IronCAD vs Solidworks and the Pro/e Paradigm

I think Catia is the worst of the 3D CAD systems. It virtually does not work as a standalone CAD station. It was poorly designed for Boeing!

The Worst to Best 3D MCAD Systems Expanded!

CADKEY or Catia? Boeing’s Billion-Dollar 3D CAD Mistake!

The following articles show the convoluted design process of not only Catia 6 but also of any of the Pro/e clones.

IRONCAD vs CATIA Lesson 3 Assembly

ZW3D vs Catia Lesson 3 Assembly

Here is a comment about the installation and use of Catia 6:

### has decided to install "3D experience Catia V6". This entails CAD and PLM integrated system. As a design engineer, I loathe this. The package deteriorates the design productivity by at least 50%. It is not completed, it is full of bugs that we are being promised by DS "the next" upgrade will fix. Which it does, with about 50% success and introduces a new batch of bugs...

In short, if anybody was to listen to my engineering experience, I would rather work on the drawing board than with this, unfinished, slow, pretentious, software that has no place at a facility like this.

Here are a few words from a Catia 6 user from Cessna:

"I've used CATIA V5 for quite a few years now and we don't have any major issues with it at all nor do the many machine shops that we send our files to. I cannot say the same thing for CATIA V6 however. We've had many issues with it and it is not at all as user friendly as Dassault advertised it would be. CATIA V6 is a huge mess right now for us."

It seems like they are moving away from a functional 3D CAD tool. What happened to Catia 5? Catia 6? Will Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Gulf Stream, Cessna and others move from Catia 5? Are they still selling Catia 5? It seems like Dassault does not understand its users needs. It looks like they are trying to push the user to an ineffective world of "Digital Buzz Words".


Update 10-14-19

The above linked disappeared, It had nothing to do with the day to day work of the designer. Just a bunch of buzz words, only the buzz word people would be impressed with!

What are they moving to? Who talks like this?

"We want to integrate Solidworks in the greater selection of solutions available on the 3D-Experience platform. We believe that incorporating new technologies on a desktop architecture is not scalable, hence the need to instead connect to platform architecture that is designed for scalability and capacity. Solidworks began as a design tool for mechanical engineers, yet over the years this community has evolved and expanded their roles from design to simulation. Each year we’ve continued to drive Solidworks applications forward in terms of usability, quality, and productivity, to deliver a complete design ecosystem. Now, our focus includes cloud and platform enablement, and delivering extended functionality with 3D-Experience.Works.

3D-Experience.Works will extend the ease of use and simplicity that have been hallmarks of Solidworks applications to a new category of business solutions on the 3D-Experience platform. Users can become more inventive, efficient and responsive across their different processes. This will be their competitive differentiator."

Gian Paolo Bassi
CEO at Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS

Well, that sounds simple.

"We want to integrate Solidworks in the greater selection of solutions available on the 3D-Experience platform. We believe that incorporating new technologies on a desktop architecture is not scalable, hence the need to instead connect to platform architecture that is designed for scalability and capacity.

Ha ha, all I can say is good luck! Uh, wait a minute, now for the really important question? We all know how altruistic Dassault is!

How much is this going to cost?

I can guarantee that the average Solidworks user is not even close or even ready to "Incorporating new technologies" LOL.

I suggest Gian take some time to learn both Catia and Solidwork in a production environment! I am sure he lacks any experience in the products he leads.

Who really benefits from this move? The infotechs in the company. They have taken over and push engineering management into a subservient role. It is time we put engineering back in charge of engineering. Sadly, the millennial engineer is now in management and are twice removed from an effective engineering environment.

Here is an example of some of the other management lack of expertise!

Engineering Ignorance Defined

Cloud based applications are nothing but a way to move you to a subscription service. Think it through!! Do I really have to explain everything?


All, we as designers, want is a good easy to use 3D CAD system to design our parts/assemblies and create our documentation. I really doubt that all the bells and whistles Dassault is trying to shove down our throats with the 3DEXPERIENCE will add one minute of productivity, I am sure quite the opposite.

If you are tired of how Dassault is trying to manipulate you, why not try something new?

Engineering's only productivity is based on part design with easy to use assembly functionality and documentation creation. We are focused on delivering these basic processes better than any of the major CAD systems much more cost effective with increased productivity .

Five Functions that Increase 3D CAD Productivity!!

The Ultimate 3D CAD System

TECH-NET Engineering Services!

We sell and support IronCAD and ZW3D Products and
provide engineering services throughout the USA and Canada!

 Why TECH-NET Sells IronCAD and ZW3D

If you would like more information or to download ZW3D or IronCAD

If you are interested in adding professional hybrid modeling capabilities or looking for a new solution to increase your productivity, take some time to download a fully functional 30 day evaluation and play with these packages. Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions or would like an on-line presentation.

Joe Brouwer