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Manufacturing Network puts you in touch with SOLIDWORKS-enabled vendors.
Locating design and engineering service providers that help manufacturers to accelerate
the design process has become increasingly important. Whether the services involve
contracted design work, tooling creation, machined parts, or plastic-injection
molds, manufacturers want to work with vendors that provide high-quality services
and save them time and money.
That's why SOLIDWORKS Corp. has created the
SOLIDWORKS Manufacturing Network, an online directory of design and engineering
service providers who use SOLIDWORKS software. The network, which is accessible
from the SOLIDWORKS website (www.SOLIDWORKS.com/swmn/), enables product development
organizations to search for SOLIDWORKS-enabled vendors and service providers by
name, location, and service category.
products to market faster defines success in today's manufacturing environment,"
said Robert McGill, director of the SOLIDWORKS Manufacturing Network. "Everyone
is looking for a competitive edge. Manufacturing Network is an excellent resource
for helping manufacturers find reliable vendors who use SOLIDWORKS software, which
eliminates the time-consuming and error-prone process of converting or recreating
design files. By working with SOLIDWORKS-enabled suppliers, manufacturers can
significantly shorten the design cycle and eliminate the potential for errors
that file duplication and conversion creates."
McGill says the SOLIDWORKS
Manufacturing Network currently includes several hundred service providers, giving
SOLIDWORKS users access to contact information for SOLIDWORKS-enabled machine
shops, mold houses, tooling manufacturers, rapid prototypers, design contractors
and other service providers.
Avoiding surprises and keeping the design cycle on schedule are the primary benefits
of working with SOLIDWORKS-enabled suppliers, Kevin Bourque said. He is an R&D
engineer with Thoratec Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of medical
devices for circulatory support and vascular graft applications.
found great convenience in having parts and tools made directly from SOLIDWORKS
files," Bourque said. "Before we implemented SOLIDWORKS, we used 2D
tools and often encountered surprises when we cast parts that we designed in 2D.
That never happens now that we have parts machined directly from SOLIDWORKS files.
And when we need to make changes, such as adding a boss or draft, there are no
problems. We are using SOLIDWORKS. Our vendors are using SOLIDWORKS. It makes
the process faster and more accurate for everyone involved."
improved accuracy of having a common SOLIDWORKS data foundation is critical to
the success of manufacturers that produce systems with very little margin for
error, such as Analytica, a Connecticut-based developer of mass spectrometry systems
that are used in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries for analyzing the
molecular weights of compounds.
"From our standpoint, time-to-market
is very critical," explained Michael Sansone, manager of Design Engineering
at Analytica. "The market for analytical instruments is extremely competitive,
and we constantly look for time savings anywhere we can find them."
noted that Analytica develops extremely sophisticated instruments and designs
parts with very tight tolerances, often at the micron level. "Sending our
parts to a vendor with SOLIDWORKS not only saves us a ton of drawing time but
also ensures that our parts are good. Quite frankly, using a vendor that asks
for an IGES or a STEP file or has to convert or translate our files is a nuisance.
We are looking for a competitive time advantage and for someone we can rely on
to produce good parts. Working with a vendor that uses SOLIDWORKS helps us to
achieve those goals."
adds that working with service providers who use SOLIDWORKS clearly defines Analytica's
needs and the vendor's capabilities. "It's a lot easier for someone who has
the model to take a cross-section of an assembly and determine what needs to be
done. Using SOLIDWORKS files removes any ambiguities from the process," Sansone
said. "The more the SOLIDWORKS Manufacturing Network grows, the easier it
will become to find vendors with the discipline and proficiency required to perform
the tasks we need."
most obvious vendor benefit of the SOLIDWORKS Manufacturing Network is the exposure
the directory provides to the SOLIDWORKS user community, enabling vendors to use
the network to connect with potential customers. But there are additional benefits,