DriveWorks is a best-in-class CPQ and CAD automation software used by many engineering and manufacturing companies. Each year DriveWorks releases the next major version of CPQ and Design Automation software. This year DriveWorks 20 was released and is packed full of customer requested enhancements, new features to help with usability and setup, and of course, more ways to automate anything!
DriveWorks version 20 was officially released March 30th during DriveWorks world 2022 and fully supports SOLIDWORKS 2022 and is backwards compatible with SOLIDWORKS 2020 and 2021! Below are just ten of the many enhancements that make up the all new DriveWorks 20.
What’s New in DriveWorks 20?
The IIS management tool allows DriveWorks live to quickly and easily be set up over IIS without requiring a detailed step by step guide. The IIS wizard built right into DriveWorks live automatically manages the mandatory IIS settings and prompts the user for additional custom settings needed to fully configure. I’ve used this tool a number of times already and have been able to set up IIS in minutes! Further, once IIS is configured, you can manage the application pools directly from the DriveWorks Live application! To find the new IIS management tool, open DriveWorks Live (v20) and under “Stage 3: IIS” you will see the new IIS management option.
DriveWorks Pro Autopilot might just be the unsung hero of your DriveWorks implementation. Autopilot works tirelessly 24/7 to ensure all your models are instantly generated, all documents are updated and saved in the correct location, and of course can even send emails to your internal employees, sales, or directly to customers! Any day with DriveWorks Autopilot running is a good day but what happens when there is an interruption in the connection between your autopilot machine and the DriveWorks pro server? If the autopilot machine crashes, is shut down, or disconnects – there is no way to notify anyone that your most efficient automation tool has just been disrupted. Enter DriveWorks 20 with the new ability for the pro server itself to send emails.
Armed with these new email settings, the pro server now monitors the connection with autopilot, and when a disruption occurs, the pro server machine now automatically sends out an email notifying IT or the designated Administrator that Autopilot has been disrupted. These emails are even customizable allowing you to reference the agent’s name, machine name, the user running the agent, and even the time of failure via the heartbeat time! This allows for quick identification of errors and the chance to get Autopilot back up and running even faster! Find this new feature in the DriveWorks 20 pro server tool, under “Email Notifications”
It is no secret that having a 3D preview of the models you are configuring makes things easier to visualize. It seems like more configurators these days have some sort of 3D representation of your configured product. DriveWorks has been a leader in 3D browser configuration, but it was sometimes hard to create elaborate scenes or environments for the 3D document you were configurating.
New in DriveWorks 20 is the ability to quickly add dynamic primitive models to any 3D document! These primitives are lightweight and completely customizable. You can now use primitives for dynamic generation of various simple 3D geometries from within a 3D Document without having to model it in SOLIDWORKS first!
The Primitive Models available are cubes, spheres, planes, domes, cones and cylinders. Use primitives to generate a lightweight but complex environment for your 3D model representation.
To add a 3D Primitive Model, open a 3D Document and add a Node to the Root structure. Right click on the Node and select Add Entity> Geometry> Primitive Model.
While we are on the topic of 3D previews, I have a few more favorites to cover starting with the ability to add outline glow to a component on hover. This brand-new feature in DriveWorks 20 is a camera effect that will create a glow around any model when a mouse hovers over the entity. While at first this seems like a small feature, it can be used for a number of helpful things; especially when working with interactive 3D models!
This feature allowed me to add a glow effect quickly and easily to a “spare parts” project. Now I can interact with different sub-assemblies or components and see the drilldown just by hovering over a component. You also know instantly what you are selecting since it is highlighted. Sometimes the small things make a big difference!
This enhancement might personally be in my top three favorites this year. The ability to configure with 3D files as a representation have been present since DriveWorks 9 was released back in early 2012 – if you think about it, that’s 10 years of configuring 3D in a browser, and each year, major improvements have made 3D documents even better.
In recent years there have been massive focus on improving the realism of Drive3D files. Textures, reflectivity, and even glass refraction all combine to make 3D previews extremely realistic and rendered nicely! One common feature that was missing was the ability to cast shadows. Now in DriveWorks 20 when you add a directional light into the 3D document scene, you can turn on the ability to turn on shadow casting! It’s an absolute game changer, and the shadow updates in real time based on position of the lighting or model!
DriveWorks gives you full control of the shadow properties. To find the shadow casting feature, open a 3D document and either add, or edit a directional light. In the properties on the right, you will be able to select “Shadow Casting Enabled”!
One of the main things to be aware of when considering putting 3D models on your webpage is the amount of data that needs to be downloaded to the client. Complex or very detailed 3D models can be large in file size and sometimes slow down the browser or even load the configurator very slowly. To combat large file sizes coming from SOLIDWORKS, the Drive3D file can be exported with less triangles in the body. This often means the 3D model can look rough which is not desirable. DriveWorks 20 introduced normal smoothing which is a tool built specifically to help low “quality” models, look better. Normal smoothing can smooth out and blend rough edges or faces. This means you can now have better performing models that still look just as good!
1. Normal smoothing disabled 2. Normal smoothing enabled
One of my favorite standard things that DriveWorks provides is the testing and reporting capabilities. DriveWorks makes it easy to test your projects, constants and variables nearly anywhere with detailed feedback that allows you to troubleshoot and fix errors quickly and easily. DriveWorks 20 has further expanded on the ability to test and report within a specification by now including child specifications within “Test Mode”. This means you can now open a child specification and use test mode to instantly see if the parent data is being passed down to the child, where the data is, and how it is evaluated! Using this to troubleshoot child specifications is truly fantastic.
Over the years, I have worked with plenty of DriveWorks implementations that primarily focused on documentation generation. Automatically creating and generating quotes, sales documents, marketing documents, instruction manuals, and more is easy with DriveWorks. Often the documents that are generated are saved in PDF format.
There were plenty of ways to work with documents before DriveWorks 20, but if the primary goal is to create a PDF, it is time to celebrate because DriveWorks 20 now has built in PDF integration. This means DriveWorks has added advanced functions and tasks directly related to PDF file processing. Things like merging or splitting PDF files, rotating pages, and even converting Images to PDF format – this can all be done directly in DriveWorks now!
You can use DriveWorks to combine a PDF print of a customer drawing, with the PDF sales quote in a single step. You could even create your very own DriveWorks project that allows you to upload two PDF documents and merge them together quickly and easily. DriveWorks 20 gives you incredible freedom to create, modify and build complex PDF documents with ease!
Automating the perfect drawing can be difficult. Thankfully DriveWorks gives you all the tools need to get the job done. Being able to reposition dimensions relative to the model view, add balloons when necessary, and control the view scale and position are all simple tasks. DriveWorks just added one more tool to the already extensive toolbox with DriveWorks 20.
The new ability to drive a view relative to another view or even the sheet itself gives you a whole new level of control over your automated drawings. Now, you can automatically position section views, detail views, even standard model views anywhere you want on the page with pinpoint accuracy. Combine this task with a “rescale and position view” generation task to automatically rescale a parent view and then move all the child views or detail views to perfectly align. Your drawing views just got a little easier to work with. The “Set View Relative Position” task can be found in the generation tasks when a drawing is selected.
If you do not use ordinate dimensions in your automated drawings, this enhancement will make you want to. DriveWorks 20 has introduced the ability to re-jog ordinate dimensions! This is a DriveWorks Generation Task that will automatically run the SOLIDWORKS ‘Re-jog Ordinate’ command on a dimension you choose. Ordinate dimensions are a nice clean way to dimension sometimes, however, it can get messy when the part changes and features move around. The ability to re-jog your ordinate dimensions now mean you can automate a drawing (yes, even ones with ordinate dimensions) without fear of overlapping or out of place dimensions. What’s even better? One single generation task takes care of all the ordinate dimensions in the same jog group! I have run this task a few times and it does an excellent job of easily cleaning up what could be a messy situation. You can find this generation task in the “Stage 4 – Generation Tasks” toolbox when a drawing is selected.
DriveWorks 20 Feature Wrap-up
That wraps up our top ten favorite features in DriveWorks 20, but it does not mean those are the only great enhancements! Download DriveWorks 20 today and explore all the great new features and functions available to make your CPQ and CAD automation even easier. The full list of DriveWorks 20 SP0 enhancements can be found here. Be on the lookout for more new features and enhancements as service packs come out throughout the year!
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