DriveWorks

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DriveWorks
Developer(s) DriveWorks Ltd
Stable release DriveWorks 10 (DriveWorks Pro & DriveWorks Solo)
Operating system Windows
Type Design Automation and Product Configurator Software
Website www.driveworks.co.uk

DriveWorks is a design automation program that runs on Microsoft Windows and is developed by DriveWorks Ltd.

DriveWorks can automate the design or sales function internally or over the internet. Or it can connect to any existing sales configurator to automate the design function.

History[edit]

DriveWorks was introduced in 2001 as the first application to provide non-programmers with the ability to automate the design function. Typical competitive products available at the time of this first release involved bespoke programming in an unfamiliar language. In 2002 DriveWorks was certified as the first SolidWorks Gold Partner in the Knowledge-Based Engineering category. 2007 saw DriveWorks win Start-IT magazine's Power of Partnerships Award and later that year SolidWorks decided to include DriveWorksXpress into its core product. DriveWorks is 100% privately held by business partners Glen Smith and Maria Sarkar [1].

Market[edit]

DriveWorks is used by Engineer to Order companies (typically companies that design 'the same, but different products') to automatically design their products that meet a customer’s exact requirements. It is used to generate both manufacturing and sales documents. Its customer base ranges from small to large companies, and covers a very wide cross section of manufacturing market segments. Commercial sales are made through an indirect channel of resellers throughout the world. Directly competitive products to DriveWorks include Rulestream and Inventor Intent.

The DriveWorks approach[edit]

Capturing dimensions in DriveWorks
Using variables to calculate rules in DriveWorks

Typically a design engineer would initially create the rule set for the automation of the design function. However, different skill sets within an organization can contribute. For instance a sales engineer may apply the rules for producing a quote, an IT technician may apply the rules to connect to and utilize a company’s business data.

The DriveWorks approach is typically: -

  • The capturing of parameters from a SolidWorks model, Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel document, which forms the basis of all combinations that are to be produced from it.
  • The next step is to then define the inputs that are required to specify the product - essentially designing a user form or multiple forms.
  • Rules are then constructed that link the inputs to the captured models or documents.

DriveWorks allows personnel within an organization to accomplish this because of its ease of use approach. The main syntax for the formulation of rules adopts the Microsoft Excel format. Wizards within the software's rule builder allow connections to ODBC compliant databases to export or retrieve and filter data, without requiring SQL experience.

However, DriveWorks does include the ability for custom code to be applied through its Application programming interface (API). Additionally various routines can be executed on chosen events using VBA macros.

DriveWorks includes various diagnostic tools that reproduce the user experience, rule calculation and data generation process in run-time. This allows trouble-free adjustment of the rule set to achieve the most accurate results.

The DriveWorks API allows custom plug-ins to be written to perform additional or supplementary tasks that add to the automation project. These plug-ins can be run pre-specification or post specification.

Examples of pre-specification plugins include: -

  1. Connection to a data source (database, XML or text file) to extract and translate information into a DriveWorks specification
  2. Connection to a CAD file to extract key points and translate into multiple DriveWorks specifications

Examples of post-specification plugins include: -

  1. Parsing the assembly structure of multiple models specified as a contract to export a contract bill of materials (BOM)
  2. Communicating with a Product Data Management application for checking automatically generated data into a vault

When set up, the DriveWorks software allows the user to fill out the form that has been produced, then the manufacturing and sales documents will be created automatically.

Editions[edit]

DriveWorks software is available in a number of commercial editions. Additionally DriveWorksXpress is free inside SolidWorks 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and later.

DriveWorks Xpress

DriveWorks Xpress is included in every new seat of SolidWorks. It allows the user to create multiple variations of their SolidWorks parts, assemblies and drawings.

Commercial Products

  • DriveWorks Solo

DriveWorks Solo

Released in September 2009, DriveWorks Solo provides all the rule capabilities of DriveWorks Pro - Administrator. A fully functional user form designer is also included along with the ability to drive template documents. DriveWorks Solo and SolidWorks generate the custom 3D designs, detailed manufacturing drawings and quote for each new custom design automatically.

  • DriveWorks Pro - which is made up of a number of modules
 - DriveWorks Administrator
 - DriveWorks User
 - DriveWorks Autopilot
 - DriveWorks Live 
 - DriveWorks 3D Preview

DriveWorks Pro - Administrator

The DriveWorks core product provides all the functionality to set up and run the automation project. Additional functionality includes a user form designer, testing and diagnostic tools, and a local model generation add-in for SolidWorks.

DriveWorks Pro - User

DriveWorks Users can fill out the forms created by the DriveWorks Administrator to generate new specifications. The User CANNOT change the rules.

DriveWorks Pro - Autopilot

This module manages and controls all the data that needs to be produced.

DriveWorks Pro - Live

The addition of DriveWorks Live allows specifications to be made over the internet without the need for additional web programming. Web themes can even be modified either through the inbuilt wizard or totally customized to suit corporate branding.

DriveWorks Pro - 3D Preview

Working in conjunction with DriveWorks Live, DriveWorks 3D Preview allows the user to display a 3D Preview of their products online.

Subscription Services

DriveWorks has an initial purchase price with a yearly subscription service termed "maintenance". The subscription service entitles the user to free service packs, new versions, comprehensive hotline support, access to the customer website which contains helpful information, including 'How To' videos, an online knowledge base, enhancement request form, and discussion forums.

Version History[edit]

Current Version:

  • DriveWorks 10

For the latest information on software and hardware compatibility, please visit the Prerequisites page of the DriveWorks Solo and DriveWorks Pro help files.

Past Versions

  • DriveWorks 1.0
  • DriveWorks 2.0
  • DriveWorks 3.0
  • DriveWorks 4.0
  • DriveWorks 5.0
  • DriveWorks 6.0
  • DriveWorks 7.0
  • DriveWorks 8.0
  • DriveWorks 9.0

Add-in Products[edit]

DriveWorks allows for the seamless integration of third-party modules, through the API. Some of these modules are small and introduce minor functionality, such as entering all automatically generated data into a Product data management (PDM) application, while others could read specifications made in an alternative application and convert them to automate the design of a product in DriveWorks.

API[edit]

DriveWorks includes an Application Programming Interface (API) with SDK for macro and third party development.

Output File format[edit]

DriveWorks can automatically create many file formats as standard, such as native SolidWorks files, native Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel formats and XML. But many other file formats can be produced from these such as DXF, PDF, HTML etc.

References[edit]

  1. http://www.driveworks.co.uk/
  2. http://www.driveworksxpress.com/
  3. http://www.driveworkssolo.com/
  4. http://www.driveworkspro.com/
  5. http://www.solidworks.com/pages/partners/PartnerDetails.html?Company=DriveWorks-Ltd.&ID=1126&ProductID=514