OAG is a specialist glazing contractor. So we cover facade work, we cover internal works. It can be anything from standard systemised products to a complete bespoke solution. Our driver is really to be able to offer a solution that perhaps others wouldn’t. Or, go for something that the mainstream may find too taxing.
The challenge for us is that we’re working with what you would consider to be a final finish material, but we are having to order that material way way in advance of the install date. So to have certainty about what we’re producing has saved us a huge amount of money over the last 6 or so years we have been using SolidWorks.
When we looked to introduce 3D CAD into OAG we looked at a number of products. A big driver for us when we selected SolidWorks was actually how easy it was to covert 2D geometry into 3D. We still find that we’re dealing with, even in the days of BIM (Building Information Modelling) as we are now, it is still primarily 2D information that we are using to start the modelling process for ourselves.
The introduction of BIM into the construction industry has been quite a slow take up from our experience at the moment. We have produced a number of projects now, we’re working at a level 2 BIM standard and for us we’ve found it to be quite an enlightening process. The integration of our package (SolidWorks) with other packages has actually worked extremely well. We have a package that can allow us to deliver BIM content for the design team to use for their operations. But at the same time gives us the construction information and more importantly allows us to get fabrication produced directly from one model.
The addition of the Unicode options into the export function for SolidWorks will be a huge benefit for us in terms of taking SolidWorks data directly and exporting for others to use in BIM.
The use of SW for us in design has actually led to our fabrication partners adopting SolidWorks as well.
We have a fabricator that uses it and they find it very handy. We can just send them the model. They can interrogate that model; they can use our drawings, we don’t really need to produce drawings but they can interrogate the model and measure of that. Its where sheet metal coms in really handy because they can use our sheet metal model that’s designed correctly, unfold it and they can put that straight into their CAM software. So that comes in very handy.
We make a lot of use of Visualize as a product in particular. When we’re working with a lot of bespoke solutions it is sometimes quite difficult for a client to be able to see from a 2D representation what we are trying to deliver. But with the addition of Visualize in the tools then we can create photorealistic output that a client can immediately relate to.
The output options that we have from SolidWorks, be it for the drawings themselves or for the visuals, allows us just to drop them in to another 2D drawings to supplement that information.
Weldments is quite a useful tool for us. A lot of our products are based around aluminium extrusion or steel rolled profiles. Both of which are perfect for use with (SolidWorks) Weldments.
We have a structural engineer employed in-house, he has a range of tools at his disposal. Simulation gives us the ability to make use of that model information and then with his guidance for the loadings and so on, we can make use of that for analysis.
There are plenty of instances where SolidWorks has been an absolute godsend for us. There are projects that we are tackling now that quite simply we probably wouldn’t have done prior to having SolidWorks.
One of the most satisfying things for me with the adoption of SolidWorks was actually how quickly our team came up to speed with using the software. And that certainly was helped by Cadtek with excellent training initially but also with support for us both by telephone and also on-site. We had a project which we found extremely taxing relatively soon after adopting SolidWorks. Certainly with the help with Cadtek on-site we were able to find the solution for it and deliver the job. That’s something I don’t think we would necessarily see from other resellers.
SolidWorks for me was a very easy one to pick up, it is very intuitive in the way it works. And with my overall view as a director and in charge of design I was very satisfied to see how quickly we saw the benefit from our initial investment. Probably in less than 12 months we felt that it had actually paid for itself in terms of the lack of remake that we were doing. The on time deliveries were improved on projects on site, all things that have a huge effect on our profitability for the projects.
SolidWorks really does integrate seamlessly with other packages; it is our most valuable tool for the business.
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“A big driver for us when we selected SolidWorks was actually how easy it was to covert 2D geometry into 3D”
“The addition of the Unicode options into the export function for SolidWorks will be a huge benefit for us in terms of taking data directly and exporting for others to use in BIM”
“There are projects that we are tackling now that quite simply we wouldn’t have prior to having SolidWorks”
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