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Pro/E vs. Solidworks (THE WINNER IS!)


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Ok, I need lots of help. I just started at a company that uses AutoCAD at all locations. I brought in my seat of Pro/E and some really liked it, now this company has 3 seats of Pro. Come to find out, that another division of the company has 4 seats of Solidworks. The company now has halted all new purchases until a decision can be made on which one to buy.

I need leverage so that the company will go all Pro/E. For those of you who use Pro and those of you who may have used both Pro and Solidworks. Basically they want to know how it has helped the company.

If you have used both, state your pro's and con's of both softwares.

I appreciate any help anyone can give me.


Edited by: jvf-design


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That company is a design one? OK! in my opinion, everything is around money. How many seats they will need? How your data is transfered to manufacturing? If your company is prepared to have unique standards Yes they can use Pro/E, is a great software. But for this I was meaning to work with pro/E from design up to Mfg. Of course it depends a lot on financial.

If your company use the software only for design and generate the blue prints. And if you use software like MasterCam for machining. They can use eather Pro/E or SolidWorks. Both of them are good, but don't forget is only a tool on engineer's hand.

Anotherside will be of course financial, and training program + dealer support. If on your location are AutoCAD user's they must be trained on 3D but you must see by who.



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Compare file sizes - Solidworks one's are BIG compared to PROE. Solidworks will fillup your backup VERY VERY quickly. We switched from 4 Solidworks seats to 3 PROE seats for that reason.


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I have work withbothsolid works and proe. In my opinion solids works isbetter educationalsoftwarebecause itrequires aminimal learning curve. On the other hand pro engineer has a steeper learning curve and I'm sure that most will agree is a more powerfull tool.

I thinksolid workscosts500 and proecosts like 5000. You have to weight the costs against the type of design or manufacturing work your company does everyday.

How much information is exchanged between these two divisions of the company? It may be possible to use proe in your division and use solid works in there division.



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If ProE is a more powerful tool (which I think it is) then the results should reflect that. You should be able tocompare "This is what I have been able to accomplish with ProE, what can I accomplish with SW".

Of course, this may depend as much on the ability and the experience of the users.

The price difference is not 10x as aaron said. I think ProE foundation is within 20% of the cost of SW. That's not much difference (1.2x).


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Thanks for the info, still need some more. Basically we will keep a good amount of AutoCAD on hand, but the engineers will get the 3-D package, solidworks or Pro/e, we will need to be able to share files as much as possible. My company does initial design to full manufacturing so we need to know which package is best, we have quotes from the 2 companies and solidworks is just a little cheaper but not much.


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I worked extensively with Pro-E for 4 years in a small Design - Manufacturing company and it was, as many of you have said a great design tool. Ichanged jobs and found myself flying Solidworks and for the last four years I have to say i've been fully converted. For the most part, the initial failingsof SW (lack of surfacing ability, large assy capability) have been sorted in the last three releases and there is very little SW can't do now. Pro-E was without a doubt a more capable engineering tool but SW has decreased that gap til it's not noticeable. I would recommend SW as it's far easier to use, even compared to the 'user-friendly' Pro-EWildfire 2.


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Speed of creation may be another issue when comparing. I have minimal experience with both packages but, have found when put against our best Pro/E user, I can have model assy & drawing completed before the Pro has their components created. SW all the way.


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If your company already has a relationship with AutoDesk then why not go for Inventor?

OK it's not as powerful as ProE or SW, but your engineers with only autocad experience wont know the different anyway.

You will probable get a great deal for remaining exclusive.


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I have to agree with mclearg and js here. Since your company has access to both, why not do a head to head comparison on complete assemblies? As an engineer using all the CAD systems you mentioned (Acad, Pro/E, SolidWorks) concurrently due to our customer requirements, given the choice I would use SolidWorks hands down. However, your product design may be different than mine, so the only honest way to determine which one works best for you is to do an internal comparison. Don't rely too much on the hype published by either side.


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Dear John,

I have been using Pro/E for last 8-9 years.

If you are in design space where you want compelete associativity from part modeling to drafting to tool design to actual manufacturing then, Pro/E has got the best associativity.

It is 100% parametric. No software can beat that as of now.

It has got good surfacing tools etc.

The file size is less than all the existing 3d solid modelling packages currently available in the market.

In case of Pro/E I do agree that the learning curve is a bit steep compared to SW but it is worth the price. Cost wise Pro/E happens to be a bit expensive but the diff. is not high at all.

Pro/E makes you to follow a certain logic when it comes to the actual modeling/designing. Which sometimes we feel is an absolute pain in the neck (this is sometimespublicised by other companies as not being user friendly)but I think it is really worth the effort because when it comes to modifications or creation of variants it the can really beat the hell out of other packages




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This is all great information, I appreciate the input. We are drawing up a design problem for each company to show us how they would solve it. We will evaluate every aspect of the problem. This should tell us which CAD software would be best for us.

It looks like by the replys that about half like Pro/E and Half likes Solidworks better????

Thanks again, if anyone has more Pro/E vs. Solidworks stories post them so we can read them.



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1) Surely ease of modification would come into this too!? I don't know how easy it is to update components in assembly in SW - but no sweat in WF. Also, Pro-Mechanica and other analysis tools are packaged with Pro E, so you can animate moving asseblies - can you do this in SW?

2) If you know of a way to transfer files and modify models from SW to Pro E WF I will be very interested to know exactly how. Please see the forum I posted.


New member
1) Kinematics is built into the basic package of SolidWorks. You can apply spring force, gravity, motor, etc., to see how the assembly will behave to verify clearance/interference. New to 2005 is the ability to drag a component out to a new location such as to create an exploded view, then animate explode/collapse of the assembly. The ability to animate has been part of the basic SolidWorks package since I started using it back in 1999, but it was somewhat laborous, until 2005, since you had to pick the part, then tell it how far to move. Now you just drag it into place. (Inventor has had this capability since Release 4.0) For modification, there's several ways I've done it: a)open the part from assembly, then edit, b)open thepart's drawing from assembly, then edit, c) or editthe part directly in assembly mode. If you choose"c", you will beediting-in-context of assembly, and sketches and features created will be more than likely be referencing the assembly.From here, you can maintain external references, lock-in references, or break references. Seems complicated but I think you'll find you generate less clicks to get the job done.

2) The Pro/E translator is good for up to 2001, as far as I know, not WF. Even then, SolidWorks will rebuild the Pro/E file feature by feature to create a .sldprt, but cannot go the other way. You can save a .sldprt part as a Pro/E model with the .prt extension but Pro/E imports it as a "dumb" solid, and loses all feature history.

Again, don't trust the hype from either side, try for yourself if you're lucky enough.


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Another point to consider is will you need to replicate data from one site to another. We have 2 facilities that do original design work, but we shareparts/models between the facilities. Because this functionality is built into Pro the choice was easy. With Solid Works you would have to purchas a 3rd party data management package. The other reason we selected Pro was because we can deal direct with PTC, no resellers to deal with. If Intralink and Pro are not operating properly we just call PTC and the problem is their's. With SW you would need to contact SW and the data management supplier and let them hash out solution.



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Sure it depends on what you do.

If you do a lots of surface modeling ProE is the obvious choice.

I f you use top-down design approach ProE is even more obvious choice.

Solid Works Top Down design tools are poor indeed.


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I have used both pro and sw for over 10 years now. And in my experience there is a certain overlap of abilities between pro and sw. However, pro's abilities far out reach that of sw.

If you leave the money worrying to the bean counters then you really have to ask yoursely a few simple questions. What level of modelling and design will we be doing. If you are handeling sheetmetal, pro and sw are both good at it, simple casting both pro and sw. If you doing some more complicated geo ad the also wanting to do some opto studies then you need to start thinking of pro. also where is manufacturing done and how is the info transferred to them, how does you MCAD fit in there. And then comms between sites, multi site production etc.

I like both packages sw is really easy to use and you can get really good results from it in a very short space of time. Pro e is getting easier to use, but is one hell of mallet to whack out your designs with.