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Warts and all


New member
I am reviewing the currently available CAD systems , we are currently on Pro/Engineer. I am biased towards Pro/Engineer having spent the last ten years as a pro/e admin.

I want to be open minded and consider using solidworks instead of Pro/Engineer. The reason is to reduce running costs and improve ROI. Big brownie points with the exec, but also bad if we cannot produce models to the right quality/ speed.

Our large assemblies are 9000+ parts and just on the verge of running out of memory under 32 bits windows with the 3Gb switch.

The salesmen tell me that solidworks can do anything that Pro/E can. Is this true?

I will test solidworks in time but I want to know the good bits and also the warts before I start.

Ian Turner

Any help or comments would be great.


New member
Oh, brother... at the risk of drawing fire on myself:

I used Pro/E for 5 years, 8-10 hours per day,before switchingcompanies and CAD systems to SolidWorks.I still make references and comparisons to Pro, and I still wish -even a year later- that I could switch my current company to ProE.

Don't get me wrong; SWX is a great package- easy to use andintuitive. Depending on what your product is, it may be the right CAD system for you.

However, sales people will tell you anything. Don't base your judgment about capabilities on what Sales tells you- go to the websites, get the data sheets, make comparisons, or even a decision matrix. Maybe the sheets areincomplete, but they won't put in writing something the system can't do.Sales will tell you anything to get you to buy.

SWXis just doesn't have the capabilities that Pro has. Something as simple as flexible parts- not there. Sketcher limitations, reference plane and axis limitations, bulk items -not there.


New member
I've utilized UG for approx 14 years, Pro/E 6 years, and SW 6 years. I have to say they are all very good modeling tools. There are very few companies that utilize any of these to their fullest potential, unless the company is a full job shop that requires anything from molds optical ray tracing. Having most time on UG, I tend to sway towards that, however, when it comes to cost savings... I have to go with Solidworks. At the time I started on SW, the maintenance cost alone for a single year was enough to almost double the seats. As for functionality, large assemblies, the x64 is a fairly stable software. Realizing it's new and most all have a few bugs, the memory issues isn't an issue. I first looked at SW in 94 as a beta, then utilized it for a while in 97. It has come a long way. Now in 07, it's a fairly strong, easy to use piece of software.

Just my thoughts.


New member
I, too, have used UG and Pro/E before coming to SW. Our assemblies aren't that big but I can tell you that I miss Pro/E's Simplified Reps. Nothing like it in SW but there are ways around that kind of stuff.

Personally, I didn't see any Sketcher limitations, reference plane/axis limitations.

Cosmos is easier that Mechanica, though...



New member
Solidworks is what we use. It is the top end design tool today. My assemblies are sometimes 14000 parts. I used all the design tools out there. I am sticking to solidworks.

I say test drive solidworks and fine out. Hope that helps.


New member
I'm a ProE (2001/WF2) and Solid Edge user (not SW). SE and SW have strong resemblance, people using both of them side by side tell me SE is more powerfull and more reliable.

There are a number of things ProE can do and SE can't, but the reverse is also true. There are certainly a lot of things that are far easier in SE.

You mention large assemblies. SE has simplified reps and lots of possibilities to hook up to an assembly framework, load partial assemblies and so on. There is at present a 64-bit version, but not all of the surrounding tools have been brought up to this level yet. I know one thing : bringing up an assy in ProE when in development phase can be a nightmare where you have to work your way through freezing and surpressing to get going. This is not so in SE. Failed relations are indicated but the general rule of the program is to proceed with the information at hand and/or the last known working solution. So you have plenty ofoccasion to solve issues when you feel fit to do so.

Company rule - when working ProE - is to make assemblies where everything is attached to the top level, to reduce "issues". Home office rule (and partial company) - working SE - is to make "live" assemblies where things that go together also are related to eachother. Which makes it a lot easier to model in an environment that reacts to the changes you make. Also important is that each part can be located anywhere and be found afterwards. ProE needs search paths to locate parts (from other projects, fasteners, ...) and slows down by each search path that is added. SE picks the hardware parts from where you found them when you included them, no hassle.

Loading assemblies and drawings you are made aware of the changes that were made since you last saved, so there's no important issues that you miss when coworkers "do their thing".

There are lots of other things to mention but you'll find that SE and ProE are a different philosophy, making it hard to compare. And when you compare you should watch the final goal and not focus on ways you used to work.



New member
iturner_frl said:
The salesmen tell me that solidworks can do anything that Pro/E can. Is this true?

The salesman will probably tell you that you can import all of your Pro/E models and drawings into SolidWorks, too.

Good luck with that!


New member
Don't do it! You have to look at what cost saving really is. We have added some solidworks seats where I work as we were led to believe it would help save money (well you would after all the hype!). However it doesn't even if the manager can't see it.

Take this simple test. In SWX create box, say 100x100x25. Shell the box out with a wall thickness of 3mm, to make it into a tray. Now on one of the bottom faces put a 10mm rad. In the real world you couldn't do this as it would waste the material away and you would have a hole. In SWX it does not dot his plus gives a slightly strange graphical feed back. Do the same in Pro/E and you can see the hole.

Plus don't even get me started on welded parts. If you weld something together in SWX it turns it into a sinlge part which you can't reverse. Plus you cannot then alter the original design!

So to conclude, we may save a few hundred quid but we loose this by my fellow design engineers struggling with a design package that is not as good. Pro/E may be a pain in the arse, and PTC an even bigger one. But the package is so capable! Recently we also go something called Start Up Tools for Pro/E which is a bit strange but does help lots with some of things that SWX can do and Pro/E can't.

Just my view and have given SWX a fair crack as it looks much cooler!