From 2008 to 2021, when Command Tooling Systems used file-based SOLIDWORKS as its primary product development software, Berg says the end of each year came with unpleasant surprises for him and his top two engineers – who doubled as the company’s CAD administrators by default.
“In general, the annual software upgrades would start out halfway decent. But our problems usually came with hardware compatibility,” he says. “There were always little gotchas that you may not expect. We have some workstations that are three or four years old. They have different types of memory. They each have different graphics cards and displays. Typically, we would lose a computer or two to compatibility issues.”
“For large companies that may have an IT specialist maintaining the engineering department, that’s fine. But Command is a small company and we just don’t have the IT resources to keep track of this stuff.”
When deciding to explore cloud-native Onshape as an alternative design platform, Berg found that not only were installs, upgrades and hardware compatibility no longer an issue, but the company would save 25% in annual CAD costs when cutting out the annual SOLIDWORKS maintenance fees.
Because running Onshape does not require high-performance workstations – and works in a web browser on any computer, tablet or phone – Command Tooling also gains significant savings on hardware replacement costs.
However, Berg says he found that the most profound benefit of moving to the cloud was his team’s increased productivity when using Onshape’s built-in Product Data Management (PDM) system, which allows for simultaneous multi-user collaboration versus the one-engineer-at-a-time workflow of the past.
“For us, this is really huge. I’ve got a guy working on a drawing or updating the assembly, and at the same time, three or four people can be in the same part making corrections, and can apply those corrections immediately,” he says. “What is the strength of a PDM system if it works correctly? Well, it's how people can use it collaboratively, right? I think Onshape has done a great job of making this all very intuitive and easy to use.”
Berg estimates that Onshape’s worry-free data management and collaboration – and the fact that every Onshape user is always automatically on the same software version – has boosted his team’s efficiency by 50 percent when working on custom manufacturing projects.
Beyond CAD: Onshape’s Cloud-Native Simulation and Rendering