CAD Automation for Everyone

by Mitch Bossart, Industry Writer for GoEngineer

GoEngineer’s GoAutomate tool empowers users to easily automate repetitive tasks in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and more productive. But in reality, it takes significant time to learn new programs, even longer to realize a payback.

Time is at a premium for busy engineers.

Third-party automation tools for product configurators are complex and expensive. And deciphering an application programming interface (API) along with writing scripts to automate repetitive tasks is challenging and often takes too much time.

Vice President of Product Development at GoEngineer, Ramon Busboom, sees the struggles his customers face. “We have customers trying to do too much with SOLIDWORKS’ internal equations,” says Busboom. “While this automation capability is powerful, it is complex to setup within SOLIDWORKS. A tiny percentage of our customers have the time and expertise to figure it all out.”

Busboom believed there had to be an easier way.

GoAutomate

Having a natural interest in programming, Busboom started experimenting with Microsoft Excel. He took the most common automation functions for programming a CAD model and put them into an Excel instruction set that connects to SOLIDWORKS via its API. This eventually became the GoAutomate tool.

“We also made it open source so anybody can look at the code behind the scenes,” says Busboom.

GoAutomate lowers the cost of entry into the often complex world of CAD automation. “You don’t have to create macros, and you don’t have to understand programming,” says Busboom. “We are seeing more and more SOLIDWORKS users leveraging GoAutomate because it is so easy to use.”

User Success

Glide-Line, a subsidiary of NCC Automated Systems, needed to develop a 3D model library of conveyor components, assemblies, and subassemblies to combine with intelligent mating technology to provide real-time, in-context configuration, editing, pricing, part number generation, and even application validation of its designs.

Product Development Engineer, Ron Schwar, at Glide-Line, literally walked into the company’s configurator solution when he attended GoEngineer’s GoAutomate technical session at the end of SOLIDWORKS World 2016. “Those were the most important 15 minutes of the entire trip,” Schwar stresses.

Schwar learned about GoAutomate in the last session of the conference and was immediately impressed. “I was actually asking myself how much cash I had on me when I discovered it was free,” enthuses Schwar.

The Bridge

GoAutomate is the bridge to the SOLIDWORKS API and now the engine of Glide-Line’s IMPACT! configuration tool. The combination of SOLIDWORKS, its API, GoAutomate, and Excel enabled the company to develop a configurator with virtually no limitations, one that provides a simplified, flexible solution without plug-ins, new software, or add-ins.

“The SOLIDWORKS configurator with GoAutomate has allowed us to deliver systems in half the time,” says President of NCC Automated Systems, Kevin Mauger. “And because the automation also helps reduce cost, we can deliver less expensive products faster than the competition.”

Most configurators work well until you make changes; that’s when the real headaches begin. However, Glide-Line’s IMPACT! system is bidirectional—changes to the model update in Excel and vice versa.

“Excel sort of gave us unlimited flexibility. We were able to create a pricing tool, a part number tool, an application guide, and calculations, so we not only changed the model, we changed the price, we changed the part number, and we gave the user real, live feedback relative to the capacity of the application regarding the particular machine,” says Mauger.

Learn More
No longer do you need an onsite programmer or software expert to enable CAD automation at your company. GoAutomate is a powerful and easy-to-use platform to improve the user experience of product configuration. Since most engineers already understand Excel, they can quickly leverage the GoAutomate tool for CAD automation.

Are you ready to try GoAutomate? Get more information here or check out this YouTube video to see the product in action.

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