myCADtools: what’s it all about?
Since the 2000s, Visiativ group has been developing SOLIDWORKS tools for CAD designers and engineers to facilitate their daily use of SOLIDWORKS, making them more efficient and productive.
myCADtools is a SOLIDWORKS Gold certified partner product with over 50 tools regrouped in the myCADservices Premium suite.
Yves Boutherand, Jérôme Faradon and Philippe Rossignol tell us how and why they created these complementary tools.
uses of mycadtools every month
WHAT DOES MYCADTOOLS DO?
Yves, Jérôme and Philippe: myCADtools allows you to automate repetitive tasks, standardize data, and access new business features. Overall, they make life easier for our customers by adapting SOLIDWORKS to their work methods and organization.
WHAT ARE THE MOST USED TOOLS?
Yves, Jérôme and Philippe: Among the 50 tools in myCADtools, the 4 most used ones by our customers are:
- SmartProperties: coding rules and fast creation of intelligent properties on documents
- ProjectManager: Duplicating a SOLIDWORKS project with all its dependencies from the main assembly.
- BatchConverter: Automatically convert a list of SOLIDWORKS documents (Parts, Assemblies, or Drawings) into any format supported by SOLIDWORKS (DXF, TIFF, PDF, IGES, …).
- CloneComponent: automatic insertion of your library components
What inspired the development of myCADtools?
Jerome: “It all started in the early 2000s when I was an instructor. When working with clients, I noticed shortcomings and recurring issues in SOLIDWORKS. They faced tedious repetitive tasks, with no tools or functionalities to help them”.
Yves: “As a technical support manager (hotline and support site), I also observed that the entire technical body (Instructors, consultants, support), who were in regular contact with customers also had the same view on the difficulty of repetitive tasks”.
“The opening of SOLIDWORKS APIs has always allowed us to innovate the product according to our customers’ problems.”
HOW WERE THE FIRST TOOLS DEVELOPED?
Jérôme: “Passionate about development and macros, I quickly stopped training to do specific development for our clients. The opening of SOLIDWORKS APIs has always allowed us to evolve the product according to the problems of our customers”.
Yves: “It was when we noticed that several customers were asking for the same developments, that we standardized specific developments to make them accessible to all”.
Philippe: “At the heart of this dynamic, I joined Visiativ in 2005 to strengthen the R & D team and work on the first myCADtools tools. There were 4 of us in total: 2 people in support and 2 people in development”.
WHAT WAS THE REACTION OF YOUR SOLIDWORKS ECOSYSTEM?
Jérôme: “Favorable to the use of the SOLIDWORKS APIs, the Dassault Systèmes editor was seduced by the initiative from the beginning”. It is undeniable that Visiativ Industry tools have always been a richness that sets us apart from the competition!
Philippe: “Convinced of the efficiency, one of our main customers, the Michelin Group, gradually replaced their specific tools with myCADtools tools. This allowed us to quickly innovate the tools, and Michelin to maintain compatibility over versions of SOLIDWORKS and standardize its methods with its subcontractors. That’s why today it’s necessary to have SOLIDWORKS and myCADtools to work with Michelin!”
Yves: “Since the integration of the first tools, we’ve had very positive feedback from customers. Some of them called us and even visited us to talk about the tools!”
WHAT WERE THE MAJOR EVOLUTIONS OF VISIATIV INDUSTRY PRODUCTS?
- From 2000 to 2007: development of the first tools downloadable by unit (Attribute, copy of project, converter, multiple printing, …)
- 2007: Launch of myCADtools suite (one setup for all tools)
- 2010: creation of SolidWatch, a suite of tools developed specifically for the watchmaking market (solid-watch.com)
- 2012: Creation of myPDMtools suite of tools
- 2014: myCADtools becomes a module of the myCADservices Premium suite
WHAT IS THE EVERYDAY LIFE OF THE R & D TEAM LIKE?
Jérôme: “Today, there are 2 developers who work full time on myCADtools, not counting the people in support and documentation. Over the years, the R & D team has expanded and now includes 8 people who must share between the different modules myCADtools, SolidWatch, myPDMtools, … Obviously, the resolution of bugs is a priority throughout the year . We must be responsive to quickly find solutions for our customers. On the other hand, we are tweaking and innovating the existing tools, and we are creating new ones (the major version setups are available after the release of the each new SOLIDWORKS version)”.
Philippe: “What’s really nice about our job at R & D is that we develop all the tools entirely ourselves. This makes us know develop skills in different job functions (architecture, computer graphics, development, packaging, …)”.
WHAT IS THE SECRET BEHIND THE SUCCESS OF MYCADTOOLS?
Jérôme: “The success of myCADtools is ensured by close collaboration with our customers. Indeed, the feedback from our customers conditions and guides the development and evolution of the tools. Thanks to a good coordination with the technical teams who are in contact with the customers (support, consultants, trainers …), we are quickly informed of their needs and expectations”.
WHAT TOOL ARE YOU THE MOST PROUD OF?
Jérôme: “My favorite tool is “CuttingOptimization”. allows you to schedule cutouts and optimize material waste of profile-based designs. It also allows you to optimize your material supply and thus considerably reduce your manufacturing costs.
This tool reminds me of my first job, when I worked in a boilermaking design office.
Philippe: “For my part, it’s “SmartProperties”! It is in some ways “my baby”: I develop it for years and I continue to innovate it. I am very happy to see that it is one of the most used tools and most appreciated by our customers. I gladly help the hotline when there are questions and problems encountered on the “SmartProperties” tool”.
CAN YOU GIVE US EXCLUSIVE INFORMATION ABOUT THE LAUNCH OF A NEW TOOL IN THE MYCADTOOLS SUITE?
Jérôme: “I am currently working on the “FindDocument” tool. Basically, this is a client request that will eventually be incorporated into the myCADtools suite running in 2018. “FindDocument” is a search tool in SOLIDWORKS and out of SOLIDWORKS as well. It allows you to do Windows search, index all the documents as you go in background …”
HOW TO DOWNLOAD MYCADTOOLS TOOLS FOR SOLIDWORKS?
The 50 myCADtools tools for SOLIDWORKS are bundled into a module of the myCADservices Premium suite, developed and marketed by Visiativ. To test the various myCADtools tools, it is also possible to download a trial version for 30 days.