SolidWorks includes a comprehensive programming interface, called API (application programming interface). This enables the CAD software to be customized and expanded according to individual requirements. Recurring tasks can be digitally automated almost without restrictions. In many companies, however, this possibility is hardly used. It's a pity, because besides enormous time and cost savings, it brings with it completely new possibilities for your own company.
The following video on the My Glasses product configurator shows the enormous possibilities of system extensions.
The My Glasses product configurator enables you to create your individual pair of glasses. In addition, it is possible to adjust the size and position of the glasses to the 3D scan of a human head. The 3D scans used here were created with the help of photogrammetry and serve as customer data for the product configurator. The product configurator My Glasses is implemented as an add-in for the SolidWorks CAD system. Add-Ins allow the extension of already existing software with additional functionalities. In order to develop an add-in, the existing software needs an Application programming interface, or API for short. The advantage of using an add-in as a basis for developing a product configurator is that the existing functions of the main application can be used. In the add-in itself, only those functions need to be developed that are not available in the main application. This can significantly reduce development time and costs compared to developing a standalone application.
The product configurator My Glasses shows the many advantages of an add-in. This includes:
- Users of the add-in do not have to learn how to use a new application.
- The use of the add-in feels immediately familiar since the main application is already known. Only a few new features are added. Therefore, the user does not feel overwhelmed or confronted with a new application.
- The add-in can be activated and deactivated in the CAD system as required. Thus, the graphical user interface only contains the elements that are currently needed.
- The configuration and individualization of the product can be easily done by extending and using the graphical user interface of the main application.
- Existing CAD data can be used and does not have to be exported and processed for a new application.
- Individual customer data and drawings can be stored automatically, if desired also in the already existing product data management system (PDM-System).
- Repetitive tasks can be fully automated in the well-known application.
- In addition, the data can be exported in various neutral data formats. The existing export functions of the main application can be used for this purpose.
- Many other functions such as sending data by e-mail, e.g., to the customer and to production, can be easily implemented in the add-in.
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