Collaboration for markup and discussion

From: Bill Richards (
Date: Fri Sep 27 2002 - 15:21:07 EEST

Hi, Dave,

         Collaboration is a new subject to CAD, even though a lot of CAD
companies have been adding this capability to their software for quite a
while now.
         A nice package that is low in price and still fairly capable is
Alibre <>. I've been looking at this package for my
own company's use. Alibre is $500, and there is a $500 per year
subscription price to maintain the collaboration capability and technical
support thereafter. Two or more people can collaborate in real time,
regardless of where they are located in the world -- I find a group of five
people actively involved with working on the CAD model seems to be the
maximum in human terms. You can have as many people in a collaboration
session as you want, but we all know that old saying: "Too many cooks spoil
the soup."
         You can work in real time on actually editing a model with Alibre
through a collaborative session. So actual changes can be made on the fly.
Also, if you need to work with a client who does not have Alibre, you can
email an invitation to them to download Alibre. This gives them a 30-day
trial license of the program, and the program will be completely functional
during that time.
         Alibre also works as a plug-in for SolidWorks and Pro-Engineer. So
you can make a model in one of those packages, and use the Alibre plug-in
to collaborate from within those programs.
         Alibre's whole approach is to keep it simple, so it's a fairly
easy program to get into if you are familiar with another CAD program.

         SolidWorks <> also has a collaboration
system available called, 3D TeamWorks. Using a centralized server,
TeamWorks can create a web browser interface featuring your model to all
participants in a collaboration session. This means that participants do
not need to have SolidWorks to participate. In this way, managers,
marketing and salespeople can also contribute to a collaboration session
along with engineers and designers. However, I get the impression that you
cannot actually alter the model directly during a session. The model would
have to be modified by the engineer working on that model, and then
uploaded to the server for another collaboration session.

         Overall, Dave, you will find that there is more emphasis on
collaborative markup than on collaborative CAD modeling. A lot of engineers
tend to equate collaboration with the ability to connect with another
engineer or two and have everyone work on the design. But management tends
to look at collaboration as being able to see the model and have the
engineer point out different features.
         Well, as it is management that tends to do the purchasing for any
given company, the end result is that CAD companies are pushing the
collaborative markup more than collaborative modeling. But I'm not
belittling collaborative markup! It's vital to be able to bring your
marketing, designing and engineering teams together to discuss a product
design. And not everyone in this group will be CAD literate.

         The nice thing about both Alibre and Solidworks is that you can
try out their collaboration capabilities for free. All you need to do is go
to their web sites to find out how.

         Bill Richards
         Delta Search Labs
         T: 617-551-4615
         F: 617-551-4651

For more information about the rp-ml, see

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Tue Jan 21 2003 - 20:14:21 EET