It would be great if when we created a drawing of an assembly that contains an exploded view if we could actually select which exploded step to show. Many times it’s necessary to communicate assembly instructions (we’ve all put something together from a superstore) and certain steps convey only small portions of the pieces (the steps) at a time. To me it would seem that there is a whole lot of improvement that could be done in this area and save a lot of time for the engineers and in the end better the manufacturing process downstream to people actually building equipment.
And with that, it would great if each explode step you could possibly assign a display state if you needed to hide portions of the assembly for clarification. I could even see having the built-in arrows (publishing arrows) to attach to components as well. We can then even take it a step further and be able to attach assembly balloons and/or comments and instructions in each step if required that could be automatically linked as a note in the drawing later if needed.
Once you have all this defined in this enhanced exploded assembly feature, there could almost be a wizard that could automatically guide and create a document (pdf) with your company’s template and it would serve as your published assembly documentation. There could even be a wizard that creates an edrawing animation walkthrough of the assembly steps with the comments being shown with each step in a specific window. The user could then pause and click on each part to get BOM information as well. This will get closer to paperless builds as more and more laptops and tablets will be used in the near future.
In any case, I see some really cool potential there but there is one big caveat to this. This functionality steps (pun intended) in the realm of what 3D Via composer is used for and that’s documentation and publishing. While I’m impressed with some of it’s features it seems that with some enhancement of current Solidworks features, sprinkle in some publishing features, and Soldiworks itself becomes a one stop shop for designers to communicate there designs quickly and easily to the teams downstream in the process. I see a lot of overlap and redundant functionality when comparing the two packages.
In any event, I’m curious what other people think about this topic.