44 Replies Latest reply on Nov 1, 2018 10:05 AM by Marc Trumpi

    SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?

    Casey Gorman

      Here where I am working we are in the process of moving towards Model Based Definition. Are there others out there doing the same?

       

      Currently we are using an add-on product (own 3 seats) but we are evaluating SW MBD. I would like to hear from others that are either moving towards MBD or are just interested in it.

       

      Looking forward to comments.

       

      Casey

        • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
          Mike Sveda

          I have just started looking. It's a large paradigm shift to move to MBD or MBE from traditional CAD

          • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
            Christopher Sudlik

            All the models I make are compliant with MBD to at least a major degree. But we also have a ton of legacy drawings that don't measure up, we have a ton of drawings which are historical, we have parts that don't match the drawings because of either poor modeling, or solidworks glitches, of which there are plenty. I think the software has a long way to go before MBD for everything is possible, and while we use it for some parts we send out (chiefly plastic parts) it seems inappropriate and absurd to put that responsibility on suppliers when the engineer group that designed the parts has so much a better idea of criticality of dimensions, features, purpose.

             

            Those who love it seem to *REALLY* love it, but I see too few benefits, too many drawbacks, especially when it comes to quality control and the power of examining a physical drawing for accurateness and reasonableness. You just don't get that with MBD.

              • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                Casey Gorman

                Hi Christopher,

                 

                I am looking to make the best of the MBD transition here. May I ask where you see the short comings as far as accuracy, quality and reasonableness? These are issues I will have to address as we move forward.

                 

                Some of the way we are addressing these issues are to insure that the MBD file is a fully (shown) dimensioned part even though we are providing a STEP file with the 3D PDF (the new drawing style if you will). In the 3D PDF we are showing the appropriate views with relevant dimensions for that view. Also we are in the process of purchasing software to validate that the STEP matches the SOLIDWORKS model.

                 

                In regards to legacy data, here there is drawing type history e ranging in everything from hand drawn drawings, AutoCAD, Pro E and of course SOLIDWORKS files. One of the things my manager and I are working on is what gets updated when or even if it does get update. Development here is based on existing product that has been around since the 60's. Very little new development.

                  • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                    Christopher Sudlik

                    Well the problems are multifaceted and complex. Many suppliers, especially small ones, do not wish to use MBD, do not have the capabilities, as they would have to hire their own drafters to convert those files into drawings their machinists can use, unless they plan on going 100% CAM in all respects, which has a price tag in the 8-9 digit range for industrial quality equipment that will produce repeatable results to tight tolerances. From a moral and political standpoint, I oppose pushing that off on them.

                     

                    Second, the team that designs the parts knows best the importance and criticality of the features of the parts. They understand the usage of the parts and so on. If they make the drawing, it will more accurately reflect the needs of the company, leading to higher quality, especially as specifying critical and inspection dimensions, adding notes is impossible outside of a 2d or combination 2d-3d drawing. So it doesn't make sense to put that responsibility on the supplier unless you have all dimensions critical, and that would seem to raise costs from a practical standpoint.

                     

                    Third, Solidworks does have glitches. It does not accurately handle all geometric situations. It has glitchy welds, it is terrible with fillets compared to competitors software, it's springs, lofts, sweeps are vastly inferior and the dimensional control of splines outside of equation defined splines is awful. So many parts it is more practical to get as close as is practical with the model and then dimension in the drawing the accurate version.

                     

                    Because every operation with MBD requires looking it up on the 3d model instead of just reading it off of a drawing, there is much more work involved in analysis and breakdown of parts, of assemblies, etc. It takes a lot longer in my experience to actually get to work on fixing errors, redesigning, or otherwise solving a problem when you have solely MBD parts instead of drawings, as has been the case several times here. It also means there is a higher chance somebody will miss an error either in engineering or on the supplier side, resulting in lost time and lost profits because somebody thought the fancy new toy was so worth it.

                     

                    Where we use MBD is with complex plastic parts with many non-critical surfaces and features, paired with drawings that dimension the critical features and surfaces with the tolerances required to maintain them, without the work of doing pages upon pages of drawings for the complex parts. Even so, errors in the solid model have made our parts less functional in at least 3 cases because the dimensions weren't on the drawing and just MBD, and a drawing would have made immediately apparent that the part needed to be corrected.

                     

                    Like I said, MBD is a nice tool here and there where useful, and making MBD compliant models should be done whenever possible, but drawings are still by far the best way to communicate information, until the day when we have hololens with 3d drawings and markup in every major parts supplier in the country, and *still* having dimensioned drawings is better than having undimensioned but accurate parts where dimensions must be looked up every time.

                     

                    Now if you are talking about drawings just with 3d models embeded in the 2d drawing, I agree, those are awesome and should always be used where possible because you only add and take nothing away from the information. Assuming you take nothing away.

                      • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                        Bob Van Dick

                        As a person that works for one of those small suppliers, I whole-heartedly agree with what Christopher has said.  Much of my time is spent making shop drawings for customers that only give us step files, or drawings with little or no dimensions, when I should be programming the parts for the shop floor.  Depending on the complexity of the part, an engineer may have to be contacted to answer a myriad of questions that need asking in order to be able to manufacture the part.  What MBD does is shift more of the burden to manufacturing.  For me, the best way for engineers to communicate what they really need to a manufacturer is with a drawing.

                          • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                            S. Casale

                            Without a legal document or drawing, you are being given full liberty to make a part incorrectly as there is nothing you are beholden to for post mfg inspection. And, the parts you produce without a drawing cannot be rejected by the customer. That would mean you presently aren't required legal documentation for parts you make (when only being offered STP files).

                             

                            MBD offers the ability to almost automagically produce drawings, if set up correctly.

                            • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                              Marc Trumpi

                              I agree with you there Bob. Just delivering STEP files doesn't do anyone a favor, unless the recipient specifically requests those files.

                              The way I'm looking at it there are multiple aspects of working with MBD:

                              • Data consistency and tracability
                                • There is a benefit to having your data embedded in the same file when it comes to consistency. Changes to a model do not need to be updated in a drawing as well, thus saving some time for the engineers and having a single base set of data to work from.
                              • Internal communication
                                • Within a organisation there will still be the need for documents, manuals, drawings etc. But using MBD they can be produced from the set of data (the models).This can be 3D pdf, edrawings, HTML or something similiar, but the trick here is to make sure that for you it's not much more than hitting an export or print button. So if you have templates set up and data and metadata correctly entered in your model, the production of a drawing takes
                              • External communication
                                • Unless your contact is fully up to speed on your level of MBD you'll have to export your data to a format that they can process. This can be similar to the methods in mentioned for internal communication. If they can handle it, by all means export a STEP 242 and let them work with that.
                      • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                        Mike Sveda

                        Does anyone know where to get some "real" 3D PDF's for MBD that are not canned Solidworks or other demos?  I want to show something that has real industry use.

                          • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                            Christopher Sudlik

                            The best I've seen is using adobe's expensive pro tools to embed 3d part/assembly views in 2d pdf part drawings, giving the effect of all the data plus full MBD and moving 3d view for anybody to help them visualize.

                            • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                              Casey Gorman

                              Mike Sveda and Christopher Sudlik

                               

                              If I can find out how to post the file here. I have a simple sample part that I created to show what we are looking at providing to our suppliers. Due to the nature of our work I can't post a real part, but this sample gives a place to start.

                              • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                Casey Gorman

                                @mike sveda @Christopher sudlik

                                 

                                The attached file is a simple part defined in Model Based Definition (MBD) with a 3D PDF. It was created with SOLIDWORKS MBD module.

                                 

                                There is a STEP file attached in the 3D PDF as well. It was attached using Adobe Reader XI (free reader).

                                 

                                When navigating the 3D PDF you will see that I was able to place select dimensions on select views. This allows for a scheme of placing dimensions that are most relevant to each other on the same view. Most all of the dimensions should show up (I may have missed a couple), but if that didn't, one could import the STEP file to their CAM program (this has been around for a while now) and query it. One can also use the measure tool in the Adobe Reader to find it.

                                 

                                In the template you will find the tolerances, but you will also note local tolerances directly on the dimension. Also on the template you will see notes that would be typical for all of our parts. Non-typical notes will be found in the Notes view.

                                 

                                Does this look like it would be useable? It carries the same information as a 2D drawing just in a different format.

                                 

                                While reviewing this approach, be sure to click on a dimension and note that it highlights the feature it is associated with. You may have to rotate the view (main view window) to see the feature.

                                 

                                Sorry I had to post this based on my work login... I don't have subscription currently on my personal license.

                                  • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                    Mike Sveda

                                    Thanks!  I always want to see something other than a canned sample from Solidworks and other vendors.  I like to see a real world sample

                                    • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                      Christopher Sudlik

                                      So by that point you are doing several times as much work as would be required for 2d drawings to share *almost* as much information in *almost* as accurate a format, which still requires extensive advanced software to interpret and understand, unlike 2d drawings. I mean, that is literally a 2d drawing that just links you to all of 5 different 2d drawings, or what people in the old world called "Drawing views" being able to rotate those views doesn't hold any use, as it just makes the dims unreadable. That looks, in all respects, like a lot more work for both engineer and manufacturer and I'm not seeing the benefit at all. Even just a standard 3 view 2d drawing with a 3d pdf inserted as the graphical iso view that can be rotated achieves just as much if not far more. Still seems like much ado about nothing. Especially since that isn't MBD, that is just a 2d drawing made with fancy software.

                                        • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                          Casey Gorman

                                          To add the dimensions to the file I used DimXpert in the auto scheme. Took little time (less than a minute) to generate the dimensions and GD&T. Then using SW MBD's 3D View capture I spent about 10 minutes maybe generating the views. The notes on the template are part of the template, no need to regenerate them. Part of the notes in the note view are part of our part template. )Both of these items are good practice in the 2D drawing approach as well.) So to create the file it took less than half of the time it would have taken me to create the 2D drawing.

                                           

                                          You are correct the views in the 3D PDF replace the views that would have been created on a 2D drawing. You can even create sections and break views. No body is saying that the need for these views are going away. On the contraire, they are just as important as before. In regards to the dimensions disappearing, with the selection of a check box in SOLIDWORKS with MBD I could have set all of the dimensions to fade in and out as the view is rotated.

                                           

                                          As far as accuracy, the attaché/embedded STEP file actually carries the dimensions out more decimal places than a 2D drawing traditionally does.

                                           

                                          Model Based Definition is (in a nutshell) declaring the 3D model as the master and all other items are derivatives of this master. If there are any items (dimensions. notes, tolerances, STEP file translation...) in question, then one should refer back to the Master. There are several levels (or progressive steps if you will) of MBD, some even include a traditional 2D drawing. We will not be truly in the level of MBD until the CAD software companies have complete complied with STEP242 format.

                                           

                                          Once true MBD has been achieved the goal is to have all Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) in one file. Will it happen over night? We all know the answer to that, but if we don't take measures to get there, we never will. It will be just like the transition to the metric systems here in the states...

                                            • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                              Mike Sveda

                                              So, Solidworks MBD can embed a STEP file?  I saw that was what DOD compliant companies are doing with MBD when making a TDP package per MIL-STD-31000a

                                              • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                Christopher Sudlik

                                                What I don't get is the goal, the drive, the desire to have full MBD like you describe. It doesn't appear to serve any actual purpose and appears to make life more difficult for all involved parties, although your "I used dimexpert (which also exists in 2d drawings) to make them super quickly" does suggest it isn't horrific.

                                                 

                                                But MBD is also heavily misused. A lot of the companies you see using it have no drawings, no dimensioned views, just sending STEP files around, or 3d pdfs that can be measured, which is what many of these complaints are about. What you are doing seems like the full 2d drawing standards plus more, as opposed to doing less as is so often practically the case.

                                                 

                                                I also don't see the point of transitioning to the metric system, as strongly as some fetishize it. In fact I strongly oppose it. Both systems get the job done just fine, I've used both extensively. The cost would be enormous and the benefits negative. Humans process numbers and figures more easily when they are on a scale from 1/20th to 20 (the 5% rule, most people notice 5% difference in something, but not less in a natural state). The English/imperial system has units to measure everything encountered in regular life on that scale if you know the units, giving people a more intuitive, simple grasp of numbers, spatial reasoning, etc. Evidence has shown that language can help people think in new ways or restrict them if it is lacking, Orwell had a great deal to say on the subject. Units are a language of measure, the more intuitive and expansive that system, the more useful it can be to people's ability to think and be educated about concepts, similar to how Tau shows extreme pedagogical benefits over Pi, since it is more intuitive and makes the relations easier for human beings to learn and intuitively understand. I think the metric system is fine for deeply scientific research fields like quantum physics, space science, other extreme fields, but why go through all the effort and expense just to harm a nation's ability to think and understand and quantify the physical world in which they live?

                                                 

                                                Sometimes I worry that we unnecessarily fetishize change to systems that there is no reason to change to. I can see a lot of ways to improve the field of engineering and drafting, I'm very open to change and improvements in the way we do things. I just don't think MBD consists of that change.

                                                  • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                    Mike Sveda

                                                    Model Based Definition – MBD - Annotated 3D CAD Models

                                                     

                                                    Basically, it's the DOD that has defined this as a way to document a weapons platform from cradle to grave using a neutral format.  Once you start mixing Autocad, Inventor, Solidworks, NX, etc. in the mix, managing that over the next 50 years or so is a nightmare.

                                                     

                                                    Boeing has already shown a 50% cost savings by going MBE

                                                      • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                        Bob Van Dick

                                                        At what cost to the "little guys" that make some of their parts?  Boeing sub-contracts out a lot of their work, and I would venture to say that all the "little guys" have to spend time making shop drawings to produce their parts. 

                                                          • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                            Casey Gorman

                                                            I guess it depends on whether or not the "little guys" are using any CNC type equipment, if the are, then I don't understand the need to create shop drawings. Their CNC software should be able to read the provided STEP file.

                                                             

                                                            Above where Christopher mentions that some companies are only supplying a just STEP file or a just 3D PDF, these companies are doing a disservice to their suppliers and themselves. At this point in time one without the other is not providing full PMI. If the "little guy" can import a STEP file and has Adobe Reader X or above (free reader) they have the tools/software they need provided they are supplied with both items.

                                                              • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                                Bob Van Dick

                                                                Drawings are required for inspection.  If drawings don't include the information required to inspect the features on a particular part, how does one determine that the part is correct.  Our shop cannot afford to have a computer at every machine so that every operator can verify with a cad model that their particular process is per the model.  Our customers that are trying to go to MBD aren't there yet and what we get are drawings that don't even provide enough information to verify whether the part is good or not.

                                                                  • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                                    Casey Gorman

                                                                    Bob, and others here,

                                                                     

                                                                    I appreciated your comments. This will help establish our processes and standards here in helping to insure that we provide as good as possible, and hopefully better information to our suppliers than they currently receive.

                                                                     

                                                                    An item missing from the sample 3D PDF is how we define Key Critical Dimensions (inspection dimensions). This is done with a Delta/Flag note on the dimension that directs the user back to the main note view stating that it is a critical dimension.

                                                                     

                                                                    For our incoming inspection we have 2 different CMM's and incoming has been using the SOLIDWORKS part file to inspect to. We know that not all of our suppliers have CMM's and with have to check with manual measurement tools. Those views in the 3D PDF with the Key Characteristic delta note dimensions could be printed off for the machine operator to use for inspection.

                                                                     

                                                                    At this point in the MBD process what is being supplied (in my opinion) is a model with a supporting document (can be the 3D PDF or a 2D drawing declaring the model as the Master). I hate that those early in the MBD game hale it as being "drawingless" as I don't see this coming for sometime. Once the STEP242 format becomes more a reality then this will be closer to the truth. Maybe at that time there will be a button on the CNC screen that will allow the operator the flip between the controls screen and the MBD model. A lot of the CNC controllers with displays attached run Windows in the back ground already. This might just be an app that can be brought up. Who knows what the future brings?

                                                                      • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                                        Christopher Sudlik

                                                                        One interesting thing is the rate of diversity in CNC results. Be it from tool wear, machine inaccuracy, sensor margin of error, etc. there are many places for error and variation to arise. Especially when it comes to suppliers working with worse equipment, such as imported parts from China or other countries that are still done with CNC, but with more basic CNC than we have in the US, as well as plenty of smaller CNC shops. Inspecting those parts and knowing what tools to check for wear between runs, etc is an important part of the process.

                                                                         

                                                                        (mostly to  Mike Sveda here) So the costs of this process fall on the little guy, which large contractors, as practical monopsonies, already force little companies to compete to the bone until everybody but the rich mega corporation is barely scraping by. So Boeing will always see savings when they implement changes that lower their costs. I don't think anybody would dispute that Boeing firing all their drafters and not making engineers spend time drafting anything, making lesser firms deal with those costs, will save them money.

                                                                         

                                                                        So it is good that you provide inspection and criticality documentation, which is something many who impliment MBD do not do, to everybody else's pain. Even CAM software isn't perfect and still requires some user input and expertise and knowledge of the part they are making, understanding of it, and some firms are still using CNC machines that run windows '98 and they do just fine.

                                                                         

                                                                        I don't think full MBD alone will ever be practical or desirable, but there is no reason we can't have a universal file format that contains most relevant details, as much as possible, within it.

                                                                  • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                                    Stacey Boudreaux

                                                                    Along those lines i can remember when we were cutting our teeth in the 3D environment, 1990+/-,we were strong-arming our vendors to not just provide "cut sheets" of their product, but demanded a 3d model of it.  or maybe we would look somewhere else.

                                                                    somehow I felt a parallel.

                                                      • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                        Jennifer Herron

                                                        Casey - Glad to hear you are checking it out. Be sure to log any bugs you find as well as make your voice heard through Enhancement Requests (ERs). If you'd like to know more about WHAT should go on MBD, please checkout www.action-engineering.com.

                                                        • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                          Alin Vargatu

                                                          Have you voted on SPR#476137: Ability to export part and assembly files as a 3D PDF in Task Scheduler ?

                                                           

                                                          This ER should be updated to include MBD workflows. Even more, this functionality should be available as a PDM task.

                                                          • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                            Marc Trumpi

                                                            Maybe a bit late to the party, but I just want to chime in on our efforts.

                                                             

                                                            After working with a fully document-leading based system we are now looking into going model based for our engineering and production efforts. I'm working with a small team (sandboxing it) to test different aspects of working with MBD (and Inspection) and developing a workflow for our engineers and production departments to guide them through the process when we go live with the rest of the organisation. For us it's important to come to a situation where we can rely on our models to contain the design data. By keeping it within one file we hope to avoid discrepancies between models and drawings and to enable us to produce derivative documents from those models for specific operations (production, assembly, inspection, etc...)

                                                             

                                                            The basic vision is that from those models we can supply our suppliers with 3D pdfs (so they don't need any specific software other than Adobe reader), our assembly stations with assembly drawings, our inspection stations with forms and all of the above with lot travelers that are tailor-made to the parts being produced without having to manage all those documents separately. We produce a lot product variations with the same architecture, so the thinking is that we can avoid producing all those accompanying documents manually if we can populate the documents from the model and we can easily update downstream documents in case of revisions. Right now our engineers are working more as librarians to find and edit everything than doing actual engineering.

                                                             

                                                            Coming back to MBD specifically we've found some bugs that are currently prohibiting us from going live with this workflow. Depending on your own workflow you might not ever encounter them, but for us they've been quite annoying.

                                                            • Having multiple configs with DimXpert dimensions: if you don't rebuild all configs before saving your PMI vanishes in the non-rebuilt configs. There is a workaround by using the rebuild before save option, but this isn't foolproof.
                                                            • Exporting to 3D PDF is not a WYSIWYG process. Especially the zoom level can deviate significantly between what you see in SW and in Adobe. Annoying, requires trial and error alignment.
                                                            • Basic dimensions generated from position/tolerances sometimes jump around or disappear from view.
                                                            • 3D MBD and Inspection do not work together for full functionality. There is no way to create a stand-alone Inspection project from 3D and you can't configure multiple Inspection settings for for instance a FAI, Incoming inspection and in-line inspection. Also, the balloons are not produced in a separate drawing layer, so you'll always see them when exporting to PDF.

                                                             

                                                            We're working closely with our reseller to cajole SW into action on addressing these bugs, but for now we'll have to wait and see when they get solved.

                                                             

                                                            TL:DR The main takeaway for me is that there are some serious issues here that need to be addressed before I'm confident enough to turn this loose on our engineers. The potential for huge time savings is there on the documentation level, but it really needs to improve in stability and usability.

                                                              • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                                John Stoltzfus

                                                                Marc Trumpi - I have also tested the MBD and came away with mixed thoughts, yes it would be a great fit for our shop guys, providing they upgrade our tablets.

                                                                 

                                                                Here we use multiple sheet drawings with some projects over a 100 sheets, by going with MBD we could reduce some of that information, but not enough to make a big difference.  There are a lot of really nice features when it comes to publishing the information, however to set it up it seem really clumsy, such as adding different BOM's into an assembly, once the information is published it looks awesome, plus the guys in the shop can see where the parts go from the BOM to the 3D view which would give them an awesome visual right on the shop floor. 

                                                                 

                                                                One of the biggest obstacles that I see is pretty simple.....  SolidWorks has created a high platform with their current 2D Drawings and anything away from that environment, feels like we are regressing back, the process isn't smooth. The transition between SW and Adobe isn't automatically updated when making changes to a part or assembly,  which means you have to go through the publish process again, this takes a lot more time then doing a rebuild and save.  For us at the moment we would be going sideways, if not even backwards making this transition.

                                                                 

                                                                Which is why I am proposing that SW looks at implementing the MBD in the SolidWorks platform rather then a second handed company such as Adobe, keep the drawings looking the same with the ability to have a 3D view box that can be used as the MBD is supposed to look like out on the shop floor.

                                                                 

                                                                MBD/2D Drawing View - Add a Option Spin Box View Similar to 3D PDF

                                                                 

                                                                Maybe I'm evaluating MBD all wrong, but I would be thrilled if SW could produce MBD on one platform (SW) rather then coble it with another pc of software that is only a documentional tool, such as Adobe..

                                                                  • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                                    David Matula

                                                                    MBD?  

                                                                    Would this be best used if you have pdm set up?  and then the parts that the shop are building are only from the approved state.

                                                                     

                                                                    The way that we work without pdm is that the shop only gets pdf's of signed approved drawings.  If we went live and someone pulled up a part and started to modify it as the shop was trying to build it things could get to be lots of fun, every time they would look to the model something that they just did could have changed.

                                                                     

                                                                    I would like to see that the MBD be linked to the parts more like the drawings.  Seems that e drawings would be the way to go so that when the parts are approved in the pdm the shop would have access to them to start building when they get the work order ect...

                                                                    • Re: SOLIDWORKS MBD is anyone else evaluating it's use?
                                                                      Marc Trumpi

                                                                      John Stoltzfus, I think that's the way they're planning to go with the whole 3dx platform. Basically you have an online 3D file viewer looking at the CAD models directly in your PDM system. So it's not really in SW, but would achieve what you're looking for. However, this isn't something I've been able to test yet.