Why Move From File-based CAD to Onshape?

Full transcript below:

Ann McGuire

Hello, everyone. I’m Ann McGuire, Director of Product Marketing here at Arena, and will be the moderator for today’s session. On behalf of Arena, I’d like to welcome our customers to our event today, along with our sister organization, Onshape.

Thank you all for joining us. We’re excited to have you with us. In today’s session, Onshape’s Mike LaFleche and Arena’s Mike Halladay will go over the challenges of traditional mCAD file management, and then demo the Onshape solution as well as the connection between Arena and Onshape.

We are really excited about this feature that enables collaboration on mechanical designs with one button. Now it’s my pleasure to pass the mic to Mike LaFleche, Director of Technical Content with Onshape, and Mike Halladay, Principal Solution Consultant with Arena.

Mike LaFleche

All right, I am really excited to show you a little bit about Onshape today, but I thought it might be a good idea to talk a little bit about where we came from and who we are so you get a feeling about who the heck is Onshape, right?

So first of all, Onshape is the No. 1 fastest-growing CAD system in the market today. So it shouldn’t be a big surprise.

The way Onshape works, it’s cloud-native, just like Arena PLM, so it’s very easy for companies to get started with the Onshape system.

Onshape’s growing seven times the average rate of the CAD market as well, so feeding into that last theory that I just presented here for you, and that all adds up to 2 million-plus users of Onshape across all industries from all parts of the world.

Many of our customers come from other CAD systems as well. People that have desktop installed CAD systems come into the Onshape ecosystem and have a lot of fun with it.

So let’s talk today about why companies are switching to Onshape. And Mike, you being the PLM expert here, there are lots of reasons why people buy PLM, right?

Maybe you want to remind us just a little bit about where PLM plays, and then I’ll talk a little bit about where the mCAD and PDM play.

Mike Halladay

Yeah, thanks for the question, Mike. So, you mentioned mCAD, and in most products in our community there’s eCAD, there’s software, there is packaging, labeling, artwork, and documentation.

That’s all part of one big bill of materials, and so the transition then is on the mCAD side of things. You’ve got your bill of materials that combine with all of these other elements in one system to manage the whole product definition throughout its lifecycle.

Mike LaFleche

Exactly. So yeah, definitely where Onshape is playing, it’s the CAD system, but we rethought the way that files and data flow throughout the organization, and we’ll show that to you in a demonstration today, but we’ve been able to come up with a way of combining the CAD and the PDM together.

Instead of PDM being that separate piece that people are used to installing and managing separately, that is part and parcel of the whole Onshape system, and because of that, it allows for this intense and awesome 3D collaboration toolset that you’ll see here today, where actually people can work together in an agile, nimble way, so we’ll talk about this as we go forward.

So really for the first time, we’re going to be able to take products and go through the entire lifecycle in a cloud-native way without any need for the juggling of all the different systems that you need to keep up and running.

I used to be a PDM/ PLM manager for a short time before joining Onshape. That’s where I lost all my hair, I like to joke. But I would be getting the calls in the middle of the night, “How come the server in this country is down,” and, “This is stopping this group of engineers from working in Italy,” and all those kinds of things.

That doesn’t happen when you have a cloud-native system, because that’s being offered as a service to you as an organization. So what are the reasons that it has been so difficult to communicate very quickly and easily with lots of business systems and other engineers and suppliers around the world?

And if you’re an Arena PLM customer, you’re probably pretty familiar with these things before you implemented Arena PLM, right?

There was the need for removing file copies, and making sure everybody in the organization had the right information at the right time, right? That’s why you have Arena PLM.

And Onshape, our heritage is from the world of 3D CAD tools, mCAD tools, a lot of us used to work at SolidWorks, some come from Autodesk, some come from PTC before PTC acquired our company a couple of years ago.

We heard this time and time again from install-based CAD systems that these things get in the way of speed, innovation, and efficiency.

We have four engineers trying to get their work done. They have to keep track of the CAD system and the version of the CAD system that they’re running on. If you have CAD system X on 2020, and your supplier down the street is CAD system X and they’re on 2022, even though you’re on the same CAD system, it’s really hard to work, which is pretty much a pretty universal issue.

It’s very difficult to get people to line up on the same exact CAD system and version. And then internal to a company, people have to also maintain version compatibility with their PDM client, so you can’t really be out of date between the CAD software and the PDM software and managing all your revisions.

You’re also managing your own PDM servers, archives, databases, license code servers. It’s old school. If you want to work remotely, you’re VPNing, how insane that is as far as locking down files speed, especially with large CAD files.

And even just viewing the data, if you’re a consumer of the information, you just want a quote on a design, you have to install all these viewers. I’m trying not to swear while I’m talking about this because it’s making me very upset, recalling back to the time when I had to manage all these different systems and viewers, and it was just a hassle.

So when working with files, that actually makes it even worse, because when you have files and you have a CAD system generating lots of files, you think of an assembly with all these files, part files, assembly files, drawing files, you got to ask yourself, if you’re sharing data with other people, am I working with the latest version or am I going to overwrite somebody’s work by accident, right? And then with the PDM systems, if you’re lucky enough to have one of those, you have to deal with the file checkout issues.

Only one person at a time can work. You have to lock the data. You have to pass the baton. It’s like a relay race. So it’s old, older ways of working, right? It’s slow and serial, it creates quality issues, and it adds cost to your project.

If you think about it, and this should not be an alien concept for anybody on this call, the cost of change increases over time.

As you do development work and the later you find problems, the more costly those problems are because they’re harder to fix. And if you bring people in earlier, like the Agile methodology.

You’re bringing the expertise in earlier, people are working together. I mean, this is true in Agile, right, Mike? I mean, in the Agile process you have to be able to be cognizant of change, and how do you do that in Arena PLM, Mike?

What would be one example that I could just relate to with our audience today on how, by implementing Arena PLM, we’re addressing problems earlier?

Maybe there are some other examples that you can bring up.

Mike Halladay

Yeah, sure. A great example is on the product record itself, we always represent an icon dealing with changes. If there’s a change in process, you’ll know by the number that’s next to the icon if there’s a change against it.

Mike LaFleche

Very simple, very simple. So in Onshape, you’re always working on the latest version, you have named versions, and we’ll talk about this during a demo, but you can actually stack work together.

And the reason why you can’t do that in most CAD systems, I think Onshape’s probably the only system that allows for this, truly, this way of doing concurrent work and not waiting for people to get their job done before you can get to a job done is because all the CAD systems that we use today were based off of this picture.

Okay? I mean, I started on a drafting board. That’s where I started in school, and that’s where I learned how to get into the whole engineering world, so this is a fun picture to look at, but I certainly wouldn’t want to work this way nowadays.

Everybody has a drafting table with their drafting tools. You have flat file cabinets. You have an engineering manager back there. You have a document administrator back there. They’re making sure that the engineers are doing the right thing with the drawing that they’re working on.

They take it out of the flat file drawer, note who took it out and when, they take the drawing over to the blueprint machine and they make a copy of it and they put it back in the drawer so they have the latest version stored away, and the engineer takes the piece of LM and gets their eraser shields out and they make their changes, and then they give it back into the filing system.

And all the CAD systems just duplicated that process, right? You think of C:\ Windows file management. When you’re dealing with files, especially big large CAD files, you have to make copies and have them on your local desktop to make those changes, and when you have changes on your local desktop that need to be sent back to the server, that’s called a check-in operation or a save operation, but only one person at a time can do any work, even on your top-level assembly.

And by moving the issue to the Cloud, moving the servers to the Cloud, that actually doesn’t help. Okay? You would think, “Oh, why would I say that?”

Onshape, it’s cloud-native, but moving files to the Cloud isn’t going to solve anything. It’s actually going to make the problem worse because the files are big.

You’re sending them to some faraway data center over the open internet, and it’s a huge amount of data going back and forth, and in your IT department, we’ll look at you really funny when you make this proposal because it’s going to cost a lot for data access between different sites.

I’ve been involved in these discussions, and it never really goes the way people hope they thought it would. So you could truly have a concurrent design process if you get off of this file addiction that we have as people, right?

So if you go to things like Google Docs, do you deal with files at all? No. You just sign in, you have your documents, and you share them with the people you want.

You can even work together at the same time in the same Google Doc, right? You’ve all had that magical experience. So today what I want to do is I want to show you a little demonstration of Onshape, but I’m also going to show you a demonstration of Onshape connected to Arena PLM seamlessly.

Okay? So fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a fun time and we’re going to have a lot of fun. So, Onshape. Cloud-native design. We have obviously a CAD system, but PDM is built in.

So what does that mean? Let’s just slide out of this slideshow here. And here I am on my MacBook computer, as you can see, right? I have a phone over here.

I have a browser window here. I have another one here. Let’s just start here. Chrome browser, right? Nothing special except that it’s a web browser.

And here I am inside of Onshape signed in as a particular user. And here I have a game controller that I’ve selected, and here’s the version history of this. How would you actually work in a system like this?

We’ll give you the story here, but know that Onshape can create parts, assemblies, drawings, and renderings. It is a CAD system. So here’s an example of a great rendering of a game controller.

Here’s an actual assembly that I’m going to work through, and I’m just going to zoom out just to show you. A lot of people, when they think of a cloud-native system as far as 3D graphics go, they get a little scared at first.

And the reason is because it’s an experience they may have had in the past with what a cloud system could be for 3D graphics. Onshape breaks all the rules of 3D CAD as far as the way data is handled.

You don’t have to worry about getting files down to your computer, nor are you streaming anything to your computer. Obviously, we’re in a webinar and that’s being a stream to you, but working in a CAD system that’s streaming would not be an ideal experience.

You’d get dropouts. You’d get pixelation. It would be watching a movie on an old hotel Wi-Fi connection. It just isn’t a fun experience. So Onshape did not do it that way.

All of the data that’s needed to construct these 3D graphics in Onshape live in front of you, the browser knows how to build a 3D model.

We’re just taking advantage of that, so that’s the secret sauce of Onshape, is that when you’re working with it and you’re clicking the buttons and you’re interacting with the graphics, these are graphics on your computer that the browser rendered locally, so that’s why it feels fast.

It’s not going to feel like an old pixelated experience, and you’re going to be able to make assemblies, parts, and drawings. Here’s a blade off of a coffee grinder here.

But you also get the added benefit of really amazing collaboration here. Here’s some comments and tasks. Here’s some analytics about what’s going on in my engineering department.

So for the first time you’re able to understand what’s really going on at a company level to things going on in your engineering and design organization, much like you would with Arena PLM, right?

With Arena, correct me if I’m wrong Michael, but there’s all sorts of analytics and report. I mean you can probably search for anything you want in the system and get data out of it, right?

Mike Halladay


Mike LaFleche

Right. So same is true with Onshape. But to a degree that’s never been seen before in engineering, I can see where my most active documents are, my internal release status for the workflows in the engineering side of the business I can see right here.

So I have 19 releases pending approval that need to get into the rest of the company and into Arena moving forward. So how would I work in a system like this?

So I have this headset here that I’ll work through, and you can see how fast Onshape works, right?

We’re able to jump right through and see the design. There was no waiting or delay as I opened up that design. In Onshape, you create these things called documents, and a document can have parts, assemblies, and drawings in it.

It frees you from having to think the logical C:\ file ways of thinking. You don’t have to do a lot of pre-planning because of that.

For example, just because I think you’re all probably engineers on this call, you want to see how this works, you create a document, let’s say I wanted to create a bracket system, right?

Create the bracket system. I didn’t tell it how many parts, assemblies, or drawings I want. It just stuck me into a part studio in a very familiar-looking environment, and then you just start sketching, right?

So I want a 5-inch by 4-inch rectangle. Nothing earth-shattering except that we’re doing this in a web browser on my MacBook computer natively. I’ll extrude that as one inch. Turn off the planes, and keyboard shortcuts, I’m going to create another extrusion.

I’m going to tell it to be a new part, though. This is where we start getting different because the database is keeping track of everything that’s going on, right? Here’s my base plate.

Just like that, I’m renaming the part, and then right here we’ll call this the top cover. So very easy to get started. Of course, everything’s parametric sketch-based modeling.

If you make design changes, you see everything updating. You’re able to drill parts through multiple places, hollow parts out, hollow this part out, and that part out.

You want to drill holes through? Sure, go for it, right? It’s all what you’re used to in a parametric feature-based design system, right?

So I just drilled through the top part but not the bottom part. That’s what I told it to do. And this whole time I’ve been keeping track of it. You notice that I’m purposely waving my left hand all the time.

I’ve gotten into this habit when I’m doing a demo. It’s because usually you’re right, or left hand if you’re right handed, like I’m right handed with my mouse, it’s reversed on the computer probably because of the video, but this hand is free to move about the cabin, meaning I’m not holding control S on my keyboard every time I’m making a change.

Okay? That’s something that is very freeing. I’m able to use this hand for drinking coffee, drinking water, or just waving at you, because everything is being recorded here.

We can label versions in time for important points during the design process, but this is just version one of the design. We’re not releasing it at REV A yet.

We’re not ready to go to manufacturing yet, but we have an important milestone in the design. So that’s how it works. So let’s just go back. Let’s click out of there.

Go back to the headset. This is what we’re going to be building. I want to build this cushion here, so let’s go to a fresh document. I have something ready to go here.

Do a VR headset instead, right? I think this is more of a VR headset anyway. So in this design I have a comment from somebody here in Arena, right?

We have an engineering change request. So I’ve been learning Arena thanks to the help of Mike and friends over on the Arena side of the business.

I have an engineering change request here in my Arena instance here, and I have an item number that’s related to that change request, right?

So this ECR I actually want to use as a way to make the proposed changes here in Onshape, right?

So you can see that this is showing. Let me just go back here. I’ll just look at this. Early testers have said that the headset’s uncomfortable.

A cushion of some sort might help with this headset, right? So here I am. Here’s an assembly. Here’s the part studio inside of Onshape.

And I’ll create this from scratch here for you. All right. So you can see my timeline here. I’ve made a few changes.

I’m going to create a version here in my timeline, and I’m going to create a branch from this time and I’m going to call that out as the engineering change request from Arena. And I could even do this if I really wanted to get fancy.

I could put a link in the description back to that ECR. But instead of doing a file save as copy or a pack and go like you would in SolidWorks or any other kind of file-based CAD system, here, I’m creating a logical branch in time to make these proposed edits instead of doing it on this main timeline.

So engineering change requests, we have the action, and Mike, this looks like a pretty good opportunity to add a cushion here and here.

And this is Onshape, it’s pretty easy to do this, right? I’m just going to go ahead and create a new part that thickens the surface by five millimeters.

Hopefully, that looks a little more comfortable. Maybe we should round it off, huh, Mike? We’ll just go ahead and make this change, make this two millimeters, or go with one.

That looks pretty good to me. All right. So we have that. We have that fill at radius in here. We have this part that was just generated in this parts list, so it’s automatically giving me a new part.

I didn’t have to create a new item record or anything like that. It just does it for me because I told it to create a new part when creating the thicken. And we’ll call that the cushion, face.

Let’s see. We should probably make this out of something. We’ll make it out of some sort of rubber. I’ll filter it on rubber, and it shows me all the rubbers in my database here. I’ll say it’s made of neoprene so I get the right density.

In fact, in Onshape you can pull out these special tables here that will give you an idea of how heavy all the parts are in this part studio, and I can see everything has a weight except the circuit board, which I haven’t finished yet.

So the cushion, I can see that it’s right here. It’s made of neoprene. The other thing I need to think about with this is where are we going to get a part number?

What’s the category of part? This is very familiar for you if you’re an Arena customer, categorizing things in the system. Onshape has a similar categorization function, and I want to make this out of some sort of fabricated, I guess plastic would be the category for a rubber piece.

And Onshape has a part number generation capability built in, and this is something you can set, but it’s a very simple part number serial number generator. It’s not looking at the category, but Arena PLM does have such sophisticated automatic part numbering based on category, and I can click on that hashtag right there and it gave me the next available part number for a fabricated piece of plastic from Arena, right?

That was pretty easy. I didn’t have to type in a number making a mistake. Everything’s here. All my other properties are here as well, automatically being calculated.

You can customize these in Onshape of course as well, but you want to have the properties that are good for mCAD here and the properties that are appropriate for the rest of the enterprise and Arena in Arena.

So I’ll just apply that change. The cushion-based cushion here. We’ll get a part number. And by the way, if I go back to that property screen, look at what we have up here.

We also have a “sync to Arena” button, and what that would do is it would take this current state of the face cushion with the part number and category, just stick it in Arena, right?

I could do that right now if I wanted, but I’m going to wait because I have a couple other things I want to do with this. Let’s go to the assembly.

Actually, before we go to the assembly, I want to get some feedback from a design colleague who’s out in the field. So Mike, I’m going to pretend you’re out in the field and I’m going to give you an iPhone.

Okay? So this is my actual phone, and I have an app that I can broadcast my phone to the screen here. That’s just for the sake of movie magic here, but I’m really operating this.

So I’m going to go to my VR headset, and we can pretend that’s Mike, but look, I’m able to get to this on my phone.

Full CAD system, full PDM system on my phone. I have the full history. You can see that I’m in that ECO 30 that we had defined in Arena, right?

And I can even see the other people in the document. There’s a little note here that we have another collaborator, and if I really wanted to see what the person on the iPhone was looking at I could double click that person’s head that appears at the top of the screen here, and you see the view position changed automatically, and this is now a live design review, right?

So, I don’t know. When you saw this the first time, Mike, what were your thoughts when you saw this follow mode in Onshape?

Mike Halladay

So, obviously something cool. And just one note, the first time I saw this was over 10 years ago, so this has been something that was built into Onshape right from the beginning, and it’s amazing.

Mike LaFleche

Yeah. We built the infrastructure of Onshape first before we started building up in all the CAD functions and everything, so we had to build the foundation of this.

And these design review functions are amazing for, like I said, design reviews, interacting with your suppliers, customers, you could be out in the shop floor. As long as you have some sort of connection, whether it be 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, it doesn’t need much.

Works on hotel Wi-Fi. I always love to bash the hotel Wi-fi for some reason, but everybody knows it’s slow. And it works.

So we’re able to have these live design reviews and even provide comments back and forth. So here I am on my phone still and I can add a comment, “This looks like a super comfy cushion.” So I’m adding comments now.

Just got to hit the add button there, and that is automatically here as a comment on the other browser, too, at the same time, so you’re able to have this asynchronous or synchronous communication moving around.

And because this was a full CAD system, I have the full feature tree on my phone. If I feel like it, I could change the thickness of this. We’ll call that three now instead to save some material, and that’s automatically up to date on the browser at the same time, right?

And we see who’s doing what and when. We’re making all these changes live right there on the timeline, and of course you can label versions along here too.

I’ll just call it V2 in here. It doesn’t matter. All right. So we’re getting to the point now where we want to make a detailed drawing and release this to production and then get us all synchronized to the Arena system.

So we’re going to connect it all. So let’s make a drawing. Everything needs a drawing, so I’m going to make a drawing on a B-sized piece of paper.

All right. There we are. Pretty slick. You do all your things to make it look like a real drawing, right? I’ll just do a quick section view down the middle of this, just so we can have a section view, and stick a dimension or two in here as well.

Of course, you have tolerances and stuff like that, just like you would expect of any mCAD system.

All right. We’ll put a drawing table in here too. Hey, by the way, yeah, I can go to my drawing on the phone real time, so if I’m out in the field, I can see this.

There’s the first drawing of the top-level assembly, be able to get to that so it’s all here. All right. Let’s just hide that.

I want to release this to production. All the properties can be set to metadata, so it’s an important thing when you have PLM to know that all these capabilities exist here.

So there’s the name of the part, of course, you would have this automatically set up in your templates before you begin any kind of implementation. You’ll set the material.

And maybe I’ll put the weight in here as well. It even knows the units that you’re supposed to be using. And then finally, part number.

One we got from Arena, right? And I’ll just lock this template so I don’t accidentally move any of these text fields around, but that’s as easy as it is to hook these fields up to a data property.

These properties are pretty common across all systems, right? One other thing, let’s stick a revision block up here in the corner. And it’s fixing the release this at revision one, and I want to release this under ECO two nine, right?

All right. So we’re ready to release that. Onshape actually has a release management system built in for managing all of the mCAD specific PDM information, so you would just push that through the PDM process.

It’s sticking revision one on here. Of course, I could have the same part number on here if I allow it. In my company here, I don’t allow that, but maybe drawings are 800 numbers instead.

And of course, I can say that this is the release name right here. And who’s going to approve it? Well, I can have anybody here in my company approve it.

I could have Halladay approve it if I wanted to. Maybe I’ll let that, it’s happening here, Mike, and I will approve it.

There we are. And of course, you can put in release notes, “Cushion for comfort.” And I could submit that for review.

So, what’s going to happen when it’s in that review process? There it is. It’s putting a triangle in here. It even put in a REV block automatically for me on the drawing.

How about that, right? We’re thinking of the whole process. And I can go to that pending release and go ahead and release it. Now, in my case, I’m not a manager level enough in this system to release it myself as a self-approver, so that’s actually one of the benefits of the system is you can put on all these rules.

All of these things are here, and yeah, I’m going to get to those things in a second because I want to show you some of the settings in here at some point. But before we get there, I want to just review what you saw first, and then talk about in detail the connection between the systems, right?

We’ve seen CAD. No install. No file copies. Everybody’s working together, which enables you to work faster. We’re able to work in parallel, which is obviously faster.

We’re able to work on any modern device, right? You saw an iPhone. You saw a MacBook computer. You can work virtually on anything as long as it has a web browser and a good internet connection of some sort.

It helps you with product quality, because you’re not going to be worrying about these file copies. It’s a very freeing feeling when you’re using the system, just like you have with Arena PLM.

You sign in. You get your work done. You didn’t have to think about standing up data stacks and worrying about where all your backups are and all that. It’s not a thing you think about, but I bet you’re thinking about it now with your CAD system that you’re using today with it.

So with Onshape, you also have that same freeing feeling. So with the Onshape Arena connection, there are going to be similar kinds of feelings, right?

You’re going to have better continuous improvement. You’re going to be able to have simplified collaboration across the value chain, right?

How does this work? Well, I think you’ve seen a little bit of it already. You have Onshape, you have Arena, and you’re able to have this nice real-time design access between systems, right?

You saw me pull a part number. You’re going to see me push information to Arena shortly, including bill of materials data, 3D product visuals, thumbnail graphics for your bill of materials, and then you’re going to see Arena also sync data to Onshape, like the part number, right?

You have a continuous loop of feedback now between the different systems. So if I go back here, it’s so easy to set this up.

All you have to do is map the properties from Arena to Onshape, right? If I have an electrical part in Onshape and it’s categorized capacitor in Onshape and it’s categorized capacitor in Arena, that’s it, right?

It’s not a lot of setup to do this. It’s really pretty easy. So let’s go back to our VR headset. We’re going to go to our assembly.

And the cool thing about Onshape assemblies … I mean, first of all, let’s do this. Let’s actually add the cushion to the assembly. You saw me working on the part studio where I was working on all the parts together, but here’s the face cushion added to the assembly.

I need to mate it to this. The only thing I have to do is really group it to it. I don’t have to fully mate it because I designed it in the context in the part studio, but there is the face cushion right there.

By the way, I could insert any other part. You go to your libraries in Onshape and you can browse for things and search for things very easily.

But I have that placed here. It’s in my bill of materials, as you can see. Go to the structured BOM, and I can see at my structured BOM level I have part numbers already set for a number of these.

Now, for the sake of this, let me show you this. I had part numbers already here, but I’m going to clear these out.

Okay? I’m going to leave the cushion one because I just got that recently. But I’m actually editing the BOM from Onshape, right?

This is just the information in Onshape in the Onshape data storage. But I want to get part numbers for the rest of these items. I could just generate them right from here, and those pulled from Arena as well, just in one fell swoop.

Now that that’s there, I have my unique part number at the assembly level, my unique part numbers at the part level, and of course a new part that I’ve just created.

I have this button here where I can just go ahead and synchronize that information to the Arena system, so it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t hose my system while it’s doing things.

It’s not seizing things. It’s not taking my computer over or any other computer over. It’s just doing this in the background, right? So I can go to Arena right here and I have a link right back to the Arena system to the bill of materials.

And I pick this view of the BOM. There’s different views of the BOM you can look at. And if you see that is a full bill of materials of what I just brought over, and all I had to do was click on that button right here to open it.

It’s just a hyperlink into Arena. So what would people do with a bill of materials in Arena, Mike? This is something that I’m still learning personally, but you could share this with a supplier perhaps?

Mike Halladay

Yeah, so great question, right? One aspect is supplier collaboration. You have supplier licenses, suppliers can log in, they can see this new information in Arena, but it’s also the platform for sharing it outside of engineering with the rest of your own internal enterprise.

That’s where everybody else gets involved in it. So you ran through a release process on Onshape’s side, that’s a departmental release, now you’ve basically released this as a release candidate to Arena where the rest of the enterprise is going to have a chance to review it and approve it for the official release.

Mike LaFleche

Exactly. I love how it puts these nice thumbnails in here, right? It makes it very clear what you’re looking at. When I show this to people, this is something that gets a round of applause typically, or a wow.

You’re able to see the BOM with a nice thumbnail. Obviously, I could jump into the item itself, see that graphic and all the metadata that I had decided to push through.

And if I click on this graphic, we have a lightweight view of that particular item all by itself, so this makes it really nice to be able to share and not worry about which person has what viewer installed.

Everybody has the viewer because it’s part of the platform. I could even click this button here and bring myself back to the Onshape system to see this in the context of the assembly here.

I can isolate it just to see it. But that is essentially how quickly you could get back into Onshape from Arena, if you were somebody who was an Onshape user who wanted to get more information about the design, you want to do a measurement, see the length of that, bead right there that we need to apply, or take a look at how it’s fastened together, or whatever it might be where you need more detail.

But it’s as simple as that, getting that data back and forth between the system.

I mean, it’s pretty simple. It’s amazing to me that it can be this simple, and the setup is even more simple because, like I said, lost all my hair keeping all these kind of systems up and running when I was a design engineering manager person out in the real world keeping all these PLM and PDM and ERP system connections up and running and talking to each other, and only changing every two or three years because you didn’t want to go through that process all the time.

A big rollout of CAD PDM is something you have to plan for and test and make sure it’s going to go well. Just all that doesn’t happen anymore with Onshape.

You just don’t have to think about it. There’s lots of things that Onshape can do, obviously. I gave you a very cursory overview of the system.

Know that it’s full parametric parts assemblies, drawings, rendering. To get started with Onshape, it’s ridiculously easy. We have a built-in learning center where you can take courses.

I’m sure, Mike, as you’ve learned Onshape you’ve taken a look at it. You’ve probably gone through a little bit of this, but it’s all right here. You can take live instructor-led boot camps.

All of our courses were made by people who used to work for other CAD companies, and we’re assuming you’re CAD people coming in, so we’re not going to reteach you how to do CAD, we’re going to teach you the Onshape way of doing Agile design in CAD with the workflows that you saw me go through.

It’s very easy to get a trial of the product. It works on iOS. It works on Android.

There’s lots of things that you’re going to appreciate if you give it a go. Give it a try. It’s very easy to get a trial of the system and try it on your own.

And you’re going to be able to design hardware like software. You saw how it was doing the branches and the version control. That’s no mistake, right? We do it this way because it promotes a methodology where you can get work done faster.

We’re not relying on the silos of C:\ files, which I know many of you on the call have already implemented these kinds of processes and version control systems for other parts of your business perhaps, right?

Why not CAD? Well, because there wasn’t a CAD system that supported it until now, right? So what I want to do is make sure that everybody has enough information to be curious about Onshape.

That was my goal today. If you’re curious and want to learn more, just think to yourself about the things that you see here on the screen. If you want to take advantage of the Cloud more, be more efficient, lower development costs, you should give Onshape a go.

Very easy to get started. As I mentioned, there’s a web page where you can take a look at a lot of this information. This QR code here on the screen here, take a picture of that if you want.

That’ll bring you to this web page, which has lots more information on the connection. And if you want to try out Onshape, we’ll be happy to walk you through the process. You’d work with people like me.

I’m a longtime CAD user, used SolidWorks for 15 years personally, been here at Onshape for seven years. It’s been a great experience working with the founding team here at the company.

We love CAD. We love engineers and we want to make their lives easier. That’s why we built Onshape. So we hope you have a lot of fun here.

Mike, I hope we have a lot of common customers here that we’ll talk to in the future and help increase their design productivity, and it’s just going to be a lot of fun.

Ann McGuire

Thank you so much, Mike Lafleche and Mike Halladay. That was so good. We are, both organizations, Onshape and Arena, are just really excited about the connection.

We don’t believe there is anything like this really, and we’re excited about it. So thanks for the questions. You can continue asking questions.

If we don’t get to your questions, the questions are anonymous, so please remember to contact support or your coach to get your questions answered.

A lot of the questions can be answered on the websites as well. All right. So I have a couple of questions that are for sure for Mike Lafleche.

I want to start with him. Is there a restriction on file size? What if I go over my allocation?

Mike LaFleche

Yeah, that’s a good question and it’s a question that I hear a lot from people coming from C:\ file systems, especially people that have put their data on the Cloud and stuff.

You have to buy space from whatever provider. But with Onshape, there’s none of those artificial kind of things that you need to think about because we’re not dealing with files at all, right?

Everything’s a database. There really isn’t any kind of files storage that you need to worry about when you’re using Onshape. You can actually upload different files to Onshape to reference documents, things like that, if you wanted to, but we don’t put any limit on that.

It’s just a silly limit. Disk space is cheap. I always also say disk space is cheap until you run out of it. And even if you have what you perceive as unlimited disk space on your servers, there will be a day where you need to add another server and another drive, and that could take down the system because you have to do it upgrade.

I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories you never know could happen. I’ve had it happen to me. But anyway, there’s no limit on storage in Onshape because that’s an artificial construct that we don’t need.

Ann McGuire

Great. I have a question for, I think this is going to take both of you. And this was a question that just came in late, so it’s still hidden to everyone else who’s watching.

There was a question about the mCAD and the eCAD collaborating with a connection like this.

Mike LaFleche

Yeah. It’s a really good question, and a timely one too. Onshape has a really cool function called the PCB Studio, and what it is, it’s this middle ground between the eCAD world and the mCAD world.

So what it will do is it’ll let you take data from Altium, or Pads, or whatever circuit board design program you’re using for that side of the business, your double Es, and it gives you a place to view them in Onshape and then translate them into actual real Onshape geometry for space planning, thermal analysis, whatever you need to do with your actual CAD data.

From the circuit board, you’d be able to make your enclosures and things like that in Onshape, so it’s a really great way of connecting the two systems.

The other Mike on the call, you might have something to say about the bill of materials side of it as well, right?

Mike Halladay

Yeah, definitely. So some of you may say, “Hey, this would be convenient to pull my eCAD models into Onshape and just connect it directly to Arena,” and that’s definitely a capability that you can leverage, but if you want to keep eCAD and mCAD separate, if you want electrical engineers to publish their bills of materials, you have connections to eCAD tools.

You also have export/import capabilities in Arena to be able to manage those parts of the bill of materials in Arena.

Ann McGuire

Great. Another question just came in late. So, like I said, I’m monitoring the questions so just please send them in if you have them. Where do the drawings live in Arena, and what file format are they?

Can PDFs be generated automatically?

Mike LaFleche

So all that stuff is what you would normally need to do in a regular file-based system when you’re connecting it to a PLM like Arena, but I don’t think you really need to do that.

You don’t. Because all the data lives in Onshape. When you create drawings and parts and assemblies, those are there, and then you have links, and access from Arena into Onshape.

We’re not making disconnected file copies like you saw in the first part of the presentation today. All the file copies, PDFs, and stuff are included, so the moment you create a PDF, you’ve created a disconnected file copy.

So our premise is that you point right back to the data inside of Onshape from Arena, right? You can click a button inside Arena as long as you have the right license types and all that.

You have access to the information at your fingertips, whether it’s a quick 3D view or if you want the full thing with comments and follow mode and all the other crazy cool stuff.

Ann McGuire

Yeah. That is a big, big difference. Just keep it all in 3D instead of going from 3D to 2D to …

Mike LaFleche

And you certainly could, Ann. You saw how the documents were constructed in Onshape where you had an assembly and the drawing was actually in the same document.

So you get the link right back to the assembly, just click another tab in Onshape and you just can see the drawing related to it without having an export or PDF. It’s all there together in context.

Ann McGuire

Yeah. Good. All right. Let’s see. There is a question here. There are two related questions.

I’m going to put them together that have to do with … I think these are experienced cloud customers. The first is if someone leaves my company, is the data safe?

Mike LaFleche

Mm-hmm. That’s a good question, and of course it is.

Ann McGuire

Yep. And they can access it?

Mike LaFleche


Ann McGuire

I mean the intellectual property?

Mike LaFleche

So, if you no longer are on a subscription for Onshape, you can still access the system. And if you only private encrypted way, reviewing and downloading, your data will remain private, and Onshape will maintain the data for you, but you just wouldn’t be able to edit or use it anymore for new designs, right?

But all your data’s there. It’s kept private. You don’t need the worry about it. You know can certainly export it to another file format if you needed to for whatever reason.

Ann McGuire

Yeah. But the rest of the company has access if a team member leaves the company?

Mike LaFleche

Oh, see, I misunderstood. Sorry.

Ann McGuire

Oh, it’s okay. Yeah. So a team member leaves the company. Is the intellectual property safe? Is the company data safe?

Mike LaFleche

Yes, it’s actually more safe than if they had a file-based system, because there was no CAD system on that end user’s computer and there were no files on that end person’s computer.

All they had was access. So the moment you turn off their email, they don’t have access to the CAD system nor the files, or not really files, but access to the data.

Ann McGuire

Information. Yeah. Good. Great. That was the first part of the question. And then the second part of the question, again with the Cloud, what happens to my data if I stop paying the subscription?

Mike LaFleche

Right. And that’s what I was answering a little earlier. But yeah. Things go into view only. You can still read it, view, download.

You have access to it. It’s safe and secure, but you just can’t edit things anymore, obviously.

Ann McGuire

All right. That makes sense. So back to just the Onshape functionality. Are there task management capabilities included?

For example, can you assign work to certain engineers?

Mike LaFleche

Oh, yeah. That’s one of the nice hidden benefits of the system. Most PDM allows you to see who has access to what, but this is a nice added level of capability that borrowed the idea from Google Docs and stuff.

When you assign a comment to somebody, you can actually assign a task to the person so they don’t forget to do it. So it shows up in a task list that they can look through. You can even set a due date.

It’s almost like an improved version of 3M Post-it® notes. It’s something that you can just go to and not forget that you had a task to do, and you have to worry about those Post-it notes anymore.

Not that I’m against them.

Ann McGuire

Let’s see. We have about three more minutes. I have a couple of quick questions here. So what’s the network bandwidth needed to work with Onshape?

Mike LaFleche

Aha. Good one. Yeah, a lot of people think you need this crazy uber fiber optic connection or whatever, but it’s not the case. You can just use 3G, 4G, hotel Wi-Fi, plane Wi-Fi.

You can have somebody on a Delta flight, somebody on an American flight going in two different directions on the same model at the same time making design changes on their iPad while they’re sitting in coach.

And while a person’s sitting in full class that can have the person with the full big laptop opened up and everything, and they can all just work behind together.

Ann McGuire

Yeah. Good. And I also heard 3G mentioned in some of our planning sessions, some of our earlier conversations.

Mike LaFleche

So if you still have a 3G phone and it works, you can use it. I know they just turned off my 3G in my car, so I don’t even know if 3G’s a thing anymore.

Ann McGuire

Yeah. So the last one has to do about the suppliers. So one question is the suppliers will have access to Arena and Onshape?

How much does this cost?

Mike LaFleche

Yeah. So I mean, for the Onshape part, you need Onshape Enterprise and it comes with two flavors, full or light. The pricing is all up on the website.

It’s not a huge cost, I think, compared to other CAD systems where you’re actually paying up front and paying a subscription as well. So for the Onshape side of things, you just need Onshape Enterprise, one of two license flavors essentially.

And then on the Arena side, what do we need there?

Ann McGuire

The supplier license. And then I was going to toss in one more point is, I’m not sure how much we emphasized this, but this is a feature.

This connection is a feature that if you have Arena and you have Onshape Enterprise, you have that feature. That’s just built in. There’s no additional cost for the connection.


Mike LaFleche

Yeah. If you were an Arena customer and you were an Onshape customer already, and you signed in to your Enterprise, you saw a new option just to connect the two. And all you have to do is put in a code, an API key, and they’re connected.

I mean, it doesn’t get easier than that.

Ann McGuire

I’m just going to answer this question because you did mention it. Is that for training suppliers or for training anyone? Onshape has a nice self- serve training capability.

For more information, you can visit the same link that Mike put up there, the Onshape Arena connection on the Onshape side. We also have a feature brief on our integration page as well, about this on the Arena side.

All right. Well, thank you so much, and we will see you again.