October 14th, 2015

Helena moves to Solid Edge ahead of modelling kernel change of SolidWorks; use of Solid Edge enables 100 percent CAD system to CAD system data conversion.

Helena Laboratories make medical instruments for clinical laboratories. They have hundreds of laboratory products and 40 plus registered patents. In 2007, Helena began using SolidWorks® for their design purposes. Recently, Helena took the decision to redesign one of their most popular electrophoresis sample handlers. Handlers are used in areas such as forensics, molecular biology, genetics, microbiology and biochemistry. This seemed straightforward enough, it was what Helena did on a regular basis, that was until recent press and blog posts from SolidWorks users claiming that Dassualt planned to remove the Parasolid® software modelling kernel from its SolidWorks product caused concern.

Helena needed an answer on this speculation. Billy Oliver, long-time SolidWorks user and design engineer at Helena, sought answers. “We don’t want to waste valuable resources, time and money to keep implementing changes. It will be years before SolidWorks can convert into the Catia kernel,” says Oliver. “I don’t want to have to redesign our products twice or stagnate for 10 years.”

“I called (SolidWorks); I needed to know. They confirmed the kernel change.” – Billy Oliver, Helena Labs Design Engineer.

The kernel change was confirmed and this was decisive for Helena; they switched to Solid Edge® and were able to achieve 100% conversion of its SolidWorks and CADKEY software wireframe designs. They also had the ability to upgrade to the Teamcenter® software Rapid Start for product data management.

Oliver started working at Helena in 2007, shortly after the company bought licenses for SolidWorks use. “Helena knew they needed to upgrade and they went with the SolidWorks marketing machine,” says Oliver. “It’s all marketing. The hook was a lot of companies were using it, so it must be the best.”

Helena has 18 years worth of 3D wireframe design data that represents about 10 major products still in the market. Moving that data to a new CAD system is very important to Helena. “Synchronous technology blew me away, especially the ease of importing CAD data like our 3D wireframe data,” says Oliver.

Run don’t walk away

In a recent post on the Dezignstuff blog, Oliver suggests that SolidWorks users should “run not walk” away from their software. He cites several observations from his research that ultimately led to the Solid Edge license purchase: “Solid Edge in the last three to four years has been working on a technological evolution while SolidWorks has been working on menu bar icons, shading and colours. Everyone on this blog has been complaining over the last few years about SolidWorks development, direction and why they are not fixing bugs, just interface stuff, etc. The kernel change is going to be long and painful.”

“Solid Edge in the last three to four years has been working on a technological evolution while SolidWorks has been working on menu bar icons, shading and colours.”

Oliver continues by making further comparisons: “There’s more sophistication in Solid Edge than SolidWorks, sheet metal design for example. You can tell Solid Edge is the original and SolidWorks is the clone, using Siemens PLM Software’s Parasolid technology that was not invented by SolidWorks. It (SolidWorks) has run into a dead end because they can’t use Siemens PLM Software’s synchronous technology. Solid Edge is leading the field in direct modelling with synchronous technology.”

Full text, PDF and video are available here: Siemens PLM Software Helena Labs case study