SolidWorks vs. Inventor
I work at a small company of ~10 people that manufacturers equipment for aligning optics. We have some 3D models in both Ashlar-Vellum's Cobalt (older models) and SolidWorks (newer models), but we have not been very organized in how things have been done in the past. Therefore, we are now making an effort to get some standardized procedures set up.
In the process of this, we have realized that now might be a good time to move to Autodesk Inventor if it has more features to offer than SolidWorks at a reasonable price. I'm aware that this may ultimately come down to our specific needs, so I will do my best to explain what we need and would appreciate any feedback anyone from here can provide.
The equipment we are drawing includes some electrical components with the associated wiring. In the past, none of this has been included in any kind of drawing, but we want to start doing more of that.
Additionally, since we have our own in-house machine shop, having the capability to render threads with more detail than the SolidWorks Hole Wizard, would be nice.
I know Inventor has some pretty nice tools to make those tasks very simple and easy, but I'm not aware of any built in tools that come with SolidWorks (our current version is SolidWorks Professional 2015). I've seen some tutorials for doing wire routing in SolidWorks, but it doesn't look quite as well-implemented as Inventor, and I haven't been able to figure out how to add the tabs the the toolbar that they were using in those tutorials anyhow.
Finally, we have just begun to start use Autodesk PLM 360 to manage BOMs and purchasing (we're still doing most of that with Excel, but we are working on moving things over). We made that decision because there does not appear to be a similar SolidWorks solution that comes at a reasonable price for a small business like we are.
Ultimately, here are the characteristics that matter to us:
1. Convenience of geometry creation.
2. Ability to easily add threaded geometry to parts (i.e. I don't want to have to manually create the thread geometry).
3. Ability to easily add wiring to the model.
4. Reasonable price
- What we're paying for SolidWorks is acceptable, but if Inventor is cheaper, that would obviously be an advantage).
5. Convenient tools for managing BOMs that work well for both engineers and management
- I don't know how well Inventor is integrated with PLM 360, if at all, but if it is, that would be an advantage.
- Additionally, maybe we missed something when we were looking for a SolidWorks solution for this, so if they have something that is well-integrated with SolidWorks, that would also be a possibility.