In Solidworks 2009 you will have the ability to have sensors that will monitor your model, and warn you if certain factors are triggered. You can set up sensors to monitor four different areas:
- Mass Properties: Mass, Volume, and Surface Area
- Interference Detection: To monitor the interference between components you select
- Measurement: Monitor certain dimensions you select
- Simulation Data: Will keep an eye on simulation results like stress, strain etc.
For ease of discussion, we will run through a very simple example of setting up a mass properties sensor to make sure a part remains below a certain weight.
First we will start off with a mount for a marine product. The shop needs a block to mount a GPS antennae to. Since this is a marine product, it will be made out of stainless steel to avoid corrosion. The mount cannot not exceed about 75 pounds based on where it is being placed:
As you can see, we have met our threshold. Being a requirement of this part, we will now set up a sensor to monitor this weight requirement. First we will right click the Sensors folder in the feature tree, and click Add Sensor:
Now in the Sensors Property manager, we will tell it that we want to monitor the mass, and that if it exceeds 76 pounds, to alert us:
We accept the settings, save the file and go to lunch. While off eating our lunch, a sales guy goes up to engineering and changes the material of the mount from stainless steel to brass, because brass will look nicer on the boat. He asks one of the apprentice engineers to make the change real quick so he can get manufacturing a new drawing. When the apprentice changes the material in the tree, he gets the following warning:
The pre-defined sensor is telling him that the weight of the part exceeds what is acceptable. Now when the original engineer returns, he needs to make a few modifications to the part so the sales guy can have his pretty looking material. He adds a few cuts to the part, and after rebuilding, the sensor turns off the error:
As shown in a very simplistic example, sensors can be used to monitor critical values to help make sure design intent is maintained.