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Rethinking Design Data Management

Onshape is the only CAD system with built-in version control at its core.

Onshape is the only CAD system with built-in version control at its core.

Image courtesy of Onshape.

By Jon Hirschtick

Why are some of the best engineers asking where the latest version of their work is? Because usually CAD data is edited by multiple people in multiple places.

When designing products in traditional CAD systems, you need to manage tons of files — especially with large assemblies. You save a version, make some changes and rename the file. Copies are emailed to colleagues and get copied everywhere. There’s never really a way to know if you truly have the latest version.

If you’re using traditional file-based CAD, your world likely looks like the left-hand side of the picture on this page. At best, this chaos and confusion can lead to lots of wasted time and rework. At worst, the wrong parts get manufactured.

With Onshape’s modern cloud CAD, it’s easy to find the latest version because there’s only one place to look for it.

Onshape has no files. Because your CAD data is stored in one central database in the cloud, it updates in real time as your team members edit. When anyone makes a change to your 3D model, everyone instantly sees it. And a comprehensive edit history records who did what and when, allowing you to instantly revert back to any stage of your design.

Onshape customer Azizi Tucker, CTO of XING Mobility, oversees three teams of engineers designing complex battery assemblies (7,000+ components) for electric vehicles. “With our previous CAD system, we used to spend about 50% of our design time on file management,” he says. “With Onshape, that’s history.”

Onshape’s real-time data management also eliminates the need for expensive PDM system servers, installs, licenses or backups. At last, the “Where’s the Latest Version?” problem is no longer a problem.

Jon Hirschtick is co-founder and CEO of Onshape.

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