To counter the friction in the collaborative efforts due to the unnecessary copying of files while the CAD files are sent back and forth between multiple users through email or Dropbox, Onshape’s collaboration tools allow users to share the most recent version of the design amongst themselves and with external partners. The tools are equipped with simultaneous editing capabilities; allowing multiple users to open and work within the same document at the same time from their respective devices or browsers. The design changes made by every individual in the document are updated in real-time without the need to rebuild or reload the document. “From a manufacturing engineer on the shop floor to the CEO, everyone can use Onshape to observe what everybody is doing in real time,” remarks Jon Hirschtick, Co-Founder and CEO, Onshape.
Onshape’s cloud-based architecture has many additional benefits for design teams. The software can be deployed to all internal and external team members instantly on any device. There are no downloads, installs or licensing tasks required and all team members automatically use the latest version of the software. Furthermore, users have the ability to design 3D models together, or work on separate branches merging their work at a later time. A complete history of every edit and change is recorded and a user can choose to revert back to any stage of the design anytime.
From a manufacturing engineer on the shop floor to the CEO, everyone can use Onshape’s collaboration tools to observe what everybody is doing in real-time
Perhaps the most significant differentiators between cloud-based Onshape and desktop-installed 3D CAD systems are stable and affordable. Onshape users never experience crashes as both their CAD system and CAD data live on redundant servers. Every login begins with a fresh dedicated session on servers used only for Onshape and not running any other applications. As for cost, Onshape is $1,500 for annual subscription, less than a third the price of a traditional CAD license. And because the burden of heavy geometric calculations has been moved from individual machines to the cloud, there is no need to purchase a high-performance workstation to run Onshape.
Onshape also offers technical support, ranging from online knowledge bases to instructional videos, to educate clients. The company has a dedicated training center and an online learning center for self-paced online courses along with a full curriculum.
Beyond CAD, Onshape is delivering a full slate of integrated engineering tools to the cloud. The company offers a dedicated app store and API to support partner applications including simulation, machining of metals, preparation for 3D Printing, and photorealistic rendering. With future plans to add more tools for analytics, Onshape aims to stay at the cutting edge of the core areas related to CAD. “We want to expand in some unique areas through our partners and through things that no one’s ever really thought of doing with traditional systems because they wouldn’t be feasible,” concludes Hirschtick.