Interview: OFFROAD

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Lucie P-L: “Could you introduce yourself?”

Valentin S: “Valentin SCHWARTZ, I trained as a mechanical engineer. I spent four years in the COLAS group as innovation project manager. And since September we’ve been working on the OFFROAD company with Pierre-Adrien.

So Pierre-Adrien Nadal, I’m a computer engineer, trained in computer vision and artificial intelligence. I first worked for five years in the medical field on embedded systems with a strong artificial intelligence component and also 3D medical imaging systems. And then I changed sectors completely, joining the COLAS group as Innovation Director for a subsidiary. And with Valentin, we worked on modernizing public works activities. System modernization. We then set up the OFFROAD company.

Our aim is to contribute to the transformation of public works (which remains traditional) by providing new 3D digitizing and robotics solutions. Our first products will enable us to digitally map construction sites in 3D (to better monitor progress, control quality and also facilitate the work of surveyors by offering them both these digital twins and tools for automatically creating plans).

On SOLIDWORKS, we have a computer, electronics and mechanical part. So 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS is mainly involved in the last part. Overall, the need is for 3D design, but also mechanical dimensioning according to the constraints of our systems’ use, the integration of electronic elements and also some 3D rendering for communication.”

L: “Why did you choose 3DEXPERIENCE?”

V : “In fact, from my previous experience, I had quite a lot of experience with SOLIDWORKS (I knew that it was software that I had mastered and that could meet my needs).

So I naturally turned to SOLIDWORKS for a license, and then I heard about 3DEXPERIENCE with the cloud solution. It seemed interesting to me, because it’s true that we’re working more and more in the cloud (if only with Microsoft 365) and we’re actually quite open to telecommuting (it seemed an interesting solution).”

L: “What results and benefits have you seen? “

V: “First of all, for the moment, I’m on my own in the mechanical part. We have a trainee coming on board in a month’s time. So I haven’t really been able to take advantage of the collaborative side of things (although I know I will when the trainee is here, or when there’s more recruitment in mechanics).

But there’s already an interesting side, which SOLIDWORKS didn’t allow before, on the versioning side we can make revisions on different parts and really have a follow-up of the design from start to finish.”

L: “A word about your user experience?”

V : “Yes, for me it’s file management. It’s true that before, everything was done locally, so you had to copy and paste every time you modified a part if you didn’t want to lose the rest, etc. But that’s not all. It was quite heavy and complex. It also took up a lot of space in terms of data size, and now with 3DEXPERIENCE it’s really interesting to be able to revise parts and have a history of all the modifications that have been made to each part and each assembly. And it will be all the more so when there’s a collaborative aspect. We’ll be able to work with several people on the same assembly and see who did what and why.

It also makes it simpler to have and better link systems deployed in the field with a control of design states, and therefore to go faster in developments, because at any moment we’ll be able to directly link a part in the field to a design state, and have more time between mechanical updates.”

L: “In your opinion, what are the two-three aspects that characterize the platform?”

  • “The file and data management aspect: more flexible and simpler
  • The collaborative aspect
  • 3DEXPERIENCE’s simulation software is much better than what came before on SOLIDWORKS”.

L: “A few words about your XDI experience?”

V : “So, I had quite a few problems with the set-up. On the other hand, XDi and even some people at Dassault were quite, if not downright, available and responsive to my needs. The community problem-solving aspect is good, but it’s also true that sometimes we like to have a privileged contact on the phone.

I also know that if I have an urgent or very annoying problem, I can call my XDi account manager. On the whole, we’re not bad when it comes to support and service.”

L: “Would you like to add anything?”

V : “It would be to go even further in managing file versions. It’s true that this is an aspect we’ve talked about quite a lot, because it’s really important for us today, and even more so for the future, to be able to iterate rapidly on products while maintaining very high quality control.

And then, of course, there will be more and more functionalities to be developed, enabling us, for example, to take an old file and see directly in 3D the modifications that have been made to an earlier version, plus the things we’ll be using in the design phase.

As we were saying earlier, it’s true that if Dassault or the developers of 3DEXPERIENCE were to take inspiration from the file management and versioning part of something, it might be what’s being done in the IT world. Here, this aspect is very advanced, and it would be really interesting to see it transcribed to the field of mechatronics and 3D design. There’s a first step in that direction with 3DEXPERIENCE, and it’s true that we’d be interested to see it go further.”

Cassandre Maximoff
Marketing & Communication Officer

I have the pleasure of managing XDI’s communications on all channels, especially here on the website!

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