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Organic Workflow™
Competitive Comparison

Ashlar-Vellum’s Organic Workflow™ is not so much a feature of our software, but an entire paradigm or philosophy upon which our entire work environment is based. It’s because we consider the designer’s environment as a whole that Ashlar-Vellum software is so much more productive for many product designers, particularly, non-linear thinkers who tend to think outside the box.

“Ashlar-Vellum’s Organic Workflow proves that the vendor genuinely understands its customers, which are concept designers, product development process and challenges. This is evident in its holistic, transparent, comprehensive, and, above all, flexible solution.”
—Frost & Sullivan, Best Practices Research Product Differentiation Excellence Award

In fact, one of the most important tenants of this concept is that a designer can enter the project at any point in the product development cycle and actively contribute.

Organic Workflow by it’s very nature:

  • Starts anywhere and goes anywhere.
  • Moves freely in any direction.
  • Sustains change while maintaining integrity.
  • Fosters illumination from within the ordinary.

To support an Organic Workflow, product design software must have these five features:

  • A Non-linear Workflow:
    This fosters flexibility, spontaneity and free-play within the software’s work environment.
  • Parametric History on Demand:
    Both a blessing and a curse, if a designer is free to use parametric history when needed, yet ignore it when it’s not, it greatly increases the creative process.
  • Transparent Tools:
    Product design software should disappear into the background, becoming an automatic extension of the designer as he or she concentrates on their project without thinking about how to run their software.
  • Holistic Tool Palette:
    This integrates engineering and design tools including wireframes, solids and surfaces into one interface without having to switch from one mode to another. Freely sketch, develop the model, create photo-renderings and precision engineering drawings all from the same program.
  • Continuous Cross-team Communication:
    Because product design is an organic process, different deliverables are required by different people all along the way. Any type of data must be able to be passed along to the team at any point in the process.

Ashlar-Vellum Cobalt™ uniquely supports these five requirements. On the following page you’ll see specifically where the other major players fall short in light of each one of these five features.

Competitive Comparison Chart

Competitive
Product
Non-linear
Workflow
Parametric
History
on Demand
Transparent
Tools
Holistic
Tool Palette
Continuous
Cross-team
Communications
Ashlar-Vellum
Cobalt
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dassault
SolidWorks
No
  • Requires a linear workflow
  • Different modes for everything
No
  • History required at all times to make edits
No
  • Excruciatingly modal tools palettes
No
  • Everything is in different modules
Almost
  • However, it is very difficult to pass useable 2D data to 2D production processes
Autodesk
Inventor
No
  • Different modes for everything
No
  • All history required to make edits
No
  • Excruciatingly modal tools palettes
No
  • Everything is in different modules or programs
Yes
Autodesk
Alias
No
  • No “true” solids
  • Impossible to verify volumes, center of gravity, etc.
No
  • No constraints / equations
Yes No
  • No “true” solids
No
  • No “true” solids
  • No control of stereo-lithography exports across adjacent surfaces in a “solid”—this leads to the inability to print the 3D design
  • Limited direct data exchange
Alibre
with Moment
of Inspiration
(MoI)
No
  • No associativity
  • Not “true” solids
  • Many commands only work on one type of object and/or don’t have equivalent commands for the various types of objects
  • Difficult to verify dimensions
  • Impossible to verify volumes, center of gravity, etc.
  • Above functions are in other programs, which breaks the workflow, and it is impossible to flow data with history back and forth across these programs
No
  • History only one level deep
  • Only on some objects
  • No constraints / equations
Some
  • Very modal tools palettes
No
  • No rendering
  • No animation
  • No drafting
  • Above functions are in other programs, which breaks the workflow
No
  • Not “true” solids
  • No drafting
  • No rendering
  • No control of stereo-lithography exports across adjacent surfaces in a “solid”—this leads to the inability to print the 3D design
  • Limited direct data exchange
SpaceClaim No
  • No associativity
  • No independent surfacing
No Yes No
  • No surfacing
  • Drafting is modal
  • No rendering
  • No animation
No
  • No rendering
KeyCreator No
  • No associativity
No Yes No
  • No rendering
  • No animation
No
  • No rendering
Altair’s
SolidThinking
No
  • No associativity
  • Not “true” solids
  • Impossible to verify volumes, center of gravity, etc.
No
  • No constraints / equations
Yes No
  • No “true” solids
No
  • No “true” solids
  • No control of stereo-lithography exports across adjacent surfaces in a “solid”—this leads to the inability to print the 3D design
  • Limited direct data exchange