The SolidWorks Costing tool helps you calculate how much it costs to manufacture sheet metal and machined parts by automating the cost estimation and quotation process.
The tool helps designers make design decisions based on the cost to manufacture, and helps manufacturers create quotes for customers. Whenever you change a design, you can see the new, updated cost immediately, along with a detailed cost breakdown. Additionally, you can generate automatic cost reports.
The Costing tool is driven by manufacturing and material information in templates that determine the manufacturing cost. In the templates you can specify the material used to create the part, the manufacturing processes (such as laser cutting, bending, or milling), and the associated costs of these materials and manufacturing operations. The templates also let you create custom operations such as packaging, ERP entry, painting, or cleaning.
Costing serves different audiences:
- Designers: Costing provides "should cost" estimates of how much parts should cost to manufacture. Costing can compare models so you can make decisions based on cost earlier in the design process. You can try "what if" scenarios such as removing features, changing materials, and using different manufacturing processes to see how these affect the cost. The cost estimates are repeatable because the results are based on data in the templates, so you always use the same information to calculate costs.
- Manufacturers: Costing creates accurate quotes based on the materials, processes, and other associated costs that are required to manufacture parts. Costing speeds up the quote process compared to manual methods such as using spreadsheets, counting features, and estimating material removed. Costing helps eliminate errors and provides an accurate, repeatable quoting system that you can update whenever new material or labor costs need revision.
The Costing tool is divided into two functional capabilities:
- Sheet Metal Costing
- Use the Sheet Metal Costing tool for parts that are manufactured from sheet metal. To use this tool, the part must contain sheet metal features such as flanges, bends, and forming tools. Features such as holes and cuts are recognized as manufacturing cut paths for operations such as laser, water jet, and plasma cutting.
- Machining Costing
- Use the Machining Costing tool for parts that are machined from solid block and plate stock material. Parts machined from blocks use manufacturing techniques such as milling and drilling. Parts made from plate use manufacturing techniques such as laser, water jet, and plasma cutting, in addition to milling and drilling.
The costs calculated by the Costing tool are as accurate as the data in your templates. Although SolidWorks provides pre-populated templates, it is best to create custom templates based on your manufacturer's costs. It is recommended that you work with your in-house manufacturing departments and external manufacturing vendors to create custom templates that reflect actual costs.