I currently use Surfcam 2002, 3-axis plus. I'm considering upgading because my current job involves a complex surface model with frequent but minute design changes. It's a great application for "associated toolpaths" for "family of parts" type applications.
I used to benchmark CAD/CAM systems for a large aircraft company in the mid 90's. Associated tool paths were the buzz then, but my observed success was very unimpressive then.
I'd like some objective comments about the current state of associated toolpaths using Surfcam (possibly in conjunction with Solidworks). No offense, but I'm not interested in a sales pitch from Surfware employees or dealers. I'm after real world applications and feedback. I'm pretty sure my dealer will tell me the sky is blue.
I am currently using Surfcam Velocity 2 in conjunction w/ Solidworks 2007. Associativity between the two is good, could be better in my opinion. The ability to easily open Solidworks part and assembly files w/ no need to convert is good. Associativity between the two pretty much works as follows: You use SW to design your model. SW has an option on the tool bar thatís takes the currently open model and imports the model in to SC, launching SC if not already open. From then on any geometry changes made in SW are detected by SC and prompts if you would like the model in SC updated. All it does is update the model, not your tool paths. Just a tip, its important that your model in SW be orientated the way you would like it to be in SC. If you make a change in SW and update in SC the orientation is changed back to how it is in SW. Anyways, SC comes with SW SPO at no extra cost. You can only create parts, no assemblies or drawings w/ that version of SW. I did have very little exposure to CAMWORKS. That is supposed to have toolpath associativity as well as geometric w/ SW.