Exchange/update CAD models without redefining links etc.

How do you easily exchange/update your components when changes to a CAD file occurs?

For instance I have a fairly complex robot gripper being designed in SolidEdge. Until now I have imported the STEP-file manually, spending hours grouping the parts that moves together, so that I can create a link for each moving part. It takes a lot of effort, as the imported model contains a lot of items, which are not grouped logically, like they are are in SolidEdge. All items are just listed randomly in the model tree. So first question is, are there any ways to import CAD files where the logical hierarchy is preserved? Should I prefer another CAD format? So far all the formats I have been testing shares the same issue with items not being grouped.

How do I update my model with an updated CAD-file in VC? In a regular CAD program like SolidEdge the assemblies are linked and updated automatically when changes are committed.
In VC I have to do all the grouping, create translational and rotational links, move the origins, define signals etc, update robot program, so a lot of hours are wasted every time I want to use an updated CAD-file.

In Kuka Sim Pro (which is also VC underneath) I have the option to exchange robots without loosing most of the properties, signals and robot program. Is such a feature available for VC?
If not, could I use any API functions to automate some of my work when I need to update a model?

You need to create plugins for both sides (SolidEdge and VC) by yourself, it’s possible, but need some work.

Now that VC 4.3 is released, when you import a CAD file, the Import Options task pane has an option to import that assembly structure as one node, several nodes or several components.