A large group of editors, bloggers, users and analysts from across the country converged in Boston last week to hear all the details of the highly anticipated release of SolidWorks 2015. With SolidWorks 2015, the company focused on providing its users with a wider range of choices for improving everyday productivity, optimizing work processes, reducing operating costs, and solving an expanded set of design challenges.
SolidWorks seems to have the most ardent users in the industry, over 2 million of them, and the company seems to go a good job of listening to them. SolidWorks developers worked closely with users, as evidenced by the fact that 90% of the new functionality included in this release was user-requested.
SolidWorks has broadened its approach to design, and its portfolio has expanded significantly over the past few years. SolidWorks 2015 includes tools for 3D design, simulation, electrical design, product data management and technical communication. Designers and engineers can span multiple disciplines with ease, shortening the design cycle, increasing productivity and delivering innovative products to market faster.
SolidWorks 2015 not only delivers key enhancements requested by the entire user base, but is clearly adding functionality to broaden its appeal in other industries and markets. For example, SolidWorks users will be able to easily enhance the aesthetics of consumer products and apparel, and simulate construction machinery, building infrastructure and machine tools better than ever before.
The media had the opportunity to interview SolidWorks executives one-on-one during the launch event. I asked several which of the new features they thought users would be most excited about. Fairly unanimously they said that would be the software’s new model-based definition (MBD) offering, which will enable design and manufacturing to share PMI information directly in 3D. I personally think it’s a bit early for users to get too excited about that particular piece of the pie, but it certainly reflects where product development is inevitably headed: paperless design or at least less paper.
“With the emphasis on the direct-from-3D-model fabrication processes, it’s important that we shift our focus to model-based definition so that we can shorten our overall design cycle and simplify the way we do things,” said Ryan Trulli, Mechanical Engineer, GE Oil & Gas. “With SOLIDWORKS Model Based Definition, the 3D model itself holds all the dimensional data necessary to make the part. This means less documentation creation, fewer emails flying around, and fewer files to sustain when the project is complete.”
New features in SolidWorks 2015
The new functionality in the software, grouped by area of improvement, include:
• Focus On Design, Not Modelling with new features that reduce geometry creation steps.
• Faster Information Sharing – Improved general performance, faster analysis and streamlined approaches give users the data to quickly make decisions and keep designing.
• Enhanced User Experience – An improved graphical interface presents a clear view of critical data to help focus on design.
• Simulate Multiple Design Scenarios – Quickly evaluate the effects of various load combinations on a model, and tracking results.
• MySolidWorks Standard – The new MySolidWorks Standard and Professional subscription levels deliver more than 100 hours of SOLIDWORKS training materials and online file exchange services.
Optimize Work Process
• Collaborative Sharing – By easily accessing social collaboration and online data management tools on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, users can benefit from faster development and quicker decision making.
• SolidWorks Treehouse – Top-down design is facilitated by visually creating assemblies, enabling product structures to be managed at the beginning of design projects.
• Web2 for SolidWorks Enterprise PDM – With the addition of mobile connectivity, users can connect to Enterprise PDM from any location, at any time.
Reduce Operations Costs
• SolidWorks Model Based Definition – A new offering to help improve communication between design and manufacturing teams by enabling them to communicate product and manufacturing information (PMI) in 3D.
• SolidWorks Inspection – The process of creating documentation is simplified, allowing users to quickly set up and compare baseline data to production parts for quality control.
• SolidWorks Electrical – Quickly develop electrical schematics and incorporate them into the 3D model with enhanced cable harness and system integration.
• Enhanced Cost Analysis – Users can estimate costs across many manufacturing methods, including weldments, plastics, castings and 3D printing.
Solve More Design Challenges
• Improve Manufacturability of Products with Compound Curvature – Automatically flattening of 3D models, to help identify materials and manufacturing issues. This feature is especially helpful to those in the apparel, footwear, upholstery and shipbuilding industries.
• Enhance Product Aesthetics and Usability – Creating asymmetrical fillets for parts, assemblies and surfaces gives users in the high tech, medical and consumer industries increased flexibility to model more ergonomic and stylized designs.
• Accurately Simulate Machine Components – Developing accurate construction machinery and machine tools with automated roller chains helps ensure operation and usability.
To dig a little deeper into the new functionality offered in SolidWorks 2015, check out the company’s launch site here, which will be live September 9th.