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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

SOLIDWORKS World 2017: That’s Entertainment!

February 9th, 2017 by Jeff Rowe

This week was one giant blur at SOLIDWORKS 2017 in Los Angeles that was witnessed not only by me, but also more than 5,000 attendees. The exhibit floor with over 120 partners opened at the beginning of the Superbowl with TVs and libations all around, so most people were in a good mood by the end of the game, especially if they were a New England Patriots fan.

The theme for this years SOLIDWORKS WORLD was, “The New; The Next; The Never Before,” which was a good idea but was not evident until the third day of the conference exactly what this meant. On the first day, the SOLIDWORKS message was choppy, not cohesive, clear, or coherent as it could/should have been; and some of the presenters didn’t make sense, as there was too much entertainment fluff and not nearly enough technical content that users come for, me included. Why drag AEC and the Dassault Systems 3D Experience platform into a SOLIDWORKS event? After all, this is SOLIDWORKS World, not Dassault Systemes Universe.

SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2017: Entrance to Exhibit Hall

However, things got much better as the conference commenced in earnest with classes and the exhibition floor in full swing.

Some of the biggest announcements from SOLIDWORKS World 2017 follow briefly below. In coming weeks we will cover each of these and others in much more detail based on discussions we had with SOLIDWORKS’ product managers.


A CAM capability is finally coming to SOLIDWORKS – beta starts in April and will be fully implemented for SOLIDWORKS 2018. SOLIDWORKS’ first gold CAM partner, CAMWorks is supplying the CAM engine that provides rules-based, tolerance-based, automatic feature recognition, and knowledge-based machining capabilities.

SOLIDWORKS CAM will use and interpret MBD and tolerances for applying machining strategies that maximize throughput and quality.


Model-based design (MBD) was discussed not so much on its own as it was in the context of Smart Manufacturing that includes SOLIDWORKS MBD, SOLIDWORKS Costing, SOLIDWORKS Inspection, and SOLIDWORKS CAM.


Discussions on SOLIDWORKS MBD centered around the creation and consumption of MBD data, and the fact that MBD is transitioning from the “why” phase to the “how” phase.

Also included in the SOLIDWORKS MBD discussions were DimXpert and the new 3D Interconnect.


Not to be left off the Internet of Things (IoT) bandwagon, SOLIDWORKS is also making a strong charge into this market by including design elements from SOLIDWORKS mechanical, SOLIDWORKS Electrical, and SOLIDWORKS PCB.

Employs various aspects, features, and capabilities from SOLIDWORKS Mechanical, Electrical, and PCB.

Don’t get me wrong, SOLIDWORKS World has always been one of my favorite engineering software conferences, and was this year, as well. I guess I just would have gotten more out of the general sessions of Days 1 and 2 if there had been less hoopla and more technical content. However, Day 3’s content was spot on and provided what I and most SOLIDWORKS users came for, and was very pleased with the message and direction for the future offered up on the last day of the conference.

Next year’s SOLIDWORKS World will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, February 4-7, 2018.

In the coming weeks we will dive much deeper into the many things that were introduced and discussed at this year’s SOLIDWORKS World, including augmented reality, CAM/machining, IoT, Smart Manufacturing, MBD/MBE, simulation, new MySOLIDWORKS features and education initiatives, the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, and SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids.

Finally, thanks to our hosts at SOLIDWORKS World 2017 for including us and putting on another good show!

Editor’s Note 1: We conducted over 25 video interviews with SOLIDWORKS employees and partners that will be posted to the MCADCafe website on Friday, February 17. Check them out to get insight on the SOLIDWORKS ecosystem from different perspectives.

Editor’s Note 2: While attending SOLIDWORKS World, on Tuesday I received an email from an Autodesk spokesperson announcing that Carl Bass had decided to step down from his role as President and CEO effective Wednesday. Carl and the board determined that now (like tomorrow) is the right time for Carl to step aside and let someone else guide the company into its next phase. Kind of abrupt, but the more I thought about it, not entirely unexpected for reasons I’ll go into more detail on next week.

Disclosure: SOLIDWORKS paid for conference registration, hotel accommodations, and some meals.

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