May 21, 2007
Solid Edge V 20 Launched
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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UGS announced Version 20 of Solid Edge. With hundreds of enhancements, the new version delivers key functionality for plant equipment design as well as increases engineering productivity and design collaboration across the entire global value chain.

Solid Edge V20 is the latest release of UGS' hybrid 2D/3D CAD software and the premier design-centric solution in the mid-range CAD industry. Solid Edge is the CAD component of the UGS Velocity Series portfolio targeted specifically at the needs of mid-sized manufacturing companies.

"Solid Edge V20 delivers substantial increases in engineering productivity through many industry firsts," says Dan Staples, director, Solid Edge Business. "For example, V20's 2D goal seeking technology breaks new ground in the CAD industry, while the addition of zones to our assembly modeler is a first for mid-range CAD. This opens up many new possibilities for design optimization in plant equipment design and shop floor layout. We also continue to improve design collaboration through tight integration with Teamcenter Express for cPDM."

Companies such as Siemens VAI Clecim, Anglo Platinum and Krones use Solid Edge's leading advanced assembly design capabilities to layout their factory floors and plant equipment, which often have assemblies of more than 100,000 parts. Solid Edge V20 takes the next step to making it even easier to layout factory floors with actual machine geometry, as well as deal with other large assemblies in industries like heavy industrial vehicles, large mechanical machinery, and process and power by becoming the first mid-range modeler to add assembly zones for massive assembly design. In addition, Solid Edge continues its 64-bit architecture development with more applications available, as well as
improved performance, which aid users working with massive assemblies.

The German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) is one of the leading accelerator centers in the world. "Typical assembly size that we use in our daily work consists of about 5000 parts, the largest assemblies being between 30,000 and 50,000 parts," said Josef Gonschior, design engineer, DESY (Germany). "The advantage of the new Zone command in Solid Edge V20 provides is a targeted separation of the working area and better performance due to less geometry. As a result, we are able to work with several developers on even bigger assemblies. The Zone command gives us the insight in adjacent assemblies that are used by others."

Solid Edge V20 improves supply chain collaboration through integration with the new Teamcenter Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). This allows improved access to the central database from remote locations via wide area networks. A new "Auto-constrain in Assembly" feature adds parametric intelligence to imported data regardless of origin or translation method. In addition, a new dynamic reviewing capability for direct editing provides real-time feedback when editing imported models.

Solid Edge V20 also introduces new translators to help users transition from AutoCAD to Solid Edge, collaborate with Catia V5, and read the STL file format for easy file sharing with a variety of systems.

Solid Edge V20 adds more than 170 enhancements to part design and drafting that drive further productivity gains, including:
  • Goal Seeking to solve 2D engineering scenarios that are more easily express graphically than with equations in real time. Knowing the target value of an engineering calculation, goal seeking allows users to set certain parameters, while the system varies other factors to achieve the desired result. Results can be used to drive 3D geometry in a true hybrid 2D/3D design environment.
  • Advanced Feature Libraries, including Part Feature grouping to streamlines reuse of common features.
  • Tabulated drawings to create a single drawing for an entire family of parts.
  • Solid Edge V20 will be available in English this quarter and in nine additional languages shortly thereafter. Solid Edge V20 supports Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 7 and Direct 3D graphics.

    Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
    I got a short demo of Solid Edge Version 20 and have to say that, overall, I was quite impressed by what I saw. Admittedly, based on just a WebEx-type demo, I’m not going to say it’s the best MCAD application, but it does do some things that I believe the competition would have a tough time equaling out of the box. That said, however, especially with this release, the new version of Solid Edge definitely emphasizes its new key functionality on designing plant equipment. This isn’t too surprising, though, as just about every 3D CAD application in the so-called mid-range says that machine design is one of its major markets. Solid Edge takes a slightly different
    approach in tackling what it calls “massively large equipment” – machines with 100,000+ parts (and this is best accomplished with the 64-bit variety of the software). Do these types of machines constitute the majority of what Solid edge is used for? Probably not, but handling assemblies of this magnitude was the focus of this release.
    During the demo the presenters said that the 2D capabilities in Solid Edge V20 make it easier to lay out big plant equipment in the context of a plant floor using actual machine geometry. Solid Edge claims to be a first in this space to have what the company calls assembly zones for massive assembly design and shop floor layout. Zones provide a distinct separation of a working area of interest, resulting in enhanced performance due to dealing with less geometry. Zones may be a new name for Solid Edge, but the functionality is not entirely new in the MCAD world, as other competing applications, such as SolidWorks have a roughly analogous technology, as well.

    During the demo I was told that Solid Edge V20 has more than 170 enhancements to its part design and drafting functionality, which seems about average anymore for major releases of MCAD software. One of the more interesting capabilities presented was Goal Seeking that is used to solve 2D engineering problems graphically rather than with equations. For example, if you know the target value of an engineering calculation, goal seeking allows you to set certain parameters as the system varies other factors to achieve the desired result. You can then use the results to drive 3D geometry creation. Although this is a graphical way of solving engineering problems, you still have to have a
    pretty good understanding of engineering principles and why you’re doing what you’re doing in the graphical environment.

    Just like SolidWorks has a big brother with CATIA, Solid Edge’s big brother is NX, and UGS has targeted a definite market for Solid Edge of, say, customers requiring 1-50 seats of the software. Although this was a Solid Edge launch demo, as a rule, UGS would rather talk about Solid Edge in terms and a component of the UGS Velocity Series that includes Teamcenter Express for PDM/PLM; NX CAM Express for machining; and Femap, a simulation tool for FEA.

    Speaking of Teamcenter, Solid Edge V20 integrates with the new Teamcenter Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) that is intended for enhancing supply chain collaboration by improving access to a central database over WANs. Actually, Teamcenter Express got quite a bit of time devoted to it during the course of the demo.

    As I said at the outset, Solid Edge V20, at least from outward appearances, seems like a good release for those that deal with big assemblies, with the emphasis on big, meaning a lot of parts. It’s what I’ll call an “industrial strength” 3D MCAD application that seems more suited for those users with a true bent and understanding of mechanical engineering principles, terminology, and methods. It’s not that the competition is not as well suited, it’s just that Solid Edge V20 has more of an mechanical engineering “feel,” and Goal Seeking is a good example of this. The engineering “feel” could be both a good and not so good
    thing, but will attract those who are comfortable with the philosophy and method.

    All in all, I’ll be anxious to take a closer look at Solid Edge V20, although I doubt that I’ll be trying to create a 100,000-part assembly.

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    -- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.


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