October 06, 2008
Dassault Systemes SolidWorks 2009 Products Unveiled
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor


by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. unveiled SolidWorks2009 Premium and SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2009.


SolidWorks 2009 enhances what was already among the highest-performing products in the 3D CAD market. The new software reflects an intensive R&D effort focused directly on performance, which company research reveals is designers’ and engineers’ most valued CAD software trait.


The groundbreaking speed increase is calculated on documented productivity gains measured in the creation and modification of large assemblies and drawings using workflows adapted from real-world customer environments and data. Customer workflows were studied and tested to ensure that the overall design process was being improved, not just specific functions and tasks. More significantly, these performance gains were attained without new features and functions, meaning that users do not have to learn new techniques, settings, or functionality to take advantage of the power of SolidWorks 2009.


“With SolidWorks 2009, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in assembly and drawing performance, especially when working with large assemblies,” said Mike Baljak, SolidWorks CAD administrator, ATS Automation Tooling Systems. “SolidWorks 2009 will enable us to quickly open large layouts, make changes to the design, and update the associated drawing with ease, which will make our design process more efficient. This will ultimately help ATS get our SolidWorks-generated designs to manufacturing faster, shorten the design and build cycle, and enable our customers to get their products to market quicker than their competition.”


In addition to raw out-of-the-box performance, SolidWorks 2009 introduces SpeedPak, a new approach to large assembly handling that dramatically reduces the amount of computer memory needed while maintaining full graphic detail and associativity. As a result, users can build and work with massive assemblies and drawings with high performance and memory efficiency.


“Given that the point of software solutions is to automate tasks and the point of automation is to make common tasks happen faster, then a significant increase in performance will deeply benefit every designer and engineer,” said John MacKrell, senior analyst with CIMdata. “SpeedPak technology increases performance while decreasing resource consumption, providing a double benefit for designers, especially those who work with large assemblies.”


Performance improvements reflect just a few of more than 260 enhancements in SolidWorks 2009, nearly all of which directly satisfy customer requests submitted in surveys, user groups, customer visits, formal voice-of-the-customer analysis, and prospect/user studies. The product is the result of thousands of interviews, countless hours of customer research, usability testing, and the most thorough vetting by beta customers to date. The many improvements help product development organizations improve business performance, satisfy customers, design elegant products, and develop new users into power users.


And though speed improves productivity, nothing is more important than product quality. With improved workflow and verification capabilities, SolidWorks 2009 also helps designers and engineers develop better, higher-quality products. For example, SolidWorks 2009 includes a new Simulation Advisor that helps users analyze designs for hidden flaws, guiding them through every stage of a simulation.


Building on the integration of SolidWorks and SolidWorks Simulation software, new Simulation Sensors alert users when parts and assemblies deviate from user-defined limits. At any point in the design process, users can set goals like allowable stress, displacement, part weight, measurement, interference, or simulation data. No CAD software possesses this level of “set it and forget it” alerting capability.


SolidWorks 2009 adds a new quality capability, Assembly Clearance Verification, that lets designers and engineers specify keep-out areas around parts because of operating requirements like heat or electromagnetics.


SolidWorks 2009 also incorporates CircuitWorks software that enables designers and engineers to integrate electronic and mechanical designs like those required by the millions of electronic products developed every year.


Understanding that 2D is still vital in a 3D world, SolidWorks 2009 includes numerous drawing enhancements that directly benefit those many users whose final output is a manufacturing drawing. The new Title Block Wizard, for example, automates the creation, editing, and standardization of title block information. The SolidWorks 2009 Dimension


Jog capability enables users to make drawing details clearer and easier to interpret.


SolidWorks 2009 also simplifies plastics design. For example, users no longer have to resort to advanced modeling commands to create the ubiquitous lips and grooves used in snapping together molded parts. A new Lip and Groove command handles this automatically, saving multiple steps for every designer and shortening the learning curve.


Finally, for the third consecutive year, SolidWorks 2009 introduces a product based on SolidWorks Intelligent Feature Technology (SWIFT), which helps beginning CAD users achieve expert results. A new simple-to-use progressive rendering tool called PhotoView 360 lets users photorealistically render a scene while allowing the user to continue working on the same scene, unlike software that forces users to wait until scenes are complete.


“Designers and engineers want a great user experience, allowing them to focus on the product they are developing, not the software, and perform their work faster without compromise,” said Austin O’Malley, CTO of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. “We listened hard to our customers, and the early SolidWorks 2009 feedback shows that we’ve successfully advanced this objective.”


In addition, SWIFT Instant 3D toolsets now allow dynamic editing throughout all stages of design, regardless of whether the user is working in a sketch, part, or assembly.


SolidWorks 2009 supplies single-window, fully associative integration with all of SolidWorks software products, including simulation, data management, and 3D content collaboration.


SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2009


Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. also unveiled SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2009. The new version of the product data management solution introduces deeper integration with SolidWorks 3D CAD software, expanded bill of material (BOM) functionality, and Item-Centric product data management.


SolidWorks Enterprise PDM is a software solution for secure organization-wide sharing, management, and reuse of product data, enabling organizations to more quickly create better products. It is especially suited to companies that span multiple geographic sites, desire the benefits of automated workflow, or require the rich database functionality provided by Microsoft SQL Server. Fully integrated with Microsoft Windows Explorer, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2009 can be deployed in a fraction of the time required by other enterprise PDM systems with little or no user training.


Because of the new, deeper integration with SolidWorks, users of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2009 can access a new array of PDM productivity capabilities directly from within their CAD interface, including “Change State” and “Where Used.” A new preview pane in the interface displays a part thumbnail with detailed version data, sparing users the need to open files or check properties. Users can compare any two documents in the SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2009 vault directly from SolidWorks 2009. Another new integration feature is the ability to check out a read-only file on the fly simply by clicking “yes” when prompted. And when files are checked in,
SolidWorks drawings are now automatically included with 3D modeled parts and assemblies.


DS SolidWorks has dramatically enhanced BOM functionality for efficiency, flexibility, and value beyond the engineering organization. For example, custom “drawing/assembly BOMs” that are created in SolidWorks CAD software are now passed intact to SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2009, reducing rework. “Named” BOMs, which can be used beyond the engineering organization, are now associated with the SolidWorks assembly. This means that if a designer changes a part, the BOM is automatically updated. In addition, named BOMs can now be automatically exported to XML format for fast and accurate data transfer to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.


“The BOM enhancements in SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2009 extend the value of PDM further across our organization to purchasing, marketing, finance, and beyond,” said Spencer Smith, mechanical design engineer, Pro Brand International, Inc. “Although the enhancements for designers and engineers make a big impact on our product quality, PDM isn’t just for engineers anymore.”


Although PDM is traditionally oriented around part and assembly files, new Item-Centric PDM provides a gateway between engineering and purchasing/finance/ERP systems, which are “item centric.” As such, they are concerned with all the items the organization must order for a product, not just the parts modeled in CAD. As part of the change, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2009 includes a new Item Explorer interface that offers manual item addition, drag-and-drop compatibility with non-SolidWorks CAD software, and XML-based ERP integration.


Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor


I saw both of these products (and others) launched in Barcelona, Spain a couple of weeks ago. It was quite a show.


If memory serves correctly, it was the first mutual stage appearance by Jeff Ray, CEO of SolidWorks and Bernard Charles, CEO of Dassault Systemes (and SolidWorks’ parent company). The symbolic staging signified a major rebranding of SolidWorks – from here on out to be known as Dassault Systemes SolidWorks. The more cohesive relationship will allow both corporate entities to share experience, ideas, and technology, according to Jeff Ray. He cited an interesting statistic that the company estimates that 50% of SolidWorks customers spend 70% of their time using SolidWorks products. He also
said that Dassault/SolidWorks might expand the product lines into new markets, such as AEC. This deviates from its strictly mechanical design legacy, but might make sense if it doesn’t alienate the current customer base and dilute development and marketing efforts. Finally, with regard to design, Ray said that SolidWorks had not just a mission, but a cause.


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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


Reviews:
Review Article
  • Yeah right! March 19, 2009
    Reviewed by 'The Realist'
    I don't know what Solidworks 2009 you're using? As far as myself and all the other user s in my company are concerned, 2009 is terrible!
    It's slow and unstable. We went from 2007 to 2009. In 2007 I could sketch as fast as i could click the mouse! With 2009 it feels the need to think about every mouse click I make!!!!
    Our software provider is no wiser than we are.
    We have spent countless HOURS of wasted time due to the program crashing repeatedly.
    I'm sorry but this version of solidworks is a joke!

      3 of 4 found this review helpful.
      Was this review helpful to you?   (Report this review as inappropriate)


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