June 01, 2009
Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology 2 Announced
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor


by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Siemens PLM Software announced Solid Edge software with Synchronous Technology 2. This release is the second version of Solid Edge to incorporate Siemens PLM Software’s breakthrough synchronous technology, the first history-free, feature-based modeling capability that serves as a fundamental tool in helping customers react to the market faster.


“We were looking for something very flexible, but also something with the full power of 3D feature modeling for modifying machine components,” said Ben Fune, process engineering manager, American Renolit Corp. “We found the best of both worlds in Solid Edge with synchronous technology.”


Solid Edge is a core component of the Velocity Series portfolio and combines the speed and flexibility of direct modeling with the precise control of dimension-driven design. The latest release extends synchronous technology deeper in the product with improved part and assembly modeling as well as a new sheet metal application. With this release, Siemens PLM Software also announces a new built-in FEA tool and PDM integration leveraging the latest Microsoft SharePoint platforms.


“The Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology 2 release showcases the expansion of Siemens PLM Software’s groundbreaking synchronous technology into additional part and assembly modeling areas, including intelligent sheet metal design," said Dr. Ken Versprille, PLM Research Director, CPDA. "In our in-depth review done last year, we positioned synchronous technology as a major advance in solids modeling and predicted its positive impact on the industry. This latest release proves us correct based on the strength and robustness it demonstrates as a modeling approach. End user interviews attest to the benefits they have achieved in reducing their design cycle times. The modeling
advancements found in Solid Edge, matched with the introduction of a new mid-range FEA application, Solid Edge Simulation, and continued implementation of Solid Edge’s Insight data management tool atop the latest in Microsoft’s SharePoint, offers a win-win scenario for both Solid Edge and its users.”


The new release of Solid Edge extends synchronous technology within core part and assembly modeling for complex feature creation and advanced sketch editing tools that reduce overall design time. To improve 2D to 3D data migration, Solid Edge turns 2D dimensions from imported drawings into 3D driving dimensions during model creation, so users can edit 3D designs based on the intent from 2D. In addition, Live Sections can be used to simplify 3D model changes by letting users edit 2D cross sections cut through any part of a 3D model, and update the 3D model in real-time.


Solid Edge now applies synchronous technology to sheet metal design, creating a feature-based, history-free 3D design application for modeling straight brake sheet metal parts.


Sheet metal is the second application to leverage the power of synchronous technology (CAM Express leveraging synchronous technology was first announced last December) and further validates its extensibility. Synchronous technology brings new levels of productivity to the sheet metal environment so users can create models with less pre-planning, make changes with unbounded flexibility, and reuse and edit supplier data more effectively.


“A process-specific application such as sheet metal is a good example of a design discipline that requires a specialized skill set and unique features in the software,” said Dan Staples, director of Solid Edge product development, Siemens PLM Software. “Now our sheet metal customers can achieve the tremendous design time savings made possible by synchronous technology. And now that synchronous technology has been incorporated into sheet metal, you can see just how extensible this technology really is."


Solid Edge Simulation is a new optional analysis tool embedded into the CAD system that allows design validation of parts and assemblies earlier in the product development process for quicker time to market and reduced physical prototyping costs. It is based on proven Femap software finite element modeling and NX Nastran solver technology built into the Solid Edge user interface. It is easy for designers and engineers to use and promotes increased use of simulation within Solid Edge, fostering design innovation. Solid Edge Simulation also leverages synchronous technology to ease simulation model preparation and speed design refinements.


“These economic times force engineers to do more by themselves than ever before," said Bill McClure, vice president of product development for Velocity Series, Siemens PLM Software. “By embedding FEA into Solid Edge, more designs can be simulated in less time with minimal need to outsource analysis. This allows companies to respond to their customers faster with improved quality and lower costs."


Solid Edge now provides key enhancements to improve the embedded Insight design data management application, a key element of the Velocity Series strategy for scalable PDM, which also includes the Teamcenter Express platform.


“Solid Edge Insight running on SharePoint Server adds design data management to enterprise collaboration for small and mid-sized businesses,” said Don Richardson, director, Global Innovation and PLM Industry Strategy, Microsoft. “Siemens PLM Software, a long-time valued partner of Microsoft, has been utilizing SharePoint services since 2001, and continues to leverage the latest Microsoft technologies in its PLM applications to meet the business needs of customers.”


Solid Edge with Insight leverages the latest Microsoft SharePoint platform for improved collaboration, faster release workflows and enhanced security capabilities offered by Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS). Solid Edge with Insight using the first version of SharePoint was introduced to the market in 2001 and today has more than 1000 customers. Moving Insight to the latest platform helps users reduce PDM deployment and ongoing support costs. Microsoft SharePoint is especially popular with small to medium size businesses (SMBs) and now totals over 100 million seats worldwide.


Solid Edge with synchronous technology 2 is scheduled to ship this summer.


Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor


One of the most controversial and written-about mechanical CAD software developments last year arguably was Synchronous Technology that found its way into both Solid Edge and its big brother, NX. Given that it was a “Version 1” of the technology, it was stable, but was not implemented through all design environments within the Solid Edge product. That deficiency, however, has been addressed this time around, and will continue to be addressed and further implemented in future releases.


I was given a briefing a couple of weeks ago on Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology 2, and I’ll discuss some of the areas that most impressed me – namely sheet metal, simulation, and product data management.


Synchronous Technology – The Next Phase

A little over a year ago Siemens PLM Software announced a new CAD methodology that it claimed to be the biggest MCAD breakthrough in a decade called Synchronous Technology. That was a pretty big claim, because of what it lacked in terms of real details that wouldn’t be disclosed until a month later, although the possibilities and implications were pretty intriguing.


Using NX and Solid Edge as vehicles, Siemens PLM Software became the latest MCAD company to jump on the bandwagon espousing the advantages of non-history-based design methods. Synchronous Technology actually had a predecessor; Direct Modeling (really, direct model editing) technology.


While most parametric modelers, such as SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER, and Inventor rely on feature history, an increasing number do not. Notable non-history-based modeling packages include those from CoCreate, SpaceClaim, IronCAD, and Kubotek. Parametric, history-based MCAD has dominated the market since the late 1980s. However, several vendors in the past couple of years have gotten made non-history-based claims.


Simply put, Synchronous Technology combines the speed and flexibility of explicit modeling with the precise control of parameterized design. Theoretically, models can be developed faster because designs no longer require preplanning. Changes are more flexible since you can apply 3D driving dimensions to completed models. The capability in Solid Edge called Live Rules is what makes all this possible because it maintains model integrity throughout design iterations. For example, during a design change, models are not regenerated so performance is enhanced.


Even though it does have its own inherent limitations, probably one of the biggest advantages of a non-history based approach is that it lets you make changes late in the design process, so they are not bound by the constraints and complications that a history tree can impose. Also, a non-history-based system can make data import easier, since you don’t have to worry about the overhead of dealing with a history tree from a different system. Therein lies another one of the biggest advantages for a non-history-based approach -- 3D model data can be imported from just about any source for editing without the need for a translator/converter.


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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.




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