September 13, 2010
SolidWorks 2011 Launched
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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CONCORD, Mass.-Dassault Systemes unveiled the
SolidWorks 2011 product line, delivering new ways to speed product design, deepen collaboration, and strengthen designers' engagement with manufacturing.

The new SolidWorks 2011 family of products includes hundreds of improvements requested by customers who use SolidWorks every day to design new products, validate their performance, communicate with partners, manage design data, and minimize a product's impact on the environment.

"In addition to refinements throughout, SolidWorks 2011's new CAD and PDM capabilities will enable our engineering groups to intelligently tackle new challenges in the design of our products and production systems," said Janine D. Essex, global product line manager for the SolidWorks application at Robert Bosch LLC, a leading global technology and services company. “We're expecting measurable, improved, and enhanced productivity throughout our customer base.”

“There are big changes,” said Robert Teele, lead mechanical designer for Nuvera Fuel Cells, a clean energy products company in Billerica, Mass. “Our production and marketing departments, for example, are eager to use the new walk-through animation capability to explore our equipment designs and our custom on-site installations with customers.”

Work faster and smarter

The more quickly you can move a great new product to market - and that pressure continues to intensify - the greater the success for everyone involved. SolidWorks has always focused on this imperative and continues to do so in SolidWorks 2011, which includes the following highlights:
  • New drawing detailing functions in SolidWorks CAD software eliminate the time and effort of manual dimensioning. Users can automatically align, stagger, or center dimensions in a single click without any overlap. Drawings look cleaner and more professional than ever with just a few clicks.

  • New 2D Simplification helps speed up parts analysis. Users simply select an intersecting plane and apply the loads and restraints to perform static, nonlinear, pressure vessel, and thermal studies. SolidWorks Simulation instantly calculates the results and displays them on the full 3D model - with no waiting.

  • A new Electronics Cooling Module lets users set up and execute thermal simulations quickly and easily, helping ensure that heat doesn't melt a product's electronics. A new HVAC module works the same way for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Expanded part libraries now include fans, materials, two-resistor components, and integrated circuit packages. New analysis variables include local air quality, ambient temperature, and Joule heating.

  • A new menu bar in SolidWorks Enterprise PDM product data management software speeds access to key designs. The menu bar, which slips right into Windows Explorer, combines the simplicity of Windows with the benefits of an enterprise data strategy for improved collaboration, control, and reuse of valuable design information.

    All SolidWorks 2011 products improve speed and reliability by using memory more efficiently when working with large designs and during prolonged work sessions.

    Deepen communication and collaboration

    The better key stakeholders grasp intent and direction of a design from the start, the smoother the journey to the finished product. That's why DS SolidWorks consistently improves SolidWorks' powerful collaboration and visualization capabilities.
  • New in SolidWorks 2011, for example, is the ability to more easily create compelling photorealistic renderings in PhotoView 360. It is now fully integrated into SolidWorks CAD software, creating a single, unified environment for design and rendering.

  • For an immersive experience, SolidWorks users can lead their customers through designs using new Walk-Through capabilities. Users can easily navigate their design visions via their mouse or an onscreen console - no preset paths are required.

  • SolidWorks customers can also work more closely with partners by sending them detailed designs - but not too detailed. The new Defeature tool facilitates the removal of unnecessary detail or sensitive intellectual property before sharing.

  • For improved communication beyond the design team, 3DVIA Composer technical communication software, introduces a dynamic, interactive, “storyboard” capability that helps customers deliver process instructions through interactive images. Users can create a step-by-step linked narrative for recipients, such as a colleague in manufacturing, a prospect considering a big contract, or a consumer actually using the product. Users simply drag and drop views to create interactive procedures that are clear and effective. Magnetic lines are another innovative feature that increases productivity by neatly organizing content with minimal clicks.

  • Engage with manufacturing

    Active communication between design and manufacturing helps ensure that teams can actually build the products they conceive and that organizations minimize costly delays, scrap, and rework.

    For example:
  • SolidWorks 2011 includes powerful new features that automate weld placement and documentation. Users select and visualize weld bead paths with the Smart Weld tool, and they specify weld type and prepare joints with enhanced fillet and groove features. SolidWorks automatically compiles data on weld counts, length, and type in new weld tables, enabling detailed breakdowns for cost analysis and bidding. Users can apply new visible weld gaps to fitting-to-fitting, pipe-to-pipe, and fitting-to-pipe connections to ensure successful welds.

  • Designers will catch sheet metal errors early with new bend calculation tables that let them quickly calculate the developed length of parts.

  • The new integration of SolidWorks Design Checker into SolidWorks Enterprise PDM software helps streamline the release of designs to manufacturing.

  • It's easy to weigh the impact of manufacturing decisions on a product's carbon footprint through an expanded range of manufacturing and use regions (now including Australia and South America) in SolidWorks Sustainability software. The software also offers new support for custom materials.

  • Creation of pipe, tube, and conduit runs (especially when supports and hangers are involved) is simpler with new routing capabilities. Users can now trace existing geometry, e.g., a steel beam or wall segment, to guide the route path. SolidWorks associates the outside diameter (not the centerline) of the pipe/tube/cable/conduit with the geometry.

  • Relying on these capabilities and more, the SolidWorks 2011 product family streamlines the successful handoff of designs to manufacturing.

    “We're deeply committed to providing a design experience that is both intuitive and powerful, and SolidWorks 2011 embodies that commitment,” said Austin O'Malley, executive vice president of research and development for DS SolidWorks. “In addition to improving design productivity, we've made communication of designs more effective, maximizing intellectual property value and shortening product delivery times.”

    For more information about the SolidWorks 2011 product family, including video demonstrations, please visit or contact a reseller.

    Availability and pricing

    SolidWorks 2011 products are available for license worldwide through SolidWorks authorized resellers.

    Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

    Once again it's September and time for new beginnings. Time to get back to school for some of us, while it's back to real work for those fortunate enough to be employed. Also, it's time to launch into the new software release season, and SolidWorks 2011 is one of the first major releases on tap after a typically slow summer in the engineering software world.

    I've just downloaded a beta copy of SolidWorks 2011 and have started taking a preliminary look at some of the new features and capabilities that I'll discuss below. I'll also be spending some time with Ian Hogg, Product Marketing Manager for details on some of the new features and capabilities in a week or so since I couldn't attend the official 2011 product launch in person in Concord, MA on September 1.

    It's hard to believe, but SolidWorks 2011 marks the 19th release of the flagship product. It's really come a long way, but the leaps and bounds, scads and piles of new features that were commonplace have slowed somewhat to a more sane pace and volume. In fact, as it has for the past few releases, with SolidWorks 2011, the company continues to stress the importance of software stability and dependability over feature bloat and piling on features that relatively few customers actually use (and don't necessarily want to pay for).

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    -- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.


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