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Solid Edge Version 16 continues to deliver on its Design with Insight vision by providing a new focus on helping customers to ease the design of complex products with increased insight into design intent and the industries Solid Edge serves, all under the control of the built-in Insight for design management.

Capturing and maintaining design intent throughout the process is one of the most effective ways to battle design complexity and Solid Edge has continuously enhanced its system design capabilities to take advantage of this intelligence. New system design features for Version 16 include adjustable parts, fastener systems and dynamic families of assemblies, all of which deliver more flexibility during the design process.

Version 16 also enhances Solid Edge's capability for hybrid 2D/3D design with increased familiarity for AutoCAD users, a new capability to create 3D parts from 2D assembly layouts and new tools for hybrid 2D/3D design, including a new and unique "Zero D" capability that allows the definition of product structure before any geometry is committed to paper.

Battling design complexity means using applications that work the way designers want to work and fulfill the specific requirements of their industry. Solid Edge provides designers with increased insight to solve design challenges unique to their industry by delivering tools and workflows for industry-specific challenges to accelerate the design process.

Version 16 rounds out its suite of consumer products applications with Virtual Studio+, an advanced photorealistic-rendering solution that includes a new artistic, sketch-based rendering capability for early stage representations and concept reviews.

For machine design, Solid Edge adds new frame design and piping capability to complement systems design and hybrid 2D/3D enhancements, which allow for an expanded focus on the process equipment industry.

Earlier this year, Version 15 introduced Solid Edge into the mold design market with a new add-on application for mold tooling to complement existing core and cavity capabilities. With V16, Solid Edge Mold Tooling is enhanced to now automate the design of additional features such as runner bars, slides, inserts, stripper plates and water channels. In addition, Mold Tooling now comes with standard libraries for other popular component suppliers and a new capability to define custom mold bases.

"Solid Edge's commitment to research and development yet again delivers significant value to designers and engineers," said Monica Schnitger, Senior Vice President of Market Analysis at Daratech, a market research firm. "In addition to a compelling number of customer-requested enhancements in Version 16, Solid Edge delivers new functionality that advances the design process for engineers typified by Zero D and the 'Evolve to 3D' migration program," said Schnitger. "Zero D's ability to allow designers to conceptualize an assembly structure from the top down using virtual components is a true productivity gain, much like Solid Edge's 'Evolve to 3D' program, which allows users to move to 3D at their own pace, establishing their own 2D/3D workflows without experiencing the disruption of design process realignment."

Preliminary indications are that Solid Edge Version 16 shows that the company (now called simply, UGS) is again committed to its core modeling capabilities. While Version 15 was a good progression from the previous version, I felt that the company emphasized the incorporation of and integration with Microsoft's Sharepoint Server for PDM purposes at the expense of the nuts and bolts mechanical design capabilities that Solid Edge had achieved. Version 16, however, points to the fact that design is again indeed the crux of Solid Edge. Since I have backgrounds in both mechanical engineering and industrial design, Solid Edge Version 16 appeals to me on a couple of different levels. On the industrial design side, Solid Edge's Rapid Blue shape creation technology provides styling flexibility without having to be concerned with history, and its process-specific "super features" can be used to create complex and difficult model features with one command. With V16, I'll be interested to see how the new Virtual Studio+ add-on application works for creating accurate and photorealistic design iterations. On the mechanical engineering side, V16 expands on the adjustable parts and assemblies that were introduced in V15 that emphasizes how an assembly functions and how the component parts interact with each other. For concept to design purposes, I'm also intrigued with V16's top-down design approach where you begin with so-called "Zero D" (0D) for developing a partial or complete assembly structure without having to create any physical files. New or existing 2D or 3D deign elements can be associated with the 0D structure to create 2D parts and subassemblies. When you're ready to move from concept to design, a Publish command populates the structure with part and subassembly files, and then you can move on to more detailed 3D design development. Sight unseen to this point, on paper Solid Edge V16 seems like it will be a good release for UGS. When we obtain a review copy of the software, we will be including it in our upcoming comparative review of MCAD software packages.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at Email Contact or 408.850.9230.

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