The speaking program of events included 170 breakout sessions and a preview of SolidWorks 2008 3D CAD software. The diverse categories of the breakout sessions included everything from design automation to sheet metal to surfacing to tips and tricks. In other words, something for just about any SolidWorks user.
There were over 100 SolidWorks solution partners displaying their newest products, services, and technologies in the Partner Pavilion with plenty of room to accommodate the attendees anxious to see all of their newest offerings. The products ranged from the latest innovations in 3D CAD-related hardware, to new software including viewing, collaboration, and optical design tools.
The Partner Pavilion Theatre was also popular for many attendees with live product demonstrations conducted by several certified solution partners over the course of SolidWorks World.
Below are just some of the SolidWorks solution partner companies that caught our eye:
In the coming weeks we’ll be discussing each of these companies and their products that were showcased at SolidWorks World 2007.
The Product Design Showcase was also located in the Partner Pavilion and featured over 150 products designed by SolidWorks customers with a total value of over $2 million.
On the subject of new products, I discovered that three out of the four finalists’ inventions on the popular ABC reality show, “American Inventor,” were designed with SolidWorks 3D CAD software.
The conference also featured its first sustainable technologies forum, moderated by journalist Pam Waterman. The forum discussed one of product design’s fastest growing issues: meeting customer demand and regulatory requirements for environmentally friendly products. Waterman’s guests were Rick Woodbury, president of Seattle-based Commuter Cars Corp.; Ben Eadie, a Calgary-based engineer who designs solar cars; Anna Jaffe, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student working on the Vehicle Design Summit 2007 project; and Kishore Boyalakuntla, national technical manager for analysis products at SolidWorks Corp. Their discussion focused on design engineering’s role in producing energy- and material-efficient products with minimal environmental impact.
“There is a lot of curiosity about sustainable design in the product design and engineering communities. People hear about its use in the architectural world, but aren’t as savvy about its broader implications or how it could affect their own work,” Waterman said. “Our goal was to give them a frame of reference by describing current projects that specifically embrace sustainable design concepts and tools.”
The first afternoon in the Product Design Showcase of the Partner Pavilion, SolidWorks unveiled the 2006 Factory Five Racing 65 MK III roadster – the world’s best selling replica of the famous 1965 Ford Shelby Cobra. An anonymous collector purchased the car for $70,000, all of which was donated to the New Orleans Center for Math and Science. More than 40 employees were involved in building the machine from a Cobra replica kit from Factory Five Racing, a Wareham, Massachusetts company that uses SolidWorks software.
The first night of SolidWorks World 2007 was literally kicked off with a SuperBowl Sunday party that served as an excellent icebreaker for the remainder of the conference.
Jeff Ray, SolidWorks’ COO, led things off the next morning by welcoming all attendees to SolidWorks World 2007. He spoke of 125,000 new SolidWorks users for a total of over 600,00 users – with about half each for commercial use and educational use. He also announced that 92% of SolidWorks’ product enhancements come directly from users, and that for SolidWorks 2001-2006, 82% of customer-requested enhancements had been implemented.
Colonel Lewis Setliff, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was the guest speaker during the first day’s keynote address. He discussed in great detail the ongoing on efforts to rebuild New Orleans and the surrounding area. While the devastation caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita was overwhelming, Col. Setliff and the Corps of Engineers made incredible progress in beginning to rebuild major parts of the local infrastructure needed to protect the city from future storm-related water damage.
Directly related to Col. Setliff’s efforts was the fact that the conference showcased some SolidWorks customers whose products and services contributed to Hurricane Katrina relief. Some of the Katrina relief products showcased included SolidWorks users such as Vermeer, which makes high-reliability wood chippers for debris cleanup, and Homac, which develops power lines that are easy to repair after a natural disaster.
On the second morning’s general session, Steve Wozniak (also known as “Woz”), co-founder of Apple Inc., SolidWorks World 2007’s keynote speaker, shared his story of becoming “a computer nerd” with the audience, explaining that his drive to explore as-yet untapped technology drove him toward his success at Apple. He also reminded the audience the relationship between computers and their users is symbiotic. “Computers can do a million things a second. People can only do about one thing a second at best. It takes algorithms and clever approaches to make computers efficient. It’s the interaction between humans and computers that makes things happen,” he said.
Woz had some sound advice to hardware and software vendors – “Listen to your users, keep things simple, and keep technology transparent. In other words, the smaller the user manual, the better the machine. Companies have to decide which is more important – people or technology. If you’re smart, you’ll focus on the user. Bend hardware and software on ease of use for the user, not the other way around.”
Day 3 of SolidWorks World ended with a party at Mardi Gras World – a showcase of Carnival where sensational sculptured props and giant figures literally came to life. It was a Cajun Creole–inspired tailgating party that featured great food, interactive games, and all sorts of music and street performers. Major sponsors for the event included SolidWorks platinum partners Intel and Microsoft.
The last day’s General Session discusses enhancements to the next versions of SolidWorks products and is always the most popular event at SolidWorks World. Some of the new features and capabilities highlighted in SolidWorks 2008 included:
In closing, SolidWorks CEO, John McEleney, said that he was glad that SolidWorks had chosen to come to New Orleans as the site for this year’s SolidWorks World, as he declared, “New Orleans is open for business.”
Before adjourning the final day’s general session, Mr. McEleney announced the location and dates for SolidWorks World 2008 that will take place January 20-24, 2008 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
CD-adapco Announces New Capability For Analyzing Fluid-Structure Interaction
CD-adapco a coupled-analysis capability for fluid-structure interaction (FSI) utilizing STAR-CD, their computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, and ABAQUS, from the SIMULIA brand of Dassault Systèmes . This new FSI solution builds on the strategy of CD-adapco to partner with technology providers to deliver a broad range of multiphysics simulation solutions. The bi-directional coupling leverages a strong partnership with Dassault Systèmes and the independent, open solution for the coupling—MpCCI software from Fraunhofer SCAI—to enable STAR-CD and ABAQUS to work together to solve a wide range of important FSI problems. The new offering enables users to study the influence of fluid flow-induced forces and heat transfer on structural integrity as well as the impact of nonlinear material response on fluid flow behavior. This functionality allows them to evaluate a broad range of conditions, such as flow-induced vibrations in structures, in-vivo vascular flows, valve dynamics, tire aquaplaning, and fluid-structure applications in consumer goods and packaging.