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June 25, 2007
SolidWorks 2008 Launched
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on MCADcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
Each MCAD Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the MCAD industry, MCAD product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by MCADCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Last week SolidWorks Corp. released SolidWorks 2008, the newest version of its leading 3D CAD software. SolidWorks 2008 delivers a new intuitive, time-saving user interface (UI) as well as impressive 3D graphics, builds on the company's breakthrough SolidWorks Intelligent Feature Technology (SWIFT), accelerates better product design, and includes more advanced design analysis capabilities than any other CAD software.

With more than 250 user-requested enhancements, SolidWorks 2008 lets users concentrate on solving design challenges, not on using the software, and leverages existing designs to save time and ensure accuracy. It also helps users improve their designs by providing feedback about quality and manufacturability up front.

"The SolidWorks 2008 UI is very slick with an even more intuitive feel," said beta user Josh A. Mings, interior engineer of Executive Aircraft Completions, Tulsa, Okla. "You're more efficient because you have more opportunities to work on, in, and around the model in addition to the menu options. Switching between documents is more efficient, too, because you can see what you're switching to before you actually do. The more you experience it, the better SolidWorks 2008 gets."

SolidWorks 2008 introduces a host of new capabilities that lets users immerse themselves in their designs.

First is the new user experience. The intuitive workflow predicts which tools users will need in the context of the specific task they are undertaking and makes them readily available. The interface increases useful window real estate, reduces mouse travel, provides innovative customization options, and provides task-based command selection. These attributes help establish SolidWorks as the easiest to use 3D CAD system, focusing users on their designs and minimizing distractions.

SWIFT Instant3D, one of several unique new features built on the SWIFT framework, lets users create and modify 3D model features simply by manipulating drag handles directly on the model. Users don't need to deal with esoteric commands, dialog boxes, and extensive data input other CAD systems require. "Live cross-sections" enable users to make edits by dragging edges while looking at a slice of the model.

SWIFT DimXpert automatically sets geometric dimensions and tolerances on parts, saving time and providing expert information every design team needs. It provides visual feedback on whether the model has been properly described and is ready for manufacturing. DimXpert adheres to the ASME Y14.41-2003 3D specification and automatically creates views, dimensions, and tolerances in 2D drawings for complete design documentation.

"SolidWorks is on the right track with SWIFT," said Gisela Wilson, director of industry analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC)'s Product, Project, and Portfolio Management program. "With this new release, it is again deepening design capabilities but without burdening users with lots of additional hard-to-learn complexities. SWIFT and SolidWorks 2008 can make a substantial difference for design teams in time to market, cost containment, quality of user experience, and ultimately quality of result."

SolidWorks 2008 gives users unique new ways to design better products faster by repurposing portions of existing designs while enforcing best practices.

The Design Clipart capability lets users search their file systems for sketches, tables, images, features, views, or DWG blocks that are inside existing designs. Once the item is located, Design Clipart dissects target files, allowing users to simply drag the item to incorporate it in new designs. The Design Clipart feature helps engineers recoup the hours they spend every day looking for already finished designs. Design Clipart also extends SolidWorks' leadership in the reuse of AutoCAD data by allowing quick access to any portion of a DWG file without the need for translation.

In addition to supporting native DWG blocks, SolidWorks 2008 alerts users when a referenced DWG block has been changed. Users can also natively edit these DWG blocks in the DWGeditor by simply right-clicking the block - a natural, efficient workflow for leveraging DWG data in new 3D designs.

Design teams for the first time can manage all of their 2D files from the SolidWorks desktop using a new capability called the DWGnavigator. The DWGnavigator lets users perform powerful DWG-specific searches, find references, view, and package up files for sharing. Users can also save their files in the format of any version of AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT software for unmatched interoperability.

Another unique development, DriveWorksXpress, automatically creates custom parts, assemblies, and drawings based on pre-defined design rules, enabling companies to quickly and economically respond to the unique needs of every customer.

SolidWorks 2008 gives design teams powerful new tools to help produce accurate designs that are complete, of high quality, and manufacturable the first time.

COSMOSWorks Design Insight, for example, displays the portions of CAD models that carry applied loads, making it easy for designers to decide whether to add material for strength or subtract it to avoid costly over-engineering. DFMXpress, another unique SolidWorks feature, helps "design for manufacturability," preventing costly downstream design errors by automatically flagging elements that are difficult, expensive, or impossible to machine, such as 90-degree milled corners.

TolAnalyst is an automated tolerance stack-up tool that helps companies avoid the hidden potential fit and function problems that can result from variations in manufacturing tolerances in an assembly. TolAnalyst helps identify the most critical tolerances and lets users tighten or loosen any tolerance to avoid functional problems or costly over-engineering. TolAnalyst also reduces the need for tedious error-prone hand calculations, increasing users' confidence that their designs will yield properly functioning products the first time.

"Designers use SolidWorks to create products throughout the day, so the software must help them be efficient and effective," said John McEleney, SolidWorks CEO. "In addition to powerful, unique design capabilities, SolidWorks 2008 delivers a smart user experience that fits naturally with the designers' workflow, allowing them to focus on innovation - which is the number one goal for them and us."

SolidWorks 2008 is available now for purchase in 13 languages worldwide through SolidWorks authorized resellers.

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

A few weeks ago I spent the better part of a day with two SolidWorks folks – Darren Henry and Rick Chin – and got an overview/preview of SolidWorks 2008. As with just about any new release of MCAD software, the time went by quickly as they covered as many of the new features and capabilities as time allowed.

Most releases of MCAD software have a general theme, and SolidWorks 2008 actually has the following three themes:

  •   Focus on design, not CAD
  •   Reuse existing designs
  •   Improve designs
  • While these themes aren’t entirely new or unique in the MCAD world, they do provide a basis or context for discussing some of the major highlights of SolidWorks 2008.

    In keeping with the “focus on design” theme, the SolidWorks UI has been extensively overhauled this time around that increases design window space and decreases mouse clicks, including an enhanced CommandManager. SolidWorks’ SWIFT technology continues to evolve with Instant3D that allows models to be created and manipulated in real time by dragging faces and providing dynamic feedback. This puts editing tools right on the model and lets you see changes as they are made. Also in SWIFT, DimXpert now automatically dimensions 3D parts and ensures that they are fully dimensioned. There are also a number of enhancements in other aspects of SWIFT that will

    make a lot of tasks more efficient. Working with large assemblies should be easier this time around with assembly management tools, such as QuickView, with its new selection and filtering tools. For example, hidden components are not loaded into memory, but mates are maintained so you can work on an assembly as if the entire assembly is loaded.

    The main reason for reusing designs is to leverage at least portions of an existing design to save time and focus on improving that design. DriveWorksXpress is new to SolidWorks 2008 and lets you automate repetitive design tasks for creating product design options and variants. With DesignWorksXpress you can capture critical design information and use it in the future to automatically create parts, assemblies, and drawings for product variants based on pre-defined design rules. Once the rules are defined, design variants can be created by filling out a simple form telling the software what product options you want. In the area of data translation, edit imported B-rep

    data via Instant3D – click on the geometry and edit it – SolidWorks 2008 automatically converts that geometry into a SolidWorks feature. Features available this time around for instant editing include filets, chamfers, and holes. Still attempting to appeal to the AutoCAD user, and as a further complement to other existing AutoCAD tools connected with SolidWorks, DWGnavigator is a free file management for DWG and DXF files. DWGnavigator allows conversion of a DWG file from one version to another, meaning that you don’t have to upgrade AutoCAD to remain compatible.

    For improving designs, one of the most significant new capabilities is TolAnalyst, an automated tolerance stack-up function now in SolidWorks that helps you verify design fit and function. TolAnalyst analyzes a design based on the order and way parts are assembled, as well as DimXpert geometric dimensions and tolerances. This is a big deal because it strives to eliminate tedious and error-prone hand calculations, and helps you determine if a design meets fit and function requirements. COSMOSFloXpress is now part of SolidWorks for simple qualitative internal fluid flow analysis with one inlet and outlet. DFMXpress is a nice addition that lets you check a design for

    manufacturability by identifying areas that might be difficult, expensive, or impossible to machine up front in the design process. In SolidWorks 2008, DFMXpress includes checks for milling manufacturability (sharp internal corners on pockets, deep pockets or slots, and non-standard hole sizes) and turning manufacturability (minimum corner radii and bore reliefs).

    Obviously, with a release the size of SolidWorks 2008, I can only cover the highlights, but based on the overview that I got, I’d have to say this is another good one. It’s hard to believe that SolidWorks has been around now almost 15 years, and is coming up on the tenth anniversary of being acquired by Dassault Systemes, but time marches on, and so does the product line.

    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.

    UGS PLM Software Launches UGS Synergy, a New Program for the Automotive Industry to Revolutionize the Vehicle Design and Manufacturing Collaboration Process

    UGS PLM Software, a division of Siemens Automation and Drives (A&D), in collaboration with HP, announced its new UGS Synergy program for the automotive industry for the vehicle design and manufacturing collaboration process. The new program provides for asynchronous design information sharing in a CAD-independent environment. For the first time, OEMs and suppliers at all levels of the supply chain will have a single optimized process for exchanging vehicle design and manufacturing information. UGS Synergy enables suppliers to set up their own PLM environment and leverage its power to optimize the entire enterprise. The UGS Synergy program leverages its JT
    data format, which has emerged as a standard for 3D visual collaboration in the automotive industry. Both OEMs and suppliers alike use JT for a wide range of downstream applications from purchasing to manufacturing, as it is smaller in file size and protects intellectual property.

    Materialise and Stratasys Team Up

    Stakeholders invested in fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology for prototyping and direct digital manufacturing are about to experience significant gains in rapid protptyping. Materialise and Stratasys finalized a worldwide distribution agreement whereby Stratasys will offer Materialise' Magics RP software with its FDM systems. Both Materialise and Stratasys consider their collaboration on Magics for FDM a further indicator of how strongly they're aligned. Magics' integrated tools will play a key role in Stratasys' goal of providing a total solution for users of their FDM systems. Magics RP is a range of software products that streamline, automate and provide
    more power to every step in the RP&M process. A major element of Magics' success within the RP&M industry has been its capability for importing a wide range of CAD files and for exporting files suitable for rapid prototyping, tooling and manufacturing. It also allows the user to repair and optimize 3D models, analyze parts, and perform process-related design changes on STL files.

    Applied Engineering Technology Exits SolidWorks Business and Becomes Autodesk Reseller

    Applied Engineering Technology (AET) has entered into a new partnership with Autodesk to market and sell its engineering and manufacturing software products. Since 1986, Applied Engineering Technology has built a diversified business able to create or market engineering solutions that fit its customers’ specific needs. Today AET offers many services that span engineering design, prototyping, software training, software support and software customization. “When exploring a partnership with Autodesk, it became apparent early on that they had a clear vision of the manufacturing industry today and also what was required to maintain their solid position in the marketplace. During our evaluation, we looked at the products and the company, talked with the leadership team and reviewed what their customers were saying about them. It became obvious in a short timeframe that their philosophy was similar to our own. The advantage AET brings as a VAR is that we represent multiple software products and we are not limited to selling one company’s products. A VAR having this flexibility is a big benefit to the customer, because the customer gets a best-in-class solution that is appropriate for their industry and matches their corporate strategies. Some software companies today discourage or just don’t allow for this level of flexibility,”
    said David Johanning, Vice President of Applied Engineering Technology.

    Rapid Manufacturing Spearheading Growth of the World Rapid Prototyping Equipment Markets

    The evolution of 3D printers driven by severe pricing pressures has made concept modeling and rapid prototyping affordable to most end users. Undoubtedly, the growing trend toward rapid manufacturing has taken the industry to the next level. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (
    http://www.testandmeasurement.frost.com), World Rapid Prototyping Equipment Markets, reveals that the market earned revenues of $300.0 million in 2006 and estimates this to reach $859.4 million in 2013. With prices of 3D printers ranging from $15,000 to $60,000, small companies find them extremely affordable to use for concept modeling and design optimization. In addition, the use of additive fabrication technology to directly manufacture the product has become increasingly popular, especially for low volume applications. Rapid manufacturing is particularly useful when the part complexity is difficult to realize with traditional manufacturing processes. Hearing-aid application in the medical industry is a good example. Rapid manufacturing is expected to become mainstream in the future, and eventually drive the growth of the rapid prototyping equipment market. End-user education should focus on the acquisition and cost of new equipment as well as the capabilities of various technologies such as stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), fused deposition modeling (FDM), jetted polymer techniques and their applications. With rapid manufacturing gaining interest among end users, it is imperative for equipment manufacturers to educate the users to
    ensure sustenance for the market and accelerate the growth of the rapid prototyping equipment market in the future.

    Making Offshore Outsourcing Irrelevant is Goal of New Ascent Technology Center

    Ascent Systems, a professional services firm providing business process and information technology solutions that elevate business performance, announced the launch of its Ascent Technology Center (ATC) that it says cuts the total cost of information technology projects by up to 70%. The Ascent Technology Center will provide full-spectrum technology services to its clients and is expected to employ nearly 300 local technology professionals when fully staffed. Ascent offers technology consulting, custom software development, CRM/ERP/PLM systems integration, web content management, and IT project outsourcing to clients in the Pittsburgh region. Ultimately, the company
    foresees a trend where its lower IT costs will enable clients of any size to increase their use of technology to be more competitive. A 2004 Deloitte Consulting study showed that Pennsylvania manufacturing firms lag the U.S. national average in productivity by 11%. As many of these firms experience increasing competitive pressures over time, they realize that information technology and process improvement are the two important growth engines that they must have to compete -- and that only a local partner, such as Ascent makes these engines affordable.

    Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of

    MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
    Email Contact or 408.850.9230.

    This Week

    Lead Story

    SolidWorks Corp. Launches SolidWorks 2008

    Product and Company News

    SpaceClaim Secures $13.5 Million in Series B Funding
  • Autodesk Extends Visualization Leadership with Acquisition of Opticore AB
  • UGS PLM Software Announces Series of Major Contract Wins with Customers around the World
  • BorgWarner Thermal Systems Uses SolidWorks
  • Oce Produces Award Winner with CoCreate OneSpace Modeling
  • Delcam's FeatureCAM for Autodesk Inventor 2008
  • Product Design Secrets Revealed in New Book
  • MSC.Software Accelerates Product Innovation and Delivery Through the Release of SimEnterprise R2
  • 3D Visualizations Take Center Stage at the 2007 Paris Air Show
  • Complete Cabin CFD Simulation Process for Airbus -- CD-adapco Article
  • Certeon Accelerates Product Lifecycle Management Environments
  • PTC Express June 2007 Newsletter
  • CAD Schroer Makes the Grade with its New Schools Program
  • Geometric Strengthen its PLM Interoperability Solutions Portfolio
  • Quickparts Offers Next-Day Manufacturing Service for Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
  • AutoForm Unveils New Software Release – AutoForm Version 4.1
  • Chinese Aircraft Producer Uses ESI Group Software For Better Design
  • NetApp Certified by UGS PLM Software
  • Airbus Strengthens Its Strategic Partnership With PTC With Deployment Of Windchill(R)
  • SolidCam June 2007 Newsletter
  • Hopewell Designs Prepares for Growth with Autodesk Inventor Software Ability to Fully Leverage Data Influences Company's Decision to Purchase Inventor
  • nPower Software releases Power SolidWorksToMax
  • ESI Group's PAM-RTM Injection Simulation Software Now For CATIA V5
  • Manufacturing Executives Call for Improvements in Next-Generation PLM Tools
  • Audi and AutoForm Announce Cooperation
  • QuickParts June 2007 QuickNOTES Newsletter
  • LMS announces ISO 9001:2000 Quality certification of new LMS Imagine Division
  • Delcam to Launch New PowerMILL CAM at EMO
  • SigmaTEK Strikes Gold with SolidNEST
  • Computer Aided Technology, Inc. Opens New Facility in Brookfield, WI to Respond to Increased Demand for SolidWorks Training
  • SURFCAM Velocity TrueMill at the HAAS
  • Catalog Data Solutions customer Quality Transmission Components on track for 10,000 3D CAD model Downloads in the first year

    Related MCAD News
    General Motors Awards Engineers for Technical Innovation
  • Bombardier Aerospace Presents Aircraft at Paris Air Show
  • KUKA Robotics Introduces World's Largest & Strongest Robot
  • Insight Into the Mysteries of the 3GB Mode: Do I Get 3Gig or What?
  • LCD Manufacturing Equipment Market - A Global Perspective
  • HP Helps Enterprises Accelerate Delivery of IT Projects With New Software, Services
  • Dassault Partners with Rolls-Royce for Future Mid-Sized Falcon
  • SAP Enhances Manufacturing Execution Capability for Discrete Manufacturers
  • LMI Aerospace to Acquire D3 Technologies, Inc.
  • The Rise of the 3D Artist - 3DTotal's Tom Greenway Sees Commercial Interest in 3D Imagery
  • Oracle(R) Database 10g Release 2 Sets the World's First TPC-H 30 TB Benchmark with HP Integrity Superdome Server
  • Argentina Gets $3.5 Billion Investment for Automobile Manufacturing
  • Parsec and AMR Research Present Why ALL Manufacturing Companies MUST Consider Performance Management
  • Dassault's Falcon 7X Enters Service
  • EoPlex Technologies Receives Manufacturing Technology Innovation Award
  • Joint Venture Formed to Manufacture Specialized Jet Engine Components
  • Eastern Europe An Emerging Global Hub For Electronics Manufacturing

    Industry Events
    UGS PLM Software Announces "Dare to Compare with Teamcenter Express" Seminar Series to Help Mid-Sized Manufacturers
  • SURFCAM Velocity TrueMill® at Mazak Open House
  • Stratasys to Present at Conference
  • Autodesk CFO to Present at NASDAQ Investor Program
  • CD-adapco's 2007 STAR Americas Conferences!
  • ANSYS CEO to Present at NASDAQ Investor Program
  • Delcam to Show Latest ArtCAM JewelSmith

    You can find the full MCADCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

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