February 23, 2009
SolidWorks World 2009 Recap – Real Sustainability
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| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Although SolidWorks World 2009 has concluded, the words of Sir Richard Branson continue to resonate:
“Everybody’s got a dream and it’s good to dream the impossible. With the world’s best engineers working on your dream, you just might transform the impossible into the possible.”
Sir Richard Branson,
founder and philanthropist, was a special guest speaker at SolidWorks World 2009, the largest annual 3D CAD event on the planet. More than 4,000 SolidWorks customers, partners, resellers, and employees attended.
In addition to those poignant comments, this year’s event presented another prime opportunity for designers and engineers to network, learn, and find inspiration with colleagues from around the globe.
“Since I started using SolidWorks in 2004, my VAR
insisted I should go to SolidWorks World,” said Sara Cheney, director of engineering at
Vault Structures Inc.
in Fort Myers, Fla. “After finally attending this week, I regret not coming from year one and discovering all these new ways to improve productivity at my company.”
A few conference highlights included:
- Sneak preview of SolidWorks 2010 3D CAD software, working directly with the designs of
. These SolidWorks customers revealed their flying car and next-generation wind turbine, respectively, on the main stage.
Sony Ericsson representatives taking the stage with DS SolidWorks Co-Founder and Group Executive Jon Hirschtick to describe their challenges and successes in designing household-name products. Hirschtick detailing his vision for the future of computer-aided design, saying, “Most of our work is still in front of us.” He predicted that touchscreen interfaces, Internet-based applications, video game graphics, and 3D printing will have a major impact on 3D CAD. Surprise guests Joe Grand and Mike North, co-hosts
of the Discovery Channel TV show “
Prototype This!,” demonstrating their “Stairbot,” which carries heavy firefighting gear up stairs (and rescue victims down), and their “Gecko Paddles,” which let humans scale walls like the animal for which the devices are named. Sumo wrestler in a “Will it Break?” segment marching onto the main stage and roughing up a tiny pink scooter. The scooter stood up to the abuse, illustrating the importance of the SolidWorks Simulation software. Unveiling of a
sustainability software package code-named “Sage.” Available with the release of SolidWorks 2010 this fall, the new product will help designers and engineers calculate the environmental impact of products they are developing to design for sustainability. DS SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray hailing the role of innovation during an economic downturn, noting that nylon, the car radio, and SPAM were invented during the Great Depression. “Out of adversity comes great opportunity for innovation,” he said. SolidWorks World 2010 will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center (Anaheim, CA) January 31-February 3, 2010.
For more highlights of SolidWorks World 2009, visit:
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
A user conference is an opportunity for a company to rally all of its troops (customers, employees, and partners) with a look toward the future. This year’s edition of SolidWorks World did exactly that on several different levels. I noticed that this year there was more networking among everybody in attendance (well over 4,000) and that was a very good thing for support and realizing that we’re all in the same boat – economically speaking and otherwise.
I had excellent conversations with several SolidWorks employees ranging from top management to developers to application engineers. One of the things I’ve always appreciated about SolidWorks employees, regardless of job title or level, is how approachable and forthcoming they are when asked direct questions – no shrugging shoulders or convoluted answers as is often the case when dealing with competitors’ personnel, especially executives.
As always there were good general sessions and keynotes, but at this conference, my favorite part is about current and future product, in this case the SolidWorks product line. Another great exposure to products related to SolidWorks happens in the Partner Pavilion, where I saw a broad range of products introduced and demonstrated – everything from reverse engineering to industrial design. We’ll be taking a closer look at several of these partner products over the next few months.
Day 3 of the conference is the highlight for me because probable new features and capabilities for the next version of the flagship product are discussed; mostly sketches and not too much detail, but enlightening nonetheless.
Some of the new stuff that is likely to appear in SolidWorks 2010 include such things as mirroring components, simulation for optimization, new options for reference planes, drawing annotation, balloon, and dimension improvements, And comprehensive electro-mechanical machine simulation that with integrated with National Instruments’ LabView. In SolidWoks 2010 direct editing will also be a more prominent part of the core product that will let you move and modify some types of features in the graphics window. Although not exactly new to SolidWorks, per se, (it’s been around since the 2008 release and called “Instant 3D”), the company is now more loudly touting its direct editing
capabilities that let you push and pull on geometry.
While all of this is significant, I felt the most significant new capability was the ability to know how the products you design will affect the environment. To help provide the answer, Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. introduced software that details the environmental impact of parts, assemblies, and the design decisions that go into them. DS SolidWorks demonstrated an early version of the software.
The software, code-named “Sage,” will be available in two product forms with this fall’s release of SolidWorks 2010 – an “Xpress” version included with every license of SolidWorks, and a “Professional” version. Both the Xpress and Professional products will display a dashboard at the bottom of the SolidWorks user interface that provides information about a design’s prospective carbon footprint, air impact, water impact, and energy consumed in manufacturing. The Professional version will roll up the impact of an entire designed product across its environmental life cycle and also include information on energy consumption throughout a product’s usage phase.
“Sage” CAD-integrated software provides a comprehensive view of a design’s environmental impact. Its analysis, for example, accounts for where the product will be manufactured and used. This determines environmental factors such as: where and how raw material is mined; transportation impacts; energy production (for example coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, etc.); and power consumption. This comprehensive view increases engineers’ confidence that their decisions don’t have hidden negative impacts and that they aren’t overlooking any positive impacts.
“Sage” was developed in collaboration with Germany-based PE International and
, its U.S. division. “Sage” is built on PE International’s GaBi software. PE International has performed product life cycle assessments for two decades, gathering detailed data about materials and processes to perfect its impact models.
“Sage” will let designers and engineers create a “baseline” design from which to compare every new design with an eye on reducing environmental impact. As the designer selects a different material, process, or design approach, the impact reflected on the dashboard changes.
Designers and engineers will have the ability to drill into the dashboard data. If the carbon impact is 100 tons, for example, they may learn that 50 percent of that stems from material choice, 40 percent from the manufacturing process, and 10 percent from the end-of-life disposal. A lower-impact material could reduce the carbon footprint. The product will produce comprehensive reports useful throughout the enterprise with senior executives, sales, marketing, procurement, and others.
“Engineers live to solve problems, and they are in a uniquely powerful position to make a positive impact on the environment,” said Rick Chin, director of product and marketing innovation for DS SolidWorks. “The impact of the decisions engineers make can be magnified thousands of times or more, given the number of people that use their products and how long those products are used. We’re providing designers and engineers with valuable information for making good decisions that significantly reduce the environmental impact of the products they create.”
The company announced that the Sage technology would be available on a trial basis starting sometime in June. So, while other CAD companies make noise about being “green” and sustainability, SolidWorks is about to implement something tangible, and I look forward to checking it out for myself.
EDITOR’s NOTE: We recorded a number of interesting video interviews during our time at SolidWorks World 2009 and they will be available for viewing in the very near future, so stay tuned!
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.
Dimensional Control Systems Incorporated (DCS) announced the signing of a software development partnership agreement with SIMULIA, the Dassault Systèmes brand for realistic simulation. The agreement will allow interoperability between DCS’s 3DCS FEA Compliant Modeler (CM) Software and Abaqus FEA software from SIMULIA. 3DCS FEA CM is an add-on module to the 3DCS tolerance simulation software, including 3DCS for CATIA V5 and 3DCS SA (Multi-CAD).The collaboration with SIMULIA builds upon the existing relationship between DCS and Dassault Systèmes to further provide customers within design and manufacturing, such as automotive, aerospace, consumer goods and high-tech, with unmatched
capabilities for achieving dimensional integrity and product quality for non-rigid, “compliant” assemblies. Traditional variation analysis methods are considered to be "rigid-body" or "non-compliant" modeling; meaning that every part within the assembly does not flex or would not be distorted through an assembly process such as welding, clamping or unclamping of an assembly fixture. While this might be the case with a few machined components, most commodities/materials like sheet metal, plastics, aluminum, etc. can be heavily influenced through the manufacturing processes (both fabrication and assembly), thus changing the dimensional integrity or shape of the part/assembly. Abaqus FEA
software is used to determine the stresses and displacements in mechanical objects and systems, and is the basis for this advancement in predictive analysis. 3DCS FEA Compliant Modeler utilizes FEA methods to accurately simulate variation of compliant parts and assemblies within the 3D Variation Analysis model.
Arena Solutions, a provider of on-demand software that helps small and mid-size manufacturers manage product record, announced it has gone live with its new Arena Winter '09 release. With more than 30 new enhancements -- including the new Arena-SolidWorks Integration -- the Winter '09 release strengthens the position of Arena as the central hub of the product development process, connecting with systems like CAD, EDA, PDM and ERP, and simplifying how product information is shared across organizations and throughout the supply chain, without imposing overhead, demanding changes in workflow or requiring heavy investments in consulting and customization. The new integration enables
engineers to access and update the latest product information in Arena -- and share updates with key stakeholders in engineering, operations, purchasing, quality, contract manufacturing and the supply chain -- without having to leave the SolidWorks design environment. From within the SolidWorks application, for example, engineers can now assign new intelligent part numbers and link SolidWorks parts, assemblies, configurations, or drawings to new or existing Arena items. They also can update linked Arena items with information from SolidWorks properties.
MSC.Software announced that it has been selected by EADS as major partner for Virtual Product Development (VPD) solutions across all EADS business divisions as part of the EADS PHENIX initiative. PHENIX is an EADS group-wide strategic initiative launched in 2007 to achieve harmonization and standardization of enterprise PLM methods, processes and tools across business units. This harmonization will improve communications between EADS divisions, reduce time-to-market, and increase overall product quality. EADS has selected MSC.Software as major partner for building up its multidisciplinary simulation backbone strategy. MSC.Software’s SimEnterprise product suite, including MD Nastran
as well as SimXpert, and SimManager are candidates for EADS’ common solution for future product development.
Trace Software launched elecworks, its new electrical CAD Product. elecworks increases collaboration between electrical and mechanical teams and allows them to create automation and electrical installation projects better designed with faster documentation generation. Trace Software demonstrated elecworks at the SolidWorks World 2009 Conference. Attendees discovered a new generation software tool that lets them work on all areas of a digital installation in real time, based on a single database with multiple views: cable synoptic, schematics, equipment management, input/output tables, etc ; including a full SolidWorks 3D Cabinet module. The elecworks 3D Cabinet module for SolidWorks
is an application that allows the design of Cabinet within SolidWorks using data in real-time from the scheme project, and will enable placement and clash detection capabilties.
Actify Inc., a provider of product data collaboration solutions, announced that it has forged a technology partnership with Aras, a Microsoft enterprise open source software solution provider. The partnership will provide Actify's SpinFire visualization products embedded in every download of the advanced PLM software suite from Aras to deliver seamless 3D and 2D file translation, publishing, and distribution. Actify's SpinFire technology is designed to enable access, communication, distribution, and re-use of several 3D and 2D CAD file formats throughout an enterprise and global supply chain. SpinFire enables collaboration with all major CAD formats including CATIA, SolidWorks,
Inventor, AutoCAD, NX, and Solid Edge. With the partnership, every download of the advanced PLM software solution from Aras will include Actify's SpinFire for CAD viewing with additional capabilities available as an upgrade.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
Email Contact or 408.850.9230.
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.