Over 2.3 million CAD users have patiently awaited the release of SolidWorks 2015. Their wait is now over and their patience has been rewarded with a bounty of new features and enhancements that even the most cynical of users will appreciate.
With much fanfare, Dassault Systems rolled out the newest version of its very popular SolidWorks 3D CAD software to the media and analyst communities in early September. Users will get their hands on the software when it begins shipping this month.
With SolidWorks 2015, the company set its sights on providing its users with a wider range of choices for improving everyday productivity, optimizing work processes, cutting operating costs and solving an expanded set of design challenges. The company’s development team seems to be doing a good job of listening to its users, as evidenced by the fact that 90% of the new functionality and enhancements included in this release were user-requested.
Expanded portfolio supports more design tasks, industries
SolidWorks has broadened its approach to design, and its portfolio has expanded significantly over the past few years. This latest release includes tools for 3D design, simulation, electrical design, product data management and technical communication. SolidWorks 2015 is also clearly adding functionality to broaden its appeal in other industries and markets. For example, SolidWorks users will be able to easily enhance the aesthetics of consumer products and apparel, and simulate construction machinery, building infrastructure and machine tools better than ever before.
SolidWorks 2015 will also feature a new model-based definition (MBD) offering, which will enable design and manufacturing to share PMI information directly in 3D. This will no doubt be popular with government contractors, but might be a bit early for most users. It does, however, show that SolidWorks is ahead of the curve in supporting MBD as it certainly reflects where product development is inevitably headed: paperless design, or at least less paper.
New features in SolidWorks 2015
The new functionality in the software, grouped by area of improvement, includes:
- Focus On Design, Not Modeling – New features reduce geometry creation steps. “Split” tool lets users split one surface into two.
- Move Face Tool – Enables users to move faces around via triad or dimension in the graphics view or use End Conditions (Up to Surface, Vertex, Body Offset, etc.).
- Customizable Context-Sensitive Toolbars – Users simply right click on any context sensitive toolbar and choose Customize. Then, just like editing the Shortcut Toolbar, they can add any command from the software for that selection type.
- Reduced File Sizes – With SolidWorks 2015, file size has been reduced by 50 to 80% for typical assemblies and 30 to 50% for parts. Smaller file sizes = happy hard drives.
- Simulate Multiple Design Scenarios – Quickly evaluate the effects of various load combinations on a model and track results. SolidWorks Simulation also now supports Intel solver and multi-core for contact detection.
- More Online Resources– The new MySolidWorks Standard and Professional subscription levels deliver more than 100 hours of SolidWorks training materials and online file exchange services.
- Profile Center Mate – The Profile Center Mate locates the centers of two items to each other regardless of their size or shape. Includes an offset and the ability to change the orientation in 90% increments. If the size or location of the selection is changed, the Profile Center Mate maintains the intelligence to keep them centered on one another.
- Temporary Mate Fix – Allows users to temporarily fix any part in the chain of assembled parts while positioning other parts, but without creating a lasting ‘Fix’ constraint that has to be deleted later.
- Open Part in Position – When working in an assembly or drawing, users can now select any part and “Open Part in Position” to open that particular part in a new window with the current viewport orientation and zoom.
- Selection Sets – Enables the capture of important information, reducing repetitive selection steps during modeling, assembly or simulation setup. Selection sets—saved in the
- SolidWorks file and accessed from the FeatureManager—include geometry, components or drawing items.
- Ghost Preview for Hidden Parts – Makes it easier to find hidden parts in large assemblies. Users simply select a hidden component in the FeatureManager tree and it temporarily appears in ghost form.
Optimize Work Process
- Collaborative Sharing – By easily accessing social collaboration and online data management tools on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, users can benefit from faster development and quicker decision making.
- SolidWorks Treehouse –Users can build out the structure of assemblies before they even start a new part or assembly and add new parts and assemblies, existing parts and assemblies, and configuration information. Users also have options to drag and drop an existing assembly into Treehouse and see it broken out with the option to add additional parts and assemblies.
- Web2 for SolidWorks Enterprise PDM – With the addition of mobile connectivity, users can connect to Enterprise PDM from any location, at any time.
Reduce Operations Costs
- SolidWorks Model-Based Definition – A new offering to help improve communication between design and manufacturing teams by enabling drawingless product detailing with 3D PMI annotations, output to eDrawings or 3D PDF.
- SolidWorks Inspection – The process of creating documentation is simplified, allowing users to quickly set up and compare baseline data to production parts for quality control.
- SolidWorks Electrical – Quickly develop electrical schematics and incorporate them into the 3D model with enhanced cable harness and system integration.
- Enhanced Cost Analysis – Enables users to estimate costs across many manufacturing methods. It supports sensors and costing of weldments, plastic/cast parts, machined castings and 3D printed parts.
Solve More Design Challenges
- Improve Manufacturability of Products with Compound Curvature – Automatically flatten 3D models to help identify materials and manufacturing issues. The ability to “unwrap” a surface onto a flat plane has been a long-standing user request.
- Enhance Product Aesthetics and Usability – Creating asymmetrical fillets for parts, assemblies and surfaces gives users in the high tech, medical and consumer industries increased flexibility to model more ergonomic and stylized designs.
- Accurately Simulate Machine Components – Developing accurate construction machinery and machine tools with automated roller chains helps ensure operation and usability.
- 3D Printing Support – Users simply choose Print3D from the Property Manager and select their 3D printer from the drop-down list. Enables direct control over print resolution, the optional addition of supports and rafts, volume fill percentage and determines if parts fit within the print volume of a printer.
In conclusion, perhaps the biggest news, despite all the goodies listed above, is that it appears that SolidWorks is here to stay. Last year, when the company announced its Mechanical Desktop product would run on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, rumors were rampant that Dassault was phasing out SolidWorks.
With a handful of new products being introduced with this release (there are now 26 products in the SolidWorks portfolio) and several more rumored to be in the pipeline, it appears these rumors are not fact based. Bertrand Sicot, SolidWorks CEO, reinforces this sentiment saying at the recent launch event that “SolidWorks would be around for another 15 years, maybe more.”
Filed Under: 3D CAD, TECHNOLOGIES + PRODUCTS, Software