After my third year at SolidWorks World, I’ve come to the understanding that the event is quite elaborate, packed full of design and engineering tools, and of course, many SolidWorks fanboys. The major announcements at the show were things that had been coming for a while, and really weren’t new to me, after attending the SolidWorks 2014 announcement back in September. Though the announcements weren’t hot off the presses for this show, they are still worth mentioning.
Watch: Top 5 from SolidWorks World 2014
A major new addition to SolidWorks this year is the company’s Mechanical Conceptual software. Mechanical Conceptual allows engineers to interact, design, and share (via SolidWorks) in the cloud, effectively making collaborative designing and approval processes more efficient. This is something that SolidWorks announced last year, but they now have a release date (second quarter 2014) and price tag ($249 per user, per month). Granted, this idea isn’t new to the marketplace, nor were many of the casual users or zealots terribly enthused about the new addition. So, not exciting or terribly innovative, but certainly something that some folks have been waiting for.
In the same vein, and perhaps more profound to the industry, was the announcement of Industrial Conceptual, which will be Beta-tested this summer and is planned for release in late 2014.
The ability to design and collaborate is clearly a time-saver, but the challenge and dislike of these cloud-CAD techniques that I’ve heard resonating, is the potential lack of security for design. Many engineers seem to be hesitant to put anything into the “cloud” unless it is based within their company’s confines – this has been well demonstrated by organizations like NVIDIA, which boasts a powerful server with its Grid technology.
Another addition that went without much fanfare, but seemed to excite the various engineers and resellers that I happened to dine with or talk to in the Partner Pavilion was the new SolidWorks Inspection. This new bit of software boasts the ability to reduce the creation of inspection documentation by up to 90% by ballooning engineering drawings and creating inspection reports. According to SolidWorks, the software allows users to almost automatically enter measured inspection values. SolidWorks Inspection is a First Article Inspection (FAI) and in-process inspection software, and the company says it should be available late spring 2014.
Beyond the news directly related to SolidWorks, the show certainly provided lots of exciting customer stories and intriguing innovations. Some pictures have already been posted, but stay tuned for more SolidWorks-designed wonders that PD&D will be covering, including, but not limited to, secrets behind Google’s autonomous car, carbon-fiber 3D printers, and Trek bicycle design.
Filed Under: Rapid prototyping