SOLIDWORKS 2018 was introduced earlier this month, and today at SOLIDWORKS HQ, customers, user advocates, and SWUGN members met in-person and online to get a first-hand look at what’s new in #SW2018.
The event kicked off with an introduction from SOLIDWORKS CEO Gian Paolo Bassi. Gian Paolo provided context behind this year’s release by discussing the overall direction SOLIDWORKS is taking. The future vision is built on three pillars: values, vision, and actions.
Values represent responsiveness and responsibility. SOLIDWORKS has been built on listening and responding to customers for more than a quarter century. This will not change. In order to become partners in innovation, SOLIDWORKS must enable users to innovate on their terms and not its own commercial desires. Responsibility factors into the equation by understanding that technology is a transformative force in society. SOLIDWORKS will make providing access to technology a top priority, but that’s not enough. The tools must empower people to imagine and invent the impossible and open up innovation, making, and entrepreneurship to the masses.
Vision covers the future of design and is based on two concepts: integration and automation. The goal here is to reduce to zero the distance between your digital models and your physical products. Machine learning and AI will play large roles here in reducing the challenges standing between getting your projects from design to reality.
Actions include how SOLIDWORKS has evolved over the last three decades, and how it will continue to transform to meet user demands and industry trends. The product strategy is delivered in two forms: SOLIDWORKS Desktop, the most popular ecosystem for innovation, and the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, the most comprehensive and scalable engineering platform in the world. Gian Paolo was quick to remind the audience that users will not have to choose one or the other or even just one of the two. Choice and access on your terms is central to the future of SOLIDWORKS.
If you’ve reviewed any of the #SW2018 materials to date, you’ve probably noticed slick models of motorhomes prominently displayed. Those attending the live launch event were lucky enough to hear from the creator of these models, Michael Lord, R&D Manager of TRAKKA. Michael walked through the company’s history and his long-time use of SOLIDWORKS. TRAKKA’s work really is amazing. The company manages to maximize every inch of room in its vehicles while avoiding a claustrophobic feel you would expect from how so many amenities in one small space. Further, TRAKKA once even created off-road rally racing motorhomes! Perhaps rides at SOLIDWORKS World are in order?
Next up, Director of Product Introduction, Kurt Anliker took the stage to cover key product updates in four categories:
- Smart Manufacturing
- Next Generation Design
- Essential Design Tools
- Delivering Great Design
Smart Manufacturing in SOLIDWORKS 2018 puts the model at the center of your design and manufacturing process, providing a single source of intelligent information. Here SOLIDWORKS MBD delivers the intelligence, product manufacturing information, responsible for driving smart manufacturing and reducing production bottlenecks.
To further aid in the manufacturing process, every SOLIDWORKS subscription user will get access to SOLIDWORKS CAM. Now you have CNC programming, powered by CAMWorks, directly inside SOLIDWORKS. Key capabilities include part and assembly machining, 2.5 axis milling, 2 axis turning, and tolerance-based machining that will eliminate hours of complex programming.
Another time-saving tool in the Smart Manufacturing category is SOLIDWORKS Inspection, which automates the manual inspection process. First article inspection reports are generated from Dim Expert and MBD. The reports are a significant time-saver. Creating manual reports can take hours and days. SOLIDWORKS Inspection can complete your reports in minutes.
Next Generation Design
The typical SOLIDWORKS user is no longer stationary at a desktop all day. In many cases you’re on the go meeting with a customer, visiting the shop floor, or even working at home. Kurt showed off some cool new features to really address these needs. For starters, we’re looking at SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing. Now your SOLIDWORKS activation follows you (along with all of your custom settings), providing you with increased flexibility and control over your products.
Speaking of being on the go, this typically means working on a touch-enabled device, such as a Microsoft Surface. #SW2018 includes two awesome touch features: touch mode and touch sketching. These are dedicated tools for touch-enabled devices that open up the possibility for capturing your design ideas anywhere.
Topology Study is another next-generation inspired feature where the computer guides your optimal design form with validated results that you can leverage for traditional manufacturing. With this extra intelligence, you’ll have more time to find the optimal function for your design and ensure you’re making the best possible product.
SOLIDWORKS PCB provides deeper insight and better collaboration between ECAD and MCAD teams. Variant Collaboration and Component Movement in SOLIDWORKS 2018 will eliminate potential data integrity issues while aligning electronic and mechanical designs.
Essential Design Tools
Every year SOLIDWORKS users provide feedback on what they’d like to see in the next year’s release. Often times, these suggestions focus on making changes that have a positive impact on how they use the software every day. User experience has been a main priority since SOLIDWORKS ’95. UI is critical to maximizing your productivity and cutting back on wasted time and #SW2018 includes even more updates.
Sketching is the core of SOLIDWORKS. With Mirror 3D Sketches, planes can now also be used as the mirror reference in both 2D and 3D sketches, while arcs and splines can now switch the tangency direction. No matter what you are designing, all these new capabilities in 2018 make working with sketch geometry easier and even more intuitive.
Working with assemblies in #SW2018 includes many enhancements to make you more productive. New capabilities include Adding Mates Between Hidden Surfaces, Misaligned Mates, and Smart Explode Line Tool. Take advantage of these new capabilities and you’ll build assemblies faster than ever before.
Updates to SOLIDWORKS Simulation give you the tools to answer even more “what if” questions. Testing your designs early and often is a great way of knowing whether they will work as intended. The ability to consider more scenarios provides a better opportunity for finding the optimal design and ultimately bringing the best product to market. One very helpful feature rolled out in #SW2018 is the e-mail notification, which sends a message when your study is ready so you can take back some free time while your simulation is running.
Previously, Gian Paolo discussed the importance of electrical design. In #SW2018 Electrical continues to evolve including PDM integraton, Electrical connector wizard for the Routing Library Manager, and Electrical Schematic, which introduces a new ‘deferred update mode.’ Additionally in schematics, the addition of new project attributes, custom classification and multi-level terminal definitions make project design even faster and easier than ever.
Delivering Great Design
#SW2018 includes a powerful new tool to automate the creation of self-fixturing features. The Tab & Slot feature minimizes the cost associated with creating fixtures by automated this design step and it can also be used for cylindrical parts and weldments.
Using drawings is easier than ever before. New features include an easier-to-insert Model View, Advanced Holes now include drawing callouts, layer and trailing zero display options for improved control and additional support for broken out section views. In total, this translates to greater flexibility and ease of complex view creation.
SOLIDWORKS Visualize Standard is available to any SOLIDWORKS Subscription user. Visualization enables you to re-use more of your SOLIDWORKS assets, and updates in #SW2018 include a fresh user interface, area lights for increased flexibility and speeds and, in SOLIDWORKS Visualize Pro, ground-breaking virtual reality. All of these features work together toward the goal of reducing physical prototypes by bringing your designs to life in SOLIDWORKS Visualize.
In short, SOLIDWORKS 2018 offers enhancements across the product line to quickly create the design deliverables you need to complete your design!
Kishore Boyalakuntla, Vice President, Product Portfolio Management and Brand UX Leader, provided further background on the #SW2018 launch and how the SOLIDWORKS Portfolio continues to evolve. Kishore stated that the release included innovation in all product areas. This amounted to more than 400 projects with half focusing on core CAD.
The evolution of the SOLIDWORKS Portfolio is based on current trends and by talking to users. Design methodologies are changing and SOLIDWORKS wants to help you stay ahead of the curve. Key to this release is taking an integrated approach to the Design to Manufacturing process. You can see how the process plays out in SOLIDWORKS below:
That’s not all; this year’s release was too large to be covered in one day. In November, SOLIDWORKS will roll out its Distributed Data Management and Design to Analyst process solutions. In February, 2018 you’ll learn more about the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform updates and ECAD/IoT updates will arrive in May, 2018.
In the meantime, you can explore #SW2018 by visiting the launch website. Here you can view videos, read white papers and access the latest launch blog posts. Here you can also look for a live reseller event near you. Reseller launch events are amazing opportunities to get hands-on with new features and learn directly from SOLIDWORKS experts. Click here to find an event and learn from the best. Be sure to stay tuned for continued updates to #SW2018 including the Distributed Data Management and Designer to Analyst updates coming in November.