As SolidWorks celebrates its 20th release, SolidWorks 2012 fills me with another “wow” feeling. The “wow” feeling of that this release contains something special. This SolidWorks 2012 release will change behavior on how you design.
I first got the “wow” feeling when I reviewed 2012 functionality to teach SolidWorks' CEO Bertrand Sicot. Bertrand is one of my favorite students; he is always excited to learn and always wants to know more. So as his teacher, I needed to be prepared. I reviewed the new SolidWorks Costing functionality for 2012 – I said to myself, this will change the way designers behave. This feature, with its rules and flexibility, makes the life of a product designer easier.
When I was a designer, I was fortunate that there was a machine shop in house. The shop foreman gave me the guidance I needed to keep the job on budget and on time, I returned the favor by buying good coffee and donuts. SolidWorks Costing makes you feel like you have a shop foreman guiding your project. Now you can compare materials, standard tooling, custom tooling, quantity and many other options for “what if” scenerios around the manufacturing process for machined and sheet metal parts. The SolidWorks Costing tutorials will help you get started in maximizing your time to learn this new functionality.
As I am responsible to help prepare students to be well skilled in SolidWorks tools to help you – our commercial customers, my other favorite features focus my time on our Simulation Tools: SolidWorks Simulation, SolidWorks Motion, SolidWorks Flow Simulation and SolidWorks Sustainability.
A few years back I worked with a doctor and an engineer designing a new medical device, they would stand over my shoulder saying what if this and what if that? I would always test their suggestions in SolidWorks Simulation to make certain the product was safe. More importantly, I realized I could have these conversations live because I could quickly go back and forth in one user interface between the design and the analysis.
New in SolidWorks 2012 is the support for motion and simulation parameters. They can automatically alert you if motor torque exceeds a certain value, or if joint loads are exceeding bearing limits. You can also use sensors and motion to refine out design very efficiently. I wish I had SolidWorks Motion when I was teaching Dynamics.
Also in 2012, in the HVAC module, is the new tracer feature enables you to quickly simulate concentration of a gas contaminant in the existing carrier fluid. A new Tracer Study can quickly be set up with this easy to use, step by step, wizard. Most of the usual tracers such as CO, NO2 or NH3 are available. After the gas contaminant, the emission rate, and the initial conditions are defined, you can run the study. I used to design automation systems that handled hazardous materials in a fume hood. Wow – I could have really used this 2012 feature to help me out with the design.
Two years ago, I was introduced to a “wow” feeling, called SolidWorks Sustainability. Why? Because SolidWorks Sustainability can change design behaviour. Let’s face it, our kids are more conscience about the environment, consumers are more conscience about the environment and governments are too. New in 2012 is the ability in SolidWorks Sustainability to set up the energy used to manufacture the end product along with energy consumed over the life of the product. For the part, in the new “End of Life” group box, you can define the percentage of material that will be recycled, incinerated, or sent to a landfill.
I love the new equation enhancements for 2012 and I also love how quickly it is to change units from millimeters to inches. My fourth grade teacher told me the US would be on the metric system by 1980 – that didn’t quite happen. Luckily SolidWorks 2012 makes it easy to work in any unit system and quickly change.
Our engineering interns got to play with 2012, as I asked them why they use SolidWorks when they have all products available at school, they unanimously stated, “it’s easier” To qualify this statement it really comes down to a great user interface that is easy to understand and easy to use. You don’t forget how to work with SolidWorks. You can explore new features in SolidWorks.
Now I must take all these “wow” features from SolidWorks 2012, and prepare the next SolidWorks Education Edition product that will come out in the spring. There are many more for you to review in the "What's New in SolidWorks 2012" document. You are lucky for you can use them now.
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