Enable Innovation with SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual

The Challenge of Mechanical Concept Design

Design innovation drives business success, and innovation is all about designers asking “what if” during the concept phase of product design.  Almost 1/3 of the total product development time is spent in the concept design stage as ideas are developed, iterated and evaluated. Typically, concept design is not a solitary procedure; designers tend to collaborate when creating concepts, at the very least using an informal way of exchanging ideas with their peers.  These concept design workflows are distinctly different from those followed when producing detail designs for production drawing. The concept designer has three distinct challenges to overcome:

  1. They must be able to quickly capture and evaluate their ideas;
  2. Each concept can evolve into multiple iterations which have to be managed;
  3. Collaborate and communicate with their peers.

Let’s look how at SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual addresses each of these challenges


1.       Idea Capture

Traditionally the very earliest stages of product development involved lots of pens, pencils and sketches.  But designs always work on paper; you need to recreate your ideas inside of a CAD tool, then animate or realize them in 3D, so you can see if your ideas might work in the real world.  Because this recreation takes time, not all ideas are full evaluated.

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual Sketch

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual has an intuitive, flexible Single Modelling Environment that allows designers to rapidly capture their ideas in either 2D or 3D, using top-down, bottom-up, or the master model design approaches. The Single Modelling Environment allows engineers to design the way they think.  You start with the big picture first, and then easy tools allow you to convert 2D sketches or 3D features into separate components in a seamless manner.

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual Mechanism

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual Single Modeling Environment

The single modelling environment in SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual allows designers to concentrate on solving design problems, not on managing assembly and part relationships.

 2.       Manage Your Concepts (Ideas)

The concept design phase creates lots of interrelated design data. You can liken this design phase to the evolution of life on Earth. You start with one solution and iterate trying variants–you’re never sure which one will work out. SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual uses Concept Archives to capture the design at each design branch so that you can easily go to any design iteration if the one you are working on turns out to be a dead end.

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual Concept Management

It should be noted that all ideas have value, and just because a concept did not solve a particular design problem doesn’t mean it should be thrown away.  With concept archives any and all design solutions are easily searched and retrieved by SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual, maximizing data reuse and stopping design teams from reinventing the wheel.

3.       Access anywhere all the time

In today’s 24-hour global marketplace, design and collaboration cannot wait until all stakeholders are in the office to move a product design forward. If your concept design process depends on pen and paper, the only way for everyone to fully understand the design is to be in the room with all of the paper.  SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual allows a dispersed design team to collaborate on a concept design by using ‘the cloud’ and familiar, easy-to-use Web tools.  For SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual the cloud not only provides a safe and secure storage for your design data, it enables concurrent design collaboration as two or more designers can work on a design together, updating the changes to individual components as they work.  But not all stakeholders need to design; many only need to give design guidance or feedback.  The lead designer can create a SwYm community and these non-designers can use a Web browser to read the comments in the project blog and make suggestions.  This unstructured collaboration can happen 24/7, and the next time the designer uses SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual, he can access the design community directly within the design tool, allowing him to incorporate and changes as necessary.

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual Access


SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual allows designers to design the way they think with its single modelling environment, and the concept archive function ensures that all of your ideas are captured and retrievable, maximizing design reuse and minimizing design duplication.  The cloud enables 24/7 collaboration and provides a safe and secure location for all your concept design data.

Maximizing Conceptual DesignDownload our whitepaper on maximizing conceptual design from the SolidWorks website.



Stephen Endersby

Stephen Endersby

Product Manager at SolidWorks
Stephen Endersby

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