Today users, executives and engineers gathered to watch as SOLIDWORKS 2016 was unveiled during a live event at the Edward Kennedy Institute in Boston. The annual release is the culmination of months of user feedback, development and research into emerging technologies poised to influence the future of design and engineering.
With more than 200 enhancements and new features, SOLIDWORKS 2016 offers many upgrades. We’ll take some time in this post to cover a few you need to know. Remember: to learn more and to get an in-depth look at #SW16, you should absolutely attend a launch event in your area. Click this link to search for an event near you.
CEO Gian Paolo Bassi began the day by providing his SOLIDWORKS roadmap. Touching on the company’s history of bringing CAD to every engineer, Bassi discussed the influence felt by increased computing power and the ubiquitous nature of connected devices. These two converging factors are working in tandem, enabling SOLIDWORKS to take its next leap: becoming a connected platform that empowers how products are designed.
To demonstrate this connectivity, Bassi turned to a Chromebook and connected to a new platform: SOLIDWORKS Online. Bassi navigated to MySolidWorks, registered for a product trial, and began to work in SOLIDWORKS CAD via his online account. Building on its tradition of bringing CAD to every engineer, SOLIDWORKS now plans to bring CAD to every engineer…everywhere.
Senior Director of Product Management, Kishore Boyalakuntla, later discussed an important new visualization application that will be offered in SOLIDWORKS 2016. SOLIDWORKS Visualize, formerly Bunkspeed, renders amazing, photorealistic images from your CAD designs. Its ease of use means marketing and other downstream departments can handle rendering on their own – allowing you to more time to focus on design.
Just as SOLIDWORKS democratized CAD software, SOLIDWORKS Visualize is striving to democratize visualization. This democratization enables designers, creatives, engineers and content creators to have an enhanced 3D decision-making experience in a fast, easy, fun way. Hey – you deserve some fun. There’s little as exciting as seeing your hard work transformed into a cool piece of marketing collateral (trust me, I know).
A big theme of SOLIDWORKS 2016 is letting you focus on design as opposed to CAD software. The new user interface (UI) is the most noticeable example. It’s notable to discuss that the UI was created to better integrate with Windows 10 features, however Boyalakuntla also pointed out that viewing the old UI in 4K was not as sharp as he would like to see – making an upgrade visually necessary.
Since SOLIDWORKS isn’t just about a pretty face, the top gem found in the new UI is the ability to do more with fewer mouse clicks. As Director of Product Introduction Kurt Anliker pointed out, “we obsess about mouse clicks.” During his presentation, Boyalakuntla presented an interesting graphic comparing mouse gestures and clicks by a design expert in SOLIDWORKS 2015 vs. SOLIDWORKS 2016:
Just when you thought there was no time to spare, SOLIDWORKS 2016 found another minute and a half. Where did this time come from? Anliker credits it to “a relentless focus on user experience.” He also found that users are already saving 20 percent more time with the new UI, which on the whole amounts to one day out of a five-day work week. Think of it as lowering the percentage of time you have to work over the weekend.
SOLIDWORKS 2016 is also inspired by creating a connected design ecosystem. This determines that changes in EPDM will update in CAD or optimization in Simulation will be reflected in the CAD model. However, this ecosystem also extends to downstream departments and to outside manufacturing. In a connected world, design is connected to everything.
Lou Feinstein, product manager of high technology, Internet of Things, and mechatronics products, demonstrated how this ecosystem concept works during his presentation on the mechatronic/connected ecosystem from the design and validation phases to data management and documentation and finally downstream collaboration and manufacturing.
Digging further down, Feinstein provided an overview of the optimal high-tech engineering ecosystem for ideal product design. The below image provides an impressive look at the moving pieces working in concert. After looking at the image, I feel like synchronized product design deserves its own Olympic event. #Rio2016
Senior Product Manager Craig Therrien went on to discuss moving from the engineering to manufacturing ecosystem. Yup, I bet you didn’t know that this field has more ecosystems than David Attenborough has researched. Again, when you’re focused on the project of the day, you might not think of the areas influenced by your work. Taking a step back can be eye-opening, but SOLIDWORKS 2016 is capable of managing all of these disparate pieces.
The final highlight from the SOLIDWORKS 2016 launch event came from presenting users StrongArm and Rethink Robotics. All three companies are very different; however they’ve all used their engineering skills to make great design happen.
StrongArm Technologies engineers exoskeletons for physical laborers, also known as industrial athletes. These devices attach to your body and provide an added level of safety and performance to active workers. StrongArm’s goal is to make sure the millions of physical laborers worldwide come home healthy and happy. Developed by the sons of blue collar workers, StrongArm was created to ease the physical burden felt during a lifetime of manual labor. The exoskeleton only weighs three pounds, but makes you feel like you’re wearing a Power Loader mech suit out of Aliens.
Rethink Robotics is focused on changing the manufacturing robot from hulking, hidden and dangerous beast (you know, the ones that look like ED-209 from Robocop) to collaborative machines working side by side with their human counterparts. Rethink is striving to bring factory automation out from behind the cage and bring it to the production floor. The goal is to create a more efficient and safer working environment that enables employees to work smarter not harder.
What do changing manufacturing, improving quality of life and creating a safer motorcycling environment have in common? They’re all built around the common goal of bringing a great design to life. Certainly your ideas are just as diverse. If there’s one takeaway you need to remember from the SOLIDWORKS 2016 launch event it’s that SOLIDWORKS is ready to help you make great design happen. You can learn more and get an in-depth demo by attending a launch event in your area. Click here to find an event near you.