4 powerful SOLIDWORKS 2016 features

It's fair to say that each new release of SOLIDWORKS comes with a substantial number of changes. From total interface revamps to the introduction of powerful new features, the software improves every year. With this most recent release, a number of new tools should help both designers and engineers effectively put together components and test them with ease.

Here are four of the most powerful features in SOLIDWORKS 2016 that should prove especially useful, from the initial stages of design to eventual testing.

1) Flow simulation

Flow can be one of the most complicated areas to manage during the design stage of a product – but it's also highly necessary. Factors such as fluid flow and heat transfer need to be accounted for prior to sending a product through for manufacturing, especially when the end product will be subjected to temperature extremes.

SOLIDWORKS 2016 includes powerful flow simulation, allowing users to easily conduct fluid flow analysis, understand thermal comfort factors and visualise the effects of fluids on components that are are either submerged or surrounded.

Take for example a pump that will be submerged in fuel in a modern rocket engine. Using flow simulation, a designer can see how the fuel will impact the operation of the component, and then make any necessary changes to address the issue.

2) Breadcrumbs

Context is key when designing a product, especially one that's quite complicated. Selection breadcrumbs allow the user to obtain a context-based view of their current selection, and see any related elements within a hierarchical tree. This means it's easy to find the source of a problem and quickly make amendments.

For example, users can select a face within an assembly and then see all of the mates of the component that the face belongs to. It's certainly an evolution from the past approach, which required users to find the components in the FeatureManager design tree and then open the associated mates folder.

This is a key time-saving feature, and users will certainly want to take advantage of it.

SOLIDWORKS can save users significant amounts of time.SOLIDWORKS can save users significant amounts of time.

3) Multiple component copying

Everyone who has used past versions of SOLIDWORKS will likely be able to attest to the difficulties inherent in copying multiple components. In many cases, this can be a time-consuming and occasionally frustrating process.

Thankfully, SOLIDWORKS 2016 includes the ability to copy several components at the same time, and simultaneously retain the mates. This can prove an especially useful feature when creating an assembly with hardware, which then needs to be duplicated as another instance.

4) High-resolution display support

It's no secret that large, high-resolution displays have become significantly cheaper in recent years. These are screens that enable designers to see more within the same amount of screen space. Of course, the software needs to actually support the greater number of pixels.

With SOLIDWORKS 2016, a user interface design brings support for high-resolution, high-pixel displays. Icons, buttons and text have been revised to ensure there's no wasted screen real estate or issues when scaling up to higher resolutions.

This latest release of SOLIDWORKS is the most fully-featured version of the software yet, and the added functionality should prove a boon for designers and engineers alike. What's more, thanks to substantial plug-in support, there's little issue when it comes to adding additional functionality.

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SOLIDWORKS 2016 should be the first choice for those designing for private and commercial purposes.