Preview the Future of SOLIDWORKS

When SOLIDWORKS® 95 was introduced it revolutionized the way engineers and designers created products. One of the company’s original missions was to put easy-to-use, but powerful 3D CAD on every engineer’s desktop. At the time the idea was radical; 3D CAD was expensive and required specialized hardware. SOLIDWORKS cut the price from $40,000 to $4,000 and created a powerful program capable of running on a Windows® operating system. Fast forward a few decades and we know the approach was a great success.

Now, where does that leave us? Our commitment to bring powerful tools to every engineer’s desktop remains. We’re certainly not moving away from our mission to provide our users with the best CAD tools on the market…in fact, we need to go further. We are determined to expand the scope of these tools to bring an entire product design and development ecosystem to you.

A large part of this scope involves choice in how you prefer to access this ecosystem. We do not want to force you into one way to pay or even one way to use SOLIDWORKS products. In SOLIDWORKS 2017 we’re introducing term licensing to provide even more flexibility and choice. Flexibility will also extend to how you create products in SOLIDWORKS. As you know, we’re continuing to develop cloud-based solutions for this ecosystem. Our cloud focus goes beyond simply providing flexibility in where and when you design. SOLIDWORKS’ goal is not CAD in the cloud. It’s to provide a design ecosystem capable of using the power of cloud computing to your advantage. This means increased ability to validate your projects, work in concert with internal and external teams, and smart computing features that make suggestions to optimize your designs. The future is not simply putting CAD in the cloud. It’s providing you the power to choose how you want to innovate – whether that be in your office or a virtual environment.

From engineering to manufacturing and marketing, design has evolved to a more holistic activity that involves many disciplines. Our job at SOLIDWORKS is to ensure you have the capability of easily connecting these design disciplines with tools to complete the entire product development process in a single environment. As SOLIDWORKS 95 put the power of 3D CAD on your desktop, we’re now evolving our mission to empower you with the capabilities to take a product from art to part and beyond…directly inside of SOLIDWORKS.

Our strategy to bring these capabilities to you is three-fold. Beyond continuing to hear your feedback on improving your CAD experience, SOLIDWORKS will target three key areas: validation, performance, and data management.


Design in CAD has gone beyond the creation of 3D models and drawings; it has become the center of your complete product development process. We want to help you create the highest performing, most reliable designs possible to delight your customers. This starts with expanding the functionality within the SOLIDWORKS Simulation portfolio. Today, many engineers are familiar with traditional simulation techniques and want to push the envelope. Designers are looking to test larger and larger models with more complex set-ups than ever before. What was once the domain of analysis experts has now become the aspiration of designers. Our plan is to deliver a powerful multi-physics analysis tool, where structural, motion and fluid loads interact, and make them accessible to all designers so that complex product uses cases can be solved quickly and easily and most importantly where designers can have confidence in their answers.


As we continue to upgrade CAD features, managing performance is very important. While we work to improve drawings, rendering and modeling, we need to be certain that we’re adding these features so they are scalable across many different types of workstations. One example is how we’ve approached the new graphics engine. While it’s great with multi-GPU graphics cards, it can also support older hardware. Again, we’re looking to introduce cutting-edge features, but we want to ensure that these features remain accessible to every engineer.

Data Management

CAD data is the life blood of your product lines. From information contributing to streamlining manufacturing with MBD to marketing materials with SOLIDWORKS Visualize, your product data plays an important role in your entire company. We need to build tools to help you democratize this data for true collaboration. Database replication was an important technological step in this journey, but we need to keep making advancements. It’s time to take the buzzword out of collaboration and truly make it translate to working with global teams to manage quality, collaborate with supply chains and bills of materials.

SOLIDWORKS is invested in developing tools to put an entire product design and development ecosystem on your desktop. In addition to the solid modeling that we’ve continued to improve upon over three decades, we want to give you new tools, such as mechatronics, advanced simulation and electromechanics, to bring the next generation of legendary products to life.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the future of SOLIDWORKS and see new features available in SOLIDWORKS 2017, I encourage you to register for our live launch event on Tuesday, September 20th. During the event, you will learn what’s new, what’s coming, and how your engineering peers are making great advances and products with SOLIDWORKS.

Gian Paolo Bassi

Gian Paolo Bassi

Gian Paolo Bassi is senior vice president of 3DEXPERIENCE Works.