SolidWorks builds Conceptual package

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:

Dassault Systèmes used this year's SolidWorks World to further develop a concept first announced at last year's event.

Heralded in Orlando, Florida last January, SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual was originally supposed to become commercially available in autumn last year following beta testing. However, this deadline passed with no such appearance and this year it was announced that its actual release would take place on April 2nd 2014.

Mechanical Conceptual is essentially a direct modelling option from SolidWorks intended to accelerate concept design for more innovation, better collaboration and faster time-to-market. Powered by Dassault Systèmes 3DExperience platform, it emoves the constraints of structured design programmes and instead offers a flexible, intuitive, powerful modelling environment that quickly captures, develops and communicates your design ideas directly in the digital.

According to SolidWorks, mechanical conceptual design consumes almost one-third of project time, with an average of six design iterations. With 98% of companies collaborating on conceptual design, the potential impact on your time-to-market and cost is clear, and transparent data management and communication are critical. What do you need to make conceptual design work efficiently?

Dassault Systèmes was keen to make it clear, however that Mechanical Conceptual is complementary to SolidWorks 3D CAD software rather than being in any sense designed to replace it.

Evolving a concept is where SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual is really designed to speed up the design process. According to the company, it allows users to capture ideas and design iterations easily and with great flexibility directly in a digital model without pre-planning product structure. Equally, SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual's basis in the SolidWorks platform means that users will already be familiar with the tools and concepts, allowing them to focus on ideas rather than having to learn the software.

The single modelling environment, it is believed, merges the benefits of design history, parametrics, and direct editing so you can develop concepts the way you want—top down, bottom up, layout sketch, or master model. Meanwhile, direct editing easily transforms both native and imported geometry without limits, reducing remodelling time, while predictive, lifelike behaviour helps to confirm mechanical operation and shows how a model reacts in the real world so users can identify problems and resolve them while they design.

The software also combines the benefits of feature-based and history-free modelling for a highly flexible, interactive workflow, allowing users to eliminate wasted design time by never having to start over or drastically rework designs to make an underlying change. It also helps to confirm mechanical operation during design and can alert users if design goals are violated. It also makes it possible to quickly generate ideas, try variations, and optimise mechanical operation.

Also announced at this year's SolidWorks World was the fact that Mechanical Conceptual will have a companion package called Industrial Conceptual. This, as its name suggests, is aimed at Industrial Designers. Industrial Conceptual will also sit on the the 3DExperience platform and is designed to help engineers and designers create complex geometry (3D concept models of stylsed consumer products) as easily as machine design shapes. In terms of its release date, however, Dassault was not prepared to be any more specific than saying it would appear with the 3DExperience platform "in the near future".

Of course, it would be impossible to have a new SolidWorks announcement without mentioning the Cloud and Collaboration. Thus, the company describes Mechanical Conceptual as bringing "natural collaboration" to the conceptual design process. Product knowledge, use cases, and design ideas reside with a wide array of geographically dispersed stakeholders—from your design team to suppliers and customers. Gathering these inputs can be challenging, but without collaboration, you could settle for an incomplete solution. All stakeholders need to be able to communicate seamlessly—wherever they are and whenever they want.

Social innovation capabilities built into the foundation Mechanical Conceptual are powered by Dassault Systèmes 3DExperiencePlatform. It automatically captures and retains concepts as they are designed and stores them on the cloud, with data continuously saved as you work.

Data is always safe and up-to-date in a single, secure location where the design team can access the current design anytime from anywhere.

This system also allows users to protect valuable ideas and quickly find and leverage previous concepts with full design intent and intelligence. Self-defined levels of access mean users can share, mark up, and discuss designs, as well as engaging better with customers.

Other News from SWW2014
SolidWorks Plastics Advanced

In Q4 2013, DS introduced SolidWorks Plastics Advanced, which lets customers analyse injection mold cooling systems and predict molded part warpage, ultimately allowing them to optimize their part and mold designs for manufacturability, maximum quality and lowest cost.

SolidWorks Inspection
SOLIDWORKS Inspection and SolidWorks Inspection Professional were announced to help companies create inspection drawings and reports within SolidWorks or using the standalone application.

These tools are for companies that need to create inspection documentation for first article inspection or as part of their quality assurance process and will be generally available in April 2014.

Collaborative Sharing
Collaborative Sharing powered by Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE Platform for SOLIDWORKS, provides a structured, social, safe and connected environment for design teams and professionals who want to manage data on the cloud and collaborate without constraints.

Collaborative Sharing is included with the purchase of SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual, providing every CAD user with all of these capabilities. Collaborative Sharing is also sold separately, for use by non-CAD users.

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