Siemens PLM Software used the PLM World user conference to give a finely controlled, sneak peak at its forthcoming Solid Edge ST4 update, hoping the slew of new features would generate a little buzz among engineers and machine designers.
The upgrade, to be officially announced June 15, has an array of new capabilities in the areas of advanced machine design, expanded collaboration, sheet metal simulation along with new drafting functionality-or at least, that’s what Solid Edge execs are talking about for this pre-launch media briefing. What they’re not yet releasing are any details around new Synchronous Technology capabilities in Solid Edge ST4, which was a major focus of the Solid Edge ST3 release and obviously an area where customers want to see some action in terms of continuous work to evolve this key feature set.
In response to some commentary in the blogosphere about the lack of discussion around new Synchronous Technology features portending few enhancements in that area, Siemens PLM Software Director of Solid Edge Development Dan Staples was quick to put such speculation to bed. Without commenting directly on any new features, Staples contended that the company “moved the Synchronous ball forward quite a lot in ST 4 with plenty of enhancements and a strong focus on implementing feedback from users who are using Synchronous on a daily basis.”
So, enough about Synchronous technology for now. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of new capabilities in this area once Siemens is ready to talk in greater detail about the ST4 release in June. For now, here’s a glimpse of what they are talking about-a bunch of features lumped into four categories, which likely take aim at fulfilling user requests and bulking up existing capabilities.
Advanced machine design. Improved feature selection, including the ability to automatically to incorporate similar faces from the parent feature in the select set; faster performance, including faster large selection processing and faster interactive section performance (up to 5X faster operations, in some cases); the ability to bolt parts together with improved fastener systems; and the ability to draw curves in 3-D space with XpresRoute, among others.
Expanded collaboration. Among the new features here are the ability to read 2-D drawings better and retain more 2-D data and the ability to save 3-D PDF files from Solid Edge to email and share parts and assemblies.
Simulation for sheet metal. In this area, SolidEdge ST4 has been bolstered with easier sheet metal gage management, including the ability to manage Excel files centrally or standalone; the use of Edge and Face Glue for more realistic scenarios like adhering shell meshes to both solid and shell elements, in addition to new usability enhancements.
World-class drafting. Here, some new features include the use of special symbols faster; the ability to automatically fit more text in small spaces; a new handle for defining placement of Feature Control Frames, which aids in defining tolerances; a lock drawing view position to protect critical drawing views; a display hatch for wood; and functions for better displays of Broken Views.
Linear guides are one of the most important components required for the design of automated or computer-controlled equipment. Aluminum profile extrusions, used for these guides, can enable designed-in functional features.
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