With this major new upgrade, SolidWorks continues to make sophisticated CAD and 3-D modeling functionality available to the broader design chain beyond its traditional base of hardcore CAD jockeys.
The SolidWorks 2008 upgrade delivers more than 250 enhancements, among them interface improvements and additions to the SolidWorks Intelligent Feature Technology (SWIFT), all designed to foster productivity among engineers and CAD users along with reducing the overhead of learning CAD. The new SWIFT Instant3D capabilities, for instance, let users perform expert 3-D CAD operations by dragging and selecting pieces of a design while new visualization functions enable users to drag handles to select areas of a design for real-time editing. The 2008 release does away with a lot of the standard dialogs, input fields and esoteric commands common to CAD packages, instead enabling users to select faces and drag them to on-screen rules to determine exact values.
To promote reuse among engineers, SolidWorks 2008 has more powerful search functions for locating SolidWorks or DWG files on the network in the PDMWorks PDM system or out on the Web. There is also a preponderance of features intended to bridge the gap between designers and manufacturing personnel, the goal being to reduce lead times on delivering products. One such capability, DFMXpress, is a validation tool that identifies geometry that's overly expensive or difficult to manufacture, helping development teams rule out flawed designs much earlier in the process. New simulation capabilities delivered through the COSMOSWorks Design Insight module help engineers identify areas in a design that are over-engineered as part of an effort to reduce materials costs.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.