SolidWorks 2010 Hones the "Little Things" to Deliver Big Results

DN Staff

September 3, 2009

3 Min Read
SolidWorks 2010 Hones the "Little Things" to Deliver Big Results

There is no real scene-stealing, game-changing 3-D CADfunctionality in SolidWorks 2010.Rather, the new release ushers in a host of quick-hit, targeted capabilitiesdesigned to better integrate the tool into everyday engineering workflows andimprove the overall user experience.

Building on the 2009 upgrade's focus on raw performanceimprovements, SolidWorks 2010 has been tuned so it performs basic operationsmore efficiently. There are also user interface enhancements that sped up stepslike using mouse gestures as a shortcut to execute commands and new data migrationand direct editing tabs for quick access to functions related to importing,repair and editing of data. In addition, new patent-pending rapid dimensionscapabilities display new dimension placement alternatives and neatly rearrangeexisting dimensions - another example of how the upgrade has been revamped tohelp save time and effort related to design.

"Performance is more than raw speed," says Fielder Hess,SolidWorks' vice president of product management. "Engineers want the softwareto be predictable and to have their tools work smarter and faster."

Ricky Jordan, awell-known SolidWorks blogger and a certified SolidWorks professional, agreesthat enhancements to the drawing package, along with the addition of mousegestures and other interface shortcuts, are the highlights of the new releasein terms of bolstering engineers' productivity. "The Dimension Palette andRapid Dimension technology cuts down on mouse movement within the Drawinginterface," he says.

In fact, SolidWorks spent 30 percent of the development timefor the 2010 upgrade honing these kind of performance, reliability andpredictability enhancements, not to mention, making the CAD tool more processoriented and integrated with the tasks an engineer does on a daily basis. "CADis hard and it shouldn't be," Hess says. "I shouldn't have to know how to usemy CAD tool to get my job done. I should know how to do my engineering work andthe tool should augment that."

One of the more notable areas where SolidWorks applied thatphilosophy is in a new SolidWorks2010 module called SustainabilityXpress. Included with every license ofSolidWorks, SustainabilityXpress draws on the expertise of SolidWorks' partnerPE International to help engineers determine the environmental impact of theirdesign decisions. Engineers are presented with an environmental impactdashboard that, with the touch of a button, generates reports with simple colorcoding to clearly depict how a particular design or material choice impactssuch green concerns as carbon footprint, energy consumption, air/water impactthroughout the entire lifecycle, from raw materials sourcing throughmanufacture and end-of-life disposal. The tool leverages the vast databases ofleading sustainability expert PE International and brings that knowledgedirectly into SolidWorks, without requiring companies to go through the time andexpense of hiring specialized sustainability consultants. The module also has anew Find Similar Materials tool that lets engineers specify criteria they'relooking for related to materials and the software will suggest alternativesthat have similar mechanical properties, but with better sustainability inareas such as disposal or manufacturing, for example.

Other features of the new release include event-based motionsimulation, for mimicking the way machines work, which is being worked on withpartner National Instruments;new productivity features for preparing models and drawings for distribution,and new features in 3DVIA Composer to aid in the creation of productdocumentation.

The Find Similar Material function in SustainabilityXpress enables engineers to find suitable alternative materials or search the database for materials that meet certain mechanical criteria.

SolidWorks 2010 Hones the Little Things to Deliver Big Results A

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