Turbine engine rendered using Solidworks Visualize - model by Vasileios Thalassinos
Last year we reported on Dassault Systèmes’ Solidworks 2015, which saw updates that provide designers with access to cloud-based capabilities and a wider range of choices for improving productivity, work processes and operating costs. We speak to senior director of Professional Channel, EuroNorth at Dassault Systemes, Dave Falkingham about Solidworks 2016, which is powered by Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
“The theme for Solidworks 2016 is ‘Make great design happen’,” explained Falkingham, as he and his team revealed the many ways in which Solidworks has been improved to deliver work in a more efficient way to save time and cost. “New customers are coming from 2D software users, with more and more customers also coming from our competitors in 3D systems to Solidworks. They’re not just doing it for the CAD but it's because of the breadth of product that we offer — from design through to manufacture, analysis and documentation.”
Each edition of Solidworks delivers a host of new features and enhanced usability, which are driven primarily from customer feedback. Among the new aspects for 2016 is an enhanced user interface to reflect the increased use of 4K and 5K screens allowing the user to scale up to these more powerful displays, the ability to flatten any surface even if it has holes or logos (the 2015 could only deal with whole pieces), visualise and help validate design performance, more efficiently communicate with manufacturing, quickly create marketing-quality images, and more easily access commands. With these and hundreds of other new capabilities designers and engineers can focus on their designs, problem solve, streamline parallel design processes and fast-track designs through manufacturing.
Car interior rendered using Solidworks Visualize - model by Motors America
One of the new features that stood out for us is Solidworks Visualize, which will be available to customers in early 2016. This new visualisation feature comes with Dassault Systèmes' acquisition of Bunkspeed earlier this year. The rebrand and implementation of Bunkspeed will allow users to produce high quality renders in a user-friendly way.
“With Solidworks, users will get two levels of rendering,” said Falkingham. “The first is for use on the fly, as you design it updates the rendering — we call this PhotoView 360. Then there is Solidworks Visualize, which you would use at interval stages through the design process to create high quality renders that can be produced quickly. Photorealistic materials such as chrome, leather, marble, glass and so on are all in this as standard.”
While the exact details have yet to be announced, Solidworks Visualize will be available in one of two packages. The first is Solidworks Visualize Standard, which will be available to active subscribers of Solidworks Professional and Premium, with Solidworks Visualize Professional offered as a standalone product and available to anyone.
Watch face rendered using Solidworks Visualize - model by Kieron Dunk on TurboSquid
“By making the latter a standalone, it means you could have two people using this software without needing a second Professional or Premium package, and this is where you can start speeding things up,” said Falkingham. “Your designer could focus on the design while your marketing person can be making a digital presentation for the studio. At the end of the day, you can have as much technology as you want but what slows down the process are peoples’ decisions, which is impacted by the information they have to hand to make the right call. And so this is what we believe Solidworks Visualize will give our consumer — the ability to produce information quickly.”
Together with its Solidworks Model Based Definition, which was announced earlier this year, Solidworks Visualize provides the user with a strong platform to develop and present their work.
Identify disconnected bodies or components
Solidworks 2016 will also aid in setting up simulation studies by identifying bodies or parts of a construction that are disconnected, a task that was previously done manually. This development is a significant time saver as it reduces the number of re-runs needed by identifying any non-touching faces with shells earlier in the process. It can then rectify these to meet the specifications set by the user automatically.
So what does the future for Solidworks look like? For Falkingham, the process of design, visualisation, creation and analysis can always be made simpler and more intuitive. “The mission of the people who started Solidworks was to make 3D design as easy as turning a light switch on and off. Of course we can do so much more now than we could back then, but our vision for the future remains the same. Information generation and sharing is important and key for any business, and we want to help make this easy.”
While Solidworks is refined and new aspects developed year-on-year, Dassault Systèmes continues to focus on technologies and ideas for the future, acquiring companies in areas such as the life sciences and data search sectors in a bid to stay ahead of the game and its competitors.