Manufacturing AUTOMATION

SolidWorks 2011 unveiled

September 3, 2010
By Mary Del

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. (DS SolidWorks) has unveiled the SolidWorks 2011 product line, with enhanced support for manufacturing. Manufacturing AUTOMATION was at the company’s headquarters in Concord, Mass., for the big reveal.

The new SolidWorks 2011 family of products includes more than 200 improvements requested by customers who use SolidWorks every day to design new products, validate their performance, communicate with partners, manage design data and minimize a product’s impact on the environment. The enhancements are meant to deliver new ways for their 1.4 million users to speed product design, deepen collaboration and strengthen designers’ engagement with manufacturing.

Active communication between design and manufacturing helps ensure that teams can actually build the products they conceive, and that organizations minimize costly delays, scrap and rework. SolidWorks 2011 includes new features that automate weld placement and documentation. Users select and visualize weld bead paths with the Smart Weld tool, and they specify weld type and prepare joints with enhanced fillet and groove features. SolidWorks automatically compiles data on weld counts, length and type in new weld tables, enabling detailed breakdowns for cost analysis and bidding. Users can apply new visible weld gaps to fitting-to-fitting, pipe-to-pipe and fitting-to-pipe connections to ensure successful welds.

Another enhancement is the new bend calculation tables, which allow designers to quickly calculate the developed length of parts. In addition, the new integration of SolidWorks Design Checker into SolidWorks Enterprise PDM software helps streamline the release of designs to manufacturing.

Users can weigh the impact of manufacturing decisions on a product’s carbon footprint through an expanded range of manufacturing and use regions (now including Australia and South America) in SolidWorks Sustainability software. The software also offers new support for custom materials.

Creation of pipe, tube and conduit runs is meant to be simpler with new routing capabilities. Users can now trace existing geometry to guide the route path. SolidWorks associates the outside diameter of the pipe/tube/cable/conduit with the geometry.

Relying on these capabilities and more, the SolidWorks 2011 product family is meant to streamline the successful handoff of designs to manufacturing. Other highlights include:
· New drawing detailing functions in SolidWorks CAD software eliminate the time and effort of manual dimensioning. Users can automatically align, stagger or center dimensions in a single click without any overlap.
· New 2D Simplification helps speed up parts analysis. Users select an intersecting plane and apply the loads and restraints to perform static, nonlinear, pressure vessel and thermal studies. SolidWorks Simulation instantly calculates the results and displays them on the full 3D model.
· A new Electronics Cooling Module lets users set up and execute thermal simulations, helping ensure that heat doesn’t melt a product’s electronics. A new HVAC module works the same way for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Expanded part libraries now include fans, materials, two-resistor components and integrated circuit packages. New analysis variables include local air quality, ambient temperature and Joule heating.
· A new menu bar in SolidWorks Enterprise PDM product data management software is meant to speed access to key designs.
· All SolidWorks 2011 products are designed to improve speed and reliability by using memory more efficiently when working with large designs and during prolonged work sessions.
· PhotoView 360 is fully integrated into SolidWorks CAD software, creating a single, unified environment for design and rendering.
· For an immersive experience, SolidWorks users can lead their customers through designs using new walk-through capabilities. Users can navigate their design visions via their mouse or an onscreen console – no preset paths are required.
· SolidWorks customers can also work more closely with partners by sending them detailed designs – but not too detailed. The new Defeature tool facilitates the removal of unnecessary detail or sensitive intellectual property before sharing.
· For improved communication beyond the design team, 3DVIA Composer technical communication software introduces a dynamic, interactive "storyboard" capability that helps customers deliver process instructions through interactive images. Users can create a step-by-step linked narrative for recipients, such as a colleague in manufacturing, a prospect considering a big contract, or a consumer actually using the product. Users drag and drop views to create interactive procedures that are clear and effective. Magnetic lines are another feature that increases productivity by organizing content with minimal clicks.

Users are already weighing in.

"In addition to refinements throughout, SolidWorks 2011’s new CAD and PDM capabilities will enable our engineering groups to intelligently tackle new challenges in the design of our products and production systems," said Janine D. Essex, global product line manager for the SolidWorks application at Robert Bosch LLC, a global technology and services company. "We’re expecting measurable, improved and enhanced productivity throughout our customer base."
"There are big changes," said Robert Teele, lead mechanical designer for Nuvera Fuel Cells, a clean energy products company in Billerica, Mass. "Our production and marketing departments, for example, are eager to use the new walk-through animation capability to explore our equipment designs and our custom on-site installations with customers."
For more information about the SolidWorks 2011 product family, including video demonstrations, visit

What do you think about SolidWorks 2011? E-mail with your experience.

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