The general session typically sets the daily buzz at SolidWorks World and that’s exactly what happened on Monday. We of course heard the typical information like the numbers of attendees (which is 5600), number of worldwide users (which is about 2.3 million) and DS’ future vision which they market as the “3D Experience Platform”. All information you’d expect to hear but not terribly exciting. There were two segments in particular from Monday’s general sessions that stood out and kept people talking all day.
Hugh Herr is a double amputee who lost both his legs in a rock climbing accident. His passion for rock climbing and desire to continue doing that after his accident led him to found the company BioM. BioM develops prosthetic legs with a special “ankle system” that offers a number of benefits for the wearer/user. They work so well the audience was amazed when he rolled up his pant legs after talking, walking, etc around stage to reveal he was using the product. While the company has focused on their ankle system they have future goals of creating products for non amputees that enhances their ability to run, walk, jump with less effort and better performance. It was really a great story of someone who took something most people would see as a liability and turned it into an asset.
SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual (SWMC) was released and shown during the general session on Monday. 3-5 years ago (it’s been so long I can’t remember exactly what year it was shown) SolidWorks showed a future product at SolidWorks World. Then it was being called SolidWorks V6 and it was thought by many to be the SolidWorks V1 replacement based entirely on DS technology rather than having to rely on other vendors such as parasolid. What was shown Monday is the current status of the product shown 3-5 years ago. It was shown using a pre recorded video that was narrated live on stage. After watching the general session presentation and then attending a couple of 1 hour sessions which showed the product actually being used I was able to have some questions about the product answered. Its still to early to give a complete review of the product but there were many first impressions among the people I talked with. It will take some time for more details to be released and users to actually get their hands on the product but in the couple of hours I’ve seen it in action I can say a few things.
The interface looked to be a very well thought out design with a clean modern feel. While it’s new I think the current SolidWorks user will feel right at home working in mechanical conceptual since the core tools are essentially the same as what their using now. The workflow is also similar enough that a user could jump between the 2 software’s with ease.
SWMC currently is not a replacement for SolidWorks. It’s just too limited in functionality at this point. That’s not to say what it does is limiting, it has some great tools and adds some nice new features (like trace path). From watching it being used it appears that its going to do what its designed to do (conceptual mechanical design) very well.
It does not communicate with SolidWorks well. This of course is an opinion and will vary by user based on their needs. When I say “communicate” I mean a SWMC model brought into SolidWorks does not import with a full feature tree. It imports Brep representation information, custom properties and colors. SolidWorks files brought into SWMC do not bring in a feature tree. Essentially communication is currently at the “dumb” solid level.
Pricing is set at $249/month but its not a monthly rental, its a one year minimum rental . Doing the math that’s $2988/yr.
You do need to have an internet connection to use SWMC, it’s a cloud hosted application
SWMC has a number of built-in tools for collaboration and social interaction which is supposed to make working with others all over the world easier and more streamlined.
For more information on Monday’s general session complete with video have a look at the SolidWorks Blog.
Here are some SWMC Images.