Standing in front of a screen displaying the theme of Solid Edge University (SEU) 2014 in large letters: “Re-imagine What’s Possible,” Karsten Newbury announced Solid Edge ST7. Newbury is vice president and general manager of Mainstream Engineering Software, Siemens PLM Software.
— Desktop Engineering (@DEeditor) May 13, 2014
“The key thing for us is to empower you to not to have to worry about the tool itself, but to be able to get your job done,” he said. “Design quicker, design better.”
Customers Take Center Stage
More than 1,300 customer requests were implemented in Solid Edge ST7, according to the company, which may be why customers were such a focal point of SEU. This year’s conference, held May 12-14 in Atlanta, featured more customer presentations than ever before, according to Newbury.
One of those customers is Razor’s Ali Kermani. His keynote address was well-matched to the SEU theme of re-imagining what’s possible, because Kermani was repeatedly told his ideas were impossible.
Kermani rode to the stage on the Crazy Cart, an electric powered, drifting go-cart that he helped create shortly after joining Razor in 2004.
Though Razor was looking to branch out from foldable aluminum kick scooters, Kermani was told the Crazy Cart prototype was too expensive, too difficult to manufacture and the battery technology wasn’t mature enough — all of which was true. The project was shelved and pretty much forgotten by everyone but Kermani, who described himself as a skater originally hired to demonstrate Razor products. He quit in 2007 and enrolled at UCLA Anderson in Business, hoping to learn enough to bring the Crazy Cart to market.
“It took about 10 weeks before I realized I’m not going to make it,” Kermani said of university life. “I knew I was in over my head and was about to fail.”
But with the help of UCLA’s engineering department, Kermani was able to improve the Crazy Cart design. By the time he graduated, he had a CAD design, a redesigned prototype, a provisional patent and interest from a number of manufacturers — including Razor.
He returned to Razor, triumphant in the knowledge that his Crazy Cart was finally going to see the light of day. But the story doesn’t end happily there. After three years of being back at the company without any more progress on bringing the Crazy Car to market, Kermani got desperate.That desperation led him far outside of his job responsibilities and into securing Toys R Us as an exclusive distributor. It was another unlikely victory under Kermani’s belt, but the retail giant was only selling the Crazy Cart online as a trial run.
Kermani then decided to build excitement around the Crazy Cart by creating a video (and founding his own production company along the way) that went viral, drawing the attention of mainstream media — from the Today Show to David Letterman.
The buzz became sales, and Kermani finally saw his persistence pay off with a Vendor of the Year award from Toys R Us. The Crazy Cart was then named the Outdoor Toy of the Year by the industry trade association.
Razor’s design engineers are now using Solid Edge to develop a larger Crazy Cart that can be driven by taller adults.
Kermani’s inspirational story was well received by SEU attendees, especially when he offered to let them take the Crazy Cart for a spin later that night at a networking event.
Today’s keynote took attendees out of the toy store and into the operating room where Alpha Omega’s Neuro Omega machine allows neurosurgeons to isolate electrophysiological signals from the brain to help them guide the placement of electrodes that allow some people with Parkinson’s and similar diseases to control their shaking. Alpha Omega CEO Anthony Decarolis had a problem similar to Kermani’s. His idea was so new, he had to demonstrate it to as many people as possible to increase sales. Those demos were slowed by transporting a large machine from place to place.
Decarolis enlisted industrial designer Alon Razgour to redesign the machine to be smaller, which his team did using Solid Edge in five months, with just one prototype. They shared an interesting side note from the SEU stage: Though they had worked closely on the project together, the conference marked the first time Decarolis and Razgour had met in person. They worked collaborated virtually on the redesign.
— Desktop Engineering (@DEeditor) May 14, 2014
New Features in ST7
Of the 1,300 customer requests implemented in ST7, the feature that had many engineers talking in the hallway was the integration of Luxion’s KeyShot rendering capabilities in Solid Edge ST7. Keyshot enables photorealistic images and animations to be created from within the modeling environment. Even though KeyShot for Solid Edge is bundled with Solid Edge ST7, both applications remain separate. The intent is to allow engineers to streamline their workflow by continuing to use Solid Edge while images and animations are rendered in KeyShot, according to Luxion.
The Luxion press release continues:
The partnership between Luxion and Siemens PLM Software first brought users the plugin connecting KeyShot with Solid Edge, allowing them to continue working on a design, while sending model updates to KeyShot through Luxion’s LiveLinking technology. The ability to assign materials directly within Solid Edge immediately increased the quality of product visuals and the speed at which photorealistic 3D renderings could be created.
That focus on speed and efficiency was a recurring theme at Solid Edge University.
While leading a live demonstration of Solid Edge ST7’s new features, Dan Staples, vice president of Solid Edge Development, said some of the enhancements in enable certain tasks to be performed up to five times faster than the previous version. For example, the new 3D Sketch functionality in Solid Edge ST7 received a round of applause when it was announced. The company says it will improve efficiency and allow engineers to complete their design processes up to two times faster with greater flexibility.
A new visual design management workflow site in Solid Edge ST7, based on Microsoft’s SharePoint software, brings user interactions into one location. Solid Edge says the site makes it easier to create and work with complex design projects, complete engineering changes faster and improve overall productivity.
A number of user interface enhancements were also announced, including a new start page that provides one-click access to commonly used commands, more video support and expanded visual tool tips. Many of the user interface enhancements are designed to guide new users into the software. Once they become more comfortable, they can take advantage of the new Solid Edge Certification program, which was offered for the first time at SEU. Newbury said Certification will be made available online in the future.
Watch an overview of Solid Edge ST7’s new features in the video below:
App Store Planned
Last year, Newbury announced Solid Edge would be available via subscription, allowing customers to download and use the full version of the software on a month-to-month basis. This year, he announced that the company will be adding English-based stores to 13 additional countries in Europe, as well as native-language stores in France, Italy, Germany and Spain.
Newbury also announced that an app store will be launched before the end of the year to make it easier for Solid Edge users to find and install third-party tools. There are now more than 500 Solid Edge apps available. Having them all in one place should make it easier for customers to find and purchase them.
— Desktop Engineering (@DEeditor) May 13, 2014
The App Store model, made popular by Apple, is becoming increasingly common across many industries. It allows developers to build an ecosystem of third-party software, many of which add more focused functionality than the developer is focusing on.
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