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SolidWorks 2012 Unveiled

By DE Editors

Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp. (DS SolidWorks; Concord, MA) has unveiled SolidWorks 2012, the 20th release of the company’s CAD software. DS SolidWorks says that it has made more than 200 enhancements to SolidWorks. It adds that these improvements will enable users to work more efficiently and have the data they need to make better design decisions throughout the product development process.

“SolidWorks 2012 focuses on the areas that will help our customers drive their businesses to higher productivity and profitability,” says Austin O’Malley, executive vice president, R&D, DS SolidWorks in a prepared statement. SolidWorks 2012 remains “true to the mission of helping users transform innovation into business success.”

DS SolidWorks cites improvements in the software’s assembly and drawing, simulation, design costing, routing, image and animation creation, and product data management capabilities. Improvements span across four general areas automated design functionality, continuous workflow, product development processes, and collaboration and team connectivity.

Automated Design Functions
SolidWorks 2012 is said to help designers and engineers automate frequently used design functions. New Drawing tools reportedly help users create better-looking and more-accurate drawings, which can cut down on the revision process and detail designs faster. As an example, the company says that changed dimensions are automatically highlighted and show previous values, which can help with revisions. Sequential balloon ordering and magnetic lines automatically help order and position balloons, allowing users to spend less time detailing and aligning drawings, according to the company.

SolidWorks Sustainability software for assessing the environmental impact of your complete design has been enhanced with a new user interface said to help users more accurately model products with what-if scenarios and better support custom materials. Users can now also “closely model processes with parameters such as recycled content and duration of use.” Access to the latest SolidWorks Sustainability supplemental materials will be instant and continuous as they become available, according to the company.

SolidWorks 2012
Additional flexibility in defining the product lifecycle helps give more
accurate environmental impact factors.

Continuous Workflow
SolidWorks 2012, says DS SolidWorks, is intended to make the design experience flow more naturally and without disruptions because of such features as:

  • Large design review, which allows instant opening and review of massive assemblies or any individual component with walkthroughs, sectioning, and measuring without requiring a high-powered computer or special file preparation.
  • Feature freeze, a capability that eliminates unwanted feature rebuilds by locking all features above the “freeze” bar. This is said to speed up the design of complex models where rebuilding of specific features is not needed. Features can also be unfrozen at any point.
  • Equation editor, which offers new equation capabilities said to allow users to create equations faster and understand order more easily.

SolidWorks 2012
Equations are displayed with multiple syntax highlighting and message to
help troubleshoot troublesome equations.

Product Development Processes
With its tools for design costing, sheet metal, and simulation, SolidWorks 2012 is intended to increase user productivity and streamline the overall product development processes, says DS SolidWorks. The new design costing tool, for example, automates manufacturing cost calculations for sheet metal and machined parts. The software’s sheet metal functionality, which can be used to create sheet metal parts from scratch or to convert existing 3D parts into sheet metal, has been enhanced with new tools that provide control over the unique challenges of working with sheet metal, such as precise control of edge flanges, including up-to-vertex end conditions. Designs can be flattened automatically and documented for manufacturing. SolidWorks Simulation includes enhanced motion optimization that automatically uses motion study results to create sensors and refine complex and time-intensive machine aspects such as motor size, bearing loads, and range of travel.

SolidWorks 2012
SolidWorks 2012 users can apply flow simulation results directly to shell
geometry in simulation.

Collaboration and Team Connectivity
Collaboration capabilities have been enhanced in SolidWorks 2012. The software now offers integrated search, customization, and wider support with SolidWorks Enterprise PDM. Windows Explorer integration is said to provide designers with easy access to favorite searches and a full search tool. Additionally, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM has new support for Office 2010 and an x64 web client. Enhancements to 3DVIA Composer rendering include the addition of part-to-part shadows, ambient occlusion, and shadows to 2D panels with precise control. A glow effect can also be added to highlight specific areas of interest.

SolidWorks 2012
The search tool can now be accessed from the current explorer window or
from the File Open dialog.

“SolidWorks continues to listen to the people within its user community,” said Scott Maro, CEO, Maro & Associates in a testimonial supplied by DS SolidWorks. “Research and Development teams are always listening, asking us great questions, and providing alpha testing. The result is more than 90 percent of the features were prioritized by users.”

For more information, visit the SolidWorks 2012 launch site.

See why DE’s editors selected SolidWorks 2012 as their Pick of the Week.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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DE's editors contribute news and new product announcements to Digital Engineering. Press releases can be sent to them via DE-Editors@digitaleng.news.