We hope that by now you’ve had the opportunity to attend a What’s New in SolidWorks 2010 session sponsored by your local reseller. But if you haven’t, here are some of the features, functions, and issues that are worth noting.
SolidWorks-CATIA integration: No, it’s not in 2010, but during the rollout process, SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray did address the issue. Early on, at a SolidWorks User Group even in Southern California, Jeff stated that direct geometry transfer, bi-directionally, between SolidWorks and CATIA will happen. Now, it’s just a matter of when.
Sensors: Speaking of CATIA, SolidWorks 2009 introduced sensors, a concept that came from CATIA. These live sensors, used to monitor design-critical factors and warn of any violations, have been pushed further in SW2010 by providing AlertEvents through the API. This will allow you to better integrate the use of sensors into design automation and PLM implementations. A new proximity sensor has also been created to notify when two points or components within an assembly come too close to one another.
SolidWorks Simulation: It’s been a while since SolidWorks swallowed up Structural Research and Analysis Corporation, turning Cosmos-M into SolidWorks Simulation. Since then, simulation has moved more and more into being just another SolidWorks function. This trend continues in 2010 through the further integration of simulation into the user interface and the ability to integrate sensors into motion studies. This includes the new proximity sensor discussed above. As with sensors, the API for simulation continues to grow, providing more opportunities for automation and integration.
Configurations: Definitely a hot button with those of us in the design automation and data management communities, SolidWorks configurations have been touted from day 1 as the savior of MCAD technology. SolidWorks continues to push the concept with the new SolidWorks Configuration Publisher. Introduced in SW2009 as the Configuration PropertyManager, the Configuration Publisher allows you to create your own user interface to select or create configurations on the fly, and even push models up to 3DContent Central. While some may view this as the first step towards design automation, it can easily create some bad habits. From an automation perspective, configurations are very inefficient and are rather dangerous to maintain. From a data management perspective, configurations can open a full can of worms for revision management.
These items certainly do not represent the full depth and breadth of new functionality and by no means comprise a complete treatise on the latest offering from SolidWorks. We highly encourage you to read through the What’s New guide that SolidWorks provides and to check out the vast variety of online blogs and reviews.