Dassault Systemes originally announced the future release of SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual for its 3DEXPERIENCE on-premise and cloud-based platform at SolidWorks World earlier this year. The application has been on something of a shakedown cruise at production environments at numerous sites since then. It’s now a go for everybody. So what is it? The glib, albeit accurate, answer is that SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual for the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a lot of things. Here’s a quick look.
At its core, SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual is a conceptual modeling environment that complements your SolidWorks MCAD system. It provides a suite of conceptual design tools, deploys a unified modeling environment and provides direct editing tools that, in Dassault’s words, offer the benefits of parametric and history-free modeling.
A neat feature of this application is called Sketch Motion. This gives you the ability to evaluate concepts for fit and function using trace paths and area sweeps for early stage concept validation. Other notable features include constant background calculations of design data for immediate feedback and 2D to 3D motion.
Not to elide by the important features of what seems to be a powerful conceptual modeling tool, the biggest strength of the SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual for the 3DEXPERIENCE platform appears to be its collaboration functionality. Now, depending on how things go where you slog away for a paycheck, mechanical conceptual design can eat up a third of project time. A lot of that time is back and forth hammering out ideas with clients, disbursed design team members, supply chain partners, nosy execs and so on using inefficient technologies like email and YAMs (yet another meeting).
Being cloud-based, SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual provides a central anytime/anywhere location for ongoing collaboration with all those people and anyone else you invite in. But to do collaboration right on a globally accessible modeling platform, you need to equip people with social media tools like texting, message posts with comments and images and so forth to facilitate communications in both real-time and across time zones. You have that here.
But even that’s not enough. You also need to back up all this communicating and diddling with design iterations with features that make all the interactions sticky and valuable for both your current purpose and the future. Things like online storage, automatic capture and archiving of concepts as they develop, real-time data updates as well as defined-access and secure online collaborative spaces for events like concurrent engineering. SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual provides these sorts of features too. And, for good measure, you can extend your conceptual design and collaboration capabilities with SIMULIA-based structural analyses of parts and assemblies.
Making the conceptual design process efficient appears to be the philosophical idea underlying SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual for the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. That and by providing access to everyone involved in the early stages of a new product design project, capturing their input and making actual design work easy to do, you’re essentially crowd-sourcing your concept development and supporting it with a flexible yet sturdy infrastructure. This seems like something that you could turn into a competitive advantage.
SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual is a very interesting product offering. It’s also Dassault’s first SolidWorks application for its 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Hit today’s Editor’s Pick of the Week article to learn more. The link at the end of the main write-up takes you to a dedicated web page where as you explore you’ll come across a number of short explanatory videos showing SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual in action.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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