Adding intelligent feature technology

Paul Boughton

Solidworks Corporation is unveiling Solidworks 2007, offering design teams opportunities to work faster and smarter in the quest for better products.

In addition to more than 200 new features, this latest version of this 3D CAD software introduces Solidworks Intelligent Feature Technology (Swift), which for the first time, according to the company, puts expert-level techniques for 3D CAD's most challenging design operations in the hands of every user.

Toppling the notion that powerful software is necessarily complex, Swift technology is claimed to deliver exponential increases in efficiency while simplifying use of the software.

For example, 3D CAD applications have traditionally forced design teams to consume precious time determining the order in which they create part features like drafts and fillets.

Solidworks 2007 changes all that, leaving the Swift Featurexpert to automatically create the new features in the proper order as the designer intended. This allows designers to spend more time designing products.

Swift accounts for just a handful of the enhancements in Solidworks 2007, 90 per cent of which were directly driven by customers. Together, the enhancements will help customers succeed by providing intuitive, high-performing software that helps design teams set themselves apart.

Other Swift tools in Solidworks 2007 include the Swift Sketchxpert, which resolves dimensional and relational conflicts when sketching, and the Swift Matexpert, which removes conflicts that arise when users add or modify mated parts. Swift is a clear example of how Solidworks Corporation's approach to 3D CAD focuses more on product design than on the workings of the tools that support it.

This focus is also apparent in a powerful new Search capability that enables users to find anything related to their 3D design work on their desktop, in shared files, in their product data management (PDM) system, or in their supply chain universe with a single tool. The new powerful and easy-to-use Search capability works with a wealth of new standard content, including that offered through the Solidworks 3D Contentcentral part-finding service. As a result, teams will have more time to design products by minimising time they spend looking for files and parts that have already been created.

The tool will also pinpoint new routing and weldment content in Solidworks 2007. According to the company, Solidworks users now have more predefined content than any 3D CAD user community, which is critical since at least 60 per cent of a typical machine consists of purchased parts.

Also vital to design teams is the ability to conceptualise in 2D before creating in 3D. Consequently, Solidworks 2007 includes dramatic enhancements to capabilities like Sketch Blocks, introduced in 2005. 2D sketches of belts, chains, pulleys, and gears now automatically exhibit multipart interaction and motion, helping teams refine designs at all stages of their work. This feature combines the intelligence of 3D CAD with the feel of 2D CAD.

The innovative Solidworks Design Checker, introduced as part of Solidworks 2006, includes powerful features to ensure drawings meet the defined standards of each user's organisation. New features include auto-correction and the ability to 'learn' from a finished drawing.

In addition, Solidworks 2007 enables users, for the first time, to save any file in Adobe Systems' new 3D PDF format, thereby providing complete support for two of the prevailing standards for sharing 3D designs, namely PDF and the Solidworks edrawings collaboration format.

Solidworks 2007 includes a host of other new drawing enhancements, making it even easier and more efficient to turn 2D drawings into 3D models and to generate finished, professional, production-ready 2D files for manufacturing.

Solidworks 2007 is available now for purchase in 12 languages worldwide through Solidworks authorised resellers.
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