Intuitive Design And Using The Cloud: Solid Edge University 2016

A focus on start-ups, more intuitive design and simulation, and making greater use the cloud are only some of the highlights from 2016’s Solid Edge University. By Mark Johnston

Solid Edge University 2016 (SEU16) took place from October 25-27, 2016, at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana, US. The event had more than 90 workshops and presentations for the 500 people who attended. The theme of this year’s show was to ‘expand your horizons’, which is what Siemens PLM Software hopes to do with the release of their new Solid Edge package, ST9.

ST9 has been officially available since July 2016, but this event marks the first opportunity the users have had to come together with the company’s engineers to learn what is ahead for the platform. “My hope today is to give you a roadmap that allows you to learn more about the new features of ST9,” said Dan Staples, vice president of mainstream engineering, product development at Siemens PLM Software.

For Start-Ups

“One new program that was announced was Solid Edge for start-ups. This program provides free access to the Solid Edge Premium software portfolio for product development, including 3D design and rendering, simulation, manufacturing, data management, and more.”

”Qualifying businesses will get one year of free access to the engineering software and learning resources, after which they can choose to purchase a permanent license or a newly introduced subscription based license. While available in the UK and USA for now, plans are made to expand to other countries over time.”

Leveraging The Cloud

Flexibility was a key component across many of the new features announced. It is now no longer the norm for an engineer to spend their time in an office. With the increasing proliferation of new mobile devices on the market it is now possible to take the CAD files along the way.

By extension, it is now possible to share CAD files across teams without creating duplicates. In a distributed team with members located across different regions and countries it is now possible to work together on the same file, by leveraging the cloud.

Reliability is also a key feature, which is why editing is done locally before being synchronised to the cloud. This is to ensure a poor connection to the internet does not disrupt the user’s workflow. “We also automatically write lock the files across the internet, so if you open a file here in Indianapolis and they want to try and open that same file for write in China they will be given a message that says ‘No, this is already in write by your colleague’,” said Staples.

3D Modelling And Simulation

Dan Staples, vice president of mainstream engineering,
product development at Siemens PLM Software.

The year’s edition saw updates to the user interface in light of new trends and developments, such as tabbed documents for quicker access to documents, increased consistency with Microsoft Office, and support for high-resolution monitors, such as 4k, which is becoming more common, especially in the design space.

Other improvements include enhanced multibody, in context, 3D sketch, mirror, and design intent modelling functionality; threaded hole feature creation from threaded-shaft Booleans; multiface replace lets you replace multiple assembly occurrences with a single surface; sheet metal contour flange creation from edges of multiple parts; enhanced materials library management; and Solid Sweep, which lets the user sweep a solid body along a 2D or 3D path, simulate machine tool operations like milling, and create complex protrusions.

There were also enhancements to the simulation tools, which included suppression of boundary conditions for easier what-if scenarios; maximised quad elements for more accurate surface meshing; and meshing performance that is as much as four times faster than the previous version for a variety of models.

Breaking Down Barriers

One avenue to increase adoption of any software platform is to decrease the learning curve and design that platform to be intuitive. While there have been improvements to the overall UI and tools to increase productivity, the Catchbook sketching app, officially released in May 2016, should prove attractive to new and experienced users alike.

Catchbook is a sketching app that converts freehand drawings into 2D designs for direct export to virtually any graphic design or commercial CAD system. The app is available for the Android, iOS, and Windows platforms for both tablets and smartphones. Just like using pencil on paper, the app allows users to freely sketch their design which Catchbook then automatically converts to a precise, to-scale, editable drawing.

ST9 now offers Solidworks fully associative drawings. This tool makes moving to Solid Edge a lot easier from the Solidworks platform. “We figured out how to bring your model and your drawings over at the same time and have it be fully associative in Solid Edge,” said Staples.

There were also improvements made to Teamcenter with the addition of Active Workspace into the Solid Edge platform.

A Look At The Future

During the closing keynote Jeff Walker, director of Solid Edge Products, Siemens PLM Software, gave a snippet of what is to come in Synchronous Technology 10 (ST10), the next release of Solid Edge.

In ST10, this technology will get an update to include sheet metal design. Now engineers working with sheet metal will get the benefits of this technology such as being able to edit models directly without having to untangle hierarchical and dependent feature trees.

Other highlights of ST10 include an automatic routing path feature, improvements in patterning, enhanced data management tools, and deeper integration with Microsoft’s Surface Pro.


Partnering Siemens: Collaborative Manufacturing

Justin Fishkin.

Local Motors, a USA-based manufacturer, runs challenges where designers compete with ideas. With community involvement, a design is chosen and eventually built at one of the company’s micro factories, located in the US and Europe, with more planned for Asia.

Local Motors formed a formal partnership with the Solid Edge platform in 2012. “Very early on, Siemens realised there might be something to crowdsourcing/co-creation,” said Justin Fishkin, chief strategy officer, Local Motors.

“They were testing the concept with Local Motors and since then others have shifted their entire strategy in that direction. Siemens was one of the first,” he added.

“We are deepening our relationship with Solid Edge and more broadly with Siemens PLM for a number of reasons. The first reason is Synchronous Technology. Our community was using all kinds of different file types. It was important to us that we could submit different file types. This was a big part of our decision to go with Solid Edge.”

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