From the concept to the product stage, SolidWorks' new offering aims to keep everyone connected along the way.
Getting your big idea a) onto a napkin and b) out to market usually involves a lot of time and effort. One of SolidWorks' big announcements from its annual conference aims to cut as much as possible out between a and b.
Built onto parent company Dassault Systemes' 3DExperience program - a platform linking stakeholders to the innovation process - SolidWorks' Mechanical Conceptual aims to tap into the growing need for collaboration between all those involved in a project, as well as the shift to the cloud.
MC will begin beta testing in May, with SolidWorks aiming for an October general release.
"An engineer spends about 30 per cent of their time doing conceptual ideas," Sharon Toh, general manager of South Asia for SolidWorks, told Ferret. "For this part there aren't many tools out there now that enable them to capture those things. They are captured on napkins, papers, things like that. And then once it's finalised they have to recreate this thing in a CAD model. So we are trying to capture as much of this as possible and put it in the software."
According to the company, MC allows an idea to be sketched and captured digitally, quickly created as a 3D model, have its performance simulated, and be evaluated by stakeholders in real-time throughout the whole process through a private online community.
Also being spruiked are the instinctive and intuitive properties of the tool, which learns from prior changes made and suggests possible design flaws, with potential time savings from cutting down on re-works. Being that the trial of a prototype version of the software hasn't begun, there are no opinions from users yet on what it offers, but the company insists that it'll be simple to adopt into workflows.
This kind of software really makes that a lot easier, because it helps facilitate innovation
Besides Mechanical Conceptual's announcement, SolidWorks World also featured the announcement of the My.SolidWorks.com, another product community-oriented product, and a service that collects the company's and users' knowledge of SolidWorks from social platforms
(Twitter, YouTube and elsewhere) and arranges it depending on a user's chosen industry.
"My.SolidWorks will help our users better leverage the energy and knowledge of community," SolidWorks' CEO Bertrand Sicot told SWW13's attendees during the announcement.
The site's and Mechanical Conceptual's promise to link those involved in design is part of a trend towards and a demand for connection by users of CAD programs.
SolidWorks sees MC as a game-changer, and one that neatly matches modern demands made by CAD users. The Mechanical Conceptual tool lent itself perfectly to advanced manufacturing methods such as 3D printing, with both removing traditional limits on design.