These take it well beyond its traditional areas of focus: Yup, the numerical naming convention has been dropped, in favour of using the year. A good example is the new auto-simplify operation. This allows you to grab a part or an assembly and create a solid geometric lump that represents the external shape of that part or assembly, but gives away none of the internal details. Another core modelling update that I personally loved — and one that is related to the update explained above — is the ability to find an interior volume of a set of geometry.
Siemens has also demoed a nice little example that combines this function with the goal-seek tools, so you could iteratively find the fill volume in a liquid container. The last core update I want to cover is the introduction of a new tool to assist with costing of parts, and specifically, sheet metal parts. For a long while now, Solid Edge has had a reputation for being strong in sheet metal design and documentation.
This new costing module will allow you to draw up a costing breakdown of your sheet metal, in real time. It uses a combination of part analysis in terms of material choice, profiling with laser or waterjet, for example , punching, bends and so on, to arrive at a breakdown of what a part might potentially cost.
But perhaps most interesting of all is the real-time nature of it. With this module sat running in the sidebar, you are able to make live design and materials choices and get real-time feedback on how different decisions might influence cost.
In short, this allows the user to bring in mesh-based data and use it alongside other, more traditional geometry, such as solids and surfaces. Another key part of the technology is another set of tools that allow you to import those meshes and both repair and repurpose them — something that can be applied equally to reverse engineered laser scanned geometry as it can STL imported geometry.
This toolset has seen some work and extensions for the release. This can be applied to either a complete mesh or a selected subset. You also have control over the amount of movement allowed for the vertices and the number of passes that the system will take.
As ever, this is a trade-off between perhaps losing the original shape and gaining a more useful one. In previous releases, this could be a little problematic, but fixes this with analytic face recognition. This identifies common face types planar, cylindrical and so on , which can then be used as the basis for assembly mating conditions. You have a face on a solid model and a reference face.
What Siemens has done is extend this operation which is by no means unique to Solid Edge , to work with mesh-based convergent bodies which most certainly is unique. The applications for this are pretty wide, but a couple that come to mind are patient-specific implants and modelling up to CT or MRI data represented as a mesh, or modelling hard surfaces up to reverse engineered forms in the aftermarket automotive parts world.
In the first release, we got a basic set of tools, but without much in the way of control over results or adding in more comprehensive load cases. For , this has changed on several fronts. Another key update here is the ability to add in multiple load cases.
The reality is that if Solid Edge is to grow its capability, the most sensible way for it to do that is to take advantage of the wealth of technology available in the Siemens PLM portfolio which now includes, among others, Mentor and CD Adapco, to name but two.
But Solid Edge sees this ramp up quite dramatically, with a fair few name changes and consolidation, in order to bring some consistency to the branding of these add-on modules.
Solid Edge Simulation: This is perhaps one of the longest standing add-ons in the Solid Edge portfolio. It provides the expected range of structural simulation tools and is fully integrated into the Solid Edge user interface.
This release sees some work done on meshing, as well as support for transient thermal analysis. As you might have guessed, this is a fluid dynamics and heat transfer counterpart to the FEA tools we just discussed. This module is built on technology from Flomerics which came as part of the Mentor acquisition.
This release sees some work done on how the system handles the simulation of both lighting and radiation simulation. Another interesting update is the ability to conduct free surface simulation. This is one of those more esoterically named simulation technologies, but the basics are that you can now simulate how fluid sloshes around inside a containing volume. Think, for example, of tanker trailers that need to turn corners sharply or brake abruptly.
These are to be found in two new products or modules. Solid Edge Piping Design: As you might guess, all of these additions are based on Mentor technology and existing products. The first is a schematically-led layout tool that runs on the browser. It includes both a 2D and 3D view, allowing the PCB designer to develop a pretty rich description of the PCB and associated components, according to their requirements and workflows.
A collaboration file is then created which can be read into Solid Edge and a 3D model constructed automatically, with an associative link back to the originating data. The systems can rationalise any changes made on either end for example, moving a component in Solid Edge , as well as capturing any notes made by either party. As with both plant and PCB design, a lightweight front end built on Mentor technology allows the electrical team to define wiring runs, harnesses and more between intelligent components and to conduct their own set of validations.
This data can then be connected to Solid Edge to allow a 3D representation to be worked up, routing functions carried out and information passed back to the wiring schematics where needed. When that data is transposed into Solid Edge, routed through a full 3D model of the product in hand, the length data can be passed back from Solid Edge and a more complete representation becomes available.
The two systems work in an associative manner, so changes made in either system can be propagated where needed. Where the electrical team highlights a set of wires, the same is highlighted in Solid Edge, making those collaborative sessions all the more efficient. Solid Edge Technical Publications: This continues with this release, but with a couple of key updates.
Solid Edge Requirements: Solid Edge Requirements comes in the form of a cloud-based service, built on top of Siemens Polarion. This means that you can have sales or technical consultants in the field, capturing requirements related to a project.
Then, the designer or engineer can access this data through the Solid Edge interface, fulfill those requirements, make comments, and finally, tag the resultant data to each requirement.
As those that follow Solid Edge will know, in the last few releases, Solid Edge has changed track on its data management offerings for Solid Edge. While previously the company relied on a Sharepointbased solution, it recently retired this and developed a new set of tools that require nothing else except your file system and your network.
Due to some of the changes made in how Windows manages data and some smart thinking from the Solid Edge team, this new data management system works right out of the box and provides the basic data management, revision and release style management that most smaller organisations really need, combined with some enhanced search tools, greater visualisation in terms of thumbnails, and it plays nicely with the likes of OneDrive and Dropbox for collaboration. In this release, the big change is that you now have greater control over part numbering schemes.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Teamcenter and Solid Edge integration. For a while now, a rapid-start Teamcenter implementation has been offered to Solid Edge users and this continues to grow in terms of integration and support for not only Solid Edge data, but data from other systems as well. In conclusion As you can see, the Solid Edge portfolio is growing, and growing quickly.
That said, the introduction of convergent modelling will certainly prove useful for some. The rise of additive manufacturing also points to potential, although adoption of it as a mass accepted manufacturing technique is still some way off.
The product has moved from simply covering the realm of mechanical and engineering design and expanded into the wider world of electronic design and electrical design as well. That strongly suggests that Siemens is looking to push up the investment that each customer makes in its toolset — it is, after all, a commercial organisation that needs to make a profit. You can offload the schematic and theoretical work to the specialists, but still ensure that the tools they use are connected back to Solid Edge.
In this way, data and knowledge can be re-used to build accurate 3D models, and the benefits of that rich 3D representation can be fed back to the schematic world in the form of design changes, more accurate BOM information and much more. As releases go, Solid Edge is a good one. Those users who use only the core tools might feel a little short-changed, particularly given the vast swathes of new tools common in previous releases, certainly.
But for the average organisation using Solid Edge, this release could hold the key to some real productivity gains and commercial benefits.
Solid Edge Portal: Data sharing and collaboration Introduced as a beta with the last Solid Edge release, for , we see the Solid Edge Portal move into production readiness. That said, there are some nice tricks here that make it worth exploring for both Solid Edge user and non-user alike.
Solid Edge Portal is a cloud-based file viewing service that allows you to upload data from a wide variety of sources. Then, interestingly, it also supports non-CAD files including images the usual bmp, jpg, png, svg as well as office-type documents, including word docs, text files, spreadsheets and presentations. The system allows you to organise data on a project basis, upload data by dragging and dropping, and gives you control over who can do what with data view only, or view and download.
There are commenting and red-lining tools available, which are tracked and made available to everyone sharing the same project — all in a nice clean interface.