Dec 15, 2008

SolidWorks Labs Adds New Applications

R&D ‘Sandbox’ Previews Some Potential Capabilities for 3D CAD Software

CONCORD, Mass : If you’re in the dark about how 3D CAD software might look in the next decade and beyond, then you haven’t been paying attention to SolidWorks Labs (http://labs.solidworks.com/).

The “technology sandbox” for curious 3D CAD users today added four new experimental applications, all free for download, and unveiled an overhauled Web site.

Treehouse is a breakthrough tool for design teams that think from the top down. Users can create and customize a conceptual, graphical representation of an assembly before beginning design work, simply by dragging and dropping icons. Treehouse enables you to name your components and add custom properties all before creating a single document. Once the layout is complete and all your CAD documents have been generated, import the top level assembly into any PDM system and start assigning components to the appropriate users. It is that simple.

A new add-in named Tagger harnesses the hidden power of one of CAD’s most overlooked capabilities, tags, to improve communication with colleagues and business partners by injecting relevant information into design files. Open an assembly, part, or drawing, and see a list of tags used in that document in a dedicated tab in the task pane. Click on a term to highlight features in the design that are tagged with that term. Any feature can have any number of tags of any nature, easing search, retrieval, annotation, and communication. Users can create favorite tags they can easily apply to any feature at any time.

Presentation Studio walks designers and engineers through the creation of high-impact interactive PDF files for non-CAD users such as customers, partners, marketers, salespersons, and executives. The files can be read by any Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® software, version 8 or above. 3D models embedded in the PDF files have full 3D interaction, including pan, zoom, and rotate. Users can choose background, view angles, and whether or not the assembly can be viewed in an exploded format. Installed as a SolidWorks add-in after download, Presentation Studio makes great design briefs, price sheets, technical summaries, feature review, and product specification presentations.

The COLLADA Export add-in lets SolidWorks users export solid models in an industry standard 3D object and motion format for use in programs like Microsoft® Robotics Developer Studio 2008 (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/robotics/default.aspx). Robotics developers can then use the studio software to correct any application issues early and maximize their performance.

“SolidWorks Labs gives our customers another way to communicate what they want, how they’ll use new features, and whether we’re on the right track,” said Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. CTO Austin O’Malley. “It gives them and anyone in the design community a way to be first to find out what’s new and what’s potentially a major capability in CAD down the road.”

In addition to the new applications and the dozen that were already available, SolidWorks Labs has updated the entire Web site, providing easier navigation, product related user comments, ratings, and video overviews.