Issue: Volume: 23 Issue: 4 (April 2000)

SPOTLIGHT: SolidWorks Enhancements

According to the company, very large assembly files open as much as eight times faster than with the previous version of the software. In a recent public demonstration of the product conducted by Solid Works, a 400-part assembly opened in 12.8 seconds in SolidWorks 2000, compared to 40 seconds in SolidWorks 99 and nearly 2 minutes in Autodesk Inventor.

The new file manager, SolidWorks Explorer, looks like the familiar Win dows Explorer file manager, with op tions such as Properties viewing, file search, and easy copying and re naming of files. But SolidWorks Ex plorer also has a tree structure with which users can view file dependencies for drawings, parts, and assemblies. Surfacing improvements include new trim and fillet surface functions, and a tool that allows users to easily pull surfaces to a desired shape using 3D drag handles.

Drawing enhancements represent an important aspect of the improvements to SolidWorks 2000. Now included with the software is eDrawings (see November 1999 Spotlight, pg.14), small but powerful files that allow users to share 2D CAD file information via email, even over low-bandwidth connections. An additional 3D drawing feature is RapidDraft, which permits users to open large-assembly drawings and edit them without loading the actual model. Drawing changes can later be synchronized with the actual model.

Bruce Jenkins, an analyst with Daratech (Cambridge, MA), is impressed with the latest SolidWorks revision, and in particular with the eDrawings implementation. "This is a pragmatic approach to e-business," he says. "With eDrawings SolidWorks has begun to make a serious contribution toward including engineers in the e-business process."

SolidWorks was scheduled to ship in April, at a price of $3995. (Solid Works Corp; Concord, MA; 978-371-5000;
-Jenny Donelan