What's New for Solid Edge and NX18 Jun, 2018 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson
At the annual PLM Connection user conference, Siemens PLM Software developers introduced Solid Edge 2019 and upcoming continuous-release delivery of NX, as well as a new partnership with HP to enable design for full-color 3D printing.
Some say computer-aided design technology is mature, that innovation in the CAD realm is a thing of the past — but Siemens PLM Software would take issue with that. Of course, that’s what you’d expect from a developer of said technology, but at the Siemens PLM Connection Americas 2018 user conference in Phoenix earlier this month, the company made its case that CAD innovation is alive and well.
This article, the second of a two-part report from the event, will review the latest updates to NX and Solid Edge, the cornerstone CAD applications in Siemens PLM’s range of product lifecycle management applications. (See Part 1, “Siemens PLM Is Realizing 100% Digitalized Manufacturing,” for a look into the company’s Digital Innovation Platform and related strategy.)
But First: Design for Full-Color 3D Printing
During the event in Phoenix, Siemens PLM and HP announced they are enabling design of full-color, 3D-printable parts in Solid Edge and NX for prototyping and short-run production on HP’s new Jet Fusion 3D 300/500 series of compact printers, described as the industry’s first 3D printing solution for producing engineering-grade, functional parts in full color, black, or white — with voxel-level control — in a fraction of the time of other solutions. The models support the leading color file formats, including 3MF, to help designers produce the color parts they want with a reliable workflow.
Introducing Solid Edge 2019
First off, let’s address Solid Edge housekeeping matters: The software has a new naming convention. Having morphed ten years ago from Solid Edge 20 to Solid Edge ST1 (when the company introduced Synchronous Technology, combining parametric and direct modeling in one CAD application), the software in its latest incarnation is Solid Edge 2019, available now. Subscription pricing ranges from $75 to $329 per month, depending on package options; it is also available via single-seat, unlimited-term perpetual licensing (contact the company for pricing).
For the unfamiliar, Solid Edge is “more than a mechanical design system,” said Dan Staples, vice-president of product development. It’s a portfolio of software for product development, including mechanical and electrical design, simulation, manufacturing, technical documentation, and data management. Siemens PLM calls Solid Edge affordable and easy-to-use — the entry point to its Digital Innovation Platform — and offers features to make it attractive to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), including startups. Those SMBs are in fact embracing digital transformation in their manufacturing process, Staples said, and it’s helping them compete with larger companies.
A 2018 global survey by research firm IDG found clear movement toward digital transformation among SMB manufacturers. (Source: Siemens PLM Software)
Design functionality in Solid Edge 2019 comprises not only Synchronous Technology, but also generative design and convergent modeling.
“Synchronous is still unique in the industry,” Staples said. “No one has been able to duplicate it.” But Siemens PLM continues to invest in the core of Solid Edge, and thus it now also supports generative design, which taps topology optimization to reduce materials waste and create lighter-weight parts for additive manufacturing, CNC manufacturing, and even casting, as well as Convergent Modeling, first introduced in NX 11 in 2016. Convergent Modeling (Siemens has trademarked the term) enables 3D modeling on combinations of classic boundary representation (b-rep) and facet (or mesh) model operations simultaneously for workflows that demand both, such as reverse engineering, design simulation, and 3D printing model preparation. Users can work on faceted models as if they were b-rep models, the goal being to eliminate the time-consuming and often error-prone task of converting faceted models to precise CAD geometry.
Solid Edge 2019 introduces Convergent Modeling, which combines b-rep and facet modeling — in this example, to facilitate reverse engineering.
“If you’re going to be talking about next-generation design, you can’t talk about history-based modeling,” Staples said.
New Solid Edge Features Overview
Those new, next-generation design capabilities and the integration of electrical design functionality (thanks to the recent acquisition of Mentor Graphics) are headliners in Solid Edge 2019.
Electrical design. New electrical capabilities now integrated with Solid Edge mechanical design include wiring, harness, and printed circuit board (PCB) design tools. “Very tight integration” means changes made in one area will automatically be reflected in the other, Staples said, and multiple users can work on a design from different computers.
Wiring Design provides design and simulation tools for creating wiring diagrams and verifying electrical systems. Harness Design adds intuitive harness and formboard design tools with automated part selection, design validation, and manufacturing report generation. PCB Design accelerates schematic capture and PCB layout and is fully integrated with mechanical.