MCAD Tech News (#251)

1 Oct, 2008 By: Jeffrey Rowe

SolidWorks 2009 Reigns in Spain

In a departure from previous releases, SolidWorks 2009 was introduced to the world, not in North America, but in Europe.

By Jeffrey Rowe

Jeffrey Rowe photo

It isn't often I get invited to Europe by a CAD software developer. When I was invited to Barcelona, Spain, for the launch of SolidWorks 2009 at a press and analysts' event, I jumped at the opportunity. The venue was beautiful, and those who attended learned a lot about the company and the new 2009 SolidWorks product line.

The event consisted of presentations by company executives on the business side of things, a presentation on SolidWorks' involvement with education, and demonstrations by some of the technical staff toward the end of the first day. All those presentations and demonstrations were interspersed with customers who showed and talked about their designs using SolidWorks. I thought the most impressive was the REEM-B humanoid service robot, demonstrated by PAL Robotics, a company from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The robot weighs 60 kg; is 1.4 m tall, has joints with a total of 40 degrees of freedom; can carry a 13 kg load; has two hours of battery life; walks at a top speed of 1.5 km/hour; and can be guided by voice commands. Very impressive work from a place you don't ordinarily associate with advanced robotics.

On the business side, a couple of notable things: The software will now be known as Dassault Systemes SolidWorks. Kind of a mouthful, but the goal is to forge more of a public identification between SolidWorks and its parent company. This event also marked the first time I can recall Bernard Charles, CEO of Dassault Systemes, and Jeff Ray, CEO of SolidWorks, appearing on the same stage together -- again, driving home the tighter connection between the two moving forward. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Jeffrey Rowe is the principal of Cairowest Group, an independent industrial design, mechanical engineering, and technical communication consulting firm with offices in Colorado and Michigan. You can reach him by e-mail at or by phone at 719.221.1867.

The Silent Partner Speaks

By Kenneth Wong

From the simultaneous explosion of camera flashes in the room, one might think the special speaker at SolidWorks' press event this week in Barcelona, Spain, is a celebrity. He's the man SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray calls "boss". As CEO of Dassault Systemes, the 3D software giant that snatched up SolidWorks in 1997, Bernard Charles has always been behind the scenes. For some reason, he didn't feel the need to make his presence felt - until now. This year, he shared the spotlight, literally, with Ray. Undoubtedly, the two consult with each other on critical matters, but their appearance together in Barcelona might be the first time they'd ever faced the industry press jointly. Hence, the attendees' rush to photograph the pair. The unprecedented sight speaks volumes; it says the relationship between SolidWorks and its owner is about to enter a new phase.

Setting the Record Straight
For a long time, Dassault left SolidWorks alone, so much so that many don't associate the latter with Dassault. Over the years, the SolidWorks management team ran the company and the business as they saw fit, much like an independent entity. But things are about to change. SolidWorks users can expect to see Dassault's technological and cultural footprints in their beloved product, beginning with the inclusion of Dassault's 3DVia Composer in SolidWorks 2009. Read more »

Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

European Aerospace Summit: Simulation in the Aerospace Industry
October 7-8, 2008
Toulouse, France
The summit will address the technical and business aspects of simulation in the aerospace industry, describe current and future simulation technologies, and showcase innovative applications and best-practices. Hosted by MSC.Software. Read more »

Webinar: CAD/CAE Model Clean-Up
October 15, 2008
10 a.m. PDT
Webinar, sponsored by Anark, will discuss new research and survey results related to problems with preparing CAD geometry for CAE applications. Read more »

Gerber Technology: Software Users Conference
October 16-17, 2008
Nashville, Tennessee
Gerber Technology's Tenth Annual Software Users Conference will cover collection-planning software components, planning considerations for PLM implementation, and more. Read more »

3D Systems World Conference
October 20-23, 2008
Charlotte, North Carolina
3D Systems will kick off its World Conference by unveiling and demonstrating its next generation of products related to 3D printing, stereolithography, and selective laser sintering product lines. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on

What’s New at

VBA Hints for Customizing AutoCAD (Hot Tip Harry AutoCAD Tutorial)
Harry shares some Visual Basic favorites as well as this month's top tip for making custom linetypes. Read more »

Check Out the CAD Tips Site
Be sure to read Hot Tip Harry's September column and then head over to Cadalyst's CAD Tips site to download your favorites. The September additions are listed under Recently Posted CAD Tips, or search for specific tips by tip number or keyword. Registered users also can review, post comments, and upload revised versions of code! Congratulations to Ron Perez, who developed the top tip, Create Custom Linetype, which automates the steps needed to make a custom linetype with embedded characters.

Free Whitepapers in Cadalyst's Whitepaper Library
Two new whitepapers are now available on Cadalyst's Whitepaper Library, free to those who register: "The Personal CAD Revolution," by Alibre, and "ONE Enterprise: Breaking Down the Wall," by First Trace.