SOLIDWORKS Product Level Breakdown

[fa icon="calendar"] November 30, 2017 / by Robbie Hoyler

For this three-minute Thursday, I want to break down the SOLIDWORKS product levels and explain what actually comes in each of the 3D CAD packages for 2018. Many of you already own these capabilities, but you may not have used them yet; or maybe you simply do not know about them.

If you have not purchased SOLIDWORKS and are considering purchasing a product, take a look at the short video to gain a basic yet high-level understanding of what capabilities are included with each product level and identify your needs.

As designers, we are forced to create 3D data to communicate engineered designs and decisions that affect our business. Since the creation of 3D model data as well as 2D drawings is still a large part of the manufacturing process, I want to highlight the differences between the three levels of SOLIDWORKS and what tools will help you make the most of your 3D data that you are already creating.
Now let's kick it off with the basics that come in SOLIDWORKS Standard and every level of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD. Every version of SOLIDWORKS comes with complete part drawing and assembly modeling features necessary for 3D solid modeling. These features include sheet metal and weld nuts or welded framing generation tools for metalworking so you can output sheet metal flats and tubing cut lists for manufacturing. For more complicated shapes, surface modeling is included so that any possible shape can be created as a part.
Some of the added benefits of SOLIDWORKS Standard include the creation animations and exploded view visualizations, interference checking on assemblies, compatibility with over 30 different file formats, compatibility with other 3D CAD modelers, DXF exporting, introductory level simulation Xpress tools, an enormous library of vendor parts already created on 3D content central, and 2D to 3D part conversion tools
Included with the 2018 version, starting this year will be SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard for two-and-a-half axis milling and turning, which is a huge value add for the software. With the SOLIDWORKS professional license or the middle tier of our 3D CAD platform, the largest benefit most customers see is the CAD library contained in SOLIDWORKS toolbox that comes pre-loaded with over 1 million standard fasteners as well as the automatic assembly and stacking of fasteners and components.
The other huge benefit of Professional is that it offers a file management system that includes user and group access rights, file vaulting, part check-in and check-out, and revision control superior to Windows Explorer. This is called SOLIDWORKS PDM. Professional also includes photorealistic rendering using SOLIDWORKS visualize and photo view 360, cost estimation, and the useful EG drawings professional software for easier CAD collaboration for users without a seat of CAD.
The best tier of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD is Premium. Educational seats will have most of this functionality. Premium includes motion analysis, structural analysis, routing of pipes, ducts and electrical harnessing, and advanced surface flattening. Premium also includes all the existing 3D CAD functionality used for mechanical engineers who designed for failure prevention in their products.
The structural analysis software includes SOLIDWORKS Simulation, static FAA analysis, and utilizes a library of materials that include their mechanical properties, such as elastic modulus and yield strength to determine failure. The parts are subjected to load combinations inside of the SOLIDWORKS Simulation software and tested for stress, strain, deflection and factor of safety. Motion studies can be utilized to determine motor sizing and timing for moving assemblies in a multitude of ways and the results can be plumped back into SOLIDWORKS Simulation.
Hopefully this will give users some insight into some of the capabilities they may not be utilizing, and for new buyers, I hope this makes your decision easier on which level of SOLIDWORKS is the best fit for your business!


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Robbie Hoyler

Written by Robbie Hoyler

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