SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual Announced At SolidWorks World 2013

Today is the first day of SolidWorks World 2013 and as the SolidWorks CEO Bertrand Sicot promised back in September 2012 at the SolidWorks 2013 launch, the company today unveiled their direct modeling solution titled “SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual”. See “New V6 Based SolidWorks Conceptual Design Product“.

This is what it looks like.

Picture courtesy @RobRodriguez (click to enlarge)

Picture courtesy @SolidWorks (click to enlarge)

Unfortunately, there was no live demo. Just screenshots. I’m thinking if this is going to be released in May 2013 as was mentioned in September last year then by now a live demo should have been possible. After all everyone is looking at SolidWorks to actually deliver something based on the Dassault Systemes V6 technology.

From the tweets I gather that this is direct modeling conceptual designer and a one way data transfer to SolidWorks. So when you are done with your conceptual design in SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual you take the model into SolidWorks to continue with detail design.

Another interesting thing about this product is that it is stores data in the cloud. According to this blog post posted by CEO Bertrand Sicot on the SolidWorks blog:

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual is always connected to the design database and to other users… [snip]… Users are always working together on the same design so that there is no time wasted, or confusion as to what is the latest version.  When a team member makes a change, all users are updated in real time with the latest version so the concepts will always progress forward.

This is a nice way of getting SolidWorks users accustomed to working online and saving their data in the cloud away from their beloved hard drives. Looks like SolidWorks has realized that the “shock and awe” policy they used some SolidWorks World’s ago may not have been the best way to go about it. 😉

In reading the SolidWorks blog post I came across this:

In May of this year, we will be working with select customers to validate these principles of conceptual design in their production environments.  Once we are confident in the benefits these customers are seeing we expect to make SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual available to all users in the Fall of 2013.

So that’s at least 8 or 9 months away. No wonder attendees of SolidWorks World are being shown screenshots and not a live demo of SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual.

  • Kevin Quigley

    The interesting quote there is “we will be working with select customers to validate these principles of conceptual design in their production environments”.

    Question. What happens if those select customers say, well actually this way of working is not suitable?

    What I find interesting about this is that we appear to be moving back to a linear workflow utilising one way tools for each stage of the process, much like we used to do back in the 90s and the way that some of us still do for many jobs….all of which flies in the face of this unifying single environment for product development. If you are using a different tool for each stage, you do not need to use the same tools from the same vendor.

    This is why ( for example) designers conceptualise in 2D drafting apps or freeform modellers like Rhino/Vellum etc, then carry into the mainstream system.

    Yet, all the time we are doing this we hanker after a single environment, a single software, a single file format!

    There is not enough detail yet on this new product to assess but a lot will hinge on just how good the workflow is relative to existing ones inside SolidWorks, and how editable the data is inside SolidWorks. Then there is the whole thorny issue of licensing and cost.

    Hopefully this will become clearer in the next day or so.

    • Roger Reid

      I’d be very surprised if they would/could charge for this add-on, as its success very much depends on large scale adoption, thus proving to share holders they are on the right track with SW V6.
      I (like many) use third party software for rendering and animation but the “one way street” is far from ideal. Even on “finished” models I usually need to make an adjustment and it proves to be a real pain.
      But that is just rendering. The idea that I would be faced with the same ordeal with concept models is a non-runner.
      At which point does a concept stop being a concept? I don’t believe it is a single point in time – I am continually developing ideas through the “design” phase. And what about developing ideas in the context of an assembly – will this be possible? If not I think it’s application is VERY limited.
      I reckon DS are deeply concerned that this lack of integration is unsuitable for the concept/design workflow and are using the consultation period to avoid a public flop.
      Don’t get me wrong, I reckon they will have developed a really strong, integrated, fully featured product in 5 or 6 years time – but today it is more like a preview of the new V6 offering.

      • This is not an add-on. From what I understand its a totally different product and will be sold as such. One reporter at SolidWorks World mentioned that it will be in the same price range as SolidWorks itself.

        • Roger Reid

          Sorry Deelip, I should had used the word “complimentary” as opposed to add-in. The functionality SCM has at this stage is merely able to complement SW, not replace it. On that basis I regard it as a piece of complimentary software.
          I presume the pricing info you have is speculation? It just doesn’t sound right.

        • Kevin Quigley

          Who said that? It implies that it is a desktop install then rather than monthly rental. If that is the case then it will have very little take up with the existing customer base-certainly in the UK. This implies they are targeting new business to work with SolidWorks downstream? Really not sure how that will work.

          I think for now we need to stick to the actual facts. This new product is out for limited testing in May. Released in October. Outside of that we know nothing. In any case Deelip I cannot see that that rumour is accurate. For one this is the start of a new family of v6 products. If the plan is to sell each module at SolidWorks levels this makes it pricier than CATIA. Dassault have gone on record saying it should be lower cost overall than existing solutions (and I believe that was quoted by you). But, lets see.

  • ralphg

    It is very disappointing that after six years of development, that the best Dassault Systemes can show is a few screen grabs. Not even a canned video!

    Well, at least they announced the next delay in shipment. In that, they have been consistent.

    • Matthew West

      There were videos shown on stage. They’re in the session video on our YouTube channel.

  • Shyamal Roy

    Correct me if I am wrong – based on inputs from thousands of “light-house” users we have for TurboCalc and Graficalc – I believe users want to address shape, appearance, position, motion, fit, quality. and producibilty related parameters in the conceptual stages of design.

    IMHO a “Head Fake” from traditional CAD companies to position solutions in the conceptual engineerin space just dealing with shape issues will not move the front of the string.