Solid Edge V10 – the CAD-Reviews independent review

New functionality and useful additions

Solid Edge V10 from UGS

Aimed primarily at machine design, UGS claims to have delivered enhancements in version 10 of Solid Edge commonly requested by their 8,000 customers.

In addition to enhancements to existing functionality and productivity, highlights in v10 include assembly configurations, sheet metal flat version enhancements, weldments and drawing view handling.

By definition assemblies contain multiple parts, usually as relative movement occurs between them.

Since components are intended to occupy several if not numerous relative positions, it is important that each critical position can be represented for review in the CAD model.

Version 10 introduces Alternate Position assemblies allowing different configurations to be created and specified wherever the assembly is used including drawing views.

This avoids the need to create multiple versions of the assembly by containing all configurations in a single assembly file.

Component positions can be driven by numeric variables for all or selected instances.

A variation on this ability is Family of Assemblies which also enables some parts and subassemblies to be different between the configurations.

The power of this feature is evident in the intelligent handling of mates which are maintained with the replacement parts wherever possible.

This mate handling also applies if a part is manually replaced into the assembly, with the option to specify whether all or selected instances are to be replaced.

In many cases the practicalities of the design process do not allow the optimum assembly structure to be established before modelling commences.

What ensues is often a flat structure with most components placed at the root level.

A number of restructuring tools are now available to subsequently create new subassemblies or move parts between them without losing positional relationships.

In complex assemblies it can be frustrating to locate individual components so the new Scroll to Part function available form a pop-up menu when right clicking on a component in the graphics area is a welcome addition.

Although in-place activation of parts for editing within an assembly is a powerful method of working it can take some time to switch between the assembly and part environments.

Peer Variables allow direct access to part variables within an assembly without full activation.

Since variables for multiple parts can be accessed in this way, links can easily be created between them within the assembly.

Visibility in parts and assemblies is enhanced with the ability to manipulate part colours.

The colour can be specified for parts, individual faces and features with the ability to override these part attributes in the assembly if required.

Threads can be graphically represented in colour to maintain identification whilst avoiding the need to build the geometry.

Tapered threads can now be applied to pipes with the ability to set an accentuated angle for model representation to aid visibility.

These tapered threads are supported in drawing views.

Significant new modelling functionality includes Excel driven curves and the ability to create a cut-out or protrusion that is normal to a face wherever the profile contacts the face.

Multiple construction surfaces can now be stitched together into a single surface.

The Make Base Feature command takes this a step further by allowing surfaces containing a volume to be converted into a solid feature.

This has obvious applications for the import of legacy data.

It will even attempt to heal minor gaps with tangential patches for which a user defined tolerance can be set.

Physical properties can be calculated to user defined co-ordinate systems or even specified manually to allow true properties to be applied in assemblies for parts such as bought in items that need not be fully modelled.

This ability can also be used in an assembly for non-physical parts such as glue.

The ability to model and view both formed and flat pattern versions of sheet metal parts is a significant benefit of working in 3D.

It is no longer necessary for the flat pattern to be a separate file in Solid Edge avoiding the need to manage two files for a single part.

The 3D design edit mode and flat pattern mode are represented as sections in the Feature Pathfinder with the active mode highlighted in bold.

When a sheet metal part is placed into a drawing a prompt is given to specify the flat or folded form for the view.

Feature Pathfinder sections are also used to switch between the main fully detailed model and simplified configurations with features suppressed to speed up manipulation.

Weldment features are now created in a process specific environment into which an existing assembly is loaded.

A weld preparation configuration can be created for features to be added to components in the weldment context PWD file then saved out as individual part files.

Alternatively such features could be created in the original part files as configurations that are then specified in the assembly.

Weld fillets can be created with equal or unequal set backs or by specifying the bisector thickness.

Weldment features can be associatively driven by the base assembly including mirror and pattern instances.

The part weight of weld features can also be defined for accurate mass property calculations.

Provision of a drawing view out-of-date tool is a significant enhancement to the Draft environment.

With multiple referenced files it is easy for views and part references to become out-of-date but far less easy to locate the cause.

Drawing view borders are highlighted with thin lines for out-of-date views and thick corner borders for out-of-date model references.

The neat part of the Drawing View Tracker is not only identifying the out-of-date parts but also offering sequential instructions for rectifying the situation.

Once updated, drawing views also highlight any residual dangling dimensions.

A Dimension Tracker also enables revisions to be annotated.

Dimension commands have been extended to include a variety of chamfer callout options and the ability to align annotations such as linear dimensions, balloons and callouts.

File compatibility is improved with an integrated ACIS SAT file import and export translator and improved AutoCAD functionality.

Embedded objects such as Microsoft Excel or Word files are exported to version 14 or 15 files and elements such as filled arrow heads, tolerance annotations and hatch boundaries are supported.

Interoperability with the flagship Unigraphics product is also improved.

Version 10 certainly delivers a range of new functionality with assembly configurations and the drawing view tracker representing useful additions.

Solid Edge addresses its target application of machine design very well but designers needing extensive control over organic forms will be less satisfied.

Of course it will particularly appeal to users needing a solution offering interoperability with Unigraphics.

Version 10 costs £4,995 with the enhanced import Feature Recogniser an additional £500.