Solid Edge V9 – the CAD-Reviews independent review

A professional level modeller

Solid Edge V9 review screenshot

Solid Edge V9 from UGS

The rapid evolution of Solid Edge continues with the launch of Version 9 with new functionality for machinery, large assemblies, web publishing, and migration from 2D to 3D solid modelling plus an integrated engineering handbook.

Performance of large assemblies of thousands of parts directly impacts productivity and satisfaction with a CAD tool.

Since full detail is not required on many parts in an assembly, V9 introduces simplified parts so that the number of faces can be dramatically reduced in order to increase responsiveness.

While creating parts simplifying features can be generated such as deletion of rounds or holes less than or equal to a user defined diameter or by adding a feature to obscure complex detail.

In the assembly parts can then be toggled between their fully detailed and simplified configurations.

Although full detail is likely to be required in the associated drawings, views can now optionally be created without hidden lines to improve performance.

Where hidden lines are required, their processing is multithreaded.

The algorithms used to generate section views have also been revised to improve performance.

Non-graphic parts such as lubricants, fluids, adhesives, coatings are supported in assemblies, bills of materials and parts lists with occurrence properties being used to define the quantity.

A comprehensive range of query tools is available to select parts by their properties.

A set of query rules can be saved for reuse and the returned results can be used in any operation that requires a selection set such as to show, hide or activate a set of parts.

While dragging underconstrained parts within their remaining degrees of freedom, collisions are dynamically highlighted on screen and audibly.

Drag through animations can be recorded for later playback.

The Simply Motion environment and interference checking command include Find First Contact and Find Minimum Clearance options.

Parts grounded in the assembly are automatically grounded in Simply Motion although parts can be subsequently toggled between grounded and moving parts if required.

Part enhancements include fillet transition around sharp corners to give a true bullnose cutter result and staggered split lines and draft for moulded or cast parts based on Parasolid functionality.

Reference planes can be defined using 3 points and the automotive supply chain is further supported with the ability to define co-ordinate systems relative and associative to model geometry.

Linear, radius and angular dimensions can now be added to tube path segments in the XpresRoute tubing design add-on module.

A full weld environment based on the STREAM technology allows weld features to be created using process specific commands.

These include pre-weld preparation features, weld beads and post weld machining operations.

Drawing views can be created showing either pre or post weld states.

Design assistant sensors are used to track design rules and variables such as distances between components as the model develops.

Thermometer style gauges indicate current values and can flag any violations of user defined parameters.

Process specific sensors include sheet metal manufacturability and the surface area sensor can have a negative sense in order to monitor holes in a surface for ventilation calculations for example.

User defined parameters can be used to calculate ongoing part costs based on types and sizes of modelled features.

Support for engineers is provided in the form of an online engineering handbook developed by Inc, providing both a reference for formulae and calculations of a wide range of engineering scenarios.

Most can then automatically create a parametric part.

The Web Publisher is an interactive wizard module developed by Immersive Design Inc.

to allow Solid Edge data to be published to corporate web sites for access by a wider audience using only Internet Explorer.

The view of published data can be manipulated to aid visualisation and parts can be manually exploded in assemblies.

A number of utilities have been grouped into Solid Edge Accessories.

These include the viewer that now includes the option to view file properties, show and hide parts and measure linear distances, Revision Manager, Find Files and Where Used tools.

Custom reports can also be generated listing parts and sub-assemblies contained in an assembly.

Since a recent Dataquest survey concluded that 52% of industrial machinery design is carried out in 2D, it is understandable that Unigraphics Solutions have included tools to bring in 2D data in DWG, DXF, DGN or IGES formats.

3D IGES translation tools have been combined into a single wizard to offer improved control.

Interoperability between Unigraphics and Solid Edge is improved.

V9 can open Unigraphics assembly files using their existing directory structure while Solid Edge can save a Unigraphics bookmark file that generates a simplified definition of the assembly structure that can be read by Unigraphics 17.

Competition in the desktop modelling market shows no sign of waning.

Enhancements in Version 9 focus largely on assembly performance for machine builders including weld tools and assistance for 2D users ready to migrate to 3D.

Solid Edge is certainly a professional level modeller.

Interoperability with Unigraphics may be a significant factor for some adopters, but for most differentiation between the leading modellers is unlikely to be on features or capabilities so much as personal preference for the look, feel and interface paradigm.

Solid Edge costs £4,995 plus £495 for the Feature Recognizer for importing foreign data and £1,000 for the XpresRoute module.